Henry Knollys Foster MBE was the eldest son of the Reverend Harry Foster, the chaplain and a Housemaster at Malvern for some 48 years. He was also known as Harry.
He had an outstanding career at Malvern captaining both the Football and the Cricket XIs (playing in the cricket XI for 4 years) and winning the Public Schools Racquets in 1892 with his brother W L Foster, having been the runners up in the previous year to the Wellington Pair of Mordaunt and Raphael. He was also a school prefect and a Lieutenant in the Corps.
He went up to Trinity Oxford and continued his sporting achievements – he got Blues for both Cricket and Racquets. In the 1895 Varsity match he scored 121 of Oxford’s second innings total of 196 all out having been set a target of 331.
He became Amateur Doubles Champion in 1894, 1896, 1897, 1900 and 1903, and Amateur Champion 1894-1898, 1900 and 1904. He also played for Worcestershire (along with all his brothers, see below), captaining the side for eleven years of their first twelve in the County Championship (his brother Tip was captain in 1900!). He was Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year in 1911. He was also an England Selector either side of the Great War.
He became a land agent for the Stoke Edith and Prestwood estates belonging to Paul Foley in Herefordshire where he also found time for his Freemasonry.
He was initiated into Vaga Lodge No 3146 (named after the Roman name for the Wye – Flumen Vaga) and also joined Cantilupe Lodge No 4083, named after Saint Thomas de Cantilupe whose shrine is in the Cathedral, both in Hereford.
As a footnote, the Rev H Foster had seven sons at Malvern – Henry Knollys (Harry), Reginald Erskine (known as Tip), Wilfred Lionel (Bill), Basil Samuel, Geoffrey Norman, Maurice Kershaw and Neville John Acland.
All represented Malvern on the Racquets court and in the Cricket and Football XIs. Wilfred also captained the Cricket XI. They all played for Worcestershire County Cricket club although the records show only four ever played together (Geoffrey, Harry, Tip and Wilfrid).
Reginald also went up to Oxford to Univ and was the only man to captain England on the cricket and rugger fields, Wilfred went to the Shop and the Gunners and would wine the DSO, and Basil ended up in the finance world in New York.
The Rev Harry Foster was a Wykehamist who played cricket, fives, rowed and was an archer. He went up to Cambridge and was later ordained. He created Malverns’s cricket pitch, acquired a football field, and built both the swimming baths and racquets courts. He was the first scratch golfer in the Midlands and a founder member of Worcestershire Golf Club. Of the 10 surviving children, there were 7 boys and 3 girls. All seven brothers were in their father’s house at Malvern and dominated Malvern’s sporting line ups and achievements.
Between them, the seven Foster brothers scored a total of 42,000 runs in First Class Cricket. The girls also played cricket and were exceptional golfers and Cicely played for England.