The Maltese cross, Neath's famous badge is said to have originated from a cap worn by 'EC Moxham' in the 1870s. Sam Clarke, writing of it in 1936 said "Moxham came on to the ground one afternoon wearing a small Maltese Cross in his cap. The boys immediately caught up a suggestion to adopt it as a badge to break up the monotonous black". And so the Maltese Cross became the emblem all Welsh clubs were to fear. It is not known where Moxham's Maltese Cross hailed from, there is no record of a Moxham having attended Rugby School during the latter part of the 19th century so this question remains unanswered.

Neath jersey

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 A Neath jersey, circa 1970s, showing the Maltese Cross (WRM-0341)

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Rugby School Cap

A cap from Rugby School dated 1886. Each school house had caps, the Maltese Cross belonged to the house called 'Hutchinson'. The inside of the cap has the matches in which the pupil (F Agnew) played embroidered onto patches which are then sewn inside. The matches which include Rugby v New College Oxford and Rugby v Old Haileyburians 1887 and the 'Sixth Match (Sixth form against the rest of the school)'. The first record of caps being worn at 'Rugby School' is in 1839 when Queen Adelaide paid a visit. The boys paraded for the royal visitor in the 'quadrangle' with plush crimson velvet caps with gold tassels. The queen, having heard of the spectacle that was football, requested a match take place later that day. The boys retained their caps and this is the first recorded occasion of a uniform being worn in a match. The practice of cap wearing was retained into the 1840s, so that fellow team players could be distinguished in a scrummage and not mercilessly hacked by a team mate. There were two classes of player at this time in Rugby School, those who wore caps and were allowed to 'follow up' or play the ball, and those without caps, normally the younger pupils who acted as 'goalkeepers'. There was no hard rule as to how a boy won his cap, it was on the whim of the the 'house captain' as to whether he was good enough, a player was 'invited' to pick up his cap.  (WRM-0185)


The earliest known Neath cap is dated 1883-4. In the 1889-90 season, 18 caps were ordered, paid for and presented to worthy individuals. The ‘worthy individuals’ turned out to be the team that played Llanelli on 18th January 1890 . So impressed were the committee about the performance of the team they arranged a special presentation before the next home game. Possibly the occasion could have been the taking of Llanelli's long standing ground record. The home team were undefeated in the 1888-89 season.



1889-90 Neath football team (WRM-0207)

In the back row W Thomas, H Evans & E Hughes are all wearing their brand new size 6 7/8 caps as sanctioned by the committee on Dec 16th 1889. 



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Illustrated left, the meeting in which it was decided to order caps and to the right a list of players who received those caps, including cap sizes.



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