Clifton Rugby Football Club History
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Harry C. Clissold


Henry (Harry) Clissold, born February 12th 1871, at Nailsworth, Gloucestershire. He was educated at Wycliffe College, Stonehouse from 1882 (when the college started) to 1884 and Clifton College from 1885 to 1889.

Above the first school group at Wycliffe College in 1883 with a 12 year old Harry Clissold.

In 1891 the Clissold family lived at Chestnut Hill, Nailsworth. They were

Name Relation Age Occupation Where born
William G. Clissold Head 52 Maltster and Brewer Nailsworth, Glos.
Henry Clissold Son 20 Student (Trinity College, Cambridge) Nailsworth, Glos.
George Clissold Son 18 Student Chemistry Nailsworth, Glos.
Annie E. Clissold Daug 17 Office Clerk Nailsworth, Glos.
Mabel E. Clissold Daug 15 Student Nailsworth, Glos.
Frank Clissold Son 12 Student Nailsworth, Glos.
Glayds S. Clissold Daug 4 Student Nailsworth, Glos.
Eleanor Willoughby Visitor 87 Living on own means Lawrence Waltham, Berks
Helen H. L. Tolcke Visitor 24 Nursery Governess Germany
Clara Farinelse Serv 35 Cook (Domestic) Horsley, Glos.
Mary A. Williamson Serv 25 Housemaid (Domestic) Bristol
Comfort Brown Serv 17 Housemaid (Domestic) Stroud, Glos.

His father, William Clissold, ran the Nailsworth Brewery from 1850. It had been started by the family in early 1800s. In 1889 the brewery served over 60 pubs. By 1908 the brewery's profits were in decline and the 'Nailsworth Brewery' was taken over by the Cheltenham Original Brewery and closed down.

Above Clissold & Son brewery workers. Harry's father, William, somewhere in picture.

Poster for Nailsworth Brewery. The brewery was bought and deliberateley closed down by Cheltenham Brewery to stop their rival, Stroud Brewery, from acquiring it.

The Cambridge University Alumni, 1261-1900 says

Adm. pens. at TRINITY, May 27, 1889. S. of William George, of Chestnut Hill, Nailsworth, Gloucs. B. Feb. 12, 1871, at Nailsworth. Schools, Clifton College and Wycliffe College, Gloucs. Exhibitioner; matric. Michs. 1889; Scholar, 1891; B.A. 1892; (Nat. Sci. Trip., 1st Class, 1893); M.A. 1898. Assistant Master at Marlborough College, 1893-4; at Clifton College, 1894-1914. Served in the Great War (Major, R.E.; twice mentioned in despatches; D.S.O., 1916). Killed in action, Sept. 28, 1917. (Clifton Coll. Reg.; Wycliffe Coll. Reg.; Univ. War List.)

Major H.Clissold - Regiment:Royal Engineers Unit Text:474th Field Coy. Age:46 Date of Death:28/09/1917 Awards:DSO Additional information:Son of the late William George and Julia Grosvenor Clissold, of Chestnut Hill, Nailsworth, Glos. House Master at Clifton College. Casualty Type:Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference:I. C. 49. Cemetery:DUHALLOW A.D.S. CEMETERY

Harry Clissold went to Trinity College, Cambridge on May 27, 1889. He was the son of William George, of Chestnut Hill, Nailsworth, Gloucs. Born Feb. 12th 1871, at Nailsworth. Schools, Clifton College and Wycliffe College, Gloucs. Exhibitioner; matric. Michs. 1889; Scholar, 1891; B.A. 1892; (Nat. Sci. Trip., 1st Class, 1893); M.A. 1898. Assistant Master at Marlborough College, 1893-4; at Clifton College, 1894-1914. Served in the Great War (Major, R.E.; twice mentioned in despatches; D.S.O., 1916). Killed in action, Sept. 28, 1917.

The Clissold family have a web site at

Above left: Harry Clissold from the 1900 photo of Clifton College Masters.

A profile of Harry Clissold was in the booklet "A Few . . . Snapshots" published in 1906-07 and said

