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This fact may not give a definitive answer to the question but it certainly adds a little detail. In a book entitled Ernest Bracebridge or Schoolboy Day by WHG Kingston published in 1860, the author gives details of both sports being played in school in the mid 19th century. Do the academic details added to the description of the sports give us grounds to suggest that hockey predates golf?

In one statement the author says of golf, “Two centuries ago it was a fashionable game among the nobility: and we hear of Prince Henry, eldest son of King James the First, amusing himself with it”. This would have been circa 1610. In those days golf was called ‘bandy ball’, very similar in name to ‘bandy’ an accepted early version of hockey that was being played before this date.

Moreover, our author kindly delves further back to say that, “In the reign of Edward the Third the game [of golf] was played and known by the Latin name of Cambuca”. This was circa 1327 and Cambuca, although a Latin word, was also an early name for hockey.

These early references to stick and ball games will be researched further and fleshed out to form part of an authoritative study of hockey that is being carried out by The Hockey Museum and will be published in some years’ time.

There are very few records of royalty playing hockey and even fewer of reigning monarchs. However, this reference relies entirely on what King George V said when he attended the international match between England and Ireland at Beckenham in 1921. Having met the teams, he proceeded to tell those in his party that he had been a hockey player himself. Confirmation of this was apparently given during the match by his appreciation of the skills and his understanding of the rules.

Whilst we are happy to accept the monarch's word that he played hockey we have no actual record or report of it. We do know that his elder brother, the Duke of Clarence was a hockey player but they lived rather different lives. The Duke died before inheriting the crown, leaving George an unexpected monarch. George had spent much of his life in the Royal Navy and it could have been while serving that he played hockey as it was a popular game in the Navy in those days.

King George V

A match between Ludlow and Bromyard was played on 29 October 1898.

This was the age of the train: all these early matches involved train travel which presented both problems and pleasures. Arrival time reduced the Bromyard game on the 29 October 1898, for instance, to twenty minutes each way. But for their return journey the Bromyard team chose a train which did not get them home until midnight.

One presumes that a very good time was had by all, and perhaps envies the togetherness which train travel promoted when compared to those modern team trips on which travel is in separate private cars.

Source: The History of Ludlow HC.

The first four international matches that were played by England men were all against Ireland. They were in 1895, 1896, 1897 and 1898. As this was around the 'birth' of international hockey it is not altogether surprising to discover repeat fixtures against the same opposition because hockey was not being played in many countries at the time. However, it is a little surprising that the first ever international hockey match was between Wales and Ireland in 1895, a few months before England played their first ever match against Ireland. Why then did England and Wales not play each other in that three year period? Will we ever know?

HockiveFact no8
There are 132 nations affiliated to the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and 131 of them play under their own national flag.

The one exception is Ireland because they play their international hockey representing the whole island of Ireland; that is to say the four provinces of Ireland including Ulster, which, of course, is also known as Northern Ireland.

The Irish hockey flag therefore incorporates the badges of the four provinces – Munster, Leinster, Connaught and Ulster – although there has been confusion on occasions when the Republic of Ireland's tricolour has inadvertently appeared!

In the 1970s there were still a lot of separate Ladies' and Men's clubs. Many men's clubs went on to form ladies' sections, whilst many ladies' clubs amalgamated with a local club. For the purposes of this story, Wimbledon Ladies' Hockey Club and Staines Hockey Club were separate clubs a dozen or so miles apart. A few members from each club met up at festivals and, for a few years, the ladies of Wimbledon were enthusiastically entertained in the Staines club house on a Saturday evening. Those were in the days when English club hockey was consistently played on grass at 3pm or thereabouts and a large gathering retired to the bar after tea. The net result of all this fraternising was that seven ladies of Wimbledon ended up marrying seven gentlemen of Staines! Can any other clubs beat that?

In the 1930s the Hockey Association, which ran all men’s hockey in England, had a rule that England should only play one 'foreign international' match a year. With the Home Countries playing each other regularly this meant that England international players of the era would play a maximum of four matches a season. It is a staggering comparison to the modern era where England teams often play twenty to thirty matches a year.

