In its rich history, Bristol has nurtured some of the great stars of the past and present.
We would like to thank Dave Fox and Mark Hoskins for allowing us to take advantage of the superb research they did for their book "Bristol Football Club (RFU) - 100 Greats". Dave and Mark contributed the information and the images.
If you would like to get more information on the club, its players and its history, then you can buy their book at most leading bookshops in Bristol.
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Position: Outside half
Date of Birth: 8/7/1908
Date of Death: 13/9/1973
Honours: Somerset, Gloucestershire & Somerset XV, England
Career: 1930-1937 151 games
Scored: 35 tries, 13 drop goals
Jimmy Barrington was one of the most influential players to have worn the blue and white jersey of Bristol. He was the catalyst of all Bristol attacking moves and a supreme entertainer. The local press described him as a "dashing runner able to bamboozle defences". He had a remarkable ability to break defences and to set up tries. He was undoubtedly one of the finest outside halves to play for Bristol during the club's history, arguably the finest.
Barrington made a spectacular debut for Bristol in a rare victory over Cardiff in September 1930. He scored two tries in a 28 - 14 win at Cardiff Arms Park, and immediately made a name for himself. By the end of the season he had played for England and everyone knew of Jimmy Barrington.
Barrington had already played for Bristol in three unofficial games in the late 1920s, before playing for Richmond and Harlequins when studying law at London University. After qualifying he retuned to the west country and played briefly for Bath before formally joining Bristol. He also played for a combined Gloucestershire and Somerset XV against the New South Wales Waratahs in 1928 when a Bridgwater player, and he first represented Somerset at the age of nineteen.
The rapid rise from his Bristol introduction to England international included appearances in a series of trial matches. The first of these was played at Waterloo, and Barrington orchestrated a remarkable victory for the Whites against Colours, 45 - 9. This match, more than any other, showed the extraordinary running talents of Barrington. He played well in the further trials and then he was selected to play for England against Wales at Twickenham in January 1931. He made his debut alongside Don Burland in an 11-all draw.
Barrington owed much to the success of his rugby philosophy to his scrum half Cecil Carter, with whom he played in England trials. However Carter was never selected for England and when an unfit Barrington played outside the out-of-form Harlequins scrum half Tinny Dean in a 6-5 defeat to Ireland 4 weeks later the Bristol player was dropped.
The press were in uproar. They suggested Barrington had been asked to play in a way unnatural to him. However Barrington, "on his day the most brilliant individualist in the game at the present time", never played for England again.
That "Bristol Evening World" quotation points to the reason behind Barrington's exclusion: he was too unpredictable for the selectors. There were continued calls for international recalls but they fell on deaf ears. He was a travelling reserve in 1933, but that was as close as he came.
Barrington captained Bristol in 1934/35 but damaged a knee against Bath in March 1935 and aggravated it against Blackheath a few weeks later. His knee collapsed playing tennis during the summer and he underwent an operation to remove the cartilage shortly after.
He missed the entire 1935/36 campaign - for which he was elected captain - but played again the following season. He began to play more in the centre but further injury problems plagued him so he retired at the end of the 1936/37 campaign. The club's end of season Annual Report wrote that Barrington "will go down in our history as one of the finest sportsmen who ever donned the Bristol jersey". He did, however, play one further game of rugby: for the Bristol Supporters' Team during the 1939/40 season.
After retiring from playing Barrington took up the whistle and became a Somerset Society referee. He refereed to county standard and had the war not intervened he may well have officiated at a higher level.
A multi-talented sportsman Barrington was educated at Dr Morgan's School, Bridgwater, and Wrekin College in Shropshire where he captained the school cricket team and was vice-captain of its rugby XV. He later captained Bridgwater cricket club and played tennis to county standard. His brother was popular Bridgwater cricketer Jack Barrington.
Barrington commanded audiences wherever he went, speaking regularly in Bridgwater on any number of subjects. After retiring from rugby he was a popular contributor to the Bristol match programme in the late 1930s, writing under the pen names "TJM" and "Not Now".
Originally articled with Benson & Carpenter, Queen's Square, Bristol, he subsequently joined his father's legal firm of Lovibond, Son & Barrington in Bridgwater. During the war he served in the RAF as a Pilot Officer on Administrative duties. He continued refereeing and controlled several war-time games when duties allowed and refereed Bristol on several occasions immediately after the war.
Barrington was an exceptional sportsman, a gentleman, and, indeed, a real character. Len Corbett, writing about Barrington in the press, described him as: "Rugby's untidiest player …. An ancient discoloured pair of shorts and a superfluity of string in various places from the waist downwards, gave him a Heath Robinson appearance to deceive an unwary defence." That was Jimmy Barrington: always worth looking out for.