April 19-23, Covered Court Tournament
, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England (Indoors on Asphalt and Wood)
Venue: Imperial Winter Gardens
1R: Miss Bradley d. Mrs O’Connor default
1R: Mrs H. Ramsay d. Mrs Lynch-Staunton default
1R: Mrs Hill d. Mrs Hawkins 6-0 6-2
1R: H. Abercrombie d. B. Williams 6-1 6-4
1R: Miss Ramsay d. Miss Neate 6-2 6-4
1R: Frances Morris d. Mrs Hornby 6-1 6-2
1R Edith Atherley d. A. Hawkins 6-5 6-0
1R: Florence Mardall d. Miss Butterworth 6-1 6-2
QF: Bradley d.H. Ramsay 6-1 6-1
QF: Abercrombie d. Hill 6-3 6-3
QF: Miss Ramsay d. Morris 4-6 6-4 6-4
QF: Mardall d. Atherley 6-5 6-1
SF: Bradley d. Abercrombie 6-1 6-1
SF: Mardall d. Miss Ramsay 6-4 3-6 6-5
FI: Miss Bradley d. Florence Mardall 3-6 6-2 6-2
From “The Field”, April 23, 1881: “The Cheltenham Lawn Tennis Club have been the first to set the ball rolling this season, and fixed upon Tuesday last for their opening tournament. It being rather early to be playing the game out of doors, it was determined to bring off the matches under cover, so the beautiful courts in the Imperial Winter Gardens were obtained for the week. The principal events were the ladies’ and gentlemen’s matches for the Covered Court Championships, and for these entries of sixteen and fourteen respectively had been obtained, amongst which might be noticed the names of many good players.
[Spring Tournament], Devonshire Park Tournament
, Eastbourne, East Sussex, England (Grass)
Venue: Devonshire Park
FI: Agnes Watts d. E Hudson [two sets to love]
MX: Agnes Watts/Sidney Noon d. E Hudson/ER Hudson [two sets to love]
Agnes (nee Noon) Watts was listed as Mrs F Watts in sources of the era. SA (Sidney) Noon was her brother.
, Ireland (Grass)
FI: May Langrishe (receiving 2 bisques) d. Adela Langrishe 6-2 6-1
MX: Miss Knox/R Knox (receiving 15) d. Beatrice Langrishe/William Renshaw (owing half 30) 6-5 6-0*
These two events were "handicap" only.
May 21-25, Irish Championships
, Dublin, Ireland (Grass)
Venue: Fitzwilliam Square
FI: No women’s singles event was held this year.
No women’s doubles event was held this year.
MX: Miss Abercrombie/William Renshaw d Miss Costello/Spencer Maul 6-3 5-7 6-2 6-3
Since Ireland was under British rule at this point in time, no nationality is indicated for British players playing in Ireland or for Irish players playing outside of Ireland but still within the British Isles. Per Mark Spencer D Maul was a British soldier stantioned in Ireland at this time.
May 30-June 4, West of England Championships
, Bath, Somerset, England (Grass)
Venue: Lansdowne Cricket Club at Weston
1R: Grace Gibbs d. Alice Bagnall-Wild 6-2 6-0
1R: Florence Mardall d. Miss Freeling 6-3 6-3
1R: Mrs Hill d. P. Tagart 6-5 6-2
1R: Georgina Kirkby d. Miss Berrington 6-3 6-1
1R: Annie Layard d. "Mrs Heath" 1-6 6-2 retired
QF: Gibbs d. Mardall 6-2 6-3
QF: Layard d. Kirkby 6-1 6-4
QF: Mrs Hill-bye
SF: Layard d. Hill 6-1 6-4
FI: Grace Gibbs d. Annie Layard 6-0 7-5
This was the inaugural edition of the West of England Championships.
From "The Field", June 4, 1881: "The two lawn tennis clubs of Bath, viz. the Bath Lawn Tennis Club and the Sydney Lawn Tennis Club, arranged to have a tournament under their joint management, and appointed a committee of the two clubs to carry out the scheme, with Mr Ralph Bagnall-Wild as the honorary secretary. In addition to the matches for ladies and gentlemen confined to local talent, it had also been decided to have open events. The committee had taken the grounds of the Lansdowne Cricket Club at Weston for the play, and had arranged to have eight courts. The entries for the different events were very numerous..."
July 15-16, Staffordshire Lawn Tennis Club Tournament
, Staffordshire, England (Grass)
Venue: Staffordshire Lawn Tennis Club
FI: Rose Collier d. M Blencowe 6-0 6-5
MX: M Blencowe/A. Blencowe d. Mrs Peters-Smith/A Denton 6-1 6-3
July 20-23, Edgbaston Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club Tournament
, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands, England (Grass)
Venue: Edgbaston Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club
[No scores available]
1R: Kate Howard Cartland-bye
1R: Maud Watson d. Miss Heaton ????
1R: K. Holliday d. Miss Cartland ????
1R: K. Stretton d. Miss Gowan default
1R: Miss Chamberlain d. Miss Lindner ????
1R: Lilian Watson d. E. Watson ????
QF: M Watson d. KH Cartland ????
