The origins of croquet are a little cloudy. Some believe that it developed from the French game of Pall Mall, which was played in France at least as early as the 13th century. It was modified over the centuries and introduced first into Ireland in the 16th century, and then traveled to England around 1851. The oldest document to bear the word croquet with a description of the modern game is the set of rules registered by Isaac Spratt in 1856. Croquet became highly popular as a social pastime in England during the 1860s. No doubt one of the attractions was that the game could be played by both sexes. In 1868, the All England Croquet Club was formed at Wimbledon, London, and the first official croquet competition was played in 1870.
Croquet quickly spread to other Anglophone countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States. But, the game of tennis hit England, and swept the country within a year. Most of the croquet fields were turned into tennis courts. However, croquet went on and once again went through a regrowth. Croquet became popular again. A need to coordinate the activities of a growing number of clubs led to the formation of the Croquet Association in 1897. Croquet was introduced as an Olympic sport in the 1900 Paris Games, Americans introduced their version at the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, but croquet never played in the Olympics again. The World Croquet Federation (WCF) was founded in 1986.