Hockey was not included in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. So as not to miss out completely, Germany decided to host an alternative tournament in Hamburg. They invited six other countries to join them but only England and Austria accepted and attended. We believe that England won both of their games though the results do not appear in the England records. Indeed, the only recorded results of this tournament are those kept by the Germans.

13/10/1912 Germany 3-8 England
14/10/1912 Germany 5-0 Austria

The first person to fly a plane off seawater was Oliver Schwann, a very keen hockey player and one of the 'founding fathers' of the Royal Navy Hockey Association. He was also responsible for setting up The United Services Hockey Club which most people in hockey know of, rather confusingly, as US Portsmouth which has nothing to do with the Americans.

Promoted Commander at the age of 31, on 31 December 1909 he was successively Commanding Officer of Her Majesty's ships HMS Niger and HMS Hermione. It was during this period that his rapidly increasing interest in aviation came to fruition. He bought his own aeroplane, an Avro Type D landplane for £700, a great deal of money in those days. He fitted floats to it and was successful in being the first British person ever to take off from salt water. This he achieved in Cavendish Dock, Barrow-in-Furness on 18 November 1911, which happened to be his 33rd birthday. Bitten by the flying bug he then qualified as a pilot six months later on 16 April 1912 at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain (Royal Aero Club Certificate no. 203).

A full article on Oliver Schwann will appear in our soon-to-be-launched Hockey's Military Stories (HMS) feature as he enjoyed an amazing Service life that took in the Royal Navy, the Royal Naval Air Service and finally the Royal Air Force to make up a service career that spanned 53 years.


Oliver Schwann taxiing in his Avro Type D, Barrow-in-Furness, 18 November 1911.
Image reproduced courtesy of the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

Across the bottom of page 3 of the last issue of Hockey Field magazine for the season 1938/39 (specifically, 8 April) there was printed a statement in bold type that read:


Of course, that was not to be as WW2 began that very summer. In fact the next issue was not published until the 5 October 1946, some seven and a half years later; however hockey continued to flourish and we have many records of wartime hockey building up in our forthcoming study of Hockey’s Military Stories.

In the first ever Olympic Hockey Tournament at the London Olympics of 1908, The Home Nations – England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – all took part separately. They were joined by France and Germany but it was the Home Nations that reached the medal play-off games. The bronze medal match did not take place as Scotland and Wales decided they needed to get home and back to work and it is believed that no bronze medals were awarded. In the final for the gold medal England defeated Ireland 8-1.

Whilst we are aware of at least four of the gold medals, no mention has ever been heard of a silver medal. Were they ever presented?

Hockive no2 02Hockive no2 01









 Olympic gold medal awarded to Gerald Logan, 1908.

Hockey’s Five-a-side Future?

14 December 2015
Hockey’s Five-a-side Future?

Is this the beginning of the end of hockey as we know it? The introduction of Hockey 5s for the first time at a senior international tournament in the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea this summer was a potentially ground-breaking moment in the history of hockey. It is a...

THM Appoints A Collections Management Officer

16 November 2015

The Hockey Museum (THM) is delighted to announce that Karen Clarke will be joining us early in the new year to become our Collections Management Officer. Karen has a superb pedigree in the field of museum accreditation and collections management. She comes to us from the Hampshire Cultural Trust where...

Call For Tenders: To Lead A Study To Scope Hockey’s Worldwide Heritage

03 November 2015
Call For Tenders: To Lead A Study To Scope Hockey’s Worldwide Heritage

Organisation: The Hockey MuseumLocation: UK, Surrey, WokingClosing date: 27 November 2015Job type: contractSalary: budget in the region of £10,000 The Hockey Museum (THM), supported by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), plans to carry out a scoping study that will define an approach to the task of developing a worldwide network...

Spring Forward, Fall Back

03 November 2015

As the clocks go back The Hockey Museum continues to move forward. Grab a cuppa and enjoy the read... What an exciting and successful summer for The Hockey Museum! In early July we went into partnership with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to support them in one of their stated...

