Carpenter, Alfred Denzel "Bumps"

A. D. Carpenter ("Bumps"), pictured second from left, back row, helping to build the A48 trunk road to Gloucester.
Old Photos of Cinderford & District: Ivor Evans
Alfred Denzel "Bumps" Carpenter

Alfred Denzel “Bumps” Carpenter was a remarkable ageless hooker, who was as tough as teak. His playing career spanned Cinderford, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Barbarians and England. He spent most of his life in the mines, mainly in the Forest of Dean, and never let it be forgotten that he regularly walked to and from the pit before a game. His commitment was well summarised as “a player and a half by any standards, and what a club man”.

“Bumps” was born in Mitcheldean in 1900. He played rugby continuously from the age of 15 to 43, and he felt that he would have had 2/3 more seasons if WW2 had not intervened – although he was by then of an age which meant he was not obliged to sign up, he chose to do so, volunteered for the RAF, and fought for 2 years.

He worked at Lightmoor Colliery in the Forest, and won the “Dinky” Cup, which was competed for by colliery teams. He started his rugby career with Cinderford, but moved on to Gloucester, and played from 1928 to 1940, during which time he made 336 appearances.

He played for Gloucestershire in 5 County Championship finals, winning 4 of them. He was selected twice for the Rest v England, and proudly recalled “we beat ’em once”. He was selected as a reserve for England more than 20 times (the last time at age 38) , but his appearance against South Africa in 1932 proved to be his only cap – he started the game as prop but finished it as a hooker. He was the first player from the Forest to play for England.

“Bumps” was well respected – a hard man with huge hands, respected for his fitness, stamina and strength, who liked a fight. Wilf Wooler called him “a remarkable player, a typical West Country forward and a true Gloucester club forward”. After retiring from senior rugby, he returned to his roots in the Forest, supporting local clubs. He had the pleasure of packing down with two of his sons, George (Lydney) and Denzel (Cheltenham), who also enjoyed successful rugby careers, both representing Gloucestershire. He died in 1974.

Comments about this page

  • I am rather intrigued to try and find out more about ‘Bumps’ connection to my Grandfather cousins apparently! I have got a photo of him in his England jersey. Would you happen to be able to help me trace his roots/family tree? My late Grandfather was William ‘Bill’ Alfred Sanders. Fascinated to have had an International Rugby player in the family

    By Glyn Sanders (12/08/2023)
  • Hi Shaun, and thanks – anything you can add would be great. I’ll e-mail you separately.

    By Dick Williams (31/01/2014)
  • Dick Williams, I might be able to help you with producing something for bumps carpenter, let me me know if you would like help with it. Cheers

    By Shaun carpenter (30/01/2014)
  • This is question about using the word Bumps, is it particular to Gloucester? Our family has a tenuous link with the area, it is thought that my mothers grandfather came from there? I was brought up by my grandfather who always insisted I called him bumps? (Admittedly he was a hard man, and did a bit of boxing. So bumps might have been appropriate and just a coincidence?) Their family name was Greenway, is that a name connected to the area?

    By Simon Holmes (10/09/2013)
  • Bumps is my Gramp and George my Dad- Both wonderful men, stars on and off the pitch. Both missed more than words can say x

    By Sally Meek (17/08/2013)
  • With all these descendants of Bumps who quite rightly are very proud of him – do any of you have any Glos Rugby-related memorabilia of him, photos, newspaper cuttings, etc? We’d very much like to produce something related to his great rugby career to put up in the new Former Players’ Bar at Kingsholm.

    By Dick Williams (17/08/2013)
  • he is my great great uncle , my gramps uncle, and yes im proud to be a carpenter x

    By stephanie carpenter (09/02/2013)
  • Wow, this is my Great Great Great Grandfather, as Shaun said, very proud to be called a Carpenter 🙂

    By Bradley Carpenter (29/09/2011)
  • Bumps Carpenter is my great gramp - I am very proud to have the name Carpenter.

    By shaun carpenter (05/01/2010)

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