William Webb Ellis, Clergyman and alleged Inventor of Rugby Football 1806-1872

William Webb Ellis was born in Lancashire and attended Rugby School, where it is alleged that he was responsible for inventing the game of rugby football, i.e. changing a game of football from a kicking game to a handling game. The Webb Ellis cup is of course the name of the trophy awarded to the winning team of the Rugby World Cup.

Webb Ellis came up to Brasenose College in 1825, aged 18 and was awarded his B.A. degree in 1829. Like many Brasenose men at this time he entered the church, becoming Rector of Magdalen Laver in Essex from 1855. He died in France in 1872, where he is buried at Menton.

His role in the invention of the sport was dramatized in the Rugby World Cup 2015 opening ceremony



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