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Croquet is a lawn game, played both as a recreational pastime and as a competitive sport. It involves hitting wooden or plastic balls with a mallet through hoops embedded into the grass playing court.



The oldest document to bear the word "croquet" with a description of the modern game is the set of rules registered by Isaac Spratt in November 1856 with the Stationers' Company in London. This record is now in the English Public Records Office. In 1868 the first croquet all-comers' meeting was held at Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire and in the same year the All England Croquet Club was formed at Wimbledon, London.

In the book Queen of Games: The History of Croquet[1] author Nicky Smith presents two theories of the origin of the modern game that took England by storm in the 1860s and then spread overseas.

The first explanation is that the ancestral game was introduced to Britain from France during the reign of Charles II of England, and was played under the name of paille maille or pall mall, derived ultimately from Latin words for "ball and mallet". This was the explanation given in the ninth edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica, dated 1877. In his 1810 book entitled "The sports and pastimes of the people of England," Joseph Strutt describes the way Pall Mall was played in England in the early seventeenth century: "Pale-maille is a game wherein a round box ball is struck with a mallet through a high arch of iron, which he that can do at the fewest blows, or at the number agreed upon, wins.' It is to be observed, that there are two of these arches, that is one at either end of the alley. The game of mall was a fashionable amusement in the reign of Charles the Second, and the walk in Saint James's Park, now called the Mall, received its name from having been appropriated to the purpose of playing at mall, where Charles himself and his courtiers frequently exercised themselves in the practice of this pastime[2][3]

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