History of Cricket at Ashe Park - The Links with I Zingari

    by Andrew Cadman  

John George Sheppard was the owner of Campsea Ashe estate in 1845 and he formed a club at Campsea Ashe.  He was a friend of the founders of the I Zingari Club and invited the I Zingari to play on his newly formed cricket ground at the end of August 1845.

The match was played over two days and there were about 2,000 spectators who came to watch. They also had two bands playing.

Viscount Ullswater also played against I Zingari when he owned the Campsea Ashe estate between the wars, and used a bat made from Campsea Ashe willow.

  High House at Campsea Ashe, demolished 1953

I Zingari is an amateur English Cricket Club which is also a wandering (or nomadic) club having no home ground. It was formed in 1845 and till date remains one of the leading amateur cricket clubs in England consisting of 1,200 members – both past and present.

This oldest of the wandering clubs originated on July 5, 1845 when WP Bolland took a side to Harrow. Dining together in London afterwards several of those who had taken part including John Baldwin, Sir Spencer Ponsonby-Fane and the Hon F. Ponsonby, afterwards Lord Bessborough, decided to form a club with 20 friends.

I Zingari's name, by the way, which has puzzled many generations, is merely The Gypsies in Italian.

At that time all clubs employed professional bowlers. The founders of IZ (as it now tends to known)  decided that they would not do so, and therefore at a stroke brought the game into better balance by encouraging amateur bowling.

  I Zingari colours as worn by an unknown member in 1845

The colours of the I Zingari Club are Black, Red, and Gold, as shown in the example above, which signify ‘out of darkness through fire into light ‘  Who decided that I do not know but The Campsea Ashe Park Cricket Club which played until 1956 at the ground took the same colours but swapped the red and gold positions as you will see in the fixture card from 1950s on the next page.

   Ashe Park gardens, bearing "the hallmark of Gertrude Jekyll"

For a short history of Ashe Park and its past owners, houses and gardens click here.

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