Croquet – A Brief History

Croquets family tree sees to go back as far as the Romans and a game called Paganica. Paganica was a game played in the country side and seemed to have involved hitting a small ball at certain trees with a stick. The winner being the person who could hit the most trees with the least stokes.

The game of Palle-Maille branched off the game of Paganica in towns and villages where space and trees, previously were in short supply. The use of hoops or wickets seems to have been introduced around this time.

Palle-Maille was popular through France and was introduced into Ireland. Records show that the game was being played regularly after 1852. We believe that the name Croquet comes from the games time in France and comes from the peasant's version of the game where a shepherd crook (Croc) was used.

The game of Palle-Maille moved into England in the early part of the 19th century and was publicized and promoted by WT Whitmore in its modern form of Croquet. Walter James Whitmore became a popular figure in the game and later took the (unofficial) title of world champion in 1867.

Later in 1868 The All England Croquet Club was formed. There are now 176 registered Croquet clubs with the Croquet Association and with an average of around 55 members per club you can see just how popular the game has become. The game itself has changed little of the years.

Croquet is a game where each player stands alone and challenges their opponents in an apparently simple game of pushing balls through hoops (wickets) in the correct order and then winning by being the first player to the winning post (stake). In essence this is true but the tactics and strategy of this game make it challenging and extremely competitive, but still fantastic fun.

The inherent simplicity of the game means that anyone can enjoy this wonderful game, from the very youngest to the very oldest and sometimes this is one of the reasons why the game of Croquet has remained a firm favorite.