Alcester Bowling Green is said to have a long history but there seem to be no documents from its inception. A book of rules, however, has come to light from the collection of the late Aubrey Gwinnett and dated circa 1842. A list of members in 1842 and a meeting of supporters in 18b9 is also included. Modern bowls players might be surprised at some of the terms used:
e.g. 'If a player carries his bowl ten yards from the TRIG, such
bowl is forfeited'.
One can but guess that the 'trig' is what we refer to as the bowling mat. Is this term still in use?
Again, 'The trig to be placed every succeeding end within one
yard of the spot from whence the 'BLOCK' is taken.
This term suggests what most of us call the Jack. This guess may be wildly inaccurate.
Any bowls player with a deep knowledge of the game might do us the favour of letting us know.
The members numbered 18 in 1842, 30 in 1856 and 22 in 1862. The 1842 list included the Rector, a local doctor, a solicitor, two gentleman farmers and a number of local shopkeepers. All of these could find some spare time to play and, no doubt, the 10/3 annual subscription. In 1859 the annual dinner cost 10/-, with members who did not take a ticket or failed to come, being fined 10/- each.
Some of the rules sound like those of a West End gentlemen's club: e.g. three members to be chosen as Stewards, who shall settle all disputes: a would be member to be balloted by subscribers, with two black balls needed for his rejection.
The rules stipulate that the landlord shall provide proper seating round the green. Rule 25 states that the Green to be mowed twice a week and rolled every day'. Mowers must have been a little primitive in 1842 but, obviously, they had been invented by then.
Autumn 1994 Index