Froude Hancock

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Froude Hancock
Froude Hancock (1865–1933). Photo taken c. 1890 in Cape Town, probably on the "Missionary" rugby tour
Full name Philip Froude Hancock
Date of birth 29 August 1865
Place of birth Wellington, England
Date of death 16 October 1933
Place of death Clifton, England
Notable relative(s) Frank Hancock, brother
William Hancock, brother
Rugby union career
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
British Isles XV

Philip Froude Hancock universally known as Froude Hancock (29 August 1865 – 16 October 1933)[1] was an English rugby union forward who played international rugby for the British Isles XV on two tours, the 1891 and 1896 tour of South Africa.

Personal life[edit]

Froude Hancock memorial stone, West Anstey Common, Devon, inscribed: "Froude Hancock 1865–1933"

Hancock was born in Wellington, Somerset in 1865 to William Hancock of Wiveliscombe a notable brewer from the South West of England.[2] Hancock was one of ten brothers, five of whom played rugby for Somerset, with Hancock and his brother Frank selected at international level. A keen sportsman, he was a member of several hunts, including the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, but most notably the Dulverton Foxhounds Hunt. A follower of the Devon and Somerset wrote that "the outstanding figure, with the widest knowledge of the sport and of all that it implied, the best supporter of it, the readiest friend of all, be they natives of the west country or visitors it, in a word the most respected, admired, popular man on Exmoor was Froude Hancock of Wiveliscombe."[3] A memorial stone of granite was placed on Anstey Common two years after his death, on a spot from where Hancock watched the hunt in his old age.

Rugby career[edit]

Hancock with the first touring Barbarians. Hancock is back row, 2nd from right, with hat.

Hancock began playing rugby for local club, Wiveliscombe,[4] before playing for first class English side Richmond. In 1886 Hancock was selected for his first international game, when he was selected to represent England against Wales in the 1886 Home Nations Championship. He was reselected for the very next match against Ireland at Lansdowne Road, but missed the final game, the Championship decider, against Scotland. The 1886 Championship also saw the last international match for Hancock's brother, Frank, who had moved to Wales and represented the Welsh team. Frank missed the game against England which would have seen the brothers face each other, but was captain of the Welsh side that faced Scotland seven days later. Hancock played one final game for England, four years later, in the 1890 Championship. This game saw the reintroduction of England after two years away from the international scene, and resulted in the country's first defeat to Wales.

In 1890, Hancock became an original member of William Percy Carpmael's newly formed invitational tourists, the Barbarians, becoming one of the few early members not to have a university background. Hancock went on several Easter tours with the Barbarians, scoring a try against Norman Biggs' Cardiff team in 1893.

Although not reselected for the 1891 Championship, Hancock was chosen to represent the first official British Isles team on their first tour of South Africa. Hancock played in all three tests, which all resulted in wins for the tourists. In 1896 a second tour of South Africa was organised. The British Isles were led by Johnny Hammond, and he and Hancock were the only two players to have toured in 1891. Hancock was again chosen to play in all the Tests match, scoring a try in the Second Test at Johannesburg, his only international points. In total Hancock played in 33 matches for the British Isles teams over the two tours, the seven tests and 26 matches against invitational opposition.[5]


  1. ^ Froude Hancock player profile
  2. ^ Earle, John, Exmoor and the Quantocks, a walker's guide Cicerone Press Ltd (1991) pg. 113, ISBN 1-85284-083-8
  3. ^ Unpublished memoirs of H H Gordon Clark
  4. ^ "Wiveliscombe R.F.C. – History". Archived from the original on 7 August 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2010. 
  5. ^ Philip Hancock personal profile


  • Griffiths, John (1987). The Phoenix Book of International Rugby Records. London: Phoenix House. ISBN 0-460-07003-7.