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Historical Rugby Milestones 1820s

Carl Mullen signs rugby ball for small boy

1820s A short Historical Back drop of Britain

  • George III dies and is suceeded by George IV
  • World's first steam train passenger service starts
  • Robert Peel sets up the metropolitan police


William Webb Ellis runs with the ball in his hands. By this time he is a 'praeposter' (monitor) at the school.


The first public steam railway ran between the north eastern towns of Stockton and Darlington. This ushered in the 'Railway Age', with the building of an extensive railway network in Britain providing a fast and economical means of transport and communication. This would allow clubs to travel to away games and for rugby football to spread further a field.


William Webb Ellis Enrolls at Brasenose College, Oxford at age 18.


William Webb Ellis wins a cricket blue (although the term was not used then) and went in at number 3 for Oxford at Lords Cricket ground and got 12 runs.
After university, Ellis becomes chaplain of St George's church, Albermarle, London.


Rugby’s most famous headmaster, Thomas Arnold, appointed in 1828, introduced many reforms to the school curriculum and administration and was immortalised in Thomas Hughes’ Tom Brown’s School Days.


William Webb Ellis receives his BA degree.

This is the only known portrait, a daguerreotype from the Illustrated London News - 1857.

The first recorded game of 'football' in Australia was mentioned in a report from the Sydney Monitor: "the privates in the barracks are in the habit of amusing themselves with the game of football; the ball may be daily descried repeatedly mounting higher or lower, according to the skill and energy of the bold military kickers thereof. It is a healthy amusement, and much played in Leicestershire." It is highly probable that the barracks mentioned are those that were in Barrack square, York street, Sydney.

It should be noted that since the Rugby school rules were not yet laid down this game was probably a mixture of folk football and that played at various English schools of the time. No further reports have been found during the period 1829-65.



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