Forest Green was, as historian Tim Barnard comments:
‘A staunchly Non Conformist village,
made up of Baptists and Congregationalists’ –
Although the club was based at a pub,
‘The Jovial Forester … Lower Forest Green … in those early years’;
Tim also comments that: ‘Some might argue that FGR are
carrying on with that tradition with our new Green ethos!’
This is more than interesting,
for such non-conformism was often double-edged:
For some it meant thrift, ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’,
Sabbatarianism, devoted Bible reading and so on,
But for others, the 3 Rs and the Bible meant only one lesson:
‘It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than it is for a rich man to enter Heaven’;
Such people might well have joined the local riots of 1766:
‘On Friday last a Mobb was rais’d in these parts by the blowing of Horns &c
consisting entirely of the lowest of the people such as weavers, mecanicks,
labourers, prentices and boys &c… cutting open Baggs of Flower
and giving it & carrying it away’;
Or the Captain Swing riots in Horsley in the winter of 1830:
‘This is to tell you gentlemen that if you don’t pull down them infernall machines then we will you damnd dogs. An yew mus rise the marrid mens wages tow and sixpence a day an the single tow shillins or we will burn your hayricks’;
Then at the end of the nineteenth century,
there came agricultural trades unionism,
With Joseph Banks, the Slad Road chemist, leading meetings,
Calling for an end to truck and payment in kind,
And calling for shorter hours and higher wages,
Labourers should be paid, he said,
‘In sterling money, not fat bacon … or a couple of swedes’.
So this was the background preceding the Great War,
The background from which men marched out from their football pitch,
Some never to return:
‘There are 3 names with initials on the Nailsworth war memorial
matching names and initials of pre- war Forest Green Rovers players.
W Brinkworth, E Beale, S Marmont.
W Brinkworth is also named on the Woodchester Baptist Chapel memorial plaque, now in Woodchester Parish Church. That all fits because FGR and Forest Green was a staunchly Non Conformist village, made up of Baptists and Congregationalists’, says Tim.
In conclusion, Tim has sent us the following:
Stroud Journal, September 1919
Stroud and District Football Association notes
When war broke out in August 1914 the above League had made every effort for a record season. Rule books etc had been printed ready for issue to the clubs who had entered and nearly 800 registration forms had been received from players who had “signed on” to take part in league matches.
Then came the call to arms and by the beginning of September so many of these players had joined the colours that it was impossible for the clubs to carry out their programmes.
The League Committee at once came to a decision and decided to disband for the duration of the war.
Many of the boys who at that time were looking forward to their favourite pastime have fallen on the different battlefields that their names will always live in the memory of those interested in the Stroud and District League….