Croquet seems to have reached England in the early 1850’s, probably from Ireland. It enjoyed a surge of popularity in the 1860’s, as women embraced an outdoor game they could play on equal terms, and both women and men discovered the joys of meeting the opposite sex without the intrusions of a chaperone.
By the mid-1870’s, croquet garden parties were all the rage; the All England Croquet Club had been formed and laws agreed; and croquet tournaments had become an established feature of the summer.
The new craze of lawn tennis then became the latest fashion, but croquet staged a magnificent revival in late Victorian and Edwardian times, even being included in the 1900 Paris Olympic Games. International matches were first staged in 1925 and continue to this day with tournaments against Scotland and Ireland and Test Matches between England, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.
Croquet remains a minority pursuit, but delights its devotees as one of the few remaining sports with a well-established code of honour, no professional players, and – wherever the game may take you – the pleasures of good companionship and a warm welcome.