Edward Pegge
Dr. Edward Vernon Pegge was a Welsh
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 international rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 forward who played club rugby for Neath Rugby Football Club
Neath RFC
Neath Rugby Football Club is a Welsh rugby union club which plays in the Welsh Premier Division. The club's home ground is The Gnoll, Neath. The first team is known as the Welsh All Blacks because of the team colours: black with only a white cross pattée as an emblem...

, international rugby for Wales
Wales national rugby union team
The Wales national rugby union team represent Wales in international rugby union tournaments. They compete annually in the Six Nations Championship with England, France, Ireland, Italy and Scotland. Wales have won the Six Nations and its predecessors 24 times outright, second only to England with...

 and later became a vice-president of the Welsh Rugby Union
Welsh Rugby Union
The Welsh Rugby Union is the governing body of rugby union in Wales, recognised by the International Rugby Board.The union's patron is Queen Elizabeth II, and her grandson Prince William of Wales became the Vice Royal Patron of the Welsh Rugby Union as of February 2007.-History:The roots of the...

. Pegge had an eccentric personality that made him a stand-out character of early Welsh rugby.

Personal life

Pegge was born in Briton Ferry
Briton Ferry
Briton Ferry is a town and community in the county borough of Neath Port Talbot, Wales. The town encompasses the electoral wards of Briton Ferry East and Briton Ferry West....

 in 1864, to Charles and Catherine Pegge. His father was originally from Wokingham
Wokingham is a market town and civil parish in Berkshire in South East England about west of central London. It is about east-southeast of Reading and west of Bracknell. It spans an area of and, according to the 2001 census, has a population of 30,403...

 in England, but moved to Wales where he ran and lived at Vernon House, the last privately owned asylum
Psychiatric hospital
Psychiatric hospitals, also known as mental hospitals, are hospitals specializing in the treatment of serious mental disorders. Psychiatric hospitals vary widely in their size and grading. Some hospitals may specialise only in short-term or outpatient therapy for low-risk patients...

 in Wales. Pegge followed his father, also becoming a doctor. One of seven children, Pegge's younger sister, Maud Cunnington
Maud Cunnington
Maud Edith Cunnington , was a Welsh-born archaeologist, most famous for her pioneering work on the prehistoric sites of Salisbury Plain....

 was a notable archaeologist.

Rugby career

Pegge played club rugby for London Welsh and Neath, and it was while representing the later that he won his one and only international cap, in the opening game of the 1891 Home Nations Championship
1891 Home Nations Championship
The 1891 Home Nations Championship was the ninth series of the rugby union Home Nations Championship. Six matches were played between 3 January and 7 March...

, against England. Played at Rodney Parade
Rodney Parade
Rodney Parade is a stadium in the city of Newport, south Wales. Located on the east bank of the River Usk in Newport city centre it is primarily used for rugby matches and is the home ground of Newport RFC and the Newport Gwent Dragons regional team.-History:...

 in Newport
Newport is a city and unitary authority area in Wales. Standing on the banks of the River Usk, it is located about east of Cardiff and is the largest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Monmouthshire and the preserved county of Gwent...

, Pegge was one of three new caps brought into the pack, along with Percy Bennett
Percy Bennett
Percy Bennett was an English-born international rugby union forward who played club rugby for Cardiff Harlequins and international rugby for Wales...

 and Harry Packer
Harry Packer
Harry Packer was an English-born international rugby union prop who played club rugby for Newport and was capped seven times for Wales...

 to face England. Wales lost the game by a goal, and Pegge was not selected for future internationals.

Apart from his single cap, several stories about Pegge allude to his individualistic nature. During the 1887 season Neath RFC embarked on their first tour of the South West of England which would later become an annual fixture. When Pegge missed the departure of his team-mates on their journey to Devon, he chartered a special train to catch up with them. He also caused a sensation when he decided to play rugby at club level with bare arms and legs, as he disapproved of the standard shin-length knickerbockers
Knickerbockers (clothing)
Knickerbockers are men's or boys' breeches or baggy-kneed trousers particularly popular in the early twentieth century USA. Golfers' plus twos and plus fours were breeches of this type...


As well as becoming captain of the Neath first team, he was also vocal in rugby issues at club and country level. During an early meeting held by the club officials he demanded "that baths be provided forthwith and that the secretary be instructed to obtain prices for the same." Pegge's motion was carried. In 1892 Pegge was present at the meeting of the Welsh Rugby Union when Richard Mullock
Richard Mullock
Richard Mullock was a Welsh sporting administrator and official, who is most notable for organising the first Welsh rugby union international game and was instrumental in the creation of the Welsh Football Union, which became the Welsh Rugby Union in 1934...

 was removed as Secretary. During the meeting Pegge was elected as one of four vice-presidents, along with Horace Lyne
Horace Lyne
Horace Sampson Lyne MBE was a Welsh international rugby union forward who played club rugby for Newport Rugby Football Club. He won five caps for Wales and after retiring from playing rugby became the longest serving president of the Welsh Rugby Union...

, William David Phillips
William David Phillips
William David Phillips was a Welsh international rugby union forward who played club rugby for Cardiff Rugby Football Club and international rugby for Wales...

and Gavin Henry; Pegge representing the interests of teams from the South Western district of Wales.
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