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Belgium and Cricket!? “New” Inventors

  • March 3rd, 2009
  • Posted by Daniel Challis

An Australian academic has uncovered evidence revealing that cricket was not invented by the Brits but instead comes from Belgium; usually more famous for its chocolate than most other things…


Paul Campbell from the Australian National University’s (ANU) English and Theatre department, claims he found a poem by John Skelton written in 1533 which mentions immigrants from Flanders (Belgium) playing cricket.

Campbell reportedly found the poem during a search of historical archives in an attempt to discover variations on the way cricket has been spelt.

The Image of Ipocrisie contains the earliest known reference to cricket; supporting the theories that Flemish weavers introduced the game when they moved to England in the 14th century.

A German academic from the University of Bonn who helped Campbell, Dr Heiner Gillmeister, said the term ‘cricket’ is based on a Flemish phase meaning: “to chase with a curved stick”.

He said the poem could be one of the first known references to cricket.

“Of course there is something quite ironic about a German and an Australian making discoveries about what is considered to be such an English game, and in reality that game being a foreign import,” Mr Gillmeister said.


The Economic Times, ‘Cricket was not English, research reveals’ (1.3.09),, (3.2.09).