England Football Online
Players Index Page Last Updated
8 February 2023

Ben Spilsbury

Cambridge University AFC & Derby County FC
& Corinthians FC

3 appearances, 5 goals
one goal on his debut

P 3 W 2 D 1 L 0 F 11: A 2
83% successful


captain: none
minutes played:


  Benjamin Ward Spilsbury BA
Birth Monday, 1 August 1864 at The Longlands, Findern, Derbyshire
  registered in Burton-upon-Trent July-September 1864.
Baptism Sunday, 21 August 1864 in Findern
  According to the 1871 census, Benjamin is the fifth of seven children to to Benjamin Ward and Hannah Warren (née Smallwood). His father is the curator of Findern and a landowner, and they live at Findern with three servants.
Education Attended Rossall School until 1876, and then onto Repton School between September 1876 and July 1883.
  According to the 1881 census, Benjamin W. is a pupil at Repton School, Burton-upon-Trent.
According to Passenger Lists, B.W. Spilsbury was onboard the SS Parisian bound for British Colombia, leaving Liverpool on 27 February 1890.
According to the (28 May) 1891 census of Canada, Benjamin and Ashton are farmers living at Maple Ridge in New Westminister in British Colombia.
According to the 1901 census, Benjamin W. is a retired colonist, living back with his parents and six siblings at The Longlands in Findern alongside three servants. His father is still a Church of England clergyman and the Vicar of Findern.
Marriage to Edith Jessie Bairnsfather, on 20 May 1906 in Findern, and again on Tuesday, 5 June 1906, at St. Ann's Episcopal Church, Coupar Angus
  no registration found.
"SPILSBURY―BAIRNSFATHER.―At St. Anne's Church, Coupar-Angus, on 5th June, by the Rev. John Forrest Bell. BENJAMIN WARD SPILSBURY, second son of the Rev. B. W. Spilsbury, of the Longlands, Findern, Derbyshire, to EDITH JESSIE, elder daughter of captain H.N. BAIRNSFATHER, Beechwood, Coupar-Angus." - The Scotsman, Wednesday, 6 June 1906
An extremely pretty wedding took place yesterday in St Ann's Episcopal Church, Coupar Angus, when Miss Edith Bairnsfather, daughter of captain Bairnsfather, Beechwood, was joined in matrimony to Mr. Benjamin Ward Spilsbury of Findern, Derbyshire, The church was beautifully decorated with pot and cut flowers, and was filled by a large and fashionable attendance. The bride, who was given away by her father, looked exceedingly well in a dress of cream voile over glace silk, trimmed with blonde insertion, having a yoke of embroidered chiffon, and chiffon frills in the sleeves, the latter being edged with beautiful old Limerick lace. The bodice was made up in the coated style, with a tipped cream folded satin belt, while her hat was a very pretty cream crinoline straw, with white tuile, white plumes, and white roses." - Dundee Courier, Wednesday, 6 June 1906
Children Ben and Edith Spilsbury had four children together. Mary Isabel (b.14 March 1907), Richard Hugh (b.14 March 1907), Rupert Benjamin (b.19 July 1908) and Ann Penelope (b.22 May 1912)
"The Rev. Benjamin Ward Spilsbury, M.A., of The Longlands, Findern, Derbyshire, for 37 years Vicar of Findern, and prior to that for ten years curate of the parish, who died 26th March last, aged 78 years, left estate of the gross value of £16,236 6s. 1d...The testator left eight houses at Willington, Derbyshire, to his son, Benjamin Ward Spilsbury." - Derby Daily Telegraph, Friday, 13 August 1909.
According to Passenger Lists, following their wedding in Coupar Angus, the Spilsbury's left Liverpool for Montreal on board the the 'Victorian.'
(His father died on 26 March 1909)
Cannot be found on
the 1911 census.
According to passenger lists, Benjamin and Edith, along with their two children, arrived back in Montreal on 2 July 1911 from Liverpool on board the CPL Lake Manitoba.
Cannot be found on the
1921 census, presumably in Canada.
(His mother died 6 July 1924)
Death Thursday, 18 August 1938, at 225 Eight Street West in North Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada
 aged 74 years 17 days registered in the BC Canada Death Index


"SPILSBURY—PASSED AWAY, AUG. 18, 1938, at his home, 225 W. 8th St., North Vancouver, Benjamin Ward Spilsbury, in his 75th year. He leaves to mourn his passing, besides his loving wife, two sons, Richard Hugh, Kelowna, and Rupert Benjamin, North Vancouver; two daughters, Mrs. J. Jack, Vancouver, and Mrs. U. Herrmann, Port Haney; one brother, A. J. Spilsbury, Savary Island; two sisters, Mrs. A. Boulanger, Whonnock, B.C., and Miss J. S. Spilsbury, England."

