The Scottish players

John William Thain was the only Scot to have won (or at least shared) the Championship in its Craiglockhart years. He achieved a CA silver medal in 1906 but had to wait until 1911 for his Championship success. The summary of the 1908 season in the Times particularly praised his long shots, attributing his accuracy to the power with which he struck them. He was a Writer to the Signet (a lawyer) and lived in Castle Terrace. Born in 1866, the son of a Dundee merchant, like Macfie he married relatively late in life, in 1925. By the time he died in 1948 there was almost croquet again in Edinburgh, the lawns at Lauriston coming into use in 1950.

JW BlakeDM Stevenson JW Blake

Three Scots were runners-up. Daniel Macaulay Stevenson was Lord Provost of Glasgow for three years from 1911, receiving a baronetcy in 1914. As a town councillor he had succeeded, in the face of Scottish Presbyterianism, in having Glasgow open its libraries and museums to the public on Sundays. He made his fortune from coal and shipping and was one of Glasgow University’s greatest benefactors, endowing chairs in French, Spanish and Italian (among others) in an effort to promote understanding between nations. In 1934, though aged over 80, he was elected Chancellor of the university, a post he held until his death ten years later. Sadly none of his biographies mention his prowess at croquet, though he played well enough to be runner up in the Championship on two occasions and to win a CA silver medal in 1906. One of his brothers, Robert Macaulay Stevenson, who lived to an even greater age than Daniel, was one of the group of painters known as the ‘Glasgow Boys’.

The Reverend James William Blake was the minister of Temple church, not far from either Edinburgh or Borthwick Hall, for 55 years from 1881 until 1935. He was one of the ministers who officiated at DJ Macfie’s funeral. He himself was 89 when he died in 1943. His photograph is taken from one of the Temple curling team and we have also obtained his autograph! He was awarded the CA silver medal in 1902.

Arthur Constable Maxwell Stuart (1845 - 1942) was another long-lived Scottish croquet player. He was in his seventies when he became the 18th laird of Traquair, but he still managed to hold that title for 21 years. In the 1890s he visited Bolivia to study moths and humming birds, some species of which are named after him. He gained his CA silver medal in 1909 and was 60 when he was runner-up in the Championship in 1905. It is still possible to play croquet at Traquair House.