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Players Index Page Last Updated
17 March 2024
Sam Widdowson Nottingham Forest FC

1 appearance, 0 goals

P 1 W 0 D 0 L 1 F 4: A 5
0% successful


captain: none
minutes played:


Pic courtesy of SFA museum Sam Weller Widdowson
  According to the 1851 census, Ann (née Gunn) is soon to give birth to her sixth child, Sam. Along with his father, Levi, a butcher, they have two servants at Half Moon Yard in Hucknall Torkard.
Birth Wednesday, 16 April 1851 in Half Moon Yard, Hucknall Torkard, Nottinghamshire
registered in Basford April-June 1851
Baptism 20 April 1851 at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Hucknall Torkard.
Education Attended Hucknall Torkard Village School and People's College, Nottingham
According to the 1861 census, Sam is the third of four children living with their father, Levi, a butcher, in Half Moon Yard in Hucknall Torkard.
According to the 1871 census, Sam is the oldest of three to Levi and Ann. His father is a Rent & Rate Collector, and with one servant, they live at Main Street in Bulwell.
Marriage to Harriet Laslett on 24 February 1879 at St. Barnabas RC Church in Nottingham
registered in Nottingham January-March 1879
Children Sam and Harriet Widdowson had nine children together. Addie Mary (b.1880), Rosa de Lacy (b.1882), Ida Gertrude (b.1884), Lillian Margaret (b.4 February 1885), Sydney Wilfred (b.10 June 1886), Oscar Roland (b.31 May 1888), Bernard Francis Forester (b.30 September 1890), Philip Douglas (b.26 May 1892) and Edgar Harold Leonard (b.26 August 1894)
  According to the 1881 census, Sam is now married to Harriet and they have one daughter, Addie Mary, and with two servants, they live at 7 St. Anns Hill in the St. Mary's area of Nottingham. Sam is a lace warehouseman.
(His father died on 7 December 1881 in Matlock, four days after his brother, Henry)
  According to the 1891 census, Sam remains married with five more children, Rosa de Lacy, Ida Gertrude, Sidney Wilfred, Oscar Roland and Bernard, and now with three servants, they are all living at 1 Wellington Square, Derby Road in Nottingham. Sam is now a lace manufacturer.
"NOTICE is hereby GIVEN that the PARTNERSHIP heretofore subsisting between the undersigned SAMUEL THUMAN and SAM WELLER WIDDOWSON, carrying on Business as Lace Manufacturers at Stoney-street, Nottingham, under the style or firm of 'WIDDOWSON AND TRUMAN,' and at Brook-street, Derby, under the style or firm of 'TRUMAN AND WIDDOWSON,' has been DISSOLVED by mutual consent. The said businesses will hereafter be carried on by the said SAM WELLER WIDDOWSON on his own account, and he will Receive and Pay all Debts due and owing to or by the said late firm. Dated this twentieth day of May, 1891. SAM WELLER WIDDOWSON. SAMUEL TRUMAN." - The Derby Mercury, Wednesday, 27 May 1891,
  (His mother died pn 9 March 1895 in Basford)
According to the 1901 census, Sam's family now live at 83 Waterloo Crescent in Nottingham, and has two more sons, Edgar Harold and Philip. Sam himself is not with them.
  "The whole of the members of the Beeston Urban District Council, 15 in number, retire triennially, and yesterday nominations were handed in at the Beeston Council Offices for the election of the new Board. No less than 25 local gentlemen were nominated:— Conservatives.— Sam Weller Widdowson, 40, Middle-street, lace merchant" - Nottingham Journal, Friday, 18 March 1910.
"Leman v. Widdowson.—In this action, Mr. Frank Leman, chartered accountant of Nottingham, and trustee in the bankruptcy of Thomas Smedley, recently in business as a lace manufacturer at Sandiacre, applied to his Honour for an order for the return of three lace-making machines and accessories. The respondent was Mr. Sam Weller Widdowson, a lace merchant of Beeston. The three machines, etc., which were valued at £1,876, were formerly the property of the bankrupt. It was now alleged by the applicant that the transaction by which the respondent became possessed of them, was void under the Bills of Sales Act. - Derby Daily Telegraph, Tuesday, 26 July 1910.
  According to the 1911 census, Sam is still a lace manufacturer, and with six of his children (Bernard and his wife are missing), they live at 40 Middle Street in Beeston, Nottingham with three servants.
Cannot be found on the 1921 census.
(His daughter, Ida, died sometime during 1921)
"NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned EDWIN WIDDOWSON and SAM WELLER WIDDOWSON carrying on business as Cinema Proprietors at Stapleford in the County of Nottingham under the style or firm of THE STAPLEFORD PICTURE PALACE COMPANY has been dissolved by mutual consent as from the 26th day of May, 1926. All Debts due and owing to or by the said late firm will be received or paid by the said Edwin Widdowson and such business will be carried on in the future by the said Edwin Widdowson. As witness our hands this twenty-sixth day of May, One thousand nine hundred and twenty-six. SIGNED by the said EDWIN WIDDOWSON & SAM WELLER WIDDOWSON in the presence of V. W. TRIVETT, 23, King Street, Nottingham, Accountant." - Nottingham Journal, Thursday, 27 May 1926.
Death Monday, 9 May 1927, at 13 Meadow Road in Beeston, Nottinghamshire.
Widdowson took ill the week before and caught a chill, which developed into pneumonia.
aged 76 years 23 days registered in Basford April-June 1927