QF: Stretton d. Holliday ????
QF: L Watson d. Chamberlain ????
SF: M Watson d. Stretton ????
SF: L Watson-bye
FI: Maud Watson d. Lilian Watson ????
From "The Field", August 6, 1881: "An open lawn tennis tournament was held on July 20, 21 and 22, at the ground of Edgbaston Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club, in Hall Hill Road, Edgbaston. The prizes offered were for ladies' single and double matches, and gentlemen's singles and doubles. Eleven ladies entered for the single-handed match, and after several excellent games, the final match was played between Miss Watson and Miss M. Watson, of Berkswell, and resulted in the victory of the latter, who took the first prize, Miss Watson carrying off the second. The same ladies playing together succeeded in winning the first prize in the ladies' double-handed match, Miss L. Heaton and Miss Kate Howard Cartland taking the second prize.
"During one of the games in the match between Miss Chamberlain and Miss Watson, it is worthy to notice that deuce was called no less than twenty-two times, and throughout the tournament the play of Miss L. and Maud Watson was very good and at times brilliant. The play throughout both series of matches was excellent. [...] Fortunately, the weather was everything that could be desired, excepting a little rain on Friday; and there was on each day a large attendance of spectators."
FI: Maud Watson d. Lilian Watson ????
DF: Lilian Watson/Maud Watson d. K Cartland/L. Hutton ????
It has not been possible to find the result of the women's singles or women's doubles final. This was Maud Watson’s first appearance in open tournament play and the inaugural edition of this tournament.
July 25-30, London Athletic Club
, Stamford Bridge, London, England (Grass)
Venue: London Athletic Club
FI: M Raikes d. Miss Burleigh 5-0 5-2
This was the first edition of this tournament, later the London Championships. In the women’s singles event at this inaugural tournament five games were needed to win a set.
Circa early August, Darlington
, Durham, England (Grass)
1R: Ethel Surtees d. Olive Woods 6-3 6-0
1R: M Congreve d. Mrs JB Sanderson 6-1 6-5
1R: Winifred Fenwick d. May Fenwick 6-0 3-6 6-3
1R: LML Turner d. Miss Marley 6-0 6-3
1R: Mrs JB Dale d. Alice Fenwick 6-2 6-4
1R: Alice Cheese d. Miss Lindley 6-4 6-0
QF: Ethel Surtees d. Congreve 6-4 6-1
QF: Turner d. Fenwick 6-2 6-2
QF: Alice Cheese d. Dale 6-3 3-6 6-4
SF: Ethel Surtees d. LML Turner 6-2 6-1
SF: Alice Cheese-bye
FI: Ethel Surtees d. Alice Cheese 3-6 6-3 6-1
MX: Alice Cheese/JB Dale d. W Fenwick/Mr PC Fenwick 9-7 6-3
Note the bye in the semifinal. Draws were not yet standardized.
In 1881, the nascent Darlington tournament had an interesting draw in that it featured three sisters from the Fenwick family of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in Northumberland: May (probably christened Julia Margaret; b. 1851), Winifred (b. 1856) and Alice (b. 1858).
The sisters were three of the dozen or so children (six boys and six girls) of Henry William Fenwick and Charlotte Fenwick. Mr Fenwick appears to have come from a long line of distinguished lawmen and was himself a solicitor. At least four of his sons also played tournament tennis: Percival (b. 1860), William (b. 1862), Minden (b. 1864) and Mark (born?).
In the 1880's, some of the Fenwicks emigrated to New Zealand, where they continued to take part in tennis tournaments. Percival Fenwick won the New Zealand Championships in 1886, 1887 and 1888; Minden won it in 1889. The brothers excelled more at lawn tennis than did the sisters.
In contrast to the Fenwicks, the two finalists at the 1881 Darlington tournament are very obscure, there being several Ethel Surtees and several Alice Cheeses in the genealogical records.
August 2-4, Chichester
, West Sussex, England (Grass)
FI: Grace Gibbs d. Marian Smith [score?]
August 2-6, Exmouth
, Devon, England (Grass)
1R: Lilian Cole d. M. Taylor 6-1 6-3
1R: Miss Cumming d. Miss Sim 6-2 7-5
1R: Mrs W. Hoare d. Miss Bartholomew default
1R: Georgina Kindersley d. Mrs C. Birch 3-6 6-1 7-5
1R: E. Percy d. Miss Wolfe default
1R: C. Taylor d. Katharine Kindersley 3-6 6-0 6-4
1R: Miss Delonym d. B. Dumbleton 7-5 7-5
1R: J. Vaughan d. Miss Brand default
1R: E. Belfield d. Miss Percy 6-0 2-6 7-5
1R: M. Smith-bye
2R: Cole d. Cumming 6-0 7-5
2R: Hoare d. Kindersley 4-6 6-4 6-1
2R: Taylor d. Percy 6-1 6-0
2R: Smith d. Delonym walkover
2R: Belfield d. Vaughan 6-0, 6-2
QF: Taylor d. Hoare 6-1 7-5
QF: Belfield d. Smith 5-6 6-3 7-5
SF: Cole d. Taylor 7-5 5-7 7-5
FI: Lilian Cole d. E Belfield 6-0 6-0
This was the inaugural edition of this tournament.
