Boxing seems to have been a sport that although technically illegal, increasingly became tolerated in society. This was largely due to the introduction of improvements such as Broughton's rules in 1743, and the Marquess of Queensbury's rules in 1867.
However, the Western Times was still able to report in 1885 that a prize fight in Dousland on the Princetown Railway had been kept secret from the police.
Western Times 18 August 1885 p7 col1
'The Great Fight on Welstor Common between Old Bug's Professional, and the Vicarage Pet.
In consequence of the Bobbies having sent to Plymouth for a detachment of Horse Marines, the fight is Postponed until further notice.
Both are in active training and look very fit, the Pet if anything a little too fleshy. Patrons of the noble Art may get the Tip by applying at the old Sporting Crib in the lane.
P.S. The Bells will be rung afterwards. By order of the referee.'
Photo courtesy Ashburton Museum
April Petty Sessions, 1870. Thomas Eggbear and Thomas Paul were each ordered to pay 5s 6d for playing at football in West Street the previous month.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 29 April 1870 p7 col5
1887 Edwin Tucker Jnr was elected captain of a club to play under rugby rules. A club playing under association rules was in existence, but hardly ever played.
Western Times 18 October 1887 p3 col5
Ashburton B played Haytor Vale at the Ashburton club ground. Ashburton scored one try; Haytor Vale failed to score.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 19 February 1894 p4 col4
1894. G Pitts, son of butcher G Pitts, broke his leg in two places when he was kicked during a football match.
P.C. Mortimer took him to the Cottage Hospital.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 24 March 1894 p4 col3
Ashburton lost to Newton Rovers in a 'spirited game.' Whiddon was the new captain of Ashburton.
Western Times 19 November 1895 p6 col6
As part of the Torquay Division Junior League Ashburton played Bovey St Johns at association football. The use of hands meant that Ashburton was awarded a penalty, but Salisbury missed the shot. The result was Bovey 5, Ashburton 2
Western Times 22 January 1906 p3 col6
In 1921 Mr H Arnold was president of the club, with G Purchase as the Hon Sec.. J A Mann and R Stacey became the new joint hon. secretaries, B Balkwill was the hon. treasurer, D Cowls the captain and J Foot the vice-captain.
Western Times 22 July 1921 p10 col1
1922 Ashburton AFC held its annual meeting at the Golden Lion Hotel. The deficit of 4s 11d in the balance sheet 'was considered satisfactory'.
Western Times 15 July 1922 p3 col5
Ashburton Association Football Club, Wltr Thos Clements, sec, 8 Dolbeare Rd
Kelly's Directory of Devonshire 1935 p34
He was eighteen.
Western Times 6 August 1926, p10 col1
Right: Richard Arscott crowning Maureen Gregory the Football Queen (written on reverse of photograph).
Many thanks to Richard and Frances Berry for this photograph.
'The manly game...'
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 2 April 1853 p4 col2
1846 Mr R Tucker, attorney, had his front teeth displaced when he was hit in the mouth by a cricket ball.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 18 July 1846, p3 col4
1852 Ashburton Cricket Club played its closing match of the season, the teams being natives of Devonshire versus other parts of the world.
Western Times 16 October 1852 p7 col5
1878 A match was played between a team of married players and a team of single men from the club. The single men won by two wickets.
Western Times 14 September 1878 p3 col4
1880 The Cricket Club acquired a field at Higher Headborough Farm.
Western Times 25 May 1880 p6 col2
Ashburton Institute played a smokers versus non-smokers game in 1886. The non-smokers won by a narrow margin.
Western Times 11 August 1886 p4 col2
The club closed through lack of players in 1910 but in 1913 a meeting was held at the Golden Lion, with the aim of restarting it.
Western Times 10 June 1913 p2 col1
In 1922 E(dward) M(aurice) Dowson was living at Hele. The Western Times described him as 'the brilliant Harrow, Cambridge and Surrey cricketer'.
He was President of the cricket club in 1929.
He died, aged 53, at Hele in 1933
Western Times 12 May 1922 p8 col7
Western Times 8 March 1929 p9 col4
Western Morning News 27 July 1933 p4 col1
1935 Ashburton Cricket Club, A Davies, sec, North St
Kelly's Directory of Devonshire 1935 p34
Before the Ashburton/Buckfastleigh match in July 1950, players and spectators stood in memory of Mr C S Caws, who had been captain of Ashburton Cricket Club.
The death of Anthony S D Caws, aged 45, was registered in the Newton Abbot registration district in the September Quarter of 1950
Western Morning News 31 July 1950, p8 col6
1899 A town cricket club was launched, using a field in Balland Lane.
President and captain - Maj R C Tucker
Hon treasurer and secretary - the Rev Penwarne-Wellings
Committee - J Clymo, J Berry, E Sawdye, J F Baker, J D Reddaway, F Edgecombe.
Western Times 23 May 1899 p6 col7
Above left: Ashburton Cricket Club 1913. Brian Bernard Baker is the tallest player, centre back.
Above: Brian Bernard Baker
Many thanks to Lerida Arnold for the photographs and information.
1827 Wrestling in London was making the news, but the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette noted that there were top quality local events. In Ashburton contestants included:
James Cann, Jordan, The Webbers, Huxtable, Bolt and Frost.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 23 June 1827 p3 col3
1849 A wrestling match was advertised in Ashburton, with a prize of 25 sovereigns. Abraham Cann was to be in attendance.
Western Times 7 July 1849 p7 col5
1850 Abraham Cann, Devon Wrestling Champion, arrived in Ashburton to adjudicate in a disputed wrestling match. According to Edward Foot, writing to the Western Times in 1879, he stayed 3 days, being 'almost worshipped' by the inhabitants.
Western Times 9 February 1850 p5 col4
Western Times 2 October 1879 p3 col2
For more on this visit, see the Historical visitors' book under the section Gathering together.
In August of the same year, a correspondent to the Western Times said that at a recent match in Ashburton between Cornwall and Devon, Cornwall had won five of the six prizes. This was in spite of the Devonian contestants using savage kicking, whilst wearing loaded shoes and padded shins.
Western Times 31 August 1850 p8 col1
Left: Abraham Cann
Devonshire Characters and Strange Events, S Baring-Gould, London 1908, p518