Mynn, Alfred (DNB00)

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MYNN, ALFRED (1807–1861), cricketer, born at Goudhurst, Kent, 19 Jan. 1807, was the fourth son of William Mynn, a gentleman farmer, whose ancestors were renowned for their great stature and physical strength. He was educated privately, and in 1825 removed with his family to Harrietsham, near Leeds in Kent, which at that time boasted of the best cricket club in the county. Here he learned his early cricket under the tuition of Willes, the reintroducer (1807) of round-arm bowling, which had been invented by Tom Walker of the Hambledon Club in 1790. Mynn was for a time in his brother's business as a hop merchant, but appears to have neglected business for cricket, which he played continually. He made his first appearance at Lord's in 1832, and thenceforward for more than twenty years played in all important matches. He played with the Gentlemen against the Players twenty times, and for his county regularly till 1854, and occasionally till 1860. Without him the Gentlemen could not have met the Players on equal terms, and their victories in 1842, 1843, and 1848 were mainly due to his fine all-round play. It was largely due to him also that his county was for twenty years pre-eminent in the cricket-field. He was a member of the touring All-England eleven formed by Clarke of Nottingham from 1846 to 1854. His last appearances were at Lord's for Kent v. M.C.C., 1854, at the Oval in the Veterans' match (eighteen Veterans v. England), 1858, and for his county (Kent v. Middlesex), 1860. In his later years he lived alternately in Thurnham, near Maidstone, and London, where he died 1 Nov. 1861. He was buried at Thurnham with military honours, the Leeds and Hillingbourne volunteers, of which corps he was a member, following him to the grave. He was remarkable for his genial temper. About 1830 he married Sarah, daughter of Dr. Powell of Lenham, by whom he had seven children.

As a cricketer Mynn held high rank. He was a very powerful man, 6 feet 1 inch in height, and in his best day weighed from eighteen to nineteen stone. He was a fine though not very stylish batsman, and was especially good against fast bowling. He had a strong defence, and was a powerful and resolute hitter, especially on the on side of the wicket. Perhaps his most remarkable performance with the bat was in 1836, when he scored 283 runs in four consecutive innings, and was twice not out.

It was as a bowler, however, that Mynn made his chief reputation. He was the first fast round-arm bowler of eminence, and in the long list of his successors has had few if any superiors. His great strength enabled him to maintain a terrific pace for hours without fatigue. Before his appearance the chief round-arm bowlers, Frederick William Lillywhite [q. v.] and Broadbridge and their imitators, were slow bowlers, who depended for their success upon break, accuracy of pitch, and head bowling. It was Mynn who added pace to accuracy. He was also a great single-wicket player, beating twice each Hills of Kent in 1832, Dearman, the champion of the north, in 1838, and Felix [see Wanostrocht, Nathaniel], his old colleague, in 1846.

Several portraits exist. The best is probably that by Felix, at one time belonging to Mynn's daughter, Mrs. Kenning, which represents him at the age of forty-one.

[Denison's Sketches of the Players; Lillywhite's Scores and Biographies of Celebrated Cricketers; Notes and Queries, 5th ser. x. 58.]

J. W. A.