August 4-6 and 8, Waterloo
, Liverpool, England (Grass)
1R: K. Rayner d. F. Helder 6-4 6 -3
1R: A. Barry d. Miss Learmouth 6-1 6-1
1R: Alice Bagnall-Wild d. Mrs Yates 6-1 6-1
1R: H. Rayner-bye
1R: L. Cheetham d. Georgina Kirkby 4-6 6-4 6-3
QF: K. Rayner d. Barry 6-1 6-1
QF: H. Rayner d. Bagnall-Wild 3-6 6-4 6-1
SF: K Rayner-bye
SF: L. Cheetham d. H. Rayner 3-6 6-5 6-3
FI: K. Rayner d. L. Cheetham 6-2 3-6 7-5
DF: A. Barry/F. Helder d. Miss Jardine/Miss Jones 6-2 3-6 6-1
MX: K. Rayner/J.F. Carde d. Alice Bagnall-Wild/E. Bucknell 6-1 12-10
September 15-17, Saint Leonards-on-Sea
, East Sussex, England (Grass)
Singles (Draw=4, plus holder)
1R: Constance Smith d. Marion Langley 6-4 3-6 6-5
1R: Miss Smith d. Miss Hickman 6-2 2-6 6-2
FI: Constance Smith d. Miss Smith 6-0 6-0
CR: Miss Langley (holder) d. Constance Smith 4-6 6-2 6-3
The two finalists were sisters, Mrs CJ (Constance) Smith’s maiden name being Langley.
September 19-24, Cheltenham Lawn Tennis Club Tournament
, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England (Hard and Grass)
Venue: Montpelier Gardens
1R: Grace Gibbs-bye
1R: Florence Mardall d. "Mrs Dark" 6-4 6-4
1R: H. Abercrombie d. Miss Hulme default
1R: Miss Bradley d. Miss Jones 6-1 6-1
1R: Miss Ramsay d. A. Ritchie 6-0 6-4
1R: Miss Perry d. Miss Eyres 6-2 6-1
1R: Mrs Hill d. Mrs Hastings 6-2 6-1
QF: Gibbs d. Mardall 6-2 6-1
QF: Bradley d. Abercrombie 6-5 6-5
QF: Perry d. Ramsay 2-6 6-1 6-2
SF: Gibbs d. Hill 6-3 2-6 6-3
SF: Perry d. Bradley 6-2 6-0
FI: Grace Gibbs d. Miss Perry 6-4 6-4
DF: Mrs Hill/Miss Ramsay d. "Mrs Dark"/Miss Jones 6-1 6-3
Mixed Doubles not completed due to rain.
From "The Field", September 24, 1881: "The Cheltenham Lawn Tennis Club hold two open tournaments during the season, one in the spring when the play takes place on the covered courts in the Winter Gardens, and the other in the autumn on grass. The meeting under notice took place in an enclosed portion of the Montpelier Gardens, the whole of which grounds are under the managment of Mr James Lillywhite.
"The original programme consisted of five matches [events], while it was expected that other events would be made up. The ladies' singles obtained thirteen entries, including the best Cheltenham players – Miss Bradley, H. Abercrombie and Miss Ramsay, Miss Gibbs (the winner of the Bath tournament), and three Irish ladies, of whom Miss Perry had a great reputation... [...]
"Monday. The weather on the opening day of the tournament was luckily very fine, though rain had been falling heavily during the previous night, and this had tended to make the grass rather heavy..."
It appears that, due to the weather, this edition of this tournament was played on both asphalt and grass courts.
September 26-October 1, Sussex County Championships
, Brighton, Sussex, England (Grass)
Venue: Hove Rink
1R: Edith Coleridge d. F. Kemmis 6-1 6-1
1R: M. Walker d. E. Munt 6-5 5-6 6-4
1R: Leila Lodwick d. M. Congreve 6-3 4-6 6-3
SF: Coleridge d. Walker 6-0 6-4
FI: Edith Coleridge d. Leila Lodwick 6-5 6-2
DF: Miss Maltby/E. Munt d. Miss Saint-Clair/M. Walker 6-2 6-2
MX: E. Munt/H.B. Thornhill d. Leila Lodwick/Orlando R. Coote 6-3 6-1
From "The Field", October 1, 1881: "Play commenced last Monday at three o'clock, and has been continued every morning and afternoon since, the hours being from eleven to one and from three to 5.30. The weather all through the week has been everything that could possibly be wished for, and the matches have been well attended, more especially in the afternoons, by a large and fashionable assembly..."
October 3-8, Brighton Lawn Tennis Club Tournament
, Queen's Park, Brighton, Sussex, England (Grass)
Venue:Brighton Lawn Tennis Club
SF: Edith Coleridge d. Leila Lodwick 6-5 6-5
SF: E. Adshead-bye
FI: Edith Colerdige d. E. Adshead 6-5, 4-6, 6-2
The bulk of the research for 1881 has been done by Newmark. His original thread may be found at: