17 July 2007

Webb Ellis - Inventor of the game of Rugby

This is the grave of the Reverend William Webb Ellis, known as the inventor of the sport of Rugby. William Webb Ellis, as a schoolboy and....

with a fine disregard for the rules of football as played at his time first took the ball in his arms and ran with it, thus originating the distinctive feature of the rugby game.'

Wlliam Webb Ellis eventually became Rector of St. Clement Danes Church in London and died in Menton in 1872. He lies in the beautiful old cemetery above the Old Town.

A plaque on his grave says 'To William Webb Ellis who gave rugby to his school and then to the world.'

It should be mentioned that this is apocryphal as there is little in the way of evidence to substantiate this view, it is however, the popular view. So much so in fact that the international committee named the Rugby world cup the "William Webb Ellis Trophy".

This year France plays host to the Rugby World Cup, and in honour of this, the town of Menton yesterday unveiled a statue to the Rev. William Webb Ellis (I'll be taking a photograph for you). In addition there is a series of 25 written and illustrated panels, dedicated to the sport of Rugby - these start at Menton railway station and finish at the cemetery.

The Mayor of Menton in his speech last night, said of his grave - 'He made a good choice for his eternal rest' - and so he did with the view of the Old Town and the Mediterranean.


  1. That's FANTASTIC! I am so glad you posted this. I have a friend in the UK who (i) comes from Rugby and (ii) is a descendent somehow (great-great niece or somesuch) of William Webb Ellis!

    And of course, we are hoping the Wallabies don't disgrace themselves later this year!

  2. Anonymous17 July, 2007

    That is one fantastic gravesite. I like your photography of it too.

    It sounds like his final site is a desired spot as well.

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  3. I work with a fellow who is a Rugby fanatic (he coaches and plays) and I'll direct him to this post. He'll find it fascinating I'm sure. A fun bit of sports history. By the looks of the flowers on the gravesite, Mr. Ellis has had recent visitors. :O)

  4. You'll get all sports fans' approval today Jilly! I must say it's a fine place for a grave.Not that it makes any difference to the deceased, but visitors certainly appreciate it!

  5. Oh I really didn't know he was born there. Wonderful panorama by the way

  6. When you hear "rugby" you no uncertainty picture tall, tough men playing one of the most noteworthy physical games in presence today. hamstring sprain


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