TIVERTON PREEDY (1863 - 1928)

"The founder of Barnsley Football Club


I became interested in Tiverton Preedy when I was researching an earlier article on the only F. A. Cup Final to be played in Sheffield. It occurred in 1912 and the winners for the only time in their history were Barnsley F.C. The guest of honour at the post match celebrations  was a person by the name of TIVERTON PREEDY who was presented with the match ball. I then found out that the Reverend Preedy, was the founder of Barnsley F. C. and it was only through his zeal, enthusiasm and commitment that the club came into exsitence.

He was born on the 22nd January 1863 in Hunstanton which is situated on the north coast of Norfolk He was the son of Charles Wolley Preedy (1820 - 1883) and Mary Jane Scrivenor. 

The 1871 Census has the family living in Hitchen (Hertfordshire) in Bancroft Street, 

Charles Wolley PREEDY  Head   M   Male  50 Stanhoe Norfolk  Land Agent
 Mary Jane PREEDY   Wife   M   Female  44 London England   
 Frederick PREEDY   Son     Male  10 Hunstanton, Norfolk   
Tiverton PREEDY  Son     Male  8 Hunstanton, Norfolk General Servant  
Alice PREEDY Dau   Female 7 Hunstanton, Norfolk  
Walter PREEDY Son     5 Hunstanton, Norfolk  
Ann HALL Serv   Female 31 Anmer, Norfolk Cook-Dom Servant
Mary Bygrave Serv     18 Redhill, Herts Housemaid


For a number of years I could not locate Tiverton in the 1881 Census and speculated that this was because he may have been abroad training as a mission priest. However not for the first time the transcription was incorrect - Tiverton was listed as TWERTON and more surprisingly he is living in Lambeth with a family and is employed as a 18 year old Bank Clerk

Household Record 1881 British Census
Source Information:
Dwelling 4 Langton Terrace North Census Place Lambeth, Surrey, England
Family History Library Film 1341141 Public Records Office Reference RG11 Piece / Folio 0612 / 119 Page Number 11
Name Relation Marital Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation Disability
Hannah SMALL Head W Female 62 Kentish Town Laundress
Frederick SMALL Son U Male 18 Lambeth Driver
Rosa SMALL Daur U Female 25 Lambeth Ironer
Clara SMALL Daur U Female 21 Lambeth Ironer
Twerton PREEDY Boarder U Male 18 Hunstanton, Suffolk, England Bank Clerk
Alice SMALL Daur U Female 20 Lambeth Ironer

This information was generously supplied to me in March 2008 by a great niece of Tiverton Preedy who confirmed that the family already had links with the church. Tiverton had an elder brother CHARLES PREEDY who was born in 1856 and is listed in the 1881 Census as being a Curate at Birchington-On-Sea  in Kent

Household Record 1881 British Census
Source Information: Dwelling The Square Census Place Birchington, Kent, England
Family History Library Film 1341233 Public Records Office Reference RG11 Piece / Folio 0983 / 100 Page Number 8

Name Relation Marital Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation Disability
John J. BRISTOW Head M Male 39 Birchington, Kent, England Builder & Carpenter
Mary A. BRISTOW Wife M Female 42 Birchington, Kent, England
Rosina BRISTOW Daur U Female 16 Birchington, Kent, England Assistant In Household Work
Helen BRISTOW Daur Female 13 Birchington, Kent, England Assistant In Household Work
Mary M. BRISTOW Daur Female 7 Birchington, Kent, England Scholar
Agnes M. BRISTOW Daur Female 5 Birchington, Kent, England Scholar
Emma W. BRISTOW Daur Female 2 Birchington, Kent, England
Charles PREEDY Lodger U Male 25 Hunstanton, Norfolk, England Curate Of Birchington With Acol

At the moment I can't be positive but there is a very strong possibility that Tiverton's brother would have officiated at the funeral and subsequent burial of the noted artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti who died on 9th April 1882 and is buried in the local churchyard. (Rosetti was the brother of poet Christina Rossetti, the critic William Michael Rossetti, and author Maria Francesca Rossetti, and was a founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt). Strange to think of a connection between the founder of Barnsley FC and the Pre-Raphaelites!

In 1885 Tiverton, entered Lincoln Theological College to prepare for ordination. The College had been founded by Edward Benson who had taught at Rugby School — the cathedral of Victorian muscular Christianity. Benson believed that sport could be a force for moral good in the education of young people and Preedy came to share this vision. Once ordained he was dispatched to Barnsley in 1887 as a cleric at the church of St Peter. He founded the club in what was then a predominantly rugby town as a way of engaging with the working classes. 


Before 1887, Barnsley had been a staunch Rugby town in the middle of the Sheffield District, where Association Football ruled supreme. For no good reason, other than he wanted to, the Reverend Tiverton Preedy, cleric at the church of St Peter in Barnsley decided he wanted to “build a soccer team that the Rugbyites will not crush!”. A committee was formed and less than two weeks later, Barnsley St Peters Football Club played their first friendly match against Manor House, a team from Worsborough Bridge. Barnsley won 4-0, and wore navy and maroon striped shirts.

