A number of the roads on Hurst Park have a connection with the history of the area – not just the racecourse, but also cricket and other famous personalities.
William Bedster (1734-1805) was a professional cricketer, mainly a batsman. He was employed by the Earl of Tankerville for five years as butler at Mount Felix, Walton on Thames. He played many games for his patron, for Surrey, but was frequently lent to other sides as a “given man”. He became an inn-keeper in Chelsea when his playing days were over.
William “Silver Billy” Beldham (1766-1862) was the premier cricketing batsman in England for 35 years. He was one of the early exponents of forward and back play when bowling started to evolve with the introduction of “length bowling”, where the ball was pitched through the air rather than trundled along the ground.
The Countess of Buckingham was a resident of Hurst House, a Georgian building, surrounded by grounds and pleasure gardens, which covered all the land now occupied by the Hurst Park houses south of Hurst Road.
Dr Alexander Carlyle (1722-1805) was an ordained minister and an influential figure in the Scottish Church. In 1758 he visited London and met David Garrick, and they are reputed to have played the first recorded game of golf on English soil, on Molesey Hurst.
Cherimoya was a racehorse that won the 1911 Oaks at Epsom, in the only start of her racing career.
Possibly so called after names used in the 17th century for Molesey Hurst, when it was sometimes referred to as “Horse Copps” and “Hurst Coppice”.
Lord George Dundas (1882-1968) was a racehorse trainer, and chairman of the Hurst Park Syndicate. He was bitterly opposed to the decision to close the racecourse for housing development. He was also President of Molesey Hurst Cricket Club.
David Garrick (1717-1779) was an English actor, playwright, theatre manager and producer, who influenced nearly all aspects of theatrical practice throughout the 18th century. He had a house just across the river from Molesey Hurst, and is reputed to have organised a game of golf on the Hurst in 1758, which is said to be the first recorded game of golf on English soil.
Sir Beaumont Hotham, later second Baron Hotham, was lord of the manor of both Molesy Matham (East Molesey) and Molesy Prior (West Molesey). Captain Hotham, his great-grandson, is the present lord of the manor.
Kelvinbrook – ???????
Linkfield – ???????
Monaveen was the first racehorse to be owned by Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother), and her daughter Princess Elizabeth (our present Queen). He won the inaugural running of the Queen Elizabeth Chase at Hurst Park Racecourse on 31st December 1949. During the same race the following year he fell heavily at the water jump and had to be destroyed. He was buried near the stables, and it is rumoured that the horseshoe-shaped mound, in the grounds of the old Hurst Park School, marks his grave.
Mountwood – ????????
James Sadler (1753-1828) is believed to be the first native-born English aeronaut. In 1785, a year after the first manned balloon flight, he took off with William Windham MP from the grounds of the Priory in West Molesey, hoping to cross the channel, but landed near Rochester in Kent.#
Spurfield – ???????
Thames Meadow was the name of a field which became part of Hurst Park.
The Hon. John Tufton (1773-1799) was a noted English amateur cricketer and a Member of Parliament. He was famous for being recorded as the first player ever to be given out leg-before-wicket, in a match played on Molesey Hurst in 1795. Tragically he died at the age of 25, probably from tuberculosis.
The Victoria Cup was one of the best known races at the Hurst Park Racecourse. It was first run on 29th June 1901, and last run at Hurst Park on 5th May 1962. After the racecourse was closed the Victoria Cup was transferred to Ascot, where it is still run today.
George Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilsea (1752-1826) was an important figure in the history of cricket. His main contributions were patronage and organisation, but he was also a very keen player. He was co-founder of the Marylebone Cricket Club, and a backer of Thomas Lord, founder of the Lords Cricket Ground. He lived for a time at Hurst House, a Georgian mansion which stood where the southern part of the estate now stands.