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Henry Jones (writer)

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Subject: Card game, Cavendish, Henry Jones, William Pole, King's College School, 1877 Wimbledon Championship, 1886 Wimbledon Championships
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Henry Jones (writer)

Henry Jones
Born (1831-11-02)2 November 1831
Soho, London, England
Died 10 February 1899(1899-02-10) (aged 67)
Paddington, London, England
Nationality United Kingdom
Occupation Medical doctor and Author
Known for "Cavendish"
Spouse(s) Harriet

Henry Jones (2 November 1831 – 10 February 1899) was an English author well known as a writer and authority on tennis and card games who wrote under the nom de plume "Cavendish".


Henry Jones was born in London, the eldest son of surgeon Henry Derviche Jones. He attended King's College School, Wimbledon from 1842 to 1848, and entered St Bartholomew's Hospital as a student during the 1849/50 session. His signature can be seen in the hospital’s archives in the student signature book (a book that students signed when they began their studies) for the 1849/50 and 1850/1 sessions, where his address is given as 23 Soho Square.

Jones qualified MRCS (Member of the Royal College of Surgeons) in 1852 and practised medicine as a GP until 1869 when he changed tack and became a full-time writer on games and sport. His writing career can be traced back to 1857 when he began writing about whist. Jones’s father had been a keen devotee of this trick-taking card game, and under his tutelage, Jones had become a good player at an early age. He was a member of several whist clubs, among them the Cavendish Club, and in 1862 he published The Laws and Principles of Whist: Stated and Explained and its Practice Illustrated on an Original System by Means of Hands Played Completely Through by "Cavendish", which became the leading authority on the game. This work was followed by treatises on the laws of the card games piquet and ecarte. Jones became widely known as "Cavendish" (his nom de plume), and wrote extensively in The Field, the world’s original country and fieldsports magazine, which was founded in 1853. "Cavendish" also wrote on billiards, lawn tennis and croquet, and contributed articles on whist and other games to the ninth edition (1911) of the Encyclopædia Britannica. "Cavendish was not a law-maker, but he codified and commented upon the laws which had been made during many generations of card-playing." One of the most noteworthy points in his character was the manner in which he kept himself abreast of improvements in his favourite game.[1]

In 1869, Jones joined the All England Croquet Club, which had been founded the previous year. He was later voted onto the club’s committee, and was Secretary for a brief period in 1871. In 1875, Jones proposed that one of the club’s croquet lawns should be set aside for the playing of lawn tennis. This proved to be a significant step. In 1877, the Club Secretary John Walsh proposed that a lawn tennis championship be held, and 'The Championships' were born. Henry Jones and two other prominent men, Julian Marshall and John Moyer Heathcote, formed a sub-committee to frame the rules, many of which survive today, and, from 1877 to 1885, Jones was referee at The Championships.

The only event held during the 1877 Wimbledon Championship was the Gentlemen’s Singles, which was won from a field of 22 competitors by Spencer Gore, an old Harrovian rackets player. The final attracted a crowd of about 200 spectators, who each paid one shilling. Today, Centre Court tickets for Gentleman’s Finals Day – on the Sunday of the second week of The Championships – cost £75.

The Ladies’ Singles tournament was not inaugurated until 1884, when Maud Watson became the champion from an entry of just 13 players. The same year, the Gentlemen’s Doubles was started, with a trophy donated to the club by Oxford University Lawn Tennis Club following the cessation of their own doubles championship.

Henry Jones died in 1899. Unfortunately, the fortunes of Wimbledon were then at a low ebb. Public affection for The Championships had waned for a period in the 1890s, and as a result, Jones’s obituaries ignored his role in lawn tennis. It is sad that Jones did not live to see Wimbledon recover from this brief slump and go on to become the success that it is today.


  • The Laws and Principles of Whist Stated and Explained and its Practice Illustrated On An Original System by Means of Hands Played Completely Through. Spine Title: Cavendish on Whist. Thos. De La Rue & Co. (London), Eighth edition, 1868, 120 pages.
  • The Laws and Principles of Whist Stated and Explained and its Practice Illustrated On An Original System by Means of Hands Played Completely Through. Spine Title: Cavendish on Whist. John Wurtle Lovell (New York), From the Twelfth English Edition Revised and Greatly Enlarged, 1881, 257 pages.
  • Whist Developments: American Leads and the Plain-Suit Echo, De La Rue & Co. (London), 1885, 172 pages.


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