The man who began a proud football heritage: the Reverend Ben Chambers

by David Prentice

5 July 2008 / Updated 8 May 2013

HE didn’t know what he had started . . .

Ben Swift Chambers during his time at St Domingo

But 130 years after the creation of St Domingo’s Football Club, both Everton and Liverpool have paid tribute to Reverend Ben Chambers, the man who founded St Domingo’s FC.

The gravestone of the pioneering churchman was re-dedicated on Wednesday at a service of commemoration at Shepley Methodist Church, near Huddersfield.

Blues’ Life President Sir Philip Carter and representatives from the Everton Former Players’ Foundation and the Everton Academy, were present at the ceremony. Blues chairman Bill Kenwright said: “Both Everton and Liverpool have a proud footballing heritage and the history of the two clubs is a source of immense pride to supporters whatever colour they choose to wear.

Peter Lupson of EFCHS uncovers the unkempt grave of Ben Chambers in Shepley

“Therefore, it is entirely appropriate that we honour such a man especially in Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year. Ben Chambers was clearly a man of vision and real enthusiasm – thus demonstrated by the unique role he played in the formation and development of football in the region. Everyone whose lives have been touched by either club owes him a debt of gratitude.”

Ben Swift Chambers was born on 30 August 1845 in West Yorkshire. He became the Methodist minister at St Domingo’s Church in Everton. He changed the football landscape of Liverpool in 1877 when he was appointed circuit superintendent and minister of St Domingo Chapel in the Everton district of Liverpool.

Everton Life-President Sir Philip Carter with Rick Parry at the restored grave of Ben Chambers.

After forming the St Domingo Cricket Club, Reverend Ben Chambers turned his hand to forming a football team to keep the cricket team fit during the winter months of 1878. The St Domingo Football Club was soon attracting players from churches outside the parish and by November 1879, the football section of the cricket club was renamed Everton.

Ben Swift Chambers died on November 28, 1901, aged 56.

David Prentice

Postscript

The motivating factor, and driving force behind this, was EFCHS vice-chairman Peter Lupson.

His work is chronicled in;

Peter’s book is an authoritative account of the early foundation of both clubs, the acrimonious split, and their relationship over the years.
Futher Reading


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