The School’s First England International

b o corbett 1

Captain Bertie Oswald Corbett, (Royal Artillery, taken some time during the Great War.)

Bertie Corbett attended the School during the late 1880s, leaving in 1894 when the infamous Plummer was still headmaster. Bertie went on to become one of the era’s leading amateur footballers – and an international player to boot.

Bertie Oswald Corbett was born in Thame on 15 May 1875, son of the Vicar of Thame, Elijah Baggott Corbett (1837-1893) and his wife Mary Anne nee Davies. (He was one of 8 children.) He was educated at the School before attending Oriel College, Oxford. Subsequently, he became a teacher: was a schoolmaster at Brighton College before being appointed headmaster of a school in Dorset and then moving to Derby. The 1911 Census shows him running – along with two sisters – a private prep school in Derby. During the Great Wall, he was a Captain in the Royal Artillery but currently nothing is known of his war record. After the War, B.O. Corbett and his brother C. John Corbett both ran schools in Derbyshire: Bertie had a school at Shardlow Hall, while younger brother John (1883-1944) was headmaster of Rycote on the Kedlestone Road, Derby, and later The Ashe at Etwall.

Bertie Corbett married Ella Stagg in Essex in 1912. He died at Waddon Manor, Portesham, Dorset on 30 November 1967 and was buried in Waddon Church on 4th December.  (We know from The Tamensian that he’d moved to Dorset by 1939.)

In 1897, he won a Blue for football at Oxford when they beat Cambridge 1-0. Corbett’s play was described as being ‘very good.’  He then played for the Corinthians Football Club (London) until 1906, where he was known as an ‘extremely fast dribbler … on the outside left.’ It is also thought he played for Reading and Slough, as well as in several North vs. South games where he always acquitted himself well.

In the December 1900 edition of The Tamensians we read: ‘B.O. Corbett played a fine game for the Corinthians on November 17th, in their match with Southampton. The professionals were defeated three goals to one.’

His skills reached international standard. On March 18, 1901, he played a full ‘A’ international, England vs. Wales which England won 6-0 due to four goals from the famous Steve Bloomer. In the Guardian match report, Corbett was said to ‘be most conspicuous.’ He contributed towards the first goal: ‘the first score came after thirty-eight minutes; Corbett raced up the wing, and centred finely to Bloomer who snapped the ball past Roose just under the crossbar.’ Bloomers sixth and final goal also came from a pass from Corbett.

When he played for the Corinthians these were the days when the famous amateur side could beat professional teams. In 1899 he played against Aston Villa in the Sheriff of London Charity Shield, and the Corinthians’ won 2-1. In the Guardian’s match report, it notes: ‘G O Smith raced from midfield and when tackled passed to Corbett on the outside right who, after a smart run, sent the ball right across to Foster who beat George with a very swift shot.’

Corbett played in the game against Bury which the Corinthians won to take the Sheriff of London Charity Shield. The team which Bury put into the field that day contained nine of the eleven players which had beaten DerbyCounty in the 1903 FA Cup final by 6-0, but Bury lost to the Corinthians 10-3.

By 1906, Corbett was being described as a ‘veteran.’ Two of his final games were against Tottenham Hotspur: the Corinthians won the first 6-1 but lost the second, 5-0. Also in 1906, he edited ‘The Annals of the Corinthian Football Club’ published by Longmans, Green & Co.


From WikipediaCorinthians Football Club was a football team based in London playing at various venues including Crystal Palace and Queen’s Club. They were founded in 1882 by N. Lane Jackson, assistant secretary of the Football Association, with the intention of developing a squad capable of challenging the supremacy of the Scotland football team and Queen’s Park.

The team originally determined to play only friendly matches and often played other amateur clubs, especially teams in the London area. They also supplied large numbers of players to the England football team. During the 1880s, the majority of England caps against Scotland were awarded to Corinthians, and for two England matches against Wales in 1894 and 1895, the entire team was from the club. However, these records are not recognised by the FA, who point out that most Corinthians players had another primary club affiliation – in many cases one of the university sides.

Corinthians refused to join The Football League or to compete in the FA Cup due to one of their original rules forbidding the club to “compete for any challenge cup or prizes of any description.” but finally competed in a competition in 1900 when they beat Aston Villa, then League champions, in the Sheriff of London Shield. They might have won the FA Cup many times if they had competed – for instance, shortly after Blackburn Rovers beat QueensPark in the 1884 final, Corinthians beat Blackburn 8-1. Similarly, Corinthians had a 10-3 win over ten of the Bury side that beat DerbyCounty 6-0 in the 1903 final.

After joining the Amateur Football Association and being banned from playing the top home opposition, all of whom were members of The Football Association, the team increased its touring of the world, popularising football. Real Madrid adopted Corinthians’ white shirts and Sport Club Corinthians Paulista in Brazil adopted their name. After a visit to Sweden in 1904, a Swedish tournament called the Corinthian Bowl was set up to commemorate them.

In 1904, Corinthians beat Manchester United 11-3, which remains United’s biggest defeat. After World War I, the team began to compete in the FA Cup, but with limited success. They also played the 1927 Charity Shield, losing to CardiffCity 2-1.

In 1939, Corinthians amalgamated with the Casuals to form Corinthian-Casuals Football Club.



Bertie was also a right-handed batting cricketer, making a single appearance for the Derbyshire county side against Kent in 1910. He only scored one run during the match, being stumped for a duck in the second innings.

His older brother Leonard Baggott Corbett had attended the School and then Malvern College and All Souls, Oxford and became a cleric, while his younger brother Cornelius John Corbett (1883-1944) was an even more accomplished cricketer, batting and fielding for Derbyshire on 27 occasions between 1911 and 1924. In a 1900 Tamensian Magazine it is noted  ‘All Thame football enthusiasts will sincerely sympathise with A L Corbett in his accident of November 17th. He was playing for St Edmund’s Hall against St Catherine’s, and in some way he was damaged in a scrimmage. Upon the game being stopped it was ascertained that his collar-bone was broken.’ We also learn from The Tamensian: ‘Congratulations to A L Corbett on his Association Blue and his play for Oxford in the Varsity game at Queen’s Club on 3rd of March.’

An obituary appeared in a local Derby paper when Bertie died.


“I’ve got them on the list”

A piece of fun remembering the transition from Grammar School to Comprehensive in the early 70s.  To be sung to the tune of ‘I’ve got a little list’ from the Mikado.


Those pubs we used to hide in and never could be found

I’ve got a little list–I’ve got a little list

Six Bells and ancient Birdcage our sorrows there we drowned

We were always bloody pissed—were we always bloody pissed?


There was smoking in the staff room, and down the rifle range

And school on Saturday morning – now that was really strange

The road race was a nightmare, cross country even worse

And for some the Wenman merger was nothing but perverse

Those new girls were just horrendous and best to be unkissed

They’d none of ’em be missed—well some of ‘em be missed!


There’s the Trout Mask evangelasists, and others of their ilk,

The young piano-organist—yes Howard’s on the list!

The girls who wore Bay tartan and the boys with hands of guilt

They never would be missed–they never would be missed!

And teachers staring blankly and who only could bemoan,

Those long-haired screeching singers whose voices had no tone;

And the lady from dance drama, who dressed up like a guy,

Who said “forget the rugby, it’s this that you should try’

And that curious anomaly, the female footballist

I don’t think she’d be missed–I’m sure she’d not be missed!


Long lost Bay Tree and Malt House, whose teas were rather fine,

I’ve got them on the list!–I’ve got them on the list!

The Passion and the Requiem, Macbeth, and Private Lives

Those days we really miss—those days we really miss.

Unapologetic teachers the  uncompromising kind,

Who filled our lives with knowledge, and ensured we had a mind

Like tip of my tongue and What’s-his-name, and also You-know-who–

The task of filling up the blanks I’d rather leave to you.

But it really doesn’t matter who you put upon this list,

For all of ’em are missed–yes all of ’em are missed!

Sam Sails Ships

Want to hear some beautiful singing? OT Sam has uploaded a number of videos to Youtube. Here’s a link to one example.

