The Three Cock trophy, presented in 1873 by John Kennedy.

Shirburnians of older standing will tell fond tales of the Three Cock. This was the senior rugby cup, first competed for in March 1873, when School House was victorious. It was played out over two days until its duration was limited in 1887 to one hour only. The origins of this game stemmed from the fact that School House was easily the largest at Sherborne and so played a game against representatives of the best three of the other houses. The School’s historian, A.B. Gourlay, reported that ‘for many, it was the most important match of the year and formed a magnificent traditional finish to the season.’

The Three Cock trophy was presented to the School in 1873 by John Kennedy (1847-1931). John was the son of the Rev. William James Kennedy of Manchester and was educated at Eton and King’s College, Cambridge.  He taught Classics at Sherborne School from 1871 to 1876, afterwards became Headmaster of Aldenham School (1876-1899), and later became a tutor of Pembroke College, Cambridge (1901-1902).

Three Cock v School House, 10 March 1897 (the game was won by Abbeylands).

The Three Cock trophy was won in the first year by School House.  But for fifteen straight years, from 1912 to 1927, it was won by Abbey House, whose housemaster was a former England forward, Godfrey Mohun Carey (1872-1927), after whom the School’s Carey’s playing fields are named.

Winners of The Three Cock 1873-1977.

Further reading:
The early days of rugby at Sherborne School
Playing Fields & Pavilions
A.B. Gourlay, A History of Sherborne School (Sherborne, 1971).
D.F. Gibbs, A History of Football at Sherborne School (Sherborne, 1983).
Robert Hands, Rugby Football at Sherborne School  (Sherborne, 1991).

For further information about the Sherborne School Archives please contact the School Archivist.

Return to the School Archives homepage.