The Objects

13th Jun 1815

Source: © Marylebone Cricket Club

Wellington Warming up for War

Contributed by: Tim Clayton

On 13 June the Duke of Wellington accompanied the young Lady Jane Lennox to a cricket match at in the park of the duke of Arenberg near Enghien, where the Guards regiments were based. There had been earlier games and, from diary entries, we know that Lord Hill's aide-de-camp Digby Mackworth played or watched there on 7 and 11 June.

Lady Jane’s father, the Duke of Richmond, who had helped found the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in 1787, was playing along with General Peregrine Maitland, commander of the 1st Guards Brigade, who also played cricket for the MCC and was soon to elope with Jane’s elder sister Sarah.

That these society events were taking place in Belgium in the run up to Waterloo might seem surprising. But by this time the date for the invasion of France by the allies had been set and Wellington was doing his best to maintain an air of insouciance, as if no great event were in the offing. These were the first cricket matches known to have been played in Belgium.