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Hercules of his day, who used to rush
along the wing with his tongue protruding from the
left corner of his mouth...possibly no Sheffielder
has earned such fame.' - JAH Cotton
Sheffield Albion FC
9 appearances, 3 goals
P 9 W 3 D
0 L 6 F 21: A 33
minutes played: 780
2 January 1858 in Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire
registered in Sheffield
According to the 1861
census, William is the oldest of two children to James and Emily (née
live at 65 Brightmore Street in Sheffield. His father is warehouse man.
Wm. is also stated as being on the census return of his grandfather, Henry
Stafford, and his wife Elizabeth and their three children. They live in
the west side of Crookes.
According to the 1871
census, William now has two more younger siblings, and with their parents,
they now live at The Portobello Tavern at 248 Portobello Street in
Sheffield where his father is the publican.
"DEWSBURY UNITED CLERKS ATHLETIC
YARDS FLAT RACE.―1st prize, gold medal, 2nd, silver medal; 3rd, silver
pencil case. First heat―Wm. Mosforth, Albion F.C. Sheffield, 8 yards 1st;
Frank Huth, H.C. and A.C. scratch, 2nd; W,. Poppleton, D.U.C.C.C. 14; A.
Maynard, Cliffe Wood C.C. 12. Mosforth won a splendid race by barely two
yards. Time 24¾secs....Final Heat: 1st, R. Hanson, Rochdale; 2nd. William
Mosforth, Sheffield; 3rd, A.B. Robinson, Wakefield. The run off for this
race proved a very exciting contest, and the winner only secured the prize
by a few inches, the remainder being closed upon the second man. Time 24
4.5 seconds." - The Huddersfield
Chronicle, Monday, 16 July 1877
(His father died in early 1878)
According to the 1881
census, William is a Publican at the Royal Oak, 29 King Street in Sheffield. He has Isaac
and Ellen Reed, a fishmonger and his wife, and their baby, living with him.
He has one servant.
His widowed mother remains the publican at The
"A WELL-KNOWN FOOTBALL PLAYER AND HIS AMOURS.
"At the Sheffield Town Hall, on
Wednesday, before W. G. Blake and R. Leader, Esqrs., a case of some local
interest was heard. The defendant was William Mosforth, the well-known
football player, landlord of the Royal Oak, King Street, and the
complainant Mrs. Clara Wilson, a widow, living in Hounsfield road, who
alleged that she was in fear of personal violence from him. Mr. Fairburn
appeared for the complainant, and Mr. W. E. Clegg for the defendant.―At
the outset of the case, Mr. Fairburn said his client had no desire to
press the case against the defendant, if he would make a suitable apology
and undertake to keep away from her house.―Mr. Clegg replied that the
defendant was quite willing to promise to keep away from the house, for he
had no desire to continue the intimacy; but he objected to make an
apology.―The case thereupon proceeded. The intimacy between the parties
began in the early part of last year. Mrs. Wilson alleged that she had
lent the defendant several sums of money, amounting in the whole to about
he had wanted more, which she refused to give him; whereupon he said, if
she had no money, she was no good to him; that he had gone to her house at
various times, and insisted on stopping there in defiance of her wish that
he would go away. On Wednesday, the 14th inst., he went to her house while
she was out. When she came back she requested him to leave, but he said he
should go when he liked. He subsequently had tea there, as she could not
get rid of him she agreed to go to the theatre with him. As she would not
walk through the streets with him they took a cab. At the theatre she
desired him to remove away from her, and he did so. When they got outside
she managed to escape from him, but he overtook her, and threatened to use
personal violence, saying he would smash in her face. She again succeeded
in getting away, but he followed her, and made use of a similar threat. He
afterwards forced himself into her house and stayed there all night,
sleeping on the sofa. He also remained there the whole of the next day
though she would not speak to him, and on the following morning whilst she
was in bed he got his breakfast with the servant. He also had his dinner
in the house although she had not asked him to stay, and he remained until
seven o'clock in the evening, when he went away. She did not apply for a
summons upon either that day or the next. On Saturday morning before she
got up the defendant again visited her house, and carried away a clock
which she said he had presented to her some months before. Her testimony
was supported by her servant, and by a policeman who had since been called
in. Mr. Clegg's cross-examination was directed towards showing there had
been a courtship between the parties, that Mosforth had not obtruded
himself into Mrs. Wilson's house against her will, but that she had been
variable, sometimes wanting him to come, and at other times to stay away.
