It has always been assumed that Chippenham R.F.C. had been founded in 1929, although we were aware that rugby had been played in Chippenham before that time. However, recent investigation has unearthed evidence that Chippenham R.F.C was infact founded on 1 September 1898. This evidence in the form of a newspaper cutting and photograph has met the RFU's criteria for a clubs date of foundation.
Rugby Football has been played in Chippenham for over 100 years but it is only since the 1950s that the game has significantly developed. This growth was triggered by the purchase of a 4-acre field just off Langley Road in Birch Grove. Without doubt we owe a great deal to the visionaries in the Club at that time. Having our own clubhouse was very unusual and it certainly helped to pull players together and play some really good rugby albeit in the form of friendly fixtures. We fielded five senior teams at our peak but of course this was at a time when there were only two other local clubs Corsham and Calne.
In the seventies another visionary came to the fore in the person of Lyn Eels. He saw the importance of developing youngsters from an early age and started mini rugby. Lyn is still around as are many of the parents whom helped to get things off the ground. These were pioneering days with no guideline from Headquarters. Chippenham minis were one of the first in the West Country and today we are still regarded as one of the best mini/junior clubs in the West.
With the vast increase in activity at the club we rapidly ran out of space and found ourselves playing rugby on Westmead, at the schools and even on occasions improvising in parks. In the late 1980s work started on the process of selling our old Birch Grove ground and investing in the 22 acres we now own at Allington Field. All of the available funds were invested in land, as this is what secures the long-term rugby future of the club. The club was re-structured in a manner that allowed a more dynamic day-to-day management and capital was borrowed to build our wonderful clubhouse. Yes we have a big mortgage but it keeps us on our toes. The ethos of the club has always been rugby for all and with good friendship and hospitality. Long may this continue!