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News > Christ College Archive > The Jack Rees Field

The Jack Rees Field

Links with the past often come from the most unexpected of places

Though it’s not always obvious, heritage and tradition are important to current pupils, especially given the interruptions to their connection to the school during the COVID years.

One such connection is the often-used reference to the “Jack Rees Field”. Though its exact origins have long been masked in half-recalled anecdote, the sports department has recently done much to ensure the name has stuck. Recent research reveals the story behind the nomenclature.

A trawl through the Governors Minutes for the period has revealed that the area behind the Memorial Pavilion was owned by the school and let for grazing for many years. With school numbers growing, the fields were reclaimed for school use in 1958. A gang mower was purchased to do the work the sheep had once done but the surface wasn’t levelled until 1965. Later in 1965, the school received a considerable bequest from the estate of the late HJV Rees (Day Boy and School House 1902-1910).

Always known as “Jack”, he was the only son of Dr Valentine Rees, a Brecon practitioner. Jack Rees was an accomplished games player at school, playing in the 1st XV for four seasons and gaining his colours in rugby, cricket and hockey. In the 1909/10 seasons he captained both the Rugby XV and the Cricket XI. 

Rugby XV 1909/10. Captained by HJV Rees. 

HJV Rees gained a Rugby Football “Blue” in 1913 while at Exeter College, Oxford, and he played for the Harlequins and Barbarians. At cricket he was an Oxford Authentic. During the First World War he served with the Brecknockshire Battalion, the South Wales Borderers and was seconded to the Machine Gun Corps. Aside from Oxford and the war years, he remained in Brecon. Jack Rees maintained a very close association with Christ College throughout his life, attending almost every important match and helping with the coaching of rugby and cricket.

In acknowledgement of his generosity as a benefactor, a memorial stone to him was erected on the boundary of the newly levelled field behind the Memorial Pavilion. The Headmaster at the time, Dr John Sharp, originally asked that the field be named “Rees’s Ground”. OBs will know the extent to which the name was used in previous decades but, more than fifty years later, “The Jack Rees Field” - appears regularly in the Weekly Routine.

The Archive recently received Jack Rees’s XV cap, kindly donated by a local gentleman, Mr Ashman. His family had owned the cap for quite a while but had no idea why, nor who the original owner was. The rare number of seasons shown on the peak allowed us to quickly identify the owner of the cap as Jack Rees. It seems fitting that it has found its way home to his former school.  





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