He disputed her statement about the loan of money, and strongly argued
that she could not have been in bodily fear of the defendant, since she
did not take out a summons until two days after the threats had been used.
His version of the ownership of the clock was that the defendant had
simply deposited it in her house, and that therefore he had a right to
take it away when he pleased.―The Bench ordered the defendant to enter
into his own recognisances in
£20 to keep the peace towards Mrs. Wilson."
Independent, Saturday, 24
renamed himself as James William Mosforth,
According to the 1891 census,
James William is living his widowed mother at The Portobello Tavern, along
with his younger sister Emily. His mother is the licensed victualler,
whereas William is now an engraver.
(His mother died shortly after
this census return)
According to the 1893 Kelly's
Directory of Leeds, William is in charge of the Portobello Tavern.
to Viviana Beard, in early 1901, in Sheffield
registered in Sheffield
According to the 1901
census, James William is now married to Viviana. He is now the licensed
victualler of the The Portobello Tavern.
"THE BARNSLEY RAID. Sheffield Publican
Convicted and Fined. SUGGESTION OF BRIBERY.
"Two further cases arising from the raid at the
Queen's Grounds, Barnsley, on the 13th June were heard by Alderman Brady,
Mr. J. H. Bailey, and Mr. F. Brown at Barnsley to-day. The defendants were
Samuel Banner, innkeeper, Platts Common, and [James] William Mosforth,
landlord of the Portobello Tavern, Sheffield, and the cases were taken
separately, Mr. A. Neal defending.
"In regard to the charge against
Mosforth, the Chief Constable (Mr. Butler) said when the case was before
the Court before, he said the defendant would probably have another charge
preferred against him. Probably the justices would wonder why he was not
proceeding on the second charge that day. It would have been brought then,
but he had not yet received the necessary authority of charging him with
bribery at present. P.c.'s Betts and Farmer gave similar evidence, stating
that they saw the defendant near the gaming ring. He was arrested as the
men were breaking away. The officer Betts stated on the way to the police
station that defendant lighted a cigar and then slipped a sovereign into
his hand, remarking, 'Is that any use to you?' Defended then suggested he
should let him go away. Mr. Neal submitted there was no case to answer,
and with respect to the other suggested charge be hoped it would not be
proceeded with. The defendant he said was a well-known old International
footballer and had been a licence holder in Sheffield for 16 years. He
denied that he took any part in the gaming, and went to the grounds to see
a man named Winter when the raid took place, and he was arrested.
"Defendant gave evidence, denying that he was gaming, and regarding the
sovereign incident, he stated he gave the officer the coin as security
that he would not attempt to run away if he was not handcuffed. By the
Chief Constable: He had been at the grounds before on the occasion of a
pigeon shooting match, and he then saw Winter there, and he thought he
might be there again. John Casey, of Apple Street, Sheffield, one of the
defendants convicted for gaming, denied that the defendant was concerned
in the gaming; and George Jackson, doorkeeper at the Alexandra Club,
Barnsley, stated defendant called there on the afternoon inquiring for
Winter, and he suggested he might find him at the Queen's Grounds. By the
Chief Constable: Witness said it was a blank day that day, there was no
racing, and he thought he might be at the grounds. Mr. Neal: Winter is a
betting man?―Witness: Yes. And you thought he might have gone to the
grounds?―Yes, I told him to try the Queen's Grounds.
"The Chairman said
they were unanimous. This case they thought was on different lines to the
last, and defendant would be fined 40s. and costs. Mr. Neal gave notice of
appeal, and sureties were fixed of
£25 for the defendant himself and
- Sheffield Evening Telegraph, Thursday, 30 June 1910
According to the 1911
census, James William is still married and still the licensed victualler
of The Portobello Tavern, they have one servant.
According to the 1919 White's Directory of Leeds, William is
still in charge of the Portobello Tavern.
According to the 1921
census, James William is still married and is still the licensed victualler
of The Portobello Tavern. They have adopted their only servant's (Nelly)
younger sister, Mary Gaffey, now aged 11 years.
"....A second raid was also mentioned, the
licensed house in this case being the Portobello Tavern, Portobello
Street, and as a result the licensee, James William Mosforth, aged 64,
appeared before the Bench. Inspector Plant stated the licensed house was
raided on Saturday. He found betting slips relating to horses running on
Saturday, and a large sum of money. There were also a number of people on
the premises with sporting papers in their possession. Defendant was also
remanded on bail pending the issue of a summons."
