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Players Index Page Last Updated
23 September 2021

Walpole Vidal

Wanderers FC, Old Westminsters FC, Oxford University AFC

1 appearance, 0 goals

P 1 W 1 D 0 L 0 F 4: A 2
100% successful


minutes played:


  Reverend Robert Walpole Sealy Vidal
Birth Saturday, 3 September 1853 in Cornborough House, Abbotsham, near Bideford, Devonshire
  no registration found
"On the 3d inst., at Conborough, near Bideford, Devon, the wife of E. U. Vidal, Esq., of a son." - London Evening Standard, Tuesday, 6 September 1853
Cornborough House Baptism: 9 October 1853 in St. Helen's Church, Abbotsham.

According to the 1861 census, seven year old Walpole Sealy is the sixth of eleven children to Edward Urch Sealy and Emma Harriet (née Eyre). His father is a magistrate and a barrister, living at Cornborough House [left] at Abbotsham. There are seven servants.

According to the 1871 census, seventeen year old Robert W.S. is a scholar at St. Peter's College in Westminster.

According to the 1881 census, Robert W. Sealy is a lodger at the home of Caroline Mason. He is a vice principal at Ely Theological College, living at 44 Market Street in Ely.

First marriage to Lucy Christina Carter, on 2 June 1881, at Cotterstock, Northamptonshire
  registered in Oundle March-June 1881
"VIDAL―CARTER―June 2, at Catterstock, near Oundle, by the Rev. H. Scott Holland, Senior Student of Ch. Ch., assisted by the Rev G. Huntingford, Rector of Barnwell, and the Rev H. G. Woodhouse, Vicar of Cotterstock, the Rev. R. W. Sealy Vidal, Vicar of Abbotsham, Devon, and the late vice-Principal of Ely Theological College, to Lucy Christina, second daughter of the late T. Fortescue Carter, Esq., of Wood-park, Neston." - North Devon Journal, Thursday, 9 June 1881.
Children Walpole and Lucy had one child together, Walpole Eyre Sealy Vidal (b.1883).
Lucy Vidal died in 1883, his father then died 18 December 1884
Second marriage to Gertrude Molesworth, on 15 July 1885, in Abbotsham. Gertrude is a British Subject Birth in Banglahore
  registered in Bideford July-September 1885
"VIDAL―MOLESWORTH―On the 15th inst., at Abbotsham Church, North Devon, the Rev. Robert Walpole Sealy Vidal, Vicar of Abbotsham, son of the late Edward Urch Vidal, Esq., of Cornborough, near Bideford, to Gertrude, daughter of Major-General Molesworth, R.A., of Kenwith, Abbotsham." - The Globe, Friday, 17 July 1885.
Children Walpole and Gertrude had four children together, Alice Mary Sealy Vidal (b.16 October 1887), Edward Molesworth Sealy Vidal (b.1889), Gertrude Sylvia Sealy Vidal (b.9 August 1890) and Violet Inez (b.1900).
  According to the 1891 census, Robert W.S. Vidal is living at The Vicarage, in Abbotsham, as the Vicar. He is married to Gertrude and they have four children, Walpole, Alice, Edward and Gertrude. They have three servants.
"ROBERT WALPOLE SEALY VIDAL, of the Vicarage, Abbotsham, in the County of Devon, Clerk in Holy Orders, HEREBY GIVE NOTICE that, by Deed Poll dated the Eleventh day of May, 1892, and enrolled in the Chancery Division of Her Majesty's High Court of Justice on the Twelfth day of May, 1892, I have assumed and taken the Surname of SEALY," in lieu of the Surname of "VIDAL," omitting the Christian name of "SEALY," and that I intend to be henceforward described in all deeds and other documents, and to be known and sign myself as hereunto subscribed.
Dated this 26th day of May, 1892.
Witness, GEO. OLIVER PEARD, Bideford Solicitor."
- Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, Friday, 3 June 1892.

(His mother died on 13 December 1897)
Cannot be found on the 1901 census.

  According to the 1911 census, Robert Walpole Sealy is still living at The Vicarage, in Abbotsham, as the Vicar. Still married to Gertrude and they have two children living with them, Alice and Violet. They still have three servants.
Death Thursday, 5 November 1914 at The Vicarage in Abbotsham, near Bideford, Devon
aged 61 years 63 days registered as Robert Sealy in Bideford October-December 1914
"SEALY.―Nov 5th, at Abbotsham Vicarage, Robert Walpole Sealy, M.A., Ch. Ch., Oxon, Prebendary Exeter Cathedral, aged 61." - Hartland and West Country Chronicle, Wednesday, 18 November 1914


