William Hewitt, born in Beeston on 16 January 1795, was the elder of two brothers that played together for the County side v the Town in July 1814. They also appeared for Beeston to such good effect that the Nottingham Review said, ‘The two Hewitts…excited peculiar admiration…notwithstanding their youth, they considered themselves capable of playing any two brothers in the kingdom.’
William’s first important game was 1817 for the Old Club v England when he had the misfortune of bagging a pair. He fared better in 1822, making his only half-century against XV of Sheffield. He continued to play for Nottingham until 1831, including six First-Class matches, all versus Sheffield. His First-Class record was 83 runs at 7.54 with a top score of 33no.
Hewitt's obituary contains a story, worthy of repetition: 'He was ever a somewhat eccentric man and had occasionally to be placed under restraint. On one of these occasions he was taken out of the Asylum in order to play for his county and he succeeded in obtaining the highest score. On returning to one of the booths, he declared "the ball was as big as a hat, and I couldn't miss it. I suggest you bring more madman into the field and we would win more matches." He then returned to his place of refuge (ie the asylum) very quietly!
A lacemaker by occupation, he died in his home village in June 1870 age 75 and was buried (on 19 June) at St John the Baptist church, Beeston.
One account has him emigrating to France, but that may be his brother John who did appear in a match in Calais in 1840.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 16