- Sheffield Daily Telegraph, Tuesday, 19 September 1922
Licensee Heavily Fined.
solicitors' desk and the magistrates clerks' unused in the Sheffield City
Police Court, were yesterday littered with betting slips, racing accounts,
and a miscellaneous assortment of sporting papers―the results of a police
raid on the Portobello Tavern, Leavygreave, Sheffield.
Sheffield ex-international footballer, Thomas William Mosforth, licensee
of the Portobello Tavern, was summoned together with his wife, Viviana
Mosforth 'for certain alleged offences under the Betting Act,'. Harry
Mears, joiner, of 36, Leavygreave, and George Thynne, painter, of 398,
Windmill Lane, Sheffield, were charged with aiding and abetting.
A. W. Forsdike, for the prosecution, said that the police observations
were kept on the premises on dates commencing from Tuesday, August 29th.
Police-constable Dooley, together with Police-constable Holmes, entered
the premises on that day, and saw the landlord in the kitchen with a
notebook in his hand. There were several men in the room; and the officer
heard one of them mention the name of a horse, and the landlord wrote
something in his book. The officer then made a bet with Mosforth and
handed a slip of paper and money to him. On another occasion the officer
saw a man hand a slip of paper to the landlord after consulting a sporting
"The officer again visited the premises on a date when
the landlord had gone to the races. One man gave a slip of paper and money
to Mrs. Mosforth and at the same time said to her 'Here missus! give it to
him when he returns.' Apparently the landlady was suspicious because she
took no notice of the man's remark. She went into the bar and motioned the
man who was sitting near the officer in the kitchen. The man went out, and
the officer saw the landlady take the slip from him. On September 12th the
police raided the premises.
"Police-constable Dooley giving evidence
said that on the 29th August he gave Mrs. Mosforth a slip of paper with
3s. to be put on 'Black Gown' and 'Christiana.' The following day Mrs.
Mosforth said to him, 'How did your horse go on yesterday?' Witness said,
'I have 3s. to draw,' and she handed the money to him. On another occasion
witness put 1s. each way on 'Surcoat.' Mosforth put the slip and money in
his right-hand jacket pocket.
"Police-constable Taylor said that on one
occasion he was on the premises when a man came in and said to Mrs.
Mosforth, 'Here, missus! I;m in a hurry. I have to attend a funeral,' at
the same time handing to her a slip of paper and some money.
John W. Plant, who conducted the raid, told the Bench that the defendant
Mosforth, when searched, had in his possession
£4 11s. 9d. in silver, 16
slips of paper with names of horses in different handwriting,
£19 in pound
£5 notes, a large quantity of additional slips relating to
horses running on that day and other days, and several betting accounts.
In an upstairs room, evidently used by the defendant as an office, was a
roll-top desk, and the contents of this included 246 slips of paper, three
betting books, 35 betting accounts,
£6 16s. 6d. in silver, and
notes. The number of slips totalled 348, relating to money bets amounting
£129 7s. 9d.
"Mears and Thynne were in possession of betting slips,
and they were charged with aiding and abetting the defendant Mosforth.
"Mosforth when charged, said: 'It is all done by telephone.'
"Defendant, in the witness box, said that he certainly did conduct a
betting business, but this was on a credit system only, and was conducted
by telephone. The bets were received by telephone and the money was
collected later. Defendant denied that he took bets personally on the
premises except by telephone, and the large amount of money he had on him
when searched was to pay private accounts connected with the public house.
"Viviania Mosforth, wife of William Mosforth, admitted giving 3s, to the
officer, but denied that she had any idea that the money was winnings on a
horse run the previous day.
"Robert Farr said he worked with Mosforth
in collecting slips from customers. These slips were then handed to the
"The Bench (Mr. C. J. Whitehead and Sir W. H.
