History of The Cricketers
The Cricketers, Duncton, formerly known as The Swan, is thought to have 16th century origins, and has probably served as an inn since the 1640s. Until 1814, the inn belonged to the Manor of Duncton. In 1840, the property was purchased by William Gill from a Mrs. Duffell, and records describe a brewery being attached to the inn. The rateable value at this time of the "Swan Inn, Smithshop and land" is recorded in the Duncton Parish Rates as £23-16s.
Following William Gill's death in May 1849, his wife Mary occupied The Swan until 1863, when ownership passed to Chamberlain. From 1864 to 1868 it was occupied and leased by members of the Bridger family. John Wisden, renowned Kent, Middlesex, Sussex and England cricketer, who launched the eponymous Wisden Cricketer's Almanac, purchased the property in 1867. During his ownership, the property was renamed The Cricketers, and was leased to James 'Jem' Dean. In his will of 1871, John Wisden directed that 'As to the house and premises known as The Cricketer Arms to allow Dean to remain a tenant for so long as he should think fit'.
James Dean was born in Duncton in the early 1800s and died in The Cricketers on Christmas Day, 1881, reputedly sat in the Inglenook fireplace with a pint of beer in hand. Jem Dean gained recognition as a roundarm fast bowler who played for Sussex, All England XI and then helped set up the United All England XI with his long-time friend John Wisden. After his retirement from the sport in 1860, he was appointed as an umpire by the authorities at Lords.