Historically, Laleham is associated with the Lucan family with most of the land forming part of the Lucan Family Estate.
The early history of the Laleham Recreation Ground is bound up with cricket. It seems that organised cricket was played at Laleham as long ago as the early part of the 18th Century and most probably at three sites, one of which approximates to the site of the present Recreation Ground. We also know that as well as cricket, football was played in the latter half of the 19th Century on land that was to become the Recreation Ground.
It seems likely that the cricket pitch was originally on a parcel of land leased by Buckland School from the Lucan Family Estate in 1870 where boys played cricket. The pitch was also used by the Village Cricket teams. The Buckland Field is situated directly behind the Three Horseshoes pub and is the site of the present “square”. We also know from a journal kept by one of the Villagers, Captain Ruben Honnor, that he attended a cricket match at the “Laleham Horseshoes” in June 1759. Buckland School was founded by the Reverend John Buckland, brother-in-law to the Reverend Dr. Thomas Arnold both of whom arrived in Laleham in 1819 and founded separate schools, with Arnold of course moving on to Rugby School in 1828. The Buckland School remained in Laleham until 1911, when it moved to Bexhill. Two of the founder’s grandsons, Francis Matthew and Edward Hastings Buckland (both born in Laleham) played cricket for Oxford University and Middlesex respectively during the 1870’s and 1880’s, while their uncle, Charles Thomas Buckland captained the Village side in the 1850’s and 1860’s.
In response to a petition signed by 174 residents of Laleham and submitted to the Parish Council in April 1919 for the provision of an official recreation ground, the 5TH Earl of Lucan gifted a piece of land of about 3 acres for sport and recreation and thus the Recreation Ground came into being later that year. In March 1920 a committee, reporting to the Parish Council, was formed to administer the Recreation Ground and comprised representatives from both the football and cricket clubs and the Village Hall. In 1921 the cricket club reported that the cricket square was in a poor state and needed relaying however, the relaying of the square would prevent the football club from using the ground during the operation. The project was agreed by the committee and the local tenant farmer loaned some land for use as a temporary football pitch for the 1921/22 season with all costs being covered by the cricket club. In March 1923, the land occupied by the Recreation Ground was also ceded by Deed of Gift to the Parish Council. The temporary football pitch area was eventually conveyed from the Lucan Family Estate in September 1948 and continued to be farmed by the tenant farmer until 1972.
In more recent times the Recreation Ground has hosted other sporting activities such as lawn tennis and hockey and is the venue for the annual Laleham Village Fair.
In June 1923 the Recreation Ground was enrolled in the books of the Charity Commissioners for England and Wales, thereby achieving charity status. The Recreation Ground is administered by a publically elected committee, namely the Laleham Recreation Ground Committee (LRGC) which reports to and is under the jurisdiction of the Trustees of the Laleham Charities.
The original Trustees were the six members of the Parish Council, as agreed with the Charity Commissioners. The 5th Earl of Lucan was Chairman of the Council and thus one of the Trustees. This arrangement continued until March 1930 when the Parish Council was abolished and replaced by the Staines Urban District Council. By agreement with the Council, the erstwhile members of the Parish Council remained as the first appointed trustees for the first four-year term. In August 1930 the Recreation Ground was approved and established as a separate scheme of the Charity Commissioners, under a reference number retained to this day. The land and buildings of the Recreation Ground is vested in the Official Trustee for Charity Lands. In April 1974 the administration of Laleham passed from the abolished Staines Urban District Council to the newly formed Spelthorne Borough Council and with it passed responsibility for the appointment of the Laleham Trustees.
The Trustees total six in number, one being elected to serve as Chairman and another Treasurer. The Trustees are appointed by Spelthorne Borough Council to serve for terms of four years, at the conclusion of which they may be recommended for re-appointment by the other Trustees. The intention is that the appointment of one half of the Trustees should be staggered by two years. Upon the resignation, retirement or death of a Trustee it is a tradition that the remaining Trustees recommend a suitable person to the Borough Council as a replacement. This recommendation is rarely, if ever, rejected.
In the period between August 1930 and February 2010, 47 Villagers served as Trustees, including two fathers to be followed some years later by their respective sons. The 6th Earl of Lucan (George Charles) retired from the Body of Trustees in 1941 and was replaced by the then Vicar of Laleham, the Reverend Arnold Kay. Successive Vicars of Laleham also served as Trustees until the Reverend RD (Desmond) Guinness retired in 1962. The Lucan Family has not lived in the Village since selling their residence; Laleham House in 1922 when they moved to Ireland however the family remained very much part of Laleham until some years after the accession of the 7th Earl of Lucan (Richard John) in 1964. Indeed, his Grandmother, the Dowager Countess of Lucan who died in 1972 is buried in the Lucan Family Grave in the Churchyard of All Saints Church. In November 1974, the 7th Earl of Lucan disappeared.
