Charles Carteret Corfe

An Old Elizabethan, Charles played first-class cricket for several years in New Zealand.

Charles Carteret Corfe came from a distinguished family. His grandfather was the organist at Salisbury Cathedral, his father was the Principal of Elizabeth College from 1855 to 1868. He himself, one of 5 sons of Rev Arthur Thomas Corfe and Margarette Rivoire Maingy, was headmaster at Christchurch school in New Zealand in 1872 and in 1889 became head at Toowoomba Grammar School.

Charles Carteret Corfe

He was born in June 1847 in Guernsey and attended Elizabeth College from 1855 to 1865. He studied maths at Cambridge University from 1865 to 1869, also gaining 3 ‘blues’ for athletics as well as playing first class cricket. When he left he emigrated to New Zealand and played first class cricket for Canterbury between 1871 and 1884. His highest score was 88 against Otago in 1875.

He first represented Elizabeth College in 1861 aged 14 against Victoria College but the first few years against the old adversaries yielded only 5 runs in 6 innings. His scores did improve and his best was 68* in 1864. He represented the College 8 times whilst at school. Interestingly the match in 1863 was played on 19th October!

At Cambridge he played for Jesus College scoring 32, 37*, 29 and 2 in his 4 innings against different colleges. In 1867 whilst on vacation from Cambridge he played in the Channel Islands 22 v United England where he contributed 11 in their first innings and 7 in the second. (Scores were CI 95 and 92, United England 113 and 75-6).

In 1871 he emigrated to Australia on board the Norfolk arriving in Victoria. He must have gone on to New Zealand to take up the post of headmaster at Christ’s school in Canterbury in 1872, but he must have returned to Australia because he married Emily Hudson Evison in Melbourne in December 1874, subsequently having 5 sons and 1 daughter. One of his sons was a surgeon, one became a Brigadier-General and another received the Military Cross for bravery on the Hindenburg Line’, continuing the distinguished ancestry.

The governing body of Christ’s College refused to consider the reinstatement of Mr Corfe to the headmastership in 1988 and offered him a year’s salary as for the year ending December, 1889. Understandably he accepted. He left for Brisbane in Queensland and became head of Toowoomba Grammar school in 1889, retiring in 1917.

After arriving in New Zealand he debuted for Canterbury against Otago with success. He also played for Canterbury against James Lillywhite’s XI in 1877, against Australia in 1878 he scored 3 and 15, in both innings being bowled by  FR Spofforth, the ‘demon fast bowler’.

He starred in the game between Lord Harris XI and Canterbury when he scored 69*. In 1881 Canterbury played the Australians again but could only muster 9 and 14.

His last first-class innings was a narrow win against Wellington when he scored 29 and 2 (scores Canterbury 137 and 157, Wellington 132 and 147).

After his wife died in 1921 Charles eventually sailed from Burma back to England in Sept 1929 aboard the Herefordshire aged 82. He went to live with his widowed daughter in Peterborough where he died in June 1935. He left the equivalent of £94000 to his son Arthur Cecil Corfe.