the sixteenth century, the School created half holidays in which it is assumed
boys played sport, and one sport that it is known was played at that time by
those boys was cricket.
In 1598, there
was a dispute over the School's ownership of a plot of land in which someone
gave evidence of having played cricket at this site fifty years earlier (circa
1550). This is generally considered to
be the first mention of cricket in the English language.
is no further mention of sport at the RGS until 1859-75 when Merriman was
Headmaster. Merriman purchased Allen
House for his boarding pupils in 1866 and its grounds became available for the
use of the boys. Drill and swimming were
on the curriculum but the provision of organised games and the playing fields
necessary for them only came after the reorganisation of the School in 1888 and
then the initiative came from the new Headmaster JC Honeybourne. For many years, the School had to borrow and
rent pitches or arrange only away fixtures.
A cricket field was rented in 1891, Stoke Recreation ground was used for
soccer matches and Allen House was borrowed for athletic sports. There was also
a school swimming club which used the Corporation Baths in Castle Street.
1893, the problem of finding a suitable field for cricket and football had
plagued the School, but by 1900 a field had been obtained; however, it was too
rough for cricket. In 1902, the first
pavilion was built. Meanwhile, drill was
once more back on the curriculum, the fives court was repaired and the
gymnasium was rebuilt.
the grounds of Allen House were presented to the School, but after the First
World War, Allen House Field was no longer big enough and in 1924 a field in
what is now Boxgrove Avenue was rented. A
year later, rugby was introduced. Urn
Field was purchased after lengthy negotiations in 1964/5 but was later
abandoned and the current Bradstone Brook Sports Ground was purchased in 1985.