The Worsley family bought the Manor of Hovingham in 1563. They were an old Lancashire family; legend says they were descended from Elias, a giant who died fighting on the Crusades. Worsley, the town from which they took their name, is now a suburb of Manchester.
It was Thomas Worsley who designed and built Hovingham Hall. He was obsessed with horses and architecture and the house remains the product of the extraordinary fusion of these two obsessions. Thomas Worsley became a close friend of King George III and is reputed to have taught him to ride. It was this friendship and Thomas's enthusiasm for architecture that meant when George III became King in 1760 he was appointed Surveyor General to the Board of Works.
Cricket has been played in front of the house since at least 1858 when a Hovingham team, 22 strong, took on an All England team - and lost! Today the pitch is played on by the village team. In the days of the fourth Sir William Worsley, who captained Yorkshire in 1928 and 1929 and was President of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club for many years, it was played on by many of the county's most distinguished players, Herbert Sutcliffe, Len Hutton, Freddie Trueman and Geoff Boycott amongst them.