Croquet's origins are hard to pin down as with many sports. It came to England via Ireland in the 1850s where a game called crooky had been played since the 1830s. There is some suggestion that croquet has even earlier origins in 14th century Brittany & southern France.
By 1861 Routledge had published his 'Handbook of Croquet', the 1st croquet rule book, which essentially still governs the game. By the 1870s, there were American & Canadian versions of Croquet instructional & rule books too. Croquet literature & memorabilia has since burgeoned, documenting the 'killer' sport.