Towards the end of the Millennium, the LRGC took on the task of making an application to Sport England for a lottery funded grant to replace its dilapidated wooden sports pavilion with a purpose built new sports pavilion with modern amenities fitting for the 21st Century. Thanks to a lot of hard work from volunteers and generous grants, loans and donations from various sources such as Spelthorne Borough Council, local gravel extraction companies through Entrust Grants, sporting organisations (the Football Association and Surrey County Playing Fields Association) the application was successful and our sports pavilion was opened by George Charles Bingham (the son and heir of the 7th Earl of Lucan) on Friday 20 April 2001. Our successful application was the first of its kind in the borough of Spelthorne.
Other recent participants at the Recreation Ground include:
1. Laleham Village Cricket Club – formed in 1947 playing competitive cricket at Laleham on Saturday’s and Sunday’s; and
2. Metcalf Football Club – formed in 1967 and started playing Sunday football at Laleham in 1983 but has since folded; and
3. Staines Lammas Football Club – formed in 1926 and started playing Saturday football at Laleham in 1989; and
4. Staines Lammas Youth Football Club – formed in 1996 and started playing Sunday football at Laleham in 19XX; and
5. Laleham Ladies Cricket Club – formed shortly after the new sports pavilion was opened but then moved to Ashford Cricket Club; and
6. Colne Valley Ladies Football Club – formed in 19XX and started playing Sunday football at Laleham in 20XX
STAINES LAMMAS FOOTBALL CLUB – A BRIEF HISTORY
Staines Lammas Football Club was founded in 1926 and took its name from the park land adjacent to the River Thames in Staines, Middlesex (now known as Staines-upon-Thames).
In 1927 the Club became members of the Hounslow & District League and finished runners-up in Division 2 in 1929 earning promotion to Division 1. By 1932 the Club was a member of the South-West Middlesex League Division 1 and added a Reserve Team in Division 2 of the Richmond & District League. In 1936 the Club was a finalist in the Staines Hospital Cup. A year later the Club finished as champions of the South-West Middlesex League Division 1 and earned promotion to the Intermediate Division were they remained until after the Second World War. By 1948 the Reserve Team had switched to the Hounslow & District League Division 2. In 1955 the Club also entered a team in Division 1 of the Staines & District League.
In the late-1980’s the Club moved to the Laleham Recreation Ground and changed its affiliation to the Woking League (which subsequently became the Guildford & Woking Alliance League) under the jurisdiction of the Surrey County Football Association. The Club remains affiliated to both the Middlesex and Surrey County Football Associations.
The Club made steady progress through the football league pyramid, eventually gaining promotion to the Surrey County Intermediate League (Western). The Club progressed through the divisions and won the Middlesex Intermediate Cup in season 2000-01 and the Division One title in season 2001-02 (there was no Premier Division at the time).
In 2000-01 the Club completed the development of its new Sports Pavilion with the financial support of local businesses and grants from the Football Association and Sport England. It was a notable success at the time and represented the first such grant awarded by Sport England in the Borough of Spelthorne. Promotion to the Surrey County Senior League followed in season 2002-03.
In season 2003-04 the Surrey Senior League amalgamated with the Combined Counties Football League forming Division One, the existing clubs forming the Premier Division. The Club settled into mid-table security and at the start of the 2006-07 season following the appointment of Nathan Wharf as its manager (former manager of Ashford Town (Middx.) Football Club) success followed.
That season the Southern Combination Cup was shared with Merstham Football Club when a date for the Final could not be agreed. In season 2007-08 the Club were champions of Division One and achieved the double in 2008-9 by retaining the title and winning the Division One League Cup.
Unable to be promoted to the Premier Division as it could not meet the necessary ground grading requirements having been refused planning permission to install floodlights, the Club at the start of the 2009-10 season entered into a ground share with Ashford Town (Middx.) Football Club.
The Club entered the FA Vase for the first time in season 2010-11 and the FA Cup likewise in season 2011-12, reaching the first qualifying round losing 3-2 in a thrilling match away to Chesham United.
In season 2011-12 the Club achieved more silverware when it won both the Middlesex and Surrey County Football Associations Saturday Premier Cups a unique feat in modern times.
After careful consideration the Club decided to return its former home at the Recreation Ground, Laleham at the start of the 2015-16 season.
The Club has a healthy Youth Section comprising some thirteen teams and has recently formed links with Colne Valley Ladies Football Club who play their home fixtures at Laleham.