From Rugby to Menton:
William Webb Ellis’ journey
William Webb Ellis was born in Salford in England on November 24th 1806. His mother Ann was widowed in 1812 and moved to Rugby.
During a football match in autumn 1823, young William took hold of the ball. The move was allowed but the rules were that the player had to move backwards with the ball. He ignored the rules and continued forward. That’s where “Rugby football” came from.
We don’t know if William Webb Ellis, who became a reverend, came to Menton for pleasure or health reasons.
The town was famous back then for its climate that was believed to cure tuberculosis. He died on January 24th 1872. He is buried at Vieux-Château Cemetery in the plot that he bought himself.
A local journalist, Roger Driès, rediscovered his tomb in 1958.
A bronze statue donated by Rugby Council portrays him in his famous pose at the lower entrance to the cemetery.
[Excerpt from Menton Town Hall website]