One of the most important characters in 19th Century Bracknell football was Ernest Caldecott. He was the first captain of Bracknell FC, a prominent local corn merchant and a fine sportsman. He came from an interesting family. His great uncle John Caldecott was an astronomer and had set up an observatory in India in the 19th Century.
Caldecott captained Bracknell FC from one of the five forward positions football clubs played with at the time. During the late 1880s and 1890s no one scored more goals for the club as him.
An impressive four goal haul against Winkfield in a 14-1 trouncing was perhaps his greatest achievement, but whenever Bracknell won a match Caldecott was nearly always among the goals. He was accompanied in the forward lines by A. Darling who clearly knew Caldecott well as they played cricket together.
As a multi-talented sportsman Caldecott would regularly play for Bracknell CC during the summer months. At the time the cricket club played where the current Bracknell town centre lies. It was still a few years before cricket (and football) moved permanently to Larges Lane.
Perhaps the most famous incident he was involved in was in 1887 when he caught out Queen Victoria’s grandson Prince Albert Victoria when Bracknell CC defeated Windsor Great Park. Despite his German background Prince Albert was an enthusiastic cricketer and played many times for Windsor. This incident means Caldecott is almost certainly the only Bracknell football captain who has caught out the second in line to the throne.
Later in life he moved to Terrace Road in Wokingham. He continued his interest in sport by becoming club secretary at Wokingham FC around the same time that Old Bracknell Wanderers were founded in 1896.
As you may expect, coverage of local football in the late 19th Century was sporadic at best and often simply included the result. It’s likely that newspapers often didn’t even report match results every week. However we have collated all of the reported goals scored by Ernest Caldecott for Bracknell teams by the Reading Mercury, Reading Observer and other local newspapers:
- 13/11/1886 – St. Bartholomews – 6-1 (2)
- 29/1/1887 – Winkfield – 14-1 (4)
- 5/2/1887 – East Reading – 6-1 (2)
- 11/11/1887 – St. George’s (Reading) – 5-1 (1)
- 21/12/1889 – Runnymede Rangers – 2-0 (1)
Information and images from the excellent britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk