Campaign launched to honour FA Cup founder buried in Scottish graveyard

The author of a book on one of the most pioneering football figures of his generation has called for greater recognition of the former English Football Association chairman following the discovery of his grave in Scotland.

Sunday, 18th July 2021, 7:21 pm
The gravesite of Francis Marindin
The gravesite of Francis Marindin

Francis Marindin was one of the founding members of the oldest cup tournament in world football and served as chairman of the Football Association for 16 years.

James Bancroft, who has been researching Marindin and the astonishing history of the FA Cup for decades, is “100 per cent certain” his body is in a rundown church cemetery near Dunfermline with his final resting place doing little to recognise his achievements.

Now, Bancroft would like to see his legacy honoured with something more fitting than the rundown grave that fails to reflect the rich history of the well-respected figure.

Old Crombie Church near Dumfermline, were Marindin is believed to be buried.

New discoveries

He believes now is the time to honour the stature of the man given the 150th anniversary of the FA Cup this year.

Mr Bancroft said: "I began researching this 30 years ago, and with it being the 150 year anniversary of the FA Cup, it would be nice to see him get the recognition he deserves, maybe looking at getting the gravesite restored or give it a plaque or something like that.

"I’ve found out some amazing things about the history of the FA Cup. I’ve even found three rail engineers who played in the early FA Cup finals and were never given recognition.”

It is believed Major Francis Marindin, founder of the FA Cup, is buried in Scotland alongside his family.

Marindin, an army major who served in the Crimean War, was born the second son of Reverend Samuel Marindin and his wife, Isabella, on May 1, 1838.

His mother was the daughter of Andrew Wedderburn Colville, who owned the estate of Ochiltree in Craigflower, Torryburn near Dunfermline, Fife.

Marindin, who joined the FA Committee in 1871, had a long and industrious military career which saw him spend five years as brigade-major. His service coincided with an era that saw new sports being established in England and sport within the Royal Engineers flourished under his guidance. He was appointed as FA Chairman just three years later in 1874.

However, despite dying at his home in Knightsbridge, London, at the turn of the century aged just aged 61, it is believed he was buried alongside his family at Crombie Old Parish Churchyard on the Craigflower Estate in Torryburn near Dunfermline, which was owned by his mother’s family, the Colvilles.

The grave believed to belong to Major Francis Marindin.

The estate is now in ruins with the grave where Bancroft believes Marindin was buried so weather worn that it is almost unrecognisable. It is something the author hopes will change soon, in honour of Marindin’s services to football and the military.

The new book, ‘The Early Years of the FA Cup – How the British Army helped establishment the world’s first football tournament’ – is due out later this year with a cover price of £25.

The cover depicts Major Francis Arthur Marindin standing in the centre of the back row.

The cover of Jams Bancroft's new book, with Major Francis Arthur Marindin, who was captain of the Royal Engineers FC, standing in the centre of the back row.