The History of Ewyas Harold United

Ewyas Harold was primarily an agricultural village which had a very low population until the arrival of a new railway station in the adjacent village of Pontrilas in 1854. The railway station was built to help transport timber in and out of the surrounding area. Due to this
new available transportation the village became more accessible and therefore caused the population to rise. By the 1890's the number of houses in the village had risen to around 100 and the population was now well over 500 people.

Football became a very popular pastime and games between the railway workers and the local farm hands were common. It was decided in 1897 that these games would be taken more seriously by forming a football club. There was much discussion on whether the
team name should be named after Ewyas Harold or Pontrilas but as the designated football field was in Ewyas Harold then that name was chosen and Ewyas Harold United Football Club was formed.

Between the years of 1876 to 1889 the Golden Valley Railway Company built a new line from Pontrilas to Hay on Wye. This gave Ewyas Harold FC the opportunity to easily travel and play teams that little further away. They often played friendlies against Clifford, Hay,
Peterchurch, Thruxton, Michaelchurch, Abbey Dore, Pandy and Llanvihangel. Sadly in 1898 the Golden Valley Railway Company had to close the new railway after running into financial difficulties. This meant that Ewyas Harold FC played fewer friendlies until the railway
was taken over by Great Western Railway in 1901.

The earliest mention of Ewyas Harold United in the Hereford Times was on December 3rd 1898 when they played a friendly match against Madley losing at home 3-0 and later that month the Hereford Times reported on this following game -

' A match was played at Ewias Harold between teams representing married and single men. The latter gained the victory by one goal to nil. A smoking concert was held in the evening in the Temple Bar assembly room there was a very good attendance and the funds of the club should derive substantual benefit. Mr H E Jones presided'
Hereford Times Dec 31 1898


The following article was mentioned in the Hereford Times Newspaper dated April 29th 1899 which congratulated the team on their first season as a football club.

 

In 1899 the Herefordshire Football League was founded which created the first official Herefordshire League and Ewyas Harold United FC were invited to join.


Ewyas Harold United 1905/06

The men behind the photo (from left to right)

William Woodyatt (aged 29)
William Woodyatt who was born in Bromyard in 1876 moved to Pontrilas around 1904. He was the head gardener for Colonel Richard Decie-Prescott who was the current resident of Pontrilas Court. William, his wife Annie and their three children lived at number 2
Brickyard Terrace. He was 6 foot 6 inches tall.

Wallace John Virgo (aged 21)
Wallace was born at Elm Bridge, Ewyas Harold in 1884. Wallace and his younger brother Reginald (also in picture) set up a building firm called W & R Virgo Monumental Masons in Ewyas Harold around 1905 which focused mainly on the creation, installation and repair
of gravestones. In 1914 Wallace became a Sapper in the Royal Engineers and entered WW1 where he was awarded a Victory and a British medal. Sadly during the war his business, like so many other businesses at that time, went backrupt. He moved away
from the village shortly after the war and lived with his wife Lillian in Gloucester until his death in 1959.

William Woodhouse (aged 26)
William was born in Monmouth in 1879. His family moved to Bacton when he was very young as his father had gotten work at Bacton Crossing as a platelayer for the railway. Around the time the photo was taken William was a bricklayer and was boarding on Ewyas
Harold common with Mary Jackson. In 1910 William and his wife Elizabeth became tenants at The Cwm, Bacton and when it went up for sale in 1920 they decided to buy the property for £200, also around this time he purchases the Old Dore Workhouses and
turned them into a number of cottage dwellings. These cottages have since been converted into Riverdale by his grandson Mr. R. Tong. William died in June 1950.

Frank Archer Gwillim (aged 16)
Frank was born in 1889 at Bridge Farm, Ewyas Harold where his father Benjamin was farming. From the age of 8 Frank began to help out around the farm and as he grew older he began to take over most of the running of the farm from his father. In 1915
he married Lily Maud Prosser and shortly after the wedding Benjamin hands over the farm to Frank. When Benjamin died on 12th April 1933 he leaves all of his effects to his son totalling £2602. Frank lived at Bridge Farm all his life and died there on 15th
August 1941 leaving all his effects to his wife Lily of £10180.

