The funeral of Charles Athersmith

September 22, 1910
The death of Charles Athersmith, the once famous Aston Villa right-winger and athlete, occurred at the residence of his mother (Mrs. Hancox) at Oakengates, Shropshire, shortly after noon on Monday. Athersmith, who was about 40 years of age, leaves a widow and one child.

Charlie Athersmith.
Charles Athersmith

In his day he was the fastest football player in the country, and won many prizes on the running track. He took part in twelve international football matches (Scotland 1897 – 1898 – 1899 – 1900, Wales 1897 – 1898 – 1899 – 1900, Ireland 1892 – 1897 – 1898 – 1899), and was at one time of the “stars” of the Aston Villa team. Athersmith’s illness is thought to have had its origin in a severe strain or a kick in the stomach when playing football.

During the earlier part of his career, Athersmith was a member of the Unity Gas combination, a junior club in the Saltney district, which carried off some few honours in a six-a-side contests, a particular phase of football in which he was an adept. When first joining Aston Villa there was some little uncertainty as to how far his amateur status on the running path would be affected, but this was quickly decided when he boldly embraced professionalism.

In running matches he met with several notable success, and at distances varying from 100 yards to a quarter of a mile he was without a doubt one of the fastest men on his day.

The part he played in many famous games for Aston Villa could not easily be exaggerated. Always abstemious and well conducted, he was invariably in the pink of condition, and it has been truthfully asserted upon more than one occasion that no player of his time suffered more from the attentions of his opponents or from the questionable rulings of incompetent referees.

In this direction his turn of speed was frequently turned to his disadvantage. For several seasons the Athersmith – Devey right wing of Aston Villa was famed in every football centres, the perfect understanding and combination of the pair proving of inestimable value to the team.

The funeral took place at Bloxwich Cemetery, on Thursday. There were no representatives present from Aston Villa, but the Birmingham Club were represented by two officials, and among the bearers were several old players of the Bloxwich Wanderers, a club with which Athersmith commenced his career many years ago before going to the Unity Gas Club and then to Aston Villa.

Wreaths were sent by the Birmingham and Aston Villa clubs and by the members of the old Wanderers’ club. The last named was represented by Messrs. E. Carrington, W. Somersfield, W. Perry, W. Nickolls, and W. Mellor.

There was a large attendance of Bloxwich people at the funeral, which started from the Vine Inn, Bloxwich, which is kept by a relative of the deceased. The mourners were: – Mrs. Athersmith (widow), Miss Athersmith (daughter), Ernest Perry, Mrs. Hancox, Mrs. Wright, Mr. and Mrs. F. Perry, Mrs. Wilkes, Mr. Hancox, Mr. Baggott senr., Mr. C. Athersmith, Mr. E. Athersmith, Mr. and Mrs. Booker, Mr. and Mrs. Bert Perry, Mr. and Mrs. W. Baggott junr., Mr. and Mrs. J. Smith, Mrs. E. Perry, and Mrs. Westwood.

The bearers were: – Messrs. R. Wilkes, T. Hancox, E. Wootton, A. Hall, T. Athersmith, W. Wright, G. Hall, and C. Athersmith. The funeral was conducted by the Rev. E.M. Darling.

The grave (image and information found at this website about Charles Athersmith).
Charles Athersmith 2
(Walsall Advertiser: September 24, 1910)

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