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November 30, 2008

Edgar Lubbock - Master of Blankney Hunt

Famous People on our Doorstep

Edgar Lubbock LLB was the Master of the Blankney Hunt at the turn of the 20th century. He was born on 22 February 1847 in St James, London the eighth son of Sir John William and Harriett Lubbock.Educated at Eton and the University of London he studied Law and became an accomplished lawyer. Through his career he held varying positions, including Lieutenant of the City of London, Director of Whitbread Brewery, Director of the Bank of England and in 1907 Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire. He died in London on 9 September 1907 aged 60 whilst Master of the Blankney Hunt.

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He played cricket for Kent from1866 to 1871 and also made three appearances for England as a batsman in sides which included the famous W.G. Grace touring Canada and America with the MCC.

He was one of the first sportsmen to play football and cricket at the top level and to this date is one of an even smaller number who have represented their country at the two games.

His real claim to fame though was the fact that he appeared in the very first Football F.A. Cup Final on 16 March 1872 at the Kennington Oval. Fifteen sides entered this new competition, paying a massive £1 entry fee, which for most of the sides at that time, was a huge part of their annual income for the season. Thirteen of the teams came from in and around London while the two remaining sides were from Queen's Park in Scotland (reputed to be the best side in Britain at the time) and Donington Grammar School from Spalding, Lincolnshire. The "rounds" appeared to be a shambles as there was no seeding to keep the best clubs apart and if a tie was drawn, both sides progressed through to the next round. In the case of Donington and Queen's Park, they were drawn together in round one but the game was not played and both were given a bye through to the next round. Then in round two the two sides were again paired together with Queen's Park the home side. Donington could not afford the travel expense and withdrew without kicking a ball, allowing Queen's Park a free passage into the semi final. For Donington they created their own piece of history in the FA Cup, scratching from the competition without kicking a ball, never to enter again. The farce of the competition continued right up to the final as the F.A. had stated that all ties must be played in London. Queen's Park, having travelled to the capital once, drew with The Wanderers and were then instructed to return for the replay but finances prevented them doing so and The Wanderers were given a walkover to reach the final having won only one game on route. Meanwhile their opponents Royal Engineers had played three, without conceding a goal.

The Wanderers took the field as favourites having the pick of the best players from all the public schools and universities while the Royal Engineers, from Chatham in London, was made up of military men, included two army captains and nine lieutenants. Two thousand spectators paid 1p each and crammed into the Kennington Oval ground to enjoy what was an historical match. The game would have had very little resemblance to the game of today with the playing area not marked out, the goals just two posts in the ground with a length of tape tied from one to the other as the crossbar and no goal nets. When the teams came onto the field, there were no recognisable goalkeepers because they wore the same jersey as their team-mates and the match itself would have looked like a rabble of school boys chasing a ball in a playground with penalty kicks and free-kicks not a part of the game. Unfortunately for the Royal Engineers they lost their influential half back Lieutenant Edmund Cresswell with a broken collar bone inside ten minutes(the first ever recorded injury in a cup final) and with substitutes not part of the game of that day, Wanderers took advantage of the extra man to win by 1-0 with a goal from Morton Peto Betts, mysteriously playing under the pseudonym of A.H. Chequer. He got this nickname because he was a member of Harrow Chequers when his team had forfeited their match in the first round against The Wanderers he then "transferred" to the finalists. The Engineers did well to keep the score down to one goal and at the end of the match, the players just shook hands and left the field for their communal bath and a "cuppa." It was not until three weeks later the first FA Cup winners were presented with the trophy at a gala evening in Pall Mall. The F.A. also gave each player in the winning team a silken badge commemorating the victory and they also received an inscribed gold medal from the committee of The Wanderers. The FA saw the competition as a roaring success, despite all the hiccups which would suggest that is why over 700 clubs entered last seasons' competition, right down to sides like Sleaford Town who entered for the first time this season.

Edgar Lubbock left The Wanderers to join Old Etonians appearing in his second final in 1874-5 when his team lost after a replay against Royal Engineers. In this match an Arthur Lubbock appeared in the replayed game and as to whether it was Edgar's brother is unclear but if he was they would have been the first brothers to appear for the same team in an FA Cup Final although the Rowson brothers were on opposite sides in the 1874 final. Edgar was to appear in the cup final of the following year against his old colleagues of The Wanderers which also went to a replay. He did not appear in the first game but was again a loser, appearing in the replay. Three years later he picked up his second winners medal in four attempts when Old Etonians beat Clapham Rovers 1-0. This was some achievement to have appeared in four of the first eight finals played, picking up two winners medals.

Prior to the introduction of official "international" soccer matches, five "unofficial" games were played between a representative England side and a team of Scottish exiles, all of which were based in or around London. These took place between 1870 and 1872 with Lubbock making "international" appearances for his country in all five games.

Towards the end of Edgar's playing career he married Amy Myddleton Peacock of Greatford Hall near Stamford in June 1886 and they had three daughters. The Lubbock's youngest daughter, Marigold Rosemary Joyce (b 15 May 1903) was to marry Hugo William Cecil Denison, 4th Earl of Londesborough of Blankney Hall on 4 September 1935 and they had one daughter Zinnia Rosemary (b. 1937 - d 1997).
While being a more than useful sportsman Edgar Lubbock achieved a first class honours degree at the University of London, obtaining the Clifford Inn's prize for Law. He went on to become a top lawyer which then saw him hold the positions of managing director of Whitbread's Brewery together with that of Deputy-Governor of the Bank of England. Whilst residing in the capital he became the "Lieutenant of the City of London". He was described as an extremely able business organiser.

On marriage he move to Lincolnshire, firstly living in Grantham before having Caythorpe Court built to the high stand that is known today. In his "leisure" time he rode with both the Belvoir and Blankney Hunt, becoming Master of the Blankney early in the 1900's. Through his popularity in the County he became the High Sheriff in 1907 but he died suddenly in the September of that year at just 60 years of age, whilst still the Master of Blankney Hunt. His funeral was held in his home village at St Vincent Church, Caythorpe.