(Captain 1900-01)
(Hon. Treasurer 1899-1905)
H. C. Clissold has played football longer than most men can claim to have done, for he played his first game of Rugby over 20 years ago. He was then a Clifton College boy, having joined the school in 1885, and played in various fifteens until 1889, although he did not succeed in obtaining his cap, notwithstanding that he was frequently conspicuous for clever work in the pack. In 1889 he left Clifton and went to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained a first class in natural science. His first appointment on leaving school was an assistant mastership at Marlborough College, but he was anxious to return to Clifton, and succeeded in obtaing his present position at the school in 1894, in which year he joined the Clifton Rugby Football Club. This was twelve years ago, but so well does he keep himself in training that whenever he turns out now for the Westbury side he finishes as fresh as the best of the team. He was awarded his cap in the first year he wore the lavender and black jersey, and since those days has been quite one of the most useful members both on and off the field that the club has ever possessed. In 1899 he was elected hon. treasurer, and it was with the greatest regret that the club accepted his resignation from that post in 1905, for he had managed the financial affairs during many anxious seasons, and was always successful in finding some cheery point however badly things went. It was no doubt in recognition of his splendid services that he was elected captain of the first fifteen in 1900-01 with an unanimity which emphasised how the members appreciated the work he had done, and it was certainly in no way due to him that the side had such a poor year, for he is one of the keenest sportsmen it is possible to come across, and in this direction has proved a great acquisition to the staff at Clifton College, for no master could follow the doings of the boys with fuller interest. He is commanding officer of the Cadet Corps, which has reached a very high standard of proficiency. He has not been a heavy try scorer, but that is not from any want of following up, but rather for a want of opportunities. H. C. C. might feel inclined to take offence if I call him a veteran, and, after all, perhaps he is right, for there appears to be no reason why he should not go on for another ten years or so playing the game. How many men who have played in the same pack with him now find their exaggerated "little Mary's" an incumberance? Their names must be legion.

His father died on and his funeral was reported in p.117, "The Chronicles of Shortwood" (1916) the book by Frank Tompson Smythe - text quoted in his book from the original obituary and funeral report in the "Stroud Jounal" of February 27th 1914.

[at the funeral of Mr. W.G. Clissold J.P. C.C.] "The family mourners present were Mrs. H.J. Hartley, Mr. J.H. Hartley, Mrs. J.B. Newman, Miss Clissold and Miss Mabel Clissold (daughters), Messrs. H. and G. Clissold (sons), Mrs. G. Clissold (daughter-in-law), Messrs. H.J and J. H. Hartley and J.B. Newman (sons-in-law), Misses Jeanie and Peggy Hartley, Masters Donald Newman and Kenneth and Frank Clissold (grandchildren), Mr.Stephen Watkins (brother-in-law), the Misses Helen, Margaret and May Watkins and Edith Clissold (nieces), the Rev. W. Clissold, Messrs. Alfred and Charles Watkins (nephews) and Miss E. Hornblower, and Messrs. Bernard Robinson and Walter Hillier."

This shows the lines in the Public Schools Camp of 1911 in the slack time before dinner. Capt. H. Clissold is in the foreground. From a photograph by J.Soane, 105 St Aldate's, Oxford.

Above ex Clifton RFC player Harry Clissold, then a master at Clifton College is in the foreground. He appeared in the great 1903-04 Clifton side that defeated Gloucester at Kingsholm. He was killed in action in 1917.

Above Major Harry Clissold

Excerpts from the book 'Bristol and the Great War'

Gardiner and Clissold In July (1917) the Royal Engineers moved northwards to take part in the Third Battle of Ypres, which began on July 31st and continued for 3 months. They remained in this area till the early part of October and experienced their most dangerous and difficult task in the whole war, sustaining heavy casualties. It was during this period that the 47th Field Company, whose first commanding officer, Major Ernest Gardiner, had been killed at St Eloi in March 1915, suffered a similar loss in the death of Major H Clissold DSO, who was killed by shell fire while engaged in work in the forward area. The section of the line occupied by the 48th Division was in front of St Julien and with the exception of one short spell of rest in the neighbourhood of St Omer, the Royal Engineers were continuously employed in the very arduous work with the nature of the ground and the difficult conditions entailed. No one was sorry when in October the division were ordered to the Vimy sector, to take over a quiet position of the line from the 2nd Canadian Division.

His death was announced in The Times on October 5th 1917 and said

MAJOR HENRY CLISSOLD, D.S.O., R.E., aged 44, was the eldest son of the late W.G.Clissold, of Nailsworth, Glos. From Clifton College, where he held an entrance scholarship and a leaving exhibition, he went up in 1889 to Trinity, Cambridge, with an exhibition, afterwards increased to a scholarship. He took a First Class in the Natural Science Tripos, and after taking his degree held a mastership for a year at Marlborough. In 1894 he returned to Clifton, and in 1912 he became a house-master. At the beginning of the war he was given leave of absence in order that he might train a field company of Engineers, and since April, 1915, he had been serving at the front. A friend writes :- "A brilliant man of science and mathematician, a most inspiring teacher, and devoted to his profession, his tastes were yet catholic. Literature, music, flowers, travel, football- all were dear to him, and above all his charms might be placed his invincible good temper and optimism, and the wit and sparkle of his talk. He always worked entusiastically for the Clifton O.T.C., a body of R.E.'s, and for some years was in command. In December, 1916, he was awarded the D.S.O., and he had twice been mentioned in dispatches. On September 28 he was sheltering in a dug-out when a heavy shell came through the roof and exploded inside." The C.R.E. of his division writes :- "I have had the greatest admiration for his splendid character, his gallantry, and his unquenchable spirit. He will live in my memory as the ideal of what a soldier should be."