Co-founder of world’s oldest football club, Sheffield FC, to be honoured with new memorial

A pioneer of modern football is to be honoured with a new information board beside his grave in Sheffield.

Sir Nathaniel Creswick co-founded the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield FC, with William Prest in 1857.

Sheffield FC co-founders Sir Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest (pic: Sheffield FC)

Sheffield FC co-founders Sir Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest (pic: Sheffield FC)

The pair drew up the Sheffield Rules the following year, which was the foundation on which the beautiful game as we know it was built.

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His body now rests in his family tomb in the graveyard at Heeley Parish Church, close to the club’s old East Bank ground where association football was played for the first time.

A new information board acknowledging his contribution to the sport will be unveiled during a short ceremony at the church on Wednesday, October 24, which is the anniversary of Sheffield FC’s formation.

Heeley Parish Church, where Sir Nathaniel Creswick is buried

Heeley Parish Church, where Sir Nathaniel Creswick is buried

Sheffield FC chairman Richard Tims said: “He was a very important man who developed the first commonly adopted set of football rules and was a pioneer of the game.

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“It feels fitting to commemorate his final resting place, which is very close to where  football kicked off in Sheffield.”

The information board was created by football historian Martin Westby as part of the Sheffield Home of Football movement pressing Sheffield’s case to be more widely recognised as the game’s birthplace.

It describes how Creswick lived at East Hill House, close to his burial place, and was a solicitor and son of a silver plate manufacturer, who later became chairman of the cutlery manufacturer Joseph Rodgers. He was born in 1831 and died on October 20, 1917, aged 86.

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As well as founding Sheffield FC, he is believed to have played a key role in forming Heeley FC, which was launched by Heeley Parish Church in 1862 and is thought to be the first ever church side.

Heeley FC enjoyed considerable success during its early years, playing in front of 8,000 spectators in the final of the first ever Sheffield Association Challenge Cup in 1876/77, and reaching the fourth round of the FA Cup in 1881/82.

Creswick’s grave is one of the stops on the free Sheffield Home of Football walking app which guides users on a sporting pilgrimage of the city.