England Football Online
Players Index Page Last Updated
8 August 2019

Ben Spilsbury

Cambridge University AFC & Derby County FC & Corinthians FC

3 appearances, 5 goals (1 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, Staffordshire, September 1864].
Baptised 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.
Attended Rossall School until 1876.


According to the 1881 census, Benjamin W. is a pupil at Repton School, Burton-upon-Trent. His school register reveals that he joined Repton in September 1876 and remained until July 1883.


Not on the 1891 census, but
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 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, Tuesday, 5 June 1906, at St. Ann's Episcopal Church, Coupar Angus [no registeration 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
"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.

Not on the 1911 census.

Death Thursday, 18 August 1938, at 225 Eight Street West in North Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada, aged 74 years 17 days [not registered in the UK].
Correct date of death confirmed by the Probate.


"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.
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."


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


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 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 goals ave.min comp. goals captain
4 3 3 270 5 54 min 5 none
minutes are approximation, due to the fact that many matches rarely stuck to exactly ninety minutes long, allowing time for injuries and errors.
3 2 1 0 11 2 +9 0 1 3.667 0.667 83.3 +2

Match Record

Venue & Competition P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts % W/L
Home British Championship 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


F.A. Committee (Charles Alcock) - three full appearances (270 min), 5 goalsx

 Clubs: Cambridge University F.C., Derby County F.C. & Corinthians F.C - three full appearances (270 min), 5 goals  
Age 20
1 23 28 February 1885 - England 4 Ireland 0
Manchester Football Ground, Manchester
BC HW 75 ir

Age 21
2 26 13 March 1886 - Ireland 1 England 6
Ulster Cricket Ground, Belfast
BC HW nk il
3 27 27 March 1886 - Scotland 1 England 1
Hampden Park, Glasgow
BC AD   or
28 29 March 1886 - Wales 1 England 3, The Racecourse, Wrexham AW reserve