? Person Unknown

Reginald George Virgo (aged 18)
Reginald was born in 1887 at Elm Bridge, Ewyas Harold. He lived with his parents and helped his dad with building work till he was 22 when he married Elice and moved to Harold Cottage, Dark Lane, Ewyas Harold. He and his older brother setup a building
business around 1905 called W & R Virgo Monumental Masons which sadly went bankrupt in 1915. At the time of the bankruptcy Reginald was living at Westfields in Ewyas Harold. Reginald moved away from the building trade and became a surveyor. In
the 1930's he was Herefordshire County Council surveyor and was living at Upper Prill with his offices at Lower Prill. He also had the title of Lord of the Manor of Ewyas Harold and the surrounding area. He died on 2nd June 1958 at 8 Prince Edward Road, Hereford
and in his will he left effects of £8233.

James Cole (aged 35)
James known as Jim was born in 1870 at The Bradley Farm, Kentchurch where his father Edwin was farming the land. In 1901 James moved to Gwerncouncil, Kentchurch where he was farming with the help of his sister. Around 1903 he decided to change
his occupation and become tenant and landlord at the Red Lion Inn, Ewyas Harold. The Red Lion was where Ewyas Harold United FC was formed and where all of the clubs meetings took place. James took over the running of the club and became the clubs
chairman and manager. In 1919 James bought the Red Lion Inn outright and was landlord of the pub up until late 1930's. He died in 1954.

Philip Michael (aged 34)
Philip known as Curly, due to his tight curls of hair, was born in 1871 at Llangua. Around 1885 the family moved to The Machine House, Pontrilas (which stood where the new sawmill building is built). Philip got a job as a platelayer for the railway in 1892 and lived
with his parents at Machine House until his unexpected death around 1923 aged 53.

Harvey Weaver (aged 24)
Harvey was born in 1881 at Lower Coawrne, Hereford. During his youth Harvey moved from place to place but always took an interest in gardening. Around the time of the picture Harvey had recently moved to Ewyas Harold and had met his future wife Mary
Price so when in 1908 Harvey got a job in Penarth, he and Mary got married and moved to 22 Ludlow Street in Penarth. Mary soon missed home and persuaded Harvey to move back to Ewyas Harold where the couple started the Golden Valley Nursery. Harvey
died in 1965.

G Lascelles
No information available

Nick Carter
No information available

George Michael (aged 31)
George was born in 1874 at Llangua and is the younger brother of Curly Michael. At the age of 17 George got a job as a railway porter for the GWR and then later would become a signalman. He married Alice Dowding in 1898 and the couple moved to Rose Cottage,
Colwall, Hereford. Sadly in the early 1900's Alice died in childbirth so George and his 2 year old daughter Dorothy who were very distraught decided to move back home to his family in Ewyas Harold. In 1909 George married Annie Griffiths and the couple moved
to 20 Cross Street, Abergavenny. George died in Abergavenny in 1944.

Septimus Evan Williams (aged 31)

Septimus was born in 1874 in Llanbedr, Radnorshire. His parents who were farmers moved to Howton Court around 1900. When his father died in 1906 Septimus and his brother Jonah takes over the running of the farm then when his brother marries and
moves away from the area Septimus takes over and lives with his mother at the farm till his death.

Arthur Charles Cowley (aged 17)
Arthur was born in 1888 at Stratton. Around the time of the photo he is assisting his father with the running of Lower House Farm, Ewyas Harold.


Season 1938/1939

In a committee meeting held at the Red Lion Inn in August 1938 the club, which had £6.18 in its account from last season, decided to purchase a new squad strip, previous to this the players had had to supply their own kit. It was deeply discussed what colour
the strip should be and it was decided that the club would have a white/blue jersey with white knickers and stockings, but whoever was in charge of ordering the kit never got around to it and luckily just before the start of the season the club managed to find a
second hand kit with square colours of black and amber (the colours Harold play in today). It was also decided at this meeting that the games would continue to be played on Pigeon Meadow which was a strip of land walking distance from the Red Lion Inn.

The Second World War

Season 39/40. Due to the number of players who were called up to WWII it was decided that the team would continue until there weren't a sufficient amount of players to field a team. Three weeks into the new season Ewyas Harold had to opt out of the league for this very reason. The Herefordshire League followed suit and cancelled the league which would not start again till after the war. During the war EHFC continued playing friendlies against local opposition.

After the war

On November 18th 1946 at a meeting held in the Red Lion Inn the club decided that they would fully reform. Sadly it was too late to enter the league so they played only friendlies, but when Hartley Athletic pulled out of the league in December, Ewyas Harold were asked to replace them and to fulfil their fixtures. The team struggled not only in the league but also struggled to find enough shirts, in one of the games it was decided that the defence should play in black/amber and the attack in Khaki shirts that they borrowed from the camp.

