1839 in sports

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1839 in sports describes the year's events in world sport.



  • 12 February — William "Bendigo" Thompson defeats James Burke, who is disqualified for head butting.[1]
  • Jem Ward finally relinquishes his claim to the English Championship title and awards a championship belt to Bendigo.[1]
  • Bendigo suffers a serious knee injury while doing somersaults during a celebration and cannot fight again for several years.[1]
  • The English title is again disputed and claims to it are made by Burke, Ben Caunt and Nicholas Ward, brother of Jem Ward.[1]






  • A former Rugby School pupil, Albert Pell, begins organising football matches at Cambridge University. Because of the different school variations, a compromise set of rules has to be found and this is the origin of the famous Cambridge Rules that will be published in 1863.
  • It is claimed that Barnes RFC is founded in 1839 but there is no actual evidence. If the claim is true, Barnes is the world's oldest football club (all codes).

Horse racing[edit]


  • The 1839 Grand National is acknowledged to be the first official running of the race, the three earlier races being termed the Great Liverpool Steeplechase



The Boat Race

Other events


  1. ^ a b c d Cyber Boxing Zone – Bendigo. Retrieved on 7 November 2009.
  2. ^ "Epsom Derby | History, Winners, & Facts | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 23 December 2021.