"The older generation of Derby County supporters, who are not likely to forget the brilliant forward play of Ben Spilsbury, will be sorry to hear of his death, which occurred a few days ago at Vancouver. He assisted the Rams in the club's very early days, his contemporaries including another very fine amateur, the Rev. L. H. Gwynne, then a curate at St. Chad's, Derby, and now Bishop of Egypt and the Sudan." - Derby Evening Telegraph, Monday, 29 August 1938.
Funeral Saturday, 11.30am, 20 August 1938, at St. John's Church in North Vancouver. Rev. W. H. L. West officiating, followed by a cremation.
Probate "SPILSBURY Benjamin Ward of 225 8th Street West North Vancouver British Colombia Canada died 18 August 1938 Probate New Westminster to Edith Jessie Spilsbury widow and Percy Collison Barker solicitor.
Effects £2519 0s. 9d. [2019 equivalent: £170,827]. in England. Sealed London 29 March."
Cambridge University Alumni
SPILSBURY Benjamin Ward
Admission as a pens. at JESUS: October 1883
[2nd] s. of the Rev.Benjamin Ward,
B. 1 August 1864 at Findern, Derbs.
School: Rossall and Repton
Matriculated: Michs. 1883, BA 1886.
Football (assoc.) blue' 1884, 1885, 1886, 1887.
Played for England, 1885-6.
Of 8th Street, Vancouver, British Colombia.
Brother of Ashton W. (1889) and John H.A. (1895).
Died 15 Aug.1938 at North Vancouver.
(Repton Sch. Reg.; The Times, 22 Aug. 1938)
  Edith Spilsbury died on 14 August 1965 in British Colombia.
  Amy Walters died 25 February 1967
Source Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990] &

Playing Career

Club(s) Attended Rossall School in Fleetwood, and later, Repton School, Repton in Derbyshire, and then Jesus College at Cambridge University from October 1883, where he played his football and earning his blue from 1883 until 1886, becoming captain in his final year. Also played with Derby County FC between 1884 and 1889.
Corinthians 1883-86
Club honours None
Individual honours Benjamin Spilsbury was the man who had the honour of scoring the first goal ever recorded by Derby County FC. It came in the Rams' second match, against Blackburn Olympic FC at the County Ground on September 27, 1884, and although Derby lost 4-3, Spilsbury had a fine game.
Distinctions An all-round athlete when he was at Rossall School, he played football, cricket and athletics. At Repton, he was school champion four times in long jump, and in 1882 he broke the school record.
Height/Weight not known
Source Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990].

England Career

Player number One of five who became the 115th players (119) to appear for England.
Position(s) Inside-right/left, outside-right
First match No. 23, 28 February 1885, England 4 Ireland 0, a British Championship match at Manchester Football Ground, Whalley Range, Manchester, aged 20 years 211 days.
Last match No. 28, 27 March 1886, Scotland 1 England 1, a British Championship match at Hampden Park, Crosshill, Glasgow, aged 21 years 238 days;
Major tournaments British Championship 1884-85, 1886-87;
Individual honours The Gentlemen (one appearance, January 1886)
England's Top Goalscorer (four 1886).
Spilsbury is the first player to score on his debut in a competitive match
The first player from Derbyshire and Derby County FC to play for England

Beyond England

Became a Bachelor of Arts in December 1886. Following his retirement from football, moved to British Colombia to be an farmer in 1890. Although he was back in England in 1901. - An English Football Internationalists' Who's Who. Douglas Lamming (1990). Hatton Press, p.159.

The Numbers
parties Apps comp. apps minutes goals ave.min comp. goals captain
4 3 3 270 5 54 min 5 none
The minutes here given can only ever be a guideline and cannot therefore be accurate, only an approximation.
3 2 1 0 11 2 +9 0 1 3.667 0.667 83.3 +2
All of his matches were played in the British Championship competition

Venue Record

Venue P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
Home 1 1 0 0 4 0 +4 0 1 4.00 0.00 100.0 +1
Away 2 1 1 0 7 2 +5 0 0 3.50 1.00 75.0 +1

Tournament Record

British Championship Competition
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
BC 1884-85 1 1 0 0 4 0 +4 0 1 4.00 0.00 100.0 +1
BC 1885-86 2 1 1 0 7 2 +5 0 0 3.50 1.00 75.0 +1
BC All 3 2 1 0 11 2 +9 0 1 3.667 0.667 83.3 +2

All Competition
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
BC 3 2 1 0 11 2 +9 0 1 3.667 0.667 83.3 +2
3 2 1 0 11 2 +9 0 1 3.667 0.667 83.3 +2

Match History

 Clubs: Cambridge University A.F.C., Derby County F.C. & Corinthians F.C - three full appearances (270 min) 5ᵍ  
  F.A. Committee - three full appearances (270 min) 5ᵍx

apps match match details comp res. rundown pos

Age 20
1 23 28 February 1885 - England 4 Ireland 0
Manchester Football Ground, Whalley Range
BC HW 75 freekick
shot hits bar [4-0]

one of five who became the 115th player (119) to appear for England
one of two who became the thirteenth player from Cambridge University AFC to represent England
the first player from Derby County FC to represent England
one of three who became the eleventh Corinthian to represent England
the seventeenth player to score on his England debut - the first competitive
the youngest player to score a competitive goal for England - until the next season

Age 21 trial  
one appearance - The Players vs. The Gentlemen, 16 January 1886;

2 26 13 March 1886 - Ireland 1 England 6
Ulster Cricket Ground, Belfast
BC HW 1st half (1st)
1st half (2nd)
2nd half (3rd)
2nd half (6th)

the sixth England player to score an equalising goal ~ although it is England's eighth
the scorer of the fifteenth brace for England
scorer of the sixth hat-trick scored by England
the youngest player to score a competitive hat-trick for England until the next season
the fourth player to score a goal each in his first two appearances for England

3 27 27 March 1886 - Scotland 1 England 1
Hampden Park, Glasgow

AD   or
28 29 March 1886 - Wales 1 England 3, The Racecourse, Wrexham AW reserve

his four goals in 1886 makes him joint-top scorer for the seasonand year