Croquet has been traced back to the 1300’s. It is thought that it may have been an in-door version of lawn-bowling. It was then played in more confined spaces. The players enjoyed it enough to bring it back outside for the summer.
Originating in France, the game was called “paille-maille” which means ball-mallet. In the 17th Century the rules of paille-maille were slightly changed and the new game was called “Croquet” after the crooked stick used to hit the balls through the wickets. It then migrated to Ireland where it was called “Crooky”.
From there it came back to England where it supplanted “pall-mall”. Croquet became popular throughout the British Empire. It gained such tremendous popularity that an association was formed at Wimbledon and formal rules were laid down in 1868. Many fields were dedicated to Croquet. But this popularity was to be short-lived. The game of tennis hit England in general and Wimbledon in particular. Most of the croquet fields were turned into tennis courts.
Even so, croquet has survived as a sport and is even gaining in popularity today. On any given day in the summer, people can be found in their back yards or at the local park roqueting to their heart’s content. There are associations throughout the English-speaking world where competition is fierce and standards high.
This is a game or sport that will continue to be played for fun or sport by all age groups.