England Football Online
Players Index
Captains Index
Page Last Updated
20 October 2021
Francis Sparks Hertfordshire Rangers FC & Clapham Rovers FC

3 appearances, 3 goals

P 3 W 2 D 0 L 1 F 12: A 11
67% successful

captain: one
minutes played:


  Francis John Sparks
Birth Wednesday, 4 July 1855 at Bradfields in North Benfleet, Billericay, Essex [registered in Billericay, September 1855]
"4th inst, at Bradfields, North Benfleet, Mrs. John Sparks, of a son." - The Chelmsford Chronicle, Friday, 20 July 1855.
Baptised Friday, 11 April 1856 at All Saints' Church in North Benfleet
According to the 1861 census, Francis John is the youngest of three children to John and Eleanor (née Curtis) living at Bradfields in North Benfleet with three servants. His father is a farmer employing 250.
Cannot be found on the 1871 census.
According to the 1881 census, now a clerk for his father, Francis J., with his older sister, Marion, living with his parents, John and Eleanor (née Janson) and two servants at Somerset Road in Chipping Barnet, Barnet.  His father was a General Commission Agent.
Marriage to Jane Sarah Billinghurst, on 5 July 1884 [registered in Islington, September 1884].
"SPARKS―BILLINGHURST.―On the 5th inst, at St. Mary's, Islington. Francis John, younger son of John Sparks, Esq., of Eversfield, New Barnet, to Jane Sarah, elder daughter of J.W Billinghurst, Esq., of Highbury place." - The Morning Post, Wednesday, 9 July 1884.
According to the 1891 census, Francis J., although married, still with his sister, living with only their mother at Dudley House on Manor Road in Chipping Barnet. Two of his nephews and two servants all live with them. He seems dependent on his mother.
According to the 1901 census, Francis J., stated as 'widowed', is a coal traveller, living on his own at 141 Clarendon Place in Dover.
According to the 1911 census, Francis John is now lodging with John Taylor, also a widower, at 2 Norman Cottages, in Upper Deal, Kent.
"At Southend on Tuesday, William Deares, of Hamilton Bungalow, Vange, renewed his application for the discharge of a maintenance order in respect to Mrs. Matilda Gertrude Deares, Shaftesbury Avenue, Southend.
"The case had been before the Court on three previous occasions, and it had been alleged that Mrs. Dawes was already married to a Mr. Sparkes at the time of the ceremony with the present applicant. At the hearing on Friday, Mrs. Jane Sarah Sparkes, of Finsbury Park, said she was married on July 5, 1884, to Francis John Sparkes. She left her husband in 1886, and had not seen him for many years.
"Respondent said that on Nov. 21, 1917, she went through a form of marriage with a Francis John Sparkes. At that time, her surname was Wright, and she was a widow. Subsequently, Mr. Sparkes told her he had a wife alive, she
then left him. After that she met William Deares, and married him in October, 1922.
"Mr. Hurrell (for the respondent) said the case was somewhat complicated, but he thought the Bench would be satisfied there was no such thing as a bigamous marriage between Mr. and Mrs. Deares, but that a bigamous marriage took place between Mr. Sparkes and Mrs. Deares. Mr. S. Wortly (for the applicant), urged that there was no evidence that the man Sparkes who was married to Mrs. Sparkes was the man Sparkes who was married to Mrs.  Deares. The Bench dismissed the application, and allowed £5/10/ - costs."
- The Essex Chronicle/Chelmsford Chronicle, Friday, 25 July 1930 & The Essex Newsman, Saturday, 26 July 1930.
Death Tuesday, 13 February 1934, at 1 Oldchurch Road in Romford, aged 78 years 224 days. [registered in Romford, March 1934].
Funeral Monday, 19 February 1934 at All Saints' Church, North Benfleet, Essex.
Probate "SPARKS Francis John of 6 Pembroke-road Sevens Kings Essex died 13 February 1934 at 1 Oldchurch-road Romford Essex Probate London 6 April to the reverend Wolston Dixie Churchill clerk.
Effects £64 12s. 10d." [2019 equivalent: £4,615]
Source Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990] &
Playing Career
Club(s) Began in 1873 playing for St. Albans Pilgrims FC.  He switched to play for Brondesbury within the year for the rest of the season.  He played for Upton Park FC between 1876 and 1878, before joining Hertfordshire Rangers FC. He joined Clapham Rovers FC for their successful 1879-80 campaign;
Club honours FA Cup winners 1879-80;
Individual honours Essex FA and London FA;
Height/Weight not known
Source Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990].
England Career
Player number One of eight who became the 62nd players (69) to appear for England.
Position(s) Forward
First match No. 9, 5 April 1879, England 5 Scotland 4, a friendly match at The Surrey Cricket Ground, The Oval, Kennington, London, aged 23 years 275 days;
Last match No. 11, 15 March 1880, Wales 2 England 3, a friendly match at The Racecourse, Mold Road, Wrexham, aged 24 years 255 days; 64 & 78ᶜ
Individual honours England's Top Goalscorer (three 1879-80).
Distincions The first captain to score more than two goals for England.
The youngest captain to score until Charlie Bambridge in 1882.
The most appearanced Englishman at Hertfordshire Rangers.
Beyond England
Served on the FA Committee 1878-80. He was employed as a clerk, according to the 1881 census, in Barnet. and became a coal traveller in Kent by 1901. - An English Football Internationalists' Who's Who. Douglas Lamming (1990). Hatton Press, p.230/1./FindMyPast.com

The Numbers

parties Appearances minutes Goals ave. min captain
3 3 270 3 90 min one
The minutes here given can only ever be a guideline and cannot therefore be accurate, only an approximation.
3 2 0 1 12 11 +1 0 0 4.00 3.667 66.7 +1

Venue Record

Venue & Competition P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts % W/L
Home Friendly matches 1 1 0 0 5 4 +1 0 0 5.00 4.00 100.0 +1
Away 2 1 0 1 7 7 =0 0 0 3.50 3.50 50.0 =0

Match History
 Clubs: Herts Rangers F.C. & Clapham Rovers F.C. - three full appearances (270 min) 1ᶜ 3ᵍ  
  F.A. Committee (Charles Alcock) - three full appearances (270 min) 1ᶜ 3ᵍx
apps match match details comp res. rundown pos

Age 23
1 9 5 April 1879 - England 5 Scotland 4
The Surrey Cricket Ground, Kennington
Fr HW   for

one of eight who became the 62nd (68) players to appear for England
one of three who became the eighth (ten) player from Clapham Rovers to represent England
the second and final player from Herts Rangers FC to represent England

Age 24
2 10 13 March 1880 - Scotland 5 England 4
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Fr AL 85 for
3 11 15 March 1880 - Wales 2 England 3
The Racecourse, Wrexham
Fr AW 56,68 ͨ for

the ninth player to captain England
the third captain to score a goal for England - the first to score two in one match
his three goals makes him top goalscorer for the seasonand year