A man of vision and an extraordinary organiser, William Percy Carpmael was the founding father of the Barbarian FC.

Inspired by his personal playing experiences as a stocky forward with both Blackheath and Cambridge University, his dream was to spread values of fellowship and camaraderie among all rugby football players regardless of class, colour or creed.

He saw the Barbarians as an invitation-only touring rugby club, with a resolute commitment to playing attacking rugby. His brilliant idea was conceived late one evening in 1890 in Leuchters Restaurant, Bradford, and the first tour matches were played later that year.

Many of the greats of the game have since donned the famous black and white hooped jersey, and an invitation to play for the Baa-baas is still regarded as one of the highest honours in the game.


Carpmael captained the club in 18 of his 20 matches and later served as secretary, treasurer and president.

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