I’m writing about cricket history at the moment for a topic on sports history and tournaments for the Hamilton Trust. I came across a very interesting article on several newspaper websites, including reputable ones, suggesting that the earliest reference to cricket may not have been in England as once thought, but in France.
Apparently an agent of the throne, a young man called Estiavannet, wrote to King Louis XI of France in October 1478 about being shouted at by a group of men in Liettres in northern France for staring at their game of ‘criquet’. Apparently, it might be ‘croquet’, in which case, the English still have it.
Despite all this detailed information with names, dates and locations, I have not been able to find a primary source at all. I found out it resides in the Archives Nationales in Paris and contacted them, scoured their online collection database, but to no avail. If anyone has any leads, please let me know!