Lancashire player number 82 - Royle, Rev. Vernon Peter Fanshawe Archer
by Don Ambrose

Player:VPFA Royle

Lancashire 1873-91
Born 29.1.1854 Brooklands, Cheshire.
Died 21.5.1929 Stanmore, Middlesex.


Educated at Rossall, which he entered in 1867, at the age of thirteen. He was a member of the football eleven 1870-71, and of the cricket eleven 1870-72, being captain in his last year.


He went up to Brasenose College, Oxford, but only gained selection to the University Eleven in 1875, after he had already played nine first-class matches for Lancashire. Between 1873 and 1876 he played in eight matches for Cheshire, making a total of 680 runs at an average of 56.66, with three centuries, including 205 against the Staffordshire Borderers at Chelford on 22 July 1874. This was to remain his highest score. He also took 32 wickets for Cheshire.


5ft 9 inches tall and weighing 10 stone, he was a good right-hand middle order batsman, a right-hand slow round-arm bowler and a brilliant cover point.


He played against Cambridge at Lord's on two occasions and in 1875 it was his four wickets for 51 runs that was a major factor in Cambridge failing to reach their target of 175 and giving Oxford victory by 6 runs in a thrilling finish.


He gained his B.A. in 1878 and the following winter joined Lord Harris's team in their tour of Australia. He performed well in the first-class matches and played in the game against Australia, now recognised as a Test Match. His diary of his visit to Australia and his return home via New Zealand, Honolulu, San Francisco and New York, where they played Hoboken, is still in the possession of the Royle family and copies exist in the libraries at Lord's and Old Trafford.


On his return he took up an appointment as assistant master at Elstree School, taking Holy Orders in 1881 and acting as Curate at Aldenham, Watford, Hertfordshire, in addition to his teaching duties, from 1881-85. He continued to find time for the occasional match for Lancashire during the school holidays and in 1882 played in his only match for the Gentlemen.


He became headmaster of Elstree School in 1900 and in 1901 headmaster of Stanmore Park School, Middlesex, where he remained until his death. In his later years he was badly affected by rheumatism. In 1929 he was the President of the Lancashire County Cricket Club.


(Article: Copyright © 2004 Don Ambrose)


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