"The death occurred this morning of Mr. Sam Weller Widdowson, the old Nottingham Forest captain, international, and hurdler, at his Beeston residence. The deceased, who had reached the age of 76, last month, took ill early last week, but went out on Wednesday, and caught a chill from which pneumonia developed.
"Born at Hucknall Torkard, he obtained his Christian names owing to his father's fondness for 'Pickwick Papers,' which at that time was being published in weekly numbers, and arrived every week by the carrier. Young Sam went to the village school at the age of eleven, and there first saw football played. Afterwards, when the family removed to Bulwell, he went to People's College, Nottingham, making the journey to and fro on foot with occasional lifts on the road.
"Mr. Widdowson took up his business career with Messrs. Jacoby in 1865, and started serious football when the late Mr. W. Lymbery, and R. Hawksley turned the cricket club they had formed on the Forest into a football club. The season of 1866-7 saw him playing regularly for them, mostly on a piece of ground near the then existing grandstand on the race course, and under what was known as the Sheffield rules of no off-side and one player hanging around the opponents goal to rush the ball through. He was made captain of the Nottingham Forest F.C. in 1873, and though he never played in an Association Cup Final his old team carried this off on his birthday, April 16th, 1898.
"Mr. Widdowson was capped in March, 1880, against Scotland, at Hampden Park, playing as one of the two centre-forwards in vogue at that time with F. J. Sparks, and scored one of England's goals He became a member of the Council of the F.A. at about that period, and also played for the North against the South.
"Apart from his great football career he was a notable amateur runner, and as a sprinter could do 100 yards on grass in 10 2∙5secs., and in May, 1870, covered a mile against the clock in 4min. 50 secs. His best distances were from 100 to 440 yards. Altogether he carried off about 300 trophies on the track as a hurdler.
"Mr. Widdowson's all-round athletic abilities also embraced cricket, and he was included in a Notts. side at Old Trafford, Manchester, in a charity match in 1878, He also played for the county against M.C.C. at Bestwood in July, 1879, scoring 25 in partnership with W. W. Scotton. The deceased sportsman invented the shinguard, which he registered in 1874. The first sample was made by Fred Boyington, the old Surrey scorer who predeceased him by only a few days. Mr. Widdowson had travelled extensively in his business in the lace trade, and was fine linguist."
Nottingham Evening Post, Monday, 9 May 1927.
Thursday, 12 May 1927
Beeston cemetery