1947 - 1949

Between these years the club began to progress with speed. Season 47/48 they finished 3rd in the league, the following season they won Division 2 North and therefore were promoted to the top Hereford Division. The top goal scorer of the 48/49 season
was Reg Michael who scored 35 goals. They continued to play on Pigeon Meadow but also had a training field on the Abbey Dore road belonging to Ben Gwilliam. In 1949 being newly promoted the club thought it was about time to purchase new shirts, the club at
the time didn't have sufficient funds so Mr.Warren who owned Ewyas Harold Stores purchased the kit and the club paid him back monthly. The club finished third from bottom winning only 8 of the 35 games, but due to the added interest in the club they decided to enter a reserve team into Division 2.



Struggling to survive (1950-1952)

Both Ewyas Harold clubs struggled in the seasons 1950/51 and 51/52. They couldn't afford to pay for the pitch so W.H.Williams the landlord of the Red Lion offered the pitch free of charge as long as the club maintained the hedges and the fences. They found
many ways to try and raise monies such as whist drives, church room dances and even put on a boxing show.

Change of headquarters and League Success

On Saturday 19th July 1952 it was the last meeting of the club at the Red Lion Inn. At this meeting the club decided to move its headquarters to that of The Castle Inn (now Dog) mainly due to a new pitch being available at the recreation ground. It was also decided
that the new first team captain would be Wilf Morgan.

The first game played at the recreation ground was on 2nd September 1952 in the league against Hay. Ewyas Harold won the game 2-1. The referee for that game was James 'Jim' Finney, who would later be one of the referee's chosen for the 1966 World Cup.

The 1952/53 season would happen to be one of the best seasons in Ewyas Harold's history. The first team won the League (losing only twice), the Charity Bowl and the Ross Cup. They were runners up in the Burley Gate Cup, Hay Cup and League Cup.
The team scored 172 goals in total that year from 40 games. Mr. H. Warren was top goalscorer with 41.

For the next couple of seasons Ewyas Harold competed strongly in the league but never reached the same success as 52/53 season.

Season 1954

On the 1st January 1954 the parish council exchanged a small part of the recreation ground for a small part of Down House's land so that the football club could fit a standard football pitch at the top of the recreation ground area.

For the 1954/55 season the reserve side was disbanded. The main reason for this was the creation of a Pontrilas Rovers Football Club which meant the two very local villages would be competing for the same players. Pontrilas decided to play their games on Ewyas
Harold's old pitch at Pigeon Meadow.

To strengthen and replace players who had left the club they brought in players from further a field, Raymond Rudd, Robert Sailsbury, Joseph Larachi, Douglas Fawke, and Richard Gregory from Tredegar, David James from Rhymney and six players from Abergavenny.


more history to follow soon..............................

 

 

 


Year
Premier League
Journal Cup
County Cup
Senior Cup
Charity Bowl
Charity Shield
97/98
Winners
?
?
?
?
98/99
Winners
Runners Up
?
Winners
?
99/00
Winners
Runners Up
Runners Up
Winners
Won
00/01
Season
Cancelled
Won
01/02
?
?
?
Quarters
02/03
4th
Semi's
?
Runners Up
03/04
2nd
Winners
?
Winners
Runners Up
04/05
Winners
Winners
Quarters
Semi's
Winners
Lost
05/06
Winners
Runners Up
Semi's
Semi's
Winners
Won
06/07
4th
Runners Up
?
?
Winners
Won
07/08
3rd
First Round
First Round
Runners Up
First Round
08/09
3rd
Semi's
?
Runners Up
Quarters
09/10
2nd
Semi's
First Round
Semi's
Quarters
Lost
10/11
6th
Quarters
Semi's
First Round
Quarters
11/12
4th
Winners
Runners Up
Semi's
Quarters
12/13
2nd
Semi's
First Round
Semi's
First Round
13/14
Winners
         
14/15
Winners
         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year
League
Junior Cup
Ross Cup
Burghill Cup
Handley Cup
01/02
Runners Up
02/03
Runners Up
03/04
Winners
Semi's
04/05
4th
Winners
05/06
3rd
06/07
2nd
Runners Up
07/08
6th
08/09
2nd
Third Round
Winners
Second Round
Second Round
09/10
3rd
Runners Up
Winners
Third Round
Second Round
10/11
2nd
Semi's
First Round
Semi's
Runners Up
11/12
9th
Second Round
Semi's
Runners Up
First Round
12/13
7th
First Round
Quarter Finals
First Round
First Round

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


If anyone has any more information please email Kevin at super_kevv@hotmail.com