Thornbury’s tennis tradition

May 02 2017

Thornbury has a long tennis heritage. Records suggest that Real Tennis - an early form of tennis much favoured by Henry VIII - was played at Thornbury Castle on a purpose-built court.

Thornbury has a long tennis heritage.  Records suggest that Real Tennis - an early form of tennis much favoured by Henry VIII - was played at Thornbury Castle on a purpose-built court.  The game and court layout that we are familiar with today was conceived during the 1870s and soon became popular at the established universities.  Tennis became a hugely popular social activity and several of the larger houses in Thornbury regularly arranged tennis parties on their own grass tennis courts.  The game was also played at Thornbury Grammar School.

By 1911, tennis in Thornbury had become sufficiently popular for a tennis club to be formed.  The first two courts were built together with a bowling green on part of Lower Marlwood Farm, adjacent to what is now the Mundy Playing Fields.  By 1969 the bowling green had been converted into two additional tennis courts and a small clubhouse was constructed.  In 1985 the tennis club purchased the adjacent land and four additional courts were constructed together with a larger clubhouse.