"Great simplicity marked the funeral of the late well-known athlete, Mr. S. W. Widdowson, which took place at Beeston Cemetery this morning. The service at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church took place at the early hour of eight, and, apart from the family mourners, there were few of the public present. At the Requim Mass, the deceased's youngest son, the Rev. Philip Widdowson, of the Society of Jesus, was the celebrant, assisted by his brothers, Messrs. Sidney Widdowson and Bernard Widdowson (London). The Rev. Father Hays, who received the late Mr. Widdowson into membership of the Roman Catholic Church, officiated at the impressive funeral service in the church and also at the graveside." - Nottingham Evening Post, Thursday, 12 May 1927.
Probate "Sam Weller Widdowson, of Beeston, Notts, an ex-International footballer, who played for England against Scotland in 1880 and a former captain of the Nottingham Forest Football Club (net personalty, £2,552)...£9,924." - Sheffield Daily Telegraph, Monday, 14 November 1927.
  "WIDDOWSON Sam Weller of 13 Meadow-road Beeston Nottinghamshire died 9 May 1927 Probate Nottingham 28 October to Sydney Wilfrid Widdowson lace manufacturer Edgar Harold Widdowson motor-engineer and Percival John Rippon commercial agent.
Effects £9924 6s. 3d." [2019 equivalent: £628,134]
  Harriet Widdowson died on 21 October 1945
Source Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990] &
Playing Career
Club(s) Played his Schoolboy and Junior football in Nottinghamshire, joined Nottingham Forest FC in 1866, becoming the club's captain in 1873, being captain for several seasons; He often turned out for Notts County FC.
Club honours None
Individual honours None
Distinctions Played three times for Nottinghamshire CCC 1878-79; Also a notable amateur runner, he could do 100 yards on grass in 10.25 secs, and in May 1870, clocked the mile at 4 mins. 50 secs. In all, he had about 300 athletic trophies to his name.
Widdowson was also instrumental in turning Nottingham Forest FC into a professional club, beginning the process in 1889.
notes Widdowson was the first footballer to use cut-down cricket pads strapped outside his socks as protection against 'hacking' - the deliberate kicking of the shins.
He is also credited with the implementation of the first organised player formation - two full-backs, three half-backs and five forwards. A formation initially introduced during the 1870s by Forest, enduring a life span right into the early 1960s.
His feedback helped ensure another standard of the modern game which was introduced in a game between Forest and Sheffield Norfolk. The referees had used a flag system to signal before and after this point, it was in this game that the whistle was first used by the umpire.
Widdowson then pioneered early floodlighting for night games by using gas lamps. This idea was dropped due to the gas running out, and fears for crowd safety, but when electricity was more readily available in 1909 he, now retired, returned to the City Ground to attempt electric lighting.
Height/Weight 5' 8½", 11st 7lbs [1880]
Source Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990].
England Career
Player number One of five who became the seventieth players (74) to appear for England.
Position(s) Forward
Only match No. 10, 13 March 1880, Scotland 5 England 4, a friendly match at Hampden Park, Hampden Terrace, Glasgow, aged 28 years 332 days;
Individual honours The Probables (one appearance, February 1879);
The Stripes (one appearance, one goal, February 1879);
The North (one appearance, January 1890, withdrew, March 1880)
Distinctions Died nineteen days after Harry Maskrey
Beyond England
A Lace Warehouseman. Twice served on the FA Committee, 1888-92 and 1893-94. In his latter years, he owned a picture house. Also chairman of Nottingham Forest 1879-84. - An English Football Internationalists' Who's Who. Douglas Lamming (1990). Hatton Press, p.267/268.

The Numbers
parties Appearances withdrew minutes captain
2 1 1 90 0 none
The minutes here given can only ever be a guideline and cannot therefore be accurate, only an approximation.
1 0 0 1 4 5 -1 0 0 4 5 0 -1
His only match was a friendly match and played at an away venue

Match History

 Club: Nottingham Forest F.C. - one full appearance (90 min) F.A. Committee - one full appearance (90 min)x

apps match match details comp res. rundown pos

Age 27 trial  
two appearances - The Probables vs. The Rest, 12 February 1879; The Whites vs. The Stripes, 26 February 1879

pp 1 March 1879 - England vs. Scotland, Surrey Cricket Ground, Kennington Fr postponed - frost cf

Age 28 trial  
withdrew - The South vs. The North, 6 March 1880

1 10 13 March 1880 - Scotland 5 England 4
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Fr AL   or

one of five who became the seventieth (74) players to appear for England
one of two who became the second (three) player from Nottingham Forest to represent England

Age 38 trial  
one appearance - The North vs. The South, 13 January 1890.

38 15 March 1890 - Wales 1 England 3, The Racecourse, Wrexham BC Umpire

Age 39
43 15 March 1891 - England 2 Scotland 1, Ewood Park, Blackburn BC Linesman