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Lillywhite, Frederick William (DNB00)


LILLYWHITE, FREDERICK WILLIAM (1792–1854), cricketer, was born at West Hampnett, near Goodwood, Sussex, 13 June 1792. His father had the management of two large brickfields belonging to the Duke of Richmond, and Frederick was brought up to the trade of a bricklayer. On 12 Dec. 1822 he removed to Brighton and shortly afterwards to Hove, where he became managing man over a large number of brickmakers.

At an early age Lillywhite devoted much leisure to cricket, and in middle life he took a foremost place among professional players. He played his first match at Lord's 18–19 June 1827. No cricketer ever came to Lord's so late in life and afterwards had so long and brilliant a career, lasting upwards of twenty seasons. He was the first bowler of eminence in the round-arm style, which was first introduced by Tom Walker of the Hambledon Club at the end of the last century, but not legalised by the Marylebone Club until 1828. His bowling was slow, marvellous for accuracy of pitch and straightness, and specially remarkable for a very quick rise from the pitch. He was known as the ‘Nonpareil Bowler,’ his average being estimated not to have exceeded seven runs per wicket. There can be no doubt that he was a great bowler who used his brains to much effect. During the whole of his career he did not bowl more than half a dozen wide balls. As a batsman he was not so celebrated, but he frequently scored in the best matches. Twice he went first to the wicket, in 1839 and 1845, and saw the whole side out. In a single match, 5 Aug. 1828, he received 278 balls from the famous bowler George Brown. In 1837 he took the Royal Sovereign Inn, Preston Street, Brighton, to which was attached a cricket-ground. In 1844 he came to London and was engaged as bowler to the Marylebone Cricket Club, where he had a benefit in 1853 and remained to his death. In 1851, 1852, and 1853 he was permitted to attend at Winchester School, where he brought out some good bowlers. With his sons John and Frederick he kept a shop for the sale of cricketing appliances at 10 Prince's Terrace, Caledonian Road, Islington, London, where he died of cholera 21 Aug. 1854. He was buried in Highgate cemetery. The members of the Marylebone Club erected a monument to his memory above his grave, on which is inscribed the single word ‘Lillywhite.’ His characteristic definition of cricket, ‘me bowling, Pilch batting, and Box keeping wicket,’ is well known.

His sons John and Frederick Lillywhite were both well-known cricketers. John, born 10 Nov. 1826, died 27 Oct. 1874; Frederick, born 23 July 1829, died 15 Sept. 1866.

[W. Lillywhite's Illustrated Handbook of Cricket, edited by A Cantab, 1844; F. Lillywhite's Cricket Scores (1862), ii. 9–12; Denison's Cricket Sketches of the Players, 1846, pp. 34–9; Cansick's Collection of Epitaphs (1872), ii. 158–9; Illustrated News of the World, 22 May 1858, pp. 252, 254, with view of monument; Illustrated London News, 22 July 1843, p. 59, with portrait; notes kindly supplied by Dr. J. W. Allen.]

G. C. B.