As good a school as ever

Everyone thinks Lord Williams’s is the best. Here’s what Ofsted said after their last visit: “Lord Williams’s is an outstanding school.  It offers its students an exceptionally broad range of opportunities to develop their talents and interests, through a very well-resourced curriculum and the strong commitment of staff to a rich extra-curricular programme.” – Ofsted, 2011

A Brief History of the John Hampden War Memorial Fund

The John Hampden War Memorial Fund exists to make awards to students in tertiary education and to give money to School departments so that they can buy additional equipment, text books and teaching aids. The Fund has been in existence in one form or another for ninety years or so and its history explains the name:

In its initial incarnation it started in 1920 when Mr G.E Shrimpton, Secretary of the OTA presented the War Memorial to Mr Wykenham, Chairman of the Governors. The Memorial took the form of an oak tablet inscribed with the School Arms and the names of those fallen. At the same time, a War Memorial Prize was given to the School, to be handed to the boy who exercised the best influence in or out of School, and a bound volume with the names of all those known to have served. The Memorial was unveiled by General Sir Hew Fanshawe and the School Hymn and ‘For All The Saints’ were sung.
Some ten years later in 1931, the ‘John Hampden Leaving Scholarship Fund’ was finally established after some years of being mooted. Its purpose was to provide financial assistance to encourage a pupil to attend university. One of the OT’s past Presidents, R.E Crawford, was the driving force of the idea.

Then in 1947 at an Extraordinary General Meeting in the summer, it was agreed to amalgamate the John Hampden Scholarship Fund and the War Memorial Fund of the 1914-18 War to form the new John Hampden War Memorial Scholarship Fund. The trustees were J F Castle, F A Dangerfield. J F Shrimpton, A C Dyer, R E Crawford, H M Purser, B W Lidington, S Mears, C Simmons, and the Headmaster. Its purpose was to award three year scholarships to help boys progress through tertiary education. The Fund had £255. 9s 7d on deposit in the Post Office Savings Bank; and £33 deposited with Lloyds Bank, Thame.
And its been going ever since with awards being made annually.

Update from Committee Meeting


Yesterday, the first meeting of the year was held at the Foundation Centre. Topics discussed included initial arrangements for Founder’s Day – here the future of the rugby fixture was raised, ideas for holding a dinner at New College, whether to set up some virtual ‘interest’ groups, as well as the all the administrative updates that need to take place. (Tea, coffee and chocolate biscuits kindly supplied by Mr Wybron.)

Light a Candle: A Story of Thame and Lord Williams 1525-1559

Lord Williams’s School is blessed – if that’s the right word – by the attention of many authors. The latest we’ve come across is Light a Candle by Brian A F Elks.

The description on Amazon says, ‘This is an historical novel set in the period 1525 to 1559 it follows the events and religious changes precipitated by Henry 8th as he tries to create a stable dynastic line. Aided by self seeking and ambitious men, the Monasteries are destroyed and immense wealth liberated as well as introducing new political powers. A growing Protestant faith sits uneasily alongside Catholicism. In the turmoil ordinary bewildered people are caught up in the changes while the clever self seekers sit on a roller coaster ride to great fortunes and sometimes hideous loss. Henry dies but his short lived son is a disaster but he is followed by ‘Bloody Mary’ who tries to burn her way to heaven. Follow Lord Williams and the townsfolk of ancient Thame, as he grows rich beyond compare and they struggle to survive the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Historically it was William’s uncle who married into the Cromwell family that lead to Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector.’

Photos from the 2013 A-Level and GCSE results days

Mark Bannister Photography has photos from the 2013 A-Level and GCSE results days.

OTA Committee Meeting

This will happen this coming Saturday 11th January at 10.00. All are welcome to attend. All are welcome to send us any thoughts that you feel should be discussed…anything really! The meeting takes place at the Foundation Centre on the Oxford Road, Thame.

Tom Wood Memorial Match – 04 January 2014

Yesterday Chinnor RFC hosted a match to celebrate the life of Tom Wood, OT and former player at Chinnor RFC, who died at the age of 37 in November.


The OTs lead by 2 tries to nil for most of the match but were pipped in the end 3 – 2 by the Chinnor Old Boys.  Atlet, Toms company, sponsored the lunch.  Around 130 people attended the match, including Toms widow, at which Atlet presented the Tom Wood Memorial Cup which was won by the Chinnor Old Boys.


Chinnor Old Boys XV

Chinnor Old Boys looking fresh for the match

Old Tamensians' XV

OT XV keen to get going

Combined XVs post match

Time for refreshments!