JB Keyworth, an Olympian Rambler

The caption below depicts the two sides that took part in the FA Cup tie – played on the 4th of October 1882 – on the corner of Ash Street and Scarisbrick Road in Southport where it was witnessed by a crowd of 300 people. It is the first time a team based in Liverpool had appeared in the tournament and the game ended in a 1-1 draw. Playing at left back for The Ramblers was a man who had recently made his home on Merseyside.

John Bunyan Keyworth was born on the 19th of May 1859 in Lincoln and was named after his father, who had established a company that produced Agricultural Implements. According to the 1871 census, he was a pupil in Warwick but by 1881 he had taken up residence, with his family, on Park Road South in Birkenhead. John Junior was working as a Cotton Broker Salesman and would have been well acquainted with the young men who wished to form a football club, in Liverpool, that would play under association rules. Nevertheless, he soon switched codes and joined the Rugby players who were sharing the same facilities at the new Liverpool Cricket Ground in Aigburth.

On the 5th of March 1889 John Bunyan Keyworth married Mary Josephine Howard at St Mary-in-the-Hamlet in the Toxteth area of Liverpool where he listed his Profession as a Cotton Salesman and lived in the Parish of Bidston. The couple made a home in Tranmere where they began to raise a family. John was now enjoying his leisure within the confines of Birkenhead Park where he was a member of Wirral Archers.

The 1901 census saw that John Keyworth was now a widower and was bringing up his two sons, Osmond and Egerton, with the aid of one female servant.  In 1903 he won the Northern Counties Archery championship, held at Nantwich, thus establishing himself as one of the leading toxophilites in Great Britain. In 1908 John Keyworth became the first former player of Liverpool Ramblers to take part in the Olympic Games – held at The White City in London – in the Archery competition, but he failed to gain a medal. He finished 9th in the Double York Round and 12th in the Continental Style.

By the time of the 1911 census, John Keyworth had married Margaret Jones and was living, along with his two sons, at Marlborough Grove in Birkenhead.  He was employed in the family business which now had their premises at Tarleton Street in Liverpool. The company ceased trading in 1918 leaving John Junior to work elsewhere, as an Agricultural Engineer, until his retirement. He lived in Birkenhead until his death on the 24th of April 1954 and was survived by his wife and two sons. John Bunyan Keyworth was then 94 years old and possibly the last founder member of Liverpool Ramblers to die.