When it comes to asking, “Who invented croquet?”, there are almost as many potential answers as there are players, with its roots and alternatives traced to everywhere from France to Ireland. However, when it comes to popularising the game across the English shores, there is little question as to the involvement of one man and his unveiling of the classic lawn game at The Great Exhibition of 1862.

So, join us, as we share some playful pride and discuss how the game of croquet became permanently linked to the name of Jaques of London.

Jaques of London 8 Player Exhibition Croquet Set

The Great Exhibition of 1862 was certainly a game changer when it came to British design and engineering. The event sought to promote everything that was so great about being and buying British. It comes as no surprise that John Jaques II would see this as the perfect opportunity to push his latest endeavour – the game of croquet. So significant was it in the legacy of the Jaques name, that Jaques of London would commemorate the moment 150 years later, with the 8 Player Exhibition Croquet Set, a deluxe croquet set that is still sold to this day.


                                                            Where Did Croquet Come From?

4 Player Surrey Croquet Set With Wooden Box

When it comes to discovering the history of croquet, this is very much a tale of who you ask. But let’s get right to the grass roots of the issue, and go to highest heights of croquet connoisseurship: The president of the Fédération Française de Croquet, Anthoine Ravez, in his brochure for the Coupe des Alpes (France, Switzerland, Italy) of 1992:

"Croquet is a very old game, widely known and practised in France since the XI century under the name of 'jeu de mail'. Borrowed by the British around 1300, it was modified over the centuries: the Scots made golf out of it, the Irish turned it into croquet.”

Certainly not a flight of French fancy. The game was indeed originated on French soil, and it is perhaps no surprise that the Jaques themselves were thought to be of French Huguenot descent. But, when it comes to the game we know today, there is no doubt that John Jaques II was the populariser of lawn play.

You may be interested in our Luxury Surrey 4 player croquet set featuring Ash mallets


Was Croquet Played at Wimbledon?

As keen strawberry and cream fans, we are always willing to forearm swing our way by SW19. In fact, when it comes to Jaques and the king of tennis tournaments, there has been a long rally running for well over 150 years.

Before becoming the revelry of racket play that we know today, Wimbledon began its life as the All England Croquet Club. Croquet was the courting game of the masses and showed no signs of slowing down, until the first ace made its way to the nation’s capital. By the early 1870s, lawn tennis was afforded the opportunity to shine in front of an eager public, as the headquarters for croquet would be renamed to The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club. By 1882, the word croquet had disappeared from the club it had originated altogether.

Reigate 4 Player Croquet Set,

Of course, by this time, croquet had made more than a splash in the hearts of game playing fans nationwide. In fact, it had become so intrinsically linked to the Jaques name, that it would make its way into the books of Louis Carroll, with Alice’s gaming trip through Wonderland placing note upon how significant of a game it had become, as she played with flamingo mallets and disappearing hedgehog balls.

Although, we would wish to ignore the slight touch of nepotism in place, as by this point, Lewis Carroll’s grandniece, Irene Dodgson, had agreed to marry John Jaques III.


You may also be interested in our Reigate 4 Player Croquet Set, ideal for beginners!


                                                  Writing the Rules of Croquet

Hurstwood 6 Player Croquet Set


It wasn’t merely a fictionalised flamingo taking on the famous game that would bring croquet to the masses. John Jaques’ Laws and Regulations found publication in 1864 and, whilst providing a more grounded telling of the game, was largely responsible for setting the game we now know in place, penning a Cheshire cat grin across the faces of players throughout Britain.


You may be interested in our Hurstwood 6 Player Croquet Set with Luxury Canvas



How Croquet Became Ping Pong

Through his growing frustrations with the grand slam success of tennis, John Jaques would go on to introduce the game of Gossima as a retort to centre court challengers. In recognition of the difficult marketing potential of such a bizarre title, the game of tennis would take to the dining table, as Ping Pong was born.



From Croquet, to tennis, to ping pong, there is no doubt that the Jaques name has played a lasting role in some of the world’s most popular and beloved gaming titles. For even more on the origins of Wimbledon and the creation of Ping Pong, load your mallets and get ready for the educational excellence of our Mini Minds Hub – Your number one resource for parenting tips and tip top children’s activities.


When it comes to innovation, Jaques of London have always endeavoured to be frontrunners in fun. So, the next time you ask, “Who invented croquet?”, look no further than the world’s oldest games makers.

Kate Luke
Head Of Brand
After graduating with a 2.1 Music degree, Kate pursued a career in the Music Industry, becoming a professional West End vocalist and a fully qualified Music Teacher, School Choir Leader and Songwriter. As one of Jaques of London’s Creative Editors, her specialism surrounds building confidence and expression through music & play—drawing upon her qualifications in Music Psychology & Child Development. As well as this, she is an accomplished blog writer and published journalist who enjoys promoting the importance of Montessori learning for all ages.
Ben Williamson
Creative Writer
Ben is passionate about Montessori learning for children and has written for many parenting publications to bring the magic of real play to families in the UK. After graduating in 2009, his career has enabled him to work in areas such as Child Development and Psychology. As a great believer that learning starts at home, he combines his experience with his own parenting style to help bring other families together.
Jess Casson
Marketing Assistant
Jess graduated from the University of York in 2022 with a degree in Sociology and Criminology; kickstarting her career in the creative marketing industry through content creation and social media management. One of these roles involved creating content for a children's holiday camp, which alongside a knowledge of Montessori Teaching, formed an interest in childhood development. Utilising her expertise in both these fields has allowed her to promote and share her passions with the online community while exploring her talent for writing and establishing collaborations.
Laura Henderson
Interior Designer
Interior Designer, Laura Henderson, lives in Surrey with her husband and two daughters. Taking a timeless approach to her designs and drawing on her love of colour, antiques, art, modernist furniture and photography she delivers luxurious compositions and peaceful sanctuaries within every space. Her previous experience in furniture design plays an integral role in the development of each of her projects, as does the time she spends getting to know her clients. She uses this to achieve beautiful, practical, reimagined layouts, resulting in projects that enhance a client’s lifestyle, reflecting their individual passions. To learn more see her website www.laurahendersoninteriordesign.com.

More Great Articles

If you like this, we think you'll love...

Who Invented Ping Pong?

Who Invented Ping Pong?

Who invented Ping Pong? Was it a form of tennis for the vertically challenged or those desperate to avoid the sun? Well, let Jaques of London fill you in on a little secret; it was us that created ping pong. Click to learn more.

Who Invented Wimbledon?

Who Invented Wimbledon?

Who invented Wimbledon? No, it wasn’t the wombles. When we speak of Wimbledon, we all know that rip-roaring rallies and super smashes lay ahead. Join Jaques of London, as we give a nod to our own legacy and ask, who invented Wimbledon?

How does outdoor play benefit children's health?

How Does Outdoor Play Benefit Children's Health?

With Spring reminding us all how glorious the sun is, getting our kids to play outdoors is at the top of parental plans. Of course, there is more to outside play than muddy knees and buzzing bees. Join Jaques of London, as we ask, How Does Outdoor Play Benefit Children’s...

Why is outdoor play important in early childhood?

Why is Outdoor Play Important in Early Childhood?

The great outdoors is a natural wonderland of play and adventure for inquisitive infants. With lockdown huffing and puffing us behind brick walls for the past year, our kids have never been more excited about the opportunity to get out and about. But there is so much more to playing...