ELLIS, William Webb

1807 - 1872

William was born in Manchester but when his father died in 1812 the family moved to Rugby so he and his brother could attend the school for free as local boys, a common practice at the time. He entered the School in 1816 and went on to Oxford University and became a priest. He served in London and Essex parishes until he died and was buried at Menton in France in 1872.

He obtained legendary status when in 1880 Matthew Bloxam identified him as the originator in 1823 of the distinctive feature of the Rugby football game of carrying the ball. It was not until the early 1840's that carrying the ball was fully integrated into the official school rules.