Expert sheds light on cricket cup’s history after YEP appeal

Author and historian Graham Branston on Woodhouse Moor.
Author and historian Graham Branston on Woodhouse Moor.
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A gentleman who was presented with a trophy in 1863 may have campaigned against cricket by-laws following the council’s purchase of Woodhouse Moor, a historian has said.

As reported in the YEP last week, great-grandmother Jacqueline Lowley, from Tingley, is now the owner of the small silver cup, which was given to Mr Samuel Waite almost 150 years ago.

Its engraving states that Mr Waite received the trophy from Leeds Town Council for “collecting Subscriptions to defend the Rights of Cricketers on Woodhouse Moor against the Bye Laws of the Leeds Town Council”.

Now, author and historian Graham Branston says Mr Waite’s actions may have been prompted by the council’s purchase of Woodhouse Moor in May 1857.

Before this point, there was a public cricket ground in the centre of the moor, which may have been threatened when the council started to improve the land.

Mr Branston, who wrote The Commons, Waste Lands and Urban Moors of Leeds, said: “When Leeds Town Council purchased Woodhouse Moor, it needed substantial improvement.

“At that time, playing cricket would have been rather challenging because of its very uneven surface and two large encroachments on the common.

“The encroachments had to be purchased and demolished and the rough surface improved.

“As other areas of land were purchased for public recreation, by-laws regulating their use were introduced under local improvement acts.

“This is where the old order or tradition of playing cricket on the Moor would have come into conflict with new regulations for conduct on municipal open spaces.

“Mr Waite may have been the chair of a protest group defending the rights of cricket lovers.”

The trophy was given to Mrs Lowley’s mother by a lady believed to be a relative of Mr Waite, who was in her home-help care. When Mrs Lowley’s mum died she had the cup on display at their Meanwood home. Mrs Lowley was prompted to find out more after reading a letter in the YEP about the history of Woodhouse Moor.

* Do you know anything else about the trophy? Email Suzanne McTaggart on the address below.

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