Edward Stevens was born in Send and became a semi-professional cricketer. He worked as a gardener on the riverside estate of his patron, Lord Tankerville, at Mount Felix in Walton. It was Tankerville that introduced Stevens to cricket. He gained his nickname ‘Lumpy’ for his ungainly figure; he once ate a whole apple pie at a club dinner.
The first recorded reference to a Surrey cricket side was in 1749, but it was between 1773 and 1810 under the stimulus of the Earl of Tankerville that the game really took off. The first reference to 11-a-side cricket was in 1773, with Surrey and Kent playing at Laleham Burway. It was during this period that the famous ‘Lumpy’ Stevens was bowling with deadly accuracy. His accuracy led directly to the introduction of a third stump. The occasion was a game between Five of Hambleton and Five of England at the famous Artillery Ground in Middlesex on 22/23 May 1775. Lumpy, playing for England, bowled three times right through the gap between the two stumps, resulting in Hambleton’s ‘unfair’ victory. The result was a committee revising the laws of cricket and introducing the third stump and the modern game.
The extra stump was first used in a match at Laleham Burway, Chertsey in 1776. Lumpy later helped Chertsey beat England by an innings and 24 runs at Laleham Burway in September 1778, and took 11 wickets in a two innings match against London at Chertsey.
He died aged 84 years and his gravestone stills survives in Walton churchyard.