Cricketing legend given the grave he deserves
Monday 14th September 2009


Long lost relatives gathered last week to remember a former England fast bowler who died destitute in a Liverpool workhouse. They unveiled a headstone in memory of John Jackson who was buried in a pauper's grave in Toxteth Cemetery, Smithdown Road, more than 100 years ago.

Nicknamed 'Foghorn' because he blew his nose after taking a wicket, the cricketer died on 4th November 1901. He was said to be one of the most outstanding fast bowlers of the 1850s.

His great, great grandson Raymond Summers, from Ellesmere Port, joined 15 other family descendants at the cemetery last Sunday to pay tribute to the sporting great.

Mr Summers said: "It's amazing that we have such a legendary cricketer in the family. All the time I was growing up I never knew he existed. It was only when my daughter and I started tracing the family tree that we found out his story."

Jackson was born in Bungay, Suffolk on 21st May 1833 and became a Nottinghamshire and All England Eleven right arm fast bowler. In 1853, he took part in the first ever overseas cricket tour and was photographed leaving Liverpool as the team set sail for Canada and the United States.

England's 12 Champion Cricketers on board a ship at Liverpool bound for America in September 1859.

Back row (from left to right): Bob Carpenter, William Caflyn, Tom Lockyer, John Wisden (seated), HH Stephenson,
George Parr, John Grundy, Julius Caesar, Tom Hayward and John Jackson.
Seated at front: Alfred Diver and John Lillywhite.

He was the first ever cricketer to appear in a Punch cartoon, on 29th August 1863 but his career was sadly cut short when, at the age of 33, he suffered a blood vessel injury in his leg.

He moved to Liverpool in 1871 playing for both Dingle Cricket Club and Birkenhead Grammar School.

He died in the infirmary at the Brownlow Hill Workhouse.

Mr Summers said: "It's nice to find new relatives who travelled from across the country and to finally give my great, great grandfather the grave he truly deserves."

For a time John Jackson was one of the fastest bowlers in England. He was tall, upright and strong and, according to Richard Daft, "had a peculiar habit of blowing his nose with a loud report whenever he took a wicket ... he was called "Foghorn" on this account." Daft added that Jackson was a rough and tumble character who was often involved in scrapes.

On the unprepared wickets of the 1850s he made an immediate impact, and even though his style was more round arm, his height and power made him a fearsome opponent.

In 1859 he toured America, and in 1863-64 Australia with George Parr. But his form began to decline from then on, and in 1866 his career was effectively ended when he ruptured a blood vessel in his leg while playing for Nottinghamshire against Yorkshire.

He was also a more than capable batsman who liked nothing more than to hit the ball hard and high. After the injury, which laid him up for 20 weeks, he cast a sorry figure, ending up subsisting on handouts and dying in Liverpool Workhouse Infirmary aged 68 years 167 days.


The England cricket team assembled at Lord's in London on
1st October 1863 before leaving for the tour of Australia.

back row (l-r): Julius Caesar, Alfred Clarke, George Tarrant, George Parr, E M Grace, Robert Carpenter, George Anderson, William Caffyn;
front row (l-r): Robert C Tinley, Thomas Lockyer, Thomas Hayward, John Jackson