Ireland’s Call: Hockey Players Who Fell In WW1

23 October 2015
Ireland’s Call: Hockey Players Who Fell In WW1

One of The Hockey Museum’s (THM) volunteers, Peter Jackson, has been involved in the hockey research that supported the recent publication of the book Ireland’s Call: Irish Sporting Heroes Who Fell in the Great War, (published by Merrion Press) written by BBC journalist, Stephen Walker. The book follows the fascinating...

THM Talk: Australian Women's Hockey 05.11.2015

22 October 2015
THM Talk: Australian Women's Hockey 05.11.2015

Photo: Australian touring team 1970. Janet Beverly is in the back row, third from the right. On Thursday 5 November 2015 Australian international hockey player Janet Beverly will be presenting a talk entitled Australian Women's Hockey: From England With Love at The Hockey Museum, Woking. For more details visit the Upcoming Events page or...

THM Job Vacancy: Collections Management Officer

14 September 2015
THM Job Vacancy: Collections Management Officer

The Hockey Museum, Woking, Surrey.Collections Management OfficerAverage 3 days a week - flexibleExpected remuneration: c. £20k - 23k pro rataFixed term 1 year, with potential to extend. Freelancers welcome to apply. The Hockey Museum (THM) opened in late 2011, achieved charitable status later that year and is working toward Museum...

Ric Charlesworth And The Queen’s Reign

11 September 2015

Wednesday 9 September 2015, the day that our Queen Elizabeth II became the longest serving monarch in British history. Very significant coverage has been given to this event in all forms of the media. On the morning, BBC Radio Five Live had a wide ranging feature that included an interview with...

The EuroHockey Championships 2015: What Glorious Moments

07 September 2015
The EuroHockey Championships 2015: What Glorious Moments

As the Champions of Europe were triumphantly crowned on the field, we celebrated (off the field!) our largest ever exhibition. We hope you enjoyed watching the Unibet EuroHockey Championships 2015 either on TV, through the various website channels, or live at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. If you visited The...

Get Your Hands On Newsletter Vol.6

19 August 2015

Our latest newsletter is now available to download. Catch up on all the latest going ons at The Hockey Museum by following this link. Shane Smith, 20 August 2015

Irish Match Statistics

18 August 2015
Irish Match Statistics

The Irish have done some great research work to pull together a full record of all the men’s international matches since the first game in 1895. The task has been completed by Steve Hines who admitted that it had been a labour of love to develop the database since he...

The Barry Middleton Collection

17 August 2015
The Barry Middleton Collection

In boxes, suit carriers and a suitcase came a collection commemorating the hockey history of Barry Middleton, England and Great Britain international and Olympic competitor. It showed just how diverse are the collections which we are given to preserve for posterity at The Hockey Museum. Sorting through the many and...

Another 'Wow Moment': A British Team In Europe In 1935

04 August 2015
Another 'Wow Moment': A British Team In Europe In 1935

It is not often that we learn of international matches that we are unaware of. We recently received an enquiry from a regular contact in Dublin, asking if we had any information on the British teams that visited Europe in 1935 and 1937. We certainly had not as, in our...

The Hockey Museum Gains International Recognition

15 July 2015
The Hockey Museum Gains International Recognition

The Hockey Museum (THM) Trustees are delighted to announce that the FIH Foundation for the Promotion & Development of Hockey (the FIH Foundation) and THM have signed an agreement (a Memorandum of Understanding) that formalises the collaboration between them to work together to preserve hockey’s heritage. The key aims are...

The Hockey Museum Is Helping Two UK Exhibitions

31 May 2015

On 10th June a sports exhibition titled Team Spirit opens at the Orleans Gallery in Richmond. We have provided some material relevant to their area. Also, at the moment, we have material in an exhibition in Alford Manor House in Lincolnshire to celebrate their local patron who was a hockey enthusiast. So,...

FIH President Drops By

16 May 2015
FIH President Drops By

FIH President Pays Whistle Stop Visit To The Hockey Museum Players in the Mercian Home Counties Colts Hockey League Finals at Guildford received a surprise visit when the International Hockey Federation (FIH) president, Leandro Negre, called in to make some presentations. He then went on to Woking to visit The Hockey...


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