was an English cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...
er and author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...
. Nyren made 16 known appearances in first-class cricket
First-class cricket is a class of cricket that consists of matches of three or more days' scheduled duration, that are between two sides of eleven players and are officially adjudged first-class by virtue of the standard of the competing teams...
from 1787 to 1817. Latterly, he achieved lasting fame as the author of The Cricketers of My Time
The Cricketers of My Time is a memoir of cricket, nominally written by the former Hambledon cricketer John Nyren about the players of the late 18th century, most of whom he knew personally. Nyren, who had no recognised literary skill, collaborated with the eminent Shakespearean scholar Charles...
, which was first published in 1832 as a serial in a periodical called The Town
; and was then included in The Young Cricketer's Tutor
, published in 1833 by Effingham Wilson of London. Nyren's collaborator in the work was Charles Cowden Clarke
Charles Cowden Clarke , English author and Shakespearian scholar, was born in Enfield, Middlesex.-Life:His father, John Clarke, was a schoolmaster in Clarke's Academy in Enfield Town, among whose pupils was John Keats. Charles Clarke taught Keats his letters, and encouraged his love of poetry...
Family and background
Nyren was the son of Richard Nyren
Richard "Dick" Nyren was an English professional cricketer who played first-class cricket during the 1760s and 1770s in the heyday of the Hambledon Club...
, the captain of the Hambledon Club
The Hambledon Club was a social club that is famous for its organisation of 18th century cricket matches. By the late 1770s it was the foremost cricket club in England.-Foundation:...
in its "Glory Days". He was brought up in the Bat and Ball Inn, where his father was the landlord, immediately opposite Broadhalfpenny Down
Broadhalfpenny Down, situated on a hilltop about a mile from the rural village of Hambledon in Hampshire, was the home venue for first-class cricket matches of the Hambledon Club from 1753 to 1781...
, about a mile from Hambledon
Hambledon is a small village and civil parish in the county of Hampshire in England, situated about north of Portsmouth.Hambledon is best known as the 'Cradle of Cricket'. It is thought that Hambledon Club, one of the oldest cricket clubs known, was formed about 1750...
John Nyren, who was a left-handed batsman, is first recorded in first-class cricket in 1787, around the time his father retired, and he played occasionally until 1817. He played for the Gentlemen in the inaugural and second Gentlemen v Players
The Gentlemen v Players game was a first-class cricket match that was generally played on an annual basis between one team consisting of amateurs and one of professionals . The first two games took place in 1806 but the fixture was not revived until 1819. It was more or less annual thereafter...
matches in 1806. His playing career was not distinguished and he would now be remembered only as the son of a famous father if he had not turned his hand to literature in his old age.
In 1832, Nyren was living in London when he began his collaboration with Cowden Clarke, who recorded Nyren's reminiscences of the Hambledon era and published them serially in The Town
as The Cricketers of My Time
. The following year, the series with some modifications appeared as part of an instructional book entitled The Young Cricketer's Tutor
. It became a major source for the history and personalities of Georgian cricket and also came to be regarded as the first classic in cricket's now rich literary history.