James Mackie (MP)

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James Mackie
Member of Parliament
for Kirkcudbrightshire
In office
3 April 1857 – 28 December 1867
Preceded byJohn Mackie
Succeeded byWellwood Herries Maxwell
Personal details
Born18 May 1821
Kirkcudbright, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland
Died28 December 1867(1867-12-28) (aged 46)
Resting placeMinnigaff, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland
Political partyLiberal

James (Jem) Mackie (18 May 1821 – 28 December 1867)[1] was a British Liberal Party and Whig politician and rugby footballer, sometimes credited with creating the sport.[2]

Rugby football[edit]

Mackie is sometimes credited as the creator of rugby football when, while he was at Rugby School in 1838–39, he picked up the ball and ran with it, becoming known as "the first great runner-in". This was against convention that, when a ball was caught, the player should retreat and kick towards the goal.[2]

However, the sport is most often credited to William Webb Ellis, who was at the school from 1816 to 1825. The credit may have been given to Webb Ellis as Mackie was expelled from the school before the practice was legalised by the school in 1841, before an agreed set of rules was dictated, and his expulsion made him an "undesirable role model".[3] Indeed, in an 1895 inquiry, author Thomas Hughes said Mackie had been the first to play the sport this way.

Political career[edit]

Following in his father, John Mackie's footsteps, he was elected Whig MP for Kirkcudbrightshire in 1857 and held the seat until his death in 1867, becoming a Liberal in 1859.[4][5] His death triggered the 1868 Kirkcudbrightshire by-election.


  1. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "K" (part 2)
  2. ^ a b Harris, Tim (2009). Players: 250 Men, Women and Animals Who Created Modern Sport. Random House. ISBN 9781409086918 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Rayner, Gordon (5 September 2015). "Rugby World Cup: William Webb Ellis is 'King Arthur' figure whose reputation as game's inventor may be a myth". The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  4. ^ Craig, F. W. S., ed. (1977). British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885 (e-book) (1st ed.). London: Macmillan Press. ISBN 978-1-349-02349-3.
  5. ^ "Election Intelligence". Wells Journal. 28 March 1857. p. 2. Retrieved 14 September 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Kirkcudbrightshire
Succeeded by