Clifton Rugby Football Club History
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v Sydney College 1873


played at Coldharbour Lane 18th October 1873

The third match played against Sydney College, Bath.

This was the second season for Clifton against the school that provided their first opposition in their inaugural season the previous year. Rugby was not widely followed in those days. There were probably very few spectators to watch a match played on a field next to Coldharbour Farm just outside Bristol. What is significant about this match, apart from the rare match report in the Bath Chronicle is the fact that the Sydney College side were captained by Lennard Stokes, not just the brother of the first and current England rugby captain, Frederick Stokes, but also a man who was destined to also captain England and become president of the RFU.

As Lennard Stokes is listed in the 1871 census at Sydney College it is highly likely that he played for Sydney College against Clifton in 1872. Clifton's first ever match.

Lennard Stokes, like his brother, joined Blackheath and was first selected to play for England on 15th February 1875 against Ireland in the first international played between the two sides. Five years later he would captain England. In all he was capped 12 times over a period of six years, a time when very few internationals were played. Former Clifton player and president of the RFU from 1888 to 1889, said in 1892 that "I do not believe that there is a three-quarter back playing, who, if we could transplant him to the past, could cover the entire field as Lennard Stokes used to.

Above the match report from the Bath Chronicle on 23rd October 1873


Stokes was one of the greatest kickers of his time. He scored 40 points for England. In 1881 he dropped a goal against Scotland from 80 yards. He retired from rugby to concentrate on his medical career but served on the RFU committee for over 50 years.

The sides for this match were


Alfred Terrett Taylor - Born 15th April 1849 Bristol. Clifton College 1864-1868. King's College, London. Sugar Refiner. Died 28th February 1909 Bristol.

Frank Evans - Born abt. 1854 Stanford Dingley, Berkshire. His brother, Herbert Lavington Evans, would later play rugby for Scotkand. One of the signatories in 1872. He played for Clifton in the first match v Sydney College, the previous season.

Arthur John Lawson - Born 1851 Shawford, Somerset. Died 25th December 1916.

Alexander Stewart Ward Young - Born 14th February 1852. Son of Simon Alexander George Young, Army Surgeon, and Hannah (nee Higginson). Family originally from Inverness. Christened 9th March 1853 St. John the Evangelist, Clifton, Bristol. Clifton College 1863-1868. Father died 23rd March 1873. Surgeon. Lt.Col. RAMC. Died 2nd December 1934 Rawdon, Hinton Road, Bournemouth, Dorset.

C.Perrin - Unknown at present

Charles Strachan - Born 5th November 1854 Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Son of Richard. Cheltenham College. Clifton's first captain. Died 18th June 1932.

T.W.L.Llewellyn - Unknown at present

William H. Price - Unknown at present

William Francis Bence-Jones - Born 9th March 1856 Lisselan, Clonakilty, Co. Cork, Ireland. Rugby School. Exeter College Oxford 1874-1878. Died 19th November 1883. When out shooting in Clonakilty, Co. Cork, Ireland. He dropped his gun which fell to the ground and fired the contents of both barrels into his ankle. His leg had to be amputated and he died of shock the following day.

John Weech Randolph - Born 30th December 1847 Canterbury, Kent. Son of John Weech Randolph. Lt. Col. Army and Georgina Mary (nee Powell). Married Caroline Ritson. Died 4th January 1917 Laverstock House, Laverstock, nr. Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Arthur Clifford St. Paul - Born 10th August 1854 Bristol. Clifton College 1864-1873. Died 23rd February 1924.

Horace Thomas Barnes - Born 1850 Clifton, Bristol. Merchant. Died 23rd November 1937 Gloucester Royal Infirmary.

Michael Martyn Curtis - Born 17th November 1853 Clifton, Bristol. Son of John Curtis, Accountant, and Elizabeth (nee Williams). Brother of John. Malvern College. England rugby trial. Spent some time in a mental hospital.. Died 23rd November 1924 Bristol

Walter Montague Bird - Born 20th September 1854 India. Christened 19th November 1854 Madras, India. Son of Edward Wheler Bird, Indian Civil Service, and Catherine (nee Groube). Clifton College 1864-1871. Solicitor. JP. Died 15th December 1936 Teignmouth, Devon.

Woodforde Beadon Woodforde - Born 18th October 1853. Clifton College 1865-1871. Solicitor. Registrar, County Court and High Court of Justice, Derby. JP for Derby. Died 1926.

Sydney College

Lennard Stokes (captain) - Born 12th February 1856 Greenwich, London. Son of Henry Graham Stokes, Proctor to the Admiralty and solicitor, and his wife Elizabeth Sewell. Studied medicine at Guys Hospital. Died 3rd May 1933 Tarrant, near Andover, Hampshire.

Above Lennard Stokes on his England debut in 1875

R.Blair - Unknown at present

Price - Unknown at present

Charles Francis Newland - Born 1853 Bray, Cornwall. Son of Commander Charles Frankland Newland. Surgeon Royal Navy.

Coles - Unknown at present

Francis Elvy Page - Born 1855 Mayland, Essex. Son of John Page, Farmer, and Frances (nee Elvy). Died 1905 Maldon. Essex.

Bennett - Unknown at present

B.Williams - Unknown at present

R.Williams - Unknown at present

A.Corfield - Unknown at present

William Henry Oglander-Hennah - Born 1852 East Cowes, Hampshire. Son of William Veale Hennah and Frances (nee Oglander). Exeter College, Oxford. He had already left Sydney College in 1871 and was at Oxford when he played in this match. Lieutenant 1 st Dragoon Guards. Added Oglander, to his name in 1882. Died 16 th May 1883 Meerut, India.

Frank Whittuck - Born 16th July 1856 Keynsham, Somerset. Fifth son of Captain William Whittuck and Matilda (nee ). Also educated at the Hermitage, Lansdown. Sandhurst. India. Afgan War. Died 5th September 1881 at Kandahar, Afganistan from dysentery.

Above Frank Whittuck

Charles William Bayley Lyall - Born 22nd April 1856 Barbados, West Indies. Son of Charles Fryer Lyall and Charlotte (nee Augusta). Married the artist Laura Adeline Muntz after being married to her sister, Mina Ida Muntz. Died 16th December 1931 Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Henry William M. B. Marsh - Born 22nd June 1857 New Plymouth, New Zealand. Son of Octavius John Blake Marsh, Royal Navy, and Bedelia (nee McGillicuddy). His father commited suicide in 1865 when Henry was only 8 years old. At the inquest the jury the jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased shot himself when under the influence of temporary insanity. Henry died at sea Sulawesi Tengah, Indonesia.