Crest of Tavistock Association Football Club

Tavistock AFC

The Lambs

Tavistock Association Football Club, nicknamed “The Lambs,” is a non-league football club based in Tavistock, Devon.

Established in 1888, they currently compete in the Pitching In Southern Football League Division One South, which is part of the eighth tier of English football. The team calls Langsford Park their home ground.

Football in Tavistock began with an informal mix of rugby union, soccer, and other games from the mid-1870s, primarily between teams from Plymouth and Tavistock. The sport gained momentum after letters from “Wellwisher” and “Halfback” in the Tavistock Gazette caught the attention of local businessmen. This led to the founding of Tavistock AFC on September 8, 1888, coinciding with the establishment of the Devon County FA. Key figures included Herbert Spencer, who organized the inaugural meeting at the Guildhall, and his brothers Wilfred and Kingsley, along with Tom Owen as secretary. The club’s first match on the Tavistock Grammar School playing field ended in a 1-0 victory over the Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry.

By 1890, Tavistock AFC had adopted blue and old gold kits, formed a second team, and relocated to Green Lane, Torlands, courtesy of the Bedford Hotel’s proprietor. The team flourished, winning the league and being runners-up in the cup during the 1900-1901 season. However, challenges arose, such as a game in 1903 abandoned due to a blizzard and wild ducks occupying a flooded penalty area, causing a postponement. The club frequently changed venues over the years, moving from the grammar school pitch to Green Hill and Sandy Park.

In 1913, the entire Tavistock team was selected to represent the county. Structured football halted during World War I but resumed later. By 1939, several local clubs amalgamated, adopting the familiar red and black colors. The club experienced financial difficulties in the 1930s, leading to a brief cessation of play, but resumed in 1937. World War II interrupted activities again until 1945, after which Tavistock AFC joined the Plymouth Combination League First Division. In 1947, Herbert Thomas Langsford purchased Langsford Park for the club, ensuring its future stability.