Francis Wright, a man of moral principles, tried to stop the Shrovetide Football tradition! Perhaps he was not as popular locally as the memorial suggested.
Francis Wright came from a local family and was a successful businessman and entrepreneur. He was a generous benefactor, although not everyone approved of his influence and he was also know as the "president of the stick your nose into other peoples' business society"
He was born in 1806, son of John Wright, a Nottinghamshire Banker and a principal share holder and director of the Butterley Iron Company. John Wright had married Elizabeth Beresford of Osmaston and Compton House, Ashbourne. Compton House is Lloyds Bank today.
The Butterley Co lasted from 1807 until 1968. Francis Wright took over as director from 1830 until his death in 1873. He built St Pancras Station. Francis believed in ‘busy hands keep the devil away’ and was a zealous low churchman. Francis built or established a number of schools churches and other institutions. He built churches in Ironville, Lenton, Osmaston and St John's in Ashbourne. In 1866, he founded, with like-minded trustees, Trent College at Long Eaton, a public boarding school for boys. He was a significant patron to Derbyshire Royal Infirmary.
Probably the best known of the 15 remaining Festival Football games played in Britain, the game at Ashbourne is takes place throughout the streets each year on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. The boundary between the two teams, Upards and Downards, is the Scolebrook/Henmore Brook.