"We regret to record the death, at his residence at Abbotsham Vicarage, near Bideford, on Thursday of Prebendary Robert Walpole Sealy. He was the eldest surviving son of the late Mr. E. U. Vidal, J P, of Cornborough, Abbotsham and was Birth in 1853. He was Curate at St. Edmund's, Salisbury, 1877-9, vice-principal of Ely Theological College, 1879-81. A well-known North-Devon clergyman, Mr. Sealy for many years threw himself heart and soul into public and Church work. Up to a few weeks ago he was Rural Dean of Hartland, and not long since he was given the vacant Prebendary stall at Exeter Cathedral. He was vice-Chairman of the Bideford Board of Guardians, a member of the Bideford Rural District Council, a Commissioner of Income-tax, past patron of the Bideford Hospital, and he had also served on the County Education Committee.
"A noted athlete in his day, Mr. Sealy was a prominent International footballer, and was captain of the winning team for the Football Association Cup, also captain of the Oxford University eleven; was founder and first President of the Oxford University Golf Club, rowed in his college eight, also played for Devon County cricket matches. and was also a prominent member of the Royal North Devon Golf Club. By his first marriage with a daughter of Mr. T. F. Carter, of Liverpool, he had one son, now the Rev. W. E. Sealy, Curate of Fonthill, Surrey, and by his second marriage with the daughter of the late General Molesworth, of Kenwith, Abbotsham, who survives him he leaves a son, Lieut. E. M. W. Sealy,
R E, who has just left for the Front, and three daughters, one of whom is married to Mr. J. S. Nicholson, of Bristol. The Sealy's are an old Somerset family long seated at Bridgwater, and Mr. Sealy reverted to the family name in 1892, his father having assumed the additional name of Vidal on settling in Devon."
The North Devon Journal, Thursday, 12 November 1914
Probate "SEALY the reverend Robert Walpole of the Vicarge Abbotsham Devonshire clerk died 5 November 1914 Probate Exeter 14 December to Gertrude Sealy widow.
Effects £5702 12s." [2019 equivalent: £662,887].
  Gertrude Sealy died on 7 October 1953 in Abbotsham
Source Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990] &

Playing Career

Club(s) Vidal attended school at Westminster, London and university at Christ Church, Oxford before becoming a reverend. He was a member of the Wanderers FC team and the Old Westminsters FC. The following year, 1874, Vidal became a playing member of the Oxford University AFC.
Club honours FA Cup winners 1871-72 [probably the only schoolboy ever to win the FA Cup], 1873-74; runners-up 1872-73;
Individual honours None
Distinctions Vidal also has the very peculiar honour of being the only person to score a hat-trick without anybody else touching the ball! Such were the rules of the day, that the team who had scored got to restart the match. Vidal scored his first, took the ball out of the net, put it down on the centre spot, ran the length of the field and scored again (his second), took the ball out of the net, ran back and repeated the feat (his third). The changing of the rules in 1877 prevented further scenes like this to happen. The "king of dribblers" showed why he was so called with this amazing feat.
Height/Weight not known
Source Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990].

England Career

Player number One of nine who became the 12th players (15) to appear for England.
Position(s) Half-back
Only match No. 2, 8 March 1873, England 4 Scotland 2, a friendly match at The Surrey Cricket Ground, The Oval, Kennington, London, aged 19 years 186 days.
Individual honours The South (one appearance, December 1870)
Distinctions The first Devonshirian to represent England
Became for a short while, England's youngest ever international at 19 years 186 days. A record held between 1873 and 1877.
Older brother of William Vidal and George Vidal.
Died thirteen days after Frank Heron

Beyond England

Served on the FA Committee 1872 and 1874. Ordained in 1877 and Vicar of Abbotsham, Devon, 1881 to his death. - An English Football Internationalists' Who's Who. Douglas Lamming (1990). Hatton Press, p.255.

The Numbers
parties Appearances minutes captain
1 1 90 0 none
The minutes here given can only ever be a guideline and cannot therefore be accurate, only an approximation.
1 1 0 0 4 2 +2 0 0 4 2 100 +1
His only match was a friendly match and at a home venue

Match History
 Clubs: Wanderers F.C. & Westminsters School F.C. - no full appearances F.A. Committee (Charles Alcock) - one full appearance (90 min)x

apps match match details comp res. rundown pos

Age 16
1 5 March 1870 - England 1 Scotland 1, The Surrey Cricket Ground, Kennington Fr HD   n/a

Age 17
2 19 November 1870 - England 1 Scotland 0, The Surrey Cricket Ground, Kennington Fr HW   n/a

one appearance - The South vs. The North, December 1870
 Clubs: Wanderers F.C. & Old Westminsters A.F.C. - no full appearances  

3 25 February 1871 - England 1 Scotland 1, The Surrey Cricket Ground, Kennington Fr HD   n/a

Age 18
4 18 November 1871 - England 2 Scotland 1, The Surrey Cricket Ground, Kennington Fr HW   n/a
5 24 February 1872 - England 1 Scotland 0, The Surrey Cricket Ground, Kennington Fr HW   for

 Club: Oxford University A.F.C. & Old Westminsters A.F.C - one full appearance (90 min)  

Age 19
1 2 8 March 1873 - England 4 Scotland 2
The Surrey Cricket Ground, Kennington
Fr HW   hb

one of nine who became the twelfth (fifteen) player to appear for England
becomes the youngest player to feature for England - until 1877
the fifth player from Oxford University AFC to represent England
the first Old Westminster to represent England
the youngest player to represent England - until 1877