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Cricket and Leveson Gower

Sir Henry Dudley Gresham Leveson Gower – born at Titsey Place in 1873, he was a member of the Leveson Gower family who lived at Titsey Place from 1804 (when William Leveson Gower married Katherine-Maria Gresham) until 1992 when the last of four unmarried Leveson Gower brothers, Thomas Leveson Gower, died.

You may recognise those names from our core range of beers, all of which are named after those families who have lived on the estate. Others may recognise the names as belonging to Shrimp Leveson Gower, Oxford, Surrey, and England Test Cricket Captain.

With the success of Surrey Country Cricket Club so far this season, it seemed only appropriate to celebrate one of our beer’s namesakes. Shrimp Leveson Gower earned his nickname during his schooldays due to his slight physique, a name that he carried with him throughout his athletic career. In 1892 whilst studying at Winchester, he led the school to victory against Eton for the first time in ten years, scoring 83 in the second innings and capturing 8 for 33 in the first match.  

His athletic career continued into his university days at Oxford where he achieved his Blue in his first year, the highest honour a university athlete could achieve. Academia was not his main interest, and he left Oxford without a degree to join Surrey as an amateur. When revisiting his old university stomping ground in 1899 he scored 155, the highest score of his career.

Travel was something he loved to do as an athlete, touring the West Indies (1896-97) and America (1897). During this trip to America his name caused much confusion and mirth, and so was born the following piece of verse by Ralph D Paine:

At one end stocky Jessop frowned,
The human catapult
Who wrecks the roofs of distant towns
When set in his assault.
His mate was that perplexing man
We know as “Looshun-Gore”,
It isn’t spelt at all that way,
We don’t know what it’s for.
But as with Cholmondeley and St. John
The alphabet is mixed,
And Yankees cannot help but ask —
“Why don’t you get it fixed?”

His stint as an England test captain took place in South Africa (1909-10) where he led England in the first three Tests, winning 1 and losing 2. Frederick Fand led the fourth and fifth Tests, and Shrimp Leveson Gower did not play for England anymore. For a rather extraordinary cricketer, his three Tests were rather ordinary with 95 runs at 23.75.

Although no longer playing for England, he continued playing for Surrey and captained the side between 1908-1910. Surrey ended up third on the championship tables during his first year and finished second in his final season.

Having always been a keen traveller, upon retiring from more serious cricket he continued to tour all over the world playing cricket. In total he played 277 First-Class matches, scoring 7,638 runs at 23.73 with 4 hundreds.

When not playing cricket, he had several other jobs both within cricket and out of it. Leveson Gower earned his living as a stockbroker, after captaining England he became a Test selector, and then Chairman of selectors for England whilst at the same time a treasurer for Surrey. His active part in cricket earned him a knighthood in 1953, showing just how much of an impact he had on the sport. For those interested in reading further about Shrimp, he published a book – Off and on the Field, the year before he died aged 80. For those interested in purchasing some Leveson or Gower beer, head over to our website!