At least two centuries of Rugby’s history are written in the stones and other monuments to tradition that stand around the School Close, where in 1823 a local lad called William Webb Ellis first ran with the ball and invented the game of rugby football.
The players then were more numerous: in 1839, when Queen Adelaide visited the School, it was School House (75) versus The Rest (225). Today, innumerable tourists visit the ‘home of the game’ and rugby teams from all over the world can be seen training against the distinctive backdrop of Butterfield’s Chapel.
At the top of The Close stands The King’s Oak, planted by Edward VII in 1909, beneath which the Heads of School watch the School file into Chapel every morning. Behind it rises the battlemented skyline of School House where the Head Master has his study – he still sits at Bishop Percival’s desk – which pupils can enter by a spiral staircase at the foot of a tower.