Home » Where Was Rugby Originated? The History of Rugby

Where Was Rugby Originated? The History of Rugby

Rugby a very popular game today originated long back. Some say that a little boy named, William Web Ellis was responsible for the same when he ran hitting the ball for a long distance back in 1823.

Rugby was very popular in Ancient China and Japan. The two countries played Rugby (Now Football) exceedingly well. Rugby was also famous amongst the Greeks. One theory states that when The Romans attacked the Greeks, they took along with them the tricks of the game and the game’s prowess.

William Webb Ellis
The So-Called Inventor of Rugby- William Webb Ellis

All said and done, it is a matter of fact that Rugby didn’t originate all of a sudden. It was a slow, evolutionary process and went through many stages before reaching its perfection of today. So, let’s see how Rugby attained its today’s super status and omnipotence.

Statue of William Webb Ellis at The Rugby School

Rugby Enjoyed a cult status since ancient times

It is interesting to know that Rugby was very popular in Early Britain. The early Romans who were staying in Britain, introduced the game to the Britishers, making it uber-popular. There is the testimony to the fact. A book called ” History of London”, has football (foote balle, as it was spelt in old times) mentioned in it which is dated far back in  1175.

Rugby Played by All and Sundry

It is very interesting to know that Football was not only just played by men but also women and girls. There was no restriction on age, gender, class or groups. In Old Britain, it was popularly played as a contested match between two villages where villagers contested and confronted each other to play foote balle.

It was so popular that the game began at around noon, by 12 and continued till dusk. Many people took part, numbers went in hundreds. People played excitingly. It became so popular at one time, that it is mentioned in many books and researches that it had to be banned for at least 31 times in a period of 300 years. This was brought into effect by royal decrees who professed that Rugby created great turmoil and caused people to waste time and money.

The Football was made of animal skins or ball of old cloth

It is amusing to know the football that you know today, didn’t exist in old Britain. What existed was a dummy copy. Today’s football which is made up of high-quality rubber and is made through a proper manufacturing process was just a mass of old cloth or trash. But people still enjoyed playing with it. It was a major source of entertainment and fun.

What was the Game of Rugby like back then?

The idea was to steal away the round mass by taking it and running away from the opponent in the players own territory. This territory extended till miles away. Two villages who contested played with their best might and fought to take the ownership and win the ball. They assumed the ball to be the opponents head and put their lives to win it. In fact, King Henry VIII, called the game of Foote Balle, outrageous. He is known to banish it passing a Royal Decree in 1531, and exterminating and punishing the people who played it.

But nothing could bring the temperament down and people were insane about its rising popularity.

Known to be famous by different Names

One very bewildering thing about Rugby is that it has been called by different names like Football, Soccer etc. It became so popular that it even passed Derby (which was a local game played in the town of Derby in The English Midlands).

History of Rugby : A Game of Death

The popularity reached such a dangerous level that it resulted in large deaths and killings due to the rumbustious nature of the game. People played to win at any cost. Most of the historians have mentioned it as a plunderous, cold-blooded game of complete idiosyncracies. This was the reason many old English monarchs had to ban the game at one point in time.

All said and done, the game continued to gain popularity passing the Industrial Revolution and Industrialisation.

However, its the 18th Century and 19th Century Universities which actually popularised it at this massive level.

Rugby Football Museum- Dedicated To William Webb Ellis