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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Hon William Edwardes (later Fourth Baron Kensington)
  • Born 11 May 1835, Little Haven, Pembroke, South Wales
  • Died 7 October 1896, London
  • Educated Eton College
  • Occupation Army Officer, Politician
  • Debut 26 June 1858 v Birkenhead Park at Phoenix CC, Phoenix Park, Dublin.
  • Cap Number 34
  • Style Right hand bat
  • Teams Phoenix, United Ireland XI

William Edwardes was better known for his life outside cricket, than for his performances on the field of play. He played for Phoenix when stationed in Ireland with his regiment the Coldstream Guards. A Lieutenant at the time, he was eventually Lieutenant Colonel. A sound middle order batsman, he turned out on several occasions for Charles Lawrence's United Ireland XI, while Lawrence was Phoenix professional. In June 1858 he was one of the side which played XXII of Dublin at the Phoenix ground. The United men found it hard going with the bat, being bowled out for 53 and 132. Edwardes failed twice, making 6 and 0. Though the XXII gained a first innings lead, their batsmen were no match for Lawrence and Arthur Samuels, with the result that they were beaten by 60 runs. Edwardes' main contribution being to hold two second innings catches off Samuels' slow underarmers.

Four days after the conclusion of the match, he appeared for Ireland v Birkenhead Park, in a side showing six changes from that which had defeated MCC earlier in the season. Previously, Birkenhead had played Phoenix. This match was for Lawrence's benefit, which probably explains the change of opposition. The venue, Phoenix, remained the same. The visitors were victorious by 31 runs, mainly due to the bowling of Robert Carpenter, no more a Merseysider than Lawrence was a Dubliner. He was a member of a family which made Cambridgeshire a force in cricket for a lengthy period in the 19th Century. Presumably he had professional terms with Birkenhead Park. Renowned as a batsman, it was his bowling which troubled Ireland. Edwardes batted at 4, and was by far from the worst performer in the first innings, reaching 14 before Carpenter bowled him. He made only 1 in the second when runs were badly needed. Unfortunately for Lawrence, many of whose financial ventures proved unsuccessful, crowds were small.

Edwardes was the eldest son of the Third Baron Kensington. This was an Irish peerage, though the family had no Irish links, but had gained lands in the country through inheriting the estate of the Earls of Warwick in the late 18th Century. On leaving the army, Edwardes, who succeeded to the title in 1872, was MP (Liberal) for Haverdford West 1868 - 85. In 1880, when the Liberals formed a government under WE Gladstone, Edwardes became a Government Whip and a member of the Privy Council. In 1885 he unsuccessfully contested Hornsey in Middlesex. The following year, however, he was able to resume his parliamentary career, because the peerage became a United Kingdom one. He was, briefly, a Government Whip in The House of Lord's in 1880. He married Grace Johnston - Douglas, distantly related to the notorious Lord Alfred Douglas - in 1867. They had four sons and five daughters.