Can you help a cricket writer with a fact-finding mission on ‘Jack’ Carroll

Sidmouth CC versus WT Cook's XI, September 1926. (Back row, left to right) F R Powell, T G Grinter,

Sidmouth CC versus WT Cook's XI, September 1926. (Back row, left to right) F R Powell, T G Grinter, N S M Atkinson, A S Ling, E J Mercy, Capt A B D Moore. Middle - Tate, J Moore, A W R Matthews, L P Hedges, I Sorensen, E P Mills, Capt E T Buller. D D Homan, H F Piper, W Parry, S Falding. Front row (left to right) J J Bridges, A Kempton, L G H Palairet, W T Cook, F H Carroll, J B Hobbs, E A Fulcher, F E Woolley. Ground: W T Quaife, L Todd, A G Skinnner. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Cricket writer and archivist Conrad Sutcliffe is looking for help from Sidmouth Herald readers piecing together the life and sporting times of F H Carroll, writes Stephen Birley.

FH Carroll. Picture: JOHN HALY

FH Carroll. Picture: JOHN HALY - Credit: Archant

Featherstone Hargrave Carroll – known to his friends as Jack – played cricket for Sidmouth and Devon from the early 1900s up to the outbreak of World War Two.

Carroll played more than 120 times for Devon and scored 10 centuries and one double hundred, which was against Berkshire at Exeter in 1912.

When Carroll’s cricketing days ended he kept himself busy as an administrator, not just for Devon CCC but also as secretary of Sidmouth Golf Club and the long-defunct Exmouth Golf Club, which was situated on the sea front near the Maer cricket ground. He died in 1950 aged 63.

Sutcliffe is interested in Carroll as part of his research for a history of the Devon County Cricket Club.

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He suspects there is a fascinating tale to tell, if he can unearth all the details.

“Jack Carroll was the son of an Exeter parson and there must have been some money in the family as he was educated at Clifton College near Bristol and later at Jesus College, Cambridge,” said Sutcliffe.

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“For reasons that I have not been able to uncover, he did not like his birth name of Hargrave Carroll Featherstone, so he rearranged it to Featherstone Hargrave Carroll in 1907, which was around the time of his 21st birthday.

“Cricket was clearly his first passion as he played for Devon, Sidmouth and the Devon Dumplings for the best part of 30 years.

“He was Devon cricket captain, secretary of the county club in two spells and secretary of Sidmouth cricket club, again in two spells.

“I managed to find an obituary for Jack Carroll from the Sidmouth Herald, which says absolutely nothing about his activities away from the golf club or cricket pitch.

“I hope there is someone out there who can help me uncover the full story of Jack Carroll.”

Hargrave Carroll Featherstone, as he was christened, was born in Tavistock in 1886. His father was the Rev Samuel Featherstone, who brought his wife and two sons to East Devon when he became vicar of Pinhoe.

Young Jack played cricket for Exeter, Exmouth, Sidmouth, Devon Dumplings and the county side.

What he did between matches is the mystery Sutcliffe would like to solve.

“The world was a different place before World War Two as there remained a moneyed upper class who gave the appearance of being comfortably off thanks to landholdings or business interests they benefited from,” said Sutcliffe.

“Jack Carroll died in 1950 and thanks to the Sidmouth Herald newspaper cuttings I know a fair bit about him.

“He was a resident in the Royal York Hotel on the sea front in Sidmouth and was a member of the Gentleman’s Club in Sidmouth, which overlooks the cricket ground.

“The obituary says he died on a Friday night in January 1950 having just settled into a chair in the Gentleman’s Club on Fortfield Terrace.

“He was a vice-president of Sidmouth RFC, although Terry O’Brien the historian there has no record of him ever playing for the club.

“The minutiae of Jack Carroll’s sporting life is all there, but there is barely any mention of his family or his career.

“The funeral report accompanying the obituary refers to a surviving wife – no name given of course – and a daughter called Joan Weeks living in Cullompton.

“As far as a career or profession is concerned, not a word.”

Anyone who can help Sutcliffe put together a profile of Jack Carroll is asked to contact him via an email to or to call him on 07767 622530.

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