AddThis Smart Layers

First to the Corinthians: the story of England goalie Harry Albemarle Swepstone

Thanks to Mike Guilfoyle for uncovering this story of a notable sportsman buried in the Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries

Harry Albemarle Swepstone (1859-1907) who was born in Stepney, East London, made his England debut against Scotland in 1880. During this match he was beaten by a 'cannon shot' from the Scottish 'Rooney', Centre Forward George Kerr. Harry had the dubious distinction of conceding 18 goals in six international matches as England goalkeeper between 1880 to 1883. When the famous Corinthian amateur football club was formed in 1882 to improve the flagging fortunes of the England football Team (sound familiar?!) and challenge the then supremacy of the Scottish Football Team, he suggested the name, which was accepted unanimously. The football club later came to be known as the Corinthian-Casuals in 1939, and was based in Tolworth after moving from Crystal Palace.

The world famous Brazilian Corinthian Paulista club founded in 1910 was inspired to adopt the name, following an historic football tour undertaken by the London based club. Real Madrid adopted the Corinthian's white shirts for their iconic strip. The team now play in the Isthmian League Division One South. Harry also played for Pilgrims FC and was an FA Cup winner in 1879/80. A solicitor by profession he practised at Bishopsgate and served on the FA committee in 1883/84. Harry died on the 7 th May 1907 and is buried with his wife, Emmie and daughter who pre-deceased him aged just 10 years old. The family grave(which is sadly neglected and damaged) lies a few yards from that of the newly restored grave of the poet Ernest Dowson in the Ladywell section of the cemetery.

For more see: facts & figures + brief life story -England Football Team -1881-HAS -Fourth from left standing.. for more on the history of the Corinthian-Casuals..    Harry Albemarle Swepstone makes the Sun's England all-time strangest-named XI