The Origin Story

Although the first recorded game of conkers is believed to have taken place in the Isle of Wight in 1848, the World Conker Championships started in Ashton, Northamptonshire in 1965. It was on Ashton village green, surrounded by horse chestnut trees, that the World Conker Championships were first conceived.

Things started in a small way when a group of regulars at the local pub were thwarted by bad weather in their attempt to organise a fishing expedition. The suggestion that they play conkers was made and taken up. A small prize was awarded to the winner and a collection was made for charity by someone who had a blind relative. This then became an annual event with entrants increasing in number and any resulting money being donated to the Royal National Institute for the Blind for Talking Books.

Our Growth

In the early years many of the winners were local, some individuals taking the title on more than one occasion. When a sprinkling of people from other countries started to participate, it became a truly international event. Over the years there have been entries from across the world. In 1976 the title went overseas for the first time when was won by the Mexican, Jorge Ramirez. In 2000 the first overseas Ladies title was claimed by Austria's Selma Becker.

With its growing popularity, the event expanded to accommodate more players and a Ladies event was introduced alongside the very popular team competitions, run in conjunction with the individual events. Junior competitions now have 3 sections and attract schools from neighbouring counties. All of this has resulted in more publicity, sponsorship and entertainment leading to more spectators and more funds for the visually impaired. To date, around £415,000 has been raised.

Recent History

In 2009 the event moved away from Ashton to a larger venue to accommodate more players, spectators and stalls. Unfortunately, due to the exposed nature of the site, bad weather forced the first and so far only cancellation of the competition in 2011. This led us to relocate once more, this time to the village of Southwick where the championships have been held since 2013. We are now settled and the championships thrive each year!