They soon acquired the nickname “The Saints” from their religious associations, and played home games in the grounds of a local pub called the ‘Dove Inn’. The pub itself was used by way of changing rooms. Rev Preedy also applied for permission to use a local landowners field in the Oakwell district. He was turned down several times before the owner; Mr Arthur Senior finally gave in, saying, “You can have it so long as you behave yourselves.” This field, grudgingly granted, was to become the Oakwell Ground, home to Barnsley Football Club to this day.

After playing friendly matches for three seasons, with a fairly successful record, the Oakwell Saints applied to join the Sheffield District League, and were accepted immediately. They changed their strip to chocolate and white shirts, and enjoyed moderate success in, finishing fifth from seven in their first season (1890/91). In the 1895/6 season, St Peters joined the Midlands League, and interestingly enough, rejected a proposal to change their name to ‘Barnsley Football Club’. It only took two years for the same proposal to be repeated, and second time around, it passed, thanks to the influence of the Club’s new chairman, Alec Black. Under Black, the Club applied for, and succeeded in gaining membership to the professional league. The Oakwell club, along with Glossop, New Brighton, and Kettering began playing league football in the 1898/9 season. To mark the occasion, another strip change occurred, this time to red shirts and white shorts, a combination that the club has stuck to.

Note : This information was obtained years ago  from the BBC website - I placed a link to the original text but this is now broken (May 2015)


An article that was published after his death in 1928 suggests that Father Preedy, in his first curacy at St Peters, walked out of the local rugby club because they had arranged to play a match on Good Friday

Formal Photograph of Father Preedy - the founder of Barnsley Football Club 

After the founding of the club, Tiverton left the area circa 1893 to go to London. The first four years in the capital were at at St Clement’s, King’s Square, Islington before he moved to the All Saints Mission in 1897. This had been newly founded in White Lion Street near the Angel Islington — ‘one of the most unlovely spots in London’— “by members of the wealthy West End congregation of All Saints, Margaret Street”. .  The Mission House was provided by Captain Charles Penton (the family gave its name to the surrounding district of Pentonville) and the accompanying premises - the cowsheds of a local diaryman - were in an extremely poor state of repair. But it was from these buildings that Father Preedy established yet another famous sporting institution.

In March 2008 I located an article entitled ALL SAINTS' MISSION, PENTONVILLE in The Pall Mall Gazette (London, England), Tuesday, June 14, 1898 during which their correspondent had tea with Tiverton and talked about the activities and principles behind the mission at All Saints

There was a further article MISSION WORK IN PENTONVILLE in The Morning Post (London, England), Saturday, June 25, 1898; pg. 2

Three years later, The Times in its edition dated Tuesday December 3rd 1901 gave the following account of Father Preedy's project 

Tiverton slept on the floor of the unfurnished house using his coat as a blanket. The priest’s new neighbours were mostly costermongers (fruit sellers) or flower sellers. Again it was through sport that Preedy reached out to them. He set up a boxing ring and billiard tables in the crypt of the mission hall and founded the Ashdown Athletic Club (see part 2) Preedy too acquired a reputation as a boxer. “Although only 5 feet 5 inches tall, his stocky build and steely eyes gave him a formidable appearance and none of the neighbourhood toughs would dare raise a finger to him.” He used his boxing skills, not only for recreation, but to combat the drinking excesses of some of the men of the district. His study window was so constructed that he could see the two pubs at either end of White Lion Street. If a wife reported that her husband had gone into one of them, Preedy was there after him. He had no hesitation in putting up his fists to ensure that the wage packet was not squandered on drink. Father Preedy did not forget the girls and women who sold flowers on the streets, organising recreation for them at which he accompanied dances on the piano, biretta pushed back on his head.

The 1911 UK Census has the following information on Tiverton

Name Tiverton Preedy
Condition Single Gender Male
Age 48 Estimated Year of Birth 1863
Occupation Clergyman Establish Hand
Employed Yes Working at Home N0
Place of Birth Norfolk Hunstanton
Nationality British
Enumerator Information Address 90 White Lion St Clerkenwell N Parish St James and St John Clerkenwell Town Clerkenwell N
Type of Building House Number of Rooms 8 Inhabited Yes
Reference RG14PN1217 RG78PN42 RD14 SD2 ED2 SN135 Administrative County London Registration District Holborn Registration Sub District Clerkenwell Enumeration District 2

Tiverton Preedy - Part 2


The Daily Telegraph Football Chronicle (1995)

Barnsley's Sporting Heroes' by Annie Storey (Wharncliffe Publishing 1997)

The Official History of Barnsley Football Club 1887 - 1979 - Grenville Firth

The Times dated Tuesday December 3rd 1901

All Saints, Margaret Street Newsletter

1881 UK Census

1911 UK Census

Pall Mall Gazette 1898


1. Lady Mary Jeune who laid the foundation stone - née Susan Marie Elizabeth Stewart-Mackenzie - was a energetic and well connected  society hostess, journalist and charity worker. Wife of Francis Henry Jeune, Baron St. Helier (1843-1905), a judge. Lady Jeune was a major figure in London society. holding weekly dinners where celebrities gathered. (Oscar Wilde, Russell Lowell, Matthew Arnold, Robert Browning and Thomas Hardy). As a writer her works include Dinners and Diners ---- English Women in Political Campaigns [1895] ---- London Society ---- London Society and its Critics [1892]]

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This page was last updated on 12/05/15 16:40