A. E. J. Collins and the highest recorded cricket score

Posted on June 26th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

A 13-year-old schoolboy has held the record for the highest cricket score for over 100 years.

Arthur Edward Jeune ‘James’ Collins, also known by the initials A. E. J. Collins, scored an incredible 628 not out in June 1899. The cricket match took place over four days at Clifton College in Bristol.


Blackburn Standard reports a score of ‘628 not out’

A copy of the Blackburn Standard printed on 1 July 1899 reveals that Collins achieved the majority of his team’s total score. Out of a total of 833 runs, Collins scored an incredible 628.


A. E. J. Collins in the Blackburn Standard

Blackburn Standard – Saturday 01 July 1899

View the whole newspaper page


Was A. E. J. Collins an orphan?

The article in the Blackburn Standard went on to state that Arthur Collins ‘was born in India, where his father was in the Civil Service, and is an orphan’.

Family history website Findmypast recently published over 2.5 million records detailing the lives of the British in India, in partnership with the British Library. We took a look at these records to see if the Blackburn Standard’s report was true.


India Office pension record from findmypast


The East India Company & Civil Service Pension record above confirms that Arthur’s father, Arthur Herbert Collins died on 17 January 1899. This was just five months before his son’s incredible cricket feat.


The 1901 census reveals the truth

While the India Office records show that Arthur Collins’ father had died, we’ve found no record of his mother’s death before June 1899.

The 1901 census, also available to search at Findmypast, reveals why. Esther Ida Collins was still alive in 1901, recorded as being a widow and living with her children in Clifton.


1901 census proves A. E. J. Collins was not an orphan in 1899


The Blackburn Standard’s report that A. E. J. Collins was an orphan when he achieved the highest cricket score ever recorded was therefore not correct – Arthur’s mother was still alive.


Search the Blackburn Standard