CP Lewis

CP Lewis

Position: Back

Born 20/08/1853
Died 28/05/1923
Place Of Birth Llangadog
We are indebted to Dave Dow of dragontalesrugby.com and Swansea RFC who has permitted us to use his work for the Swansea website as the core material for this profile.

C P (Charles Prytherch) Lewis was born at Llangadog on 20th August 1853 and educated at Llandovery College and Jesus College, Oxford. On his return from Oxford, where he was a triple Athletics Blue in 1876 and played for the University rugby team, he joined Llandovery College as a Master in the Summer of 1876 and helped further an already strong predilection for rugby football at the College. He played for the college as a Master with his pupils and captained the side in many matches between 1878 and 1886. Lewis also played for the Rosslyn Park and later London Welsh clubs.

C P Lewis’ international career was born almost the same time as Wales’ and he played in the second match ever to be played by Wales, against Ireland in January 1882 at Lansdowne Road. Lewis covered his normal position of full-back and also captained the side, which gained Wales’ first win. He was probably Wales’ earliest born capped player. He went on to gain a total of 5 caps, playing against England at St Helens that year in the first international on Welsh soil. He also played against Scotland in 1883 and against England and finally Scotland in 1884. He held the distinction of being captain in all five internationals.

Apart from his early involvement at Club level with Llandovery and Swansea (for whom he appeared for one match on December 12th 1874), he also turned out on occasion for Llandeilo and played for the newly formed South Wales Football Club (est: 1875) and was on the general Committee of that Club. Lewis played in several of these SWFC fixtures.

It was the influence C P Lewis had within the WFU’s predecessor the South Wales Football Union, that ensured Llandeilo’s presence at the meeting in the Castle Hotel, Neath on 12 March 1881 where the Welsh Football Union was formed. The 11 clubs represented were: Swansea, Lampeter, Llandeilo, Cardiff, Newport, Llanelli, Merthyr, Llandovery, Brecon, Pontypool and Bangor. His standing in the game at that time led to his being elected one of the two Vice-Presidents of the WFU (predecessor of the WRU).

Separately to his connections with Llandeilo, debate has occasionally surfaced as to exactly which aspect of Llandovery – the Town, or the College – was being represented by Lewis at this meeting. His family was one of the 'gentry' families of the locality and thereby had strong links with the town as well as with the College. Any doubts on this matter were finally resolved when Mr Herbert Michael wrote to Llandovery RFC from Devon in response to some press coverage of the Llandovery RFC centenary celebrations in 1981. Mr Michael stated that he was C. P. Lewis' godson - 'C.P.' being a lifelong friend of his father. Mr Michael reported being "certain in my own mind that he represented the town in the first place with, of course the interests of Llandovery College resulting therefrom”. Mr Michael was also of the understanding that his father travelled to Neath with C. P. Lewis but was unsure as to whether his father attended the meeting.

The first recorded Annual General Meeting of Llandovery RFC was held at the King's Head on 17 September 1885 and records show that: C. P. Lewis was elected President. Although he had captained Wales in the years immediately preceding this, he apparently did not captain the town side in 1885 – that honour fell to D.I.M. Jones.

Lewis was often to be found refereeing early matches when not playing in them and in 1885 he refereed the international match at St Helens, Swansea between Wales and England. He was a cricketer of more than average ability and played for the MCC and South Wales Cricket Club and for Carmarthenshire in the Minor Counties where he topped the batting averages in 1909 aged 56. He scored 1,609 runs while with the SWCC.

C P Lewis continued on at Llandovery College and often assisted with the College’s rugby team. He became a solicitor in Llandovery and was Mayor of the town in 1894-95 (the year when Llandovery was one of ten clubs who became affiliated to the Welsh Rugby Union) and again in 1904-05. He died in Llandovery on 28th May 1923.
Playing Summary
  Season P W D L Try Con Pen DG PTS  
  Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  

Click on a season for a match by match breakdown.

  Team P W D L Try Con Pen DG PTS  
  Wales 5 1 0 4 0 4 0 0 4  

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