The cradle of women's lacrosse
St Leonards is proud of its sporting heritage, no more so than in the historic role it has played in the development of lacrosse. In fact, St Leonards lays claim to be the first place in the world at which girls’ lacrosse was played.
The game was brought to St Leonards by Dame Louisa Lumsden and Dame Frances Dove, the first and second Headmistresses of the School, who had watched a match between men during a visit to Canada in 1884. Miss Lumsden later wrote, "It is a wonderful game, beautiful and graceful. (I was so charmed with it that I introduced it at St Leonards).” And so in 1890, the girls at St Leonards began playing lacrosse.
The School’s influence over women’s lacrosse didn’t end there though. Rosabelle Sinclair, who introduced lacrosse for girls to the US, attended St Leonards between 1906 and 1910. St Leonards staff and girls also played an important part in the development of the Scottish Lacrosse Association. It is estimated that the School has provided well over 100 players for the Scottish national team since international matches began in 1913.
Although firmly established as a co-educational school, St Leonards is proud of its heritage. Girls still therefore play lacrosse as part of their timetabled Physical Education lessons and in competitive regional and national fixtures.Former Deputy Head Jane Claydon has written and published, ‘St Leonards: Cradle of Lacrosse’, detailing the crucial role played by the School in the development of the game.