Hadow) bound Mears and Thynne over in the sum of
£5 to discontinue the
haunting of betting premises. Mrs. Mosforth was fined
£5, and in the case
of the defendant Mosforth, they were of the opinion that a serious breach
of the law had been committed, and he would be fined
- Sheffield Daily Telegraph, Tuesday, 17 October 1922
transfer [was] refused on the ground that the renewal of the licences will
be opposed at the Brewster Sessions to be held in February:―Portobello
Tavern, Portobello Street, from James William Mosforth to William Henry
Hardy. The Brewster Sessions will be held in Sheffield on February 7th,
- Sheffield Daily Telegraph, Thursday, 7
the Sheffield Licensing Sessions, yesterday, Sir William Clegg, who
presided, said, after two cases where transfers were refused, that the
magistrates were not at all satisfied with the so-called supervision,
which had proved quite ineffective. It was no part of their duty to make
suggestions as to how it could be made more effective. That must rest with
the owners. Mr. J. E. Wing, on behalf of Messrs. Tennants Ltd., said that
James William Mosforth had been proceeded against for taking bets in the
house, but action was taken under the Betting Act and not the Licensing
Act to get a heavier penalty, and he contended that therefore there was
nothing against the house and the transfer should be granted. They had as
inspector, Mr. Dakin, a former police superintendent, who visited the
premises from time to time. He had never seen any betting, and did not
know there was a telephone was upstairs and not in the ordinary rooms.
"The former tenant, James William Mosforth, denied on oath that he took
bets from constables, despite what they had said. Mr. Dakin said his
present duties included the inspection of the houses of Messrs. Tennant.
He frequently went to the Portobello Tavern, but never saw any betting
nor did he know there was a telephone until after the case against
Mosforth. Replying to questions by Sir William he said that though he knew
betting was done by telephone he did not ask Mosforth if he had a
telephone. It was not usual to do so, for they had 300 tenants. He knew
Mosforth well, and suspected he was a betting man, but not on the
"Sir William Clegg: Where then? Witness: At a club in
Sycamore Street. How long had it gone on there?―Ever since the Garrick was
closed. Did you report it to the Chief Constable?―I don't remember.
Do you agree it is a proper thing for a publican to be a betting
man?―No, sir. Then why did you not report to the Chief Constable?―I don't
know that I did not. But such a report would be in writing?―Not always. I
should not report on suspicions, only when I was sure of my ground. I did
not think he was betting in the house.
"Mr. A. W. Forsdike,
opposing the transfer, said that documents found in the house showed that
the betting business had been extensive, and that profits amounted to
£20 per day. It there was racing five days per week, that would mean
a profit of about
£5,000 per year. Sir William said that the magistrates
had decided to refuse the application. Mr. Wing gave notice of appeal, and
suggested he could put Mosforth back, but that there were other ways of
meeting the difficulty. Sir William said that the magistrates would assist
the owners as far as possible and that the suggestion would be in order,
so long as the house conducted satisfactorily."
Sheffield Daily Independent, Thursday, 25 January 1923
early Thursday morning, 11 July 1929 at the Sheffield Union Hospital on
Herries Road (Firvale Infirmary), West Riding of Yorkshire
71 years 190 days
registered in Sheffield
"MOSFORTH―On July 11th, William ('Billy'), the
beloved husband of Viviana Mosforth, of 4, St. George's Terrace, after a
short illness, aged 72. Internment, Crookes Cemetery, to-day (Monday),
11.30 a.m." - Sheffield
Daily Telegraph, Monday, 15 July
"DEATH OF WILLIAM MOSFORTH
"The death occurred in hospital at Sheffield
early today of William Mosforth, who by many authorities was considered to
be the finest outside left England has ever produced.
Sheffield in 1858, Mosforth before reaching the age of 20, was a great
personality in Sheffield and International sport. He
played regularly for Sheffield's representative eleven for many years and
first appeared in an International match for England in 1877, when only
19 years old. His last season as an International was in 1882 and
altogether he was capped for his country on nine occasions―five against
Scotland, four against Wales.
"He reached the zenith of his career in
April, 1879, when Scotland were beaten by five goals to four at the Oval.
On that occasion he gave a brilliant display and was carried shoulder high
by the spectators to the dressing-room."
- Sunderland Daily Echo & Shipping Gazette, Thursday, 11 July 1929.
"FUNERAL OF MR. MOSFORTH. Old Sheffield
and International Footballer.
"Playing contemporaries of the
late Mr. William Mosforth were among the many sportsmen present at Crookes
Cemetery, Sheffield, yesterday, when the famous Wednesday and England
forward was laid to rest. The service was conducted by the Rev. T.
Crowther Makinson (Vicar of St. Timothy's)."
- Sheffield Daily Telegraph, Friday, 12 July 1929/Tuesday, 16
Viviana Mosforth died on
28 May 1938.