In 1880 Glaswegian, Douglas Malcolm Bell moved to Lincoln to work at Ruston's and joined the Lindum Club which at the time only played Association football. Occasionally at Christmas, with the return of undergraduate students from University, an ad hoc rugby team would be formed to play games at Gainsborough and Horncastle. In 1882 the first Lincoln Rugby Club was formed with H.C. Wilson as Chairman and John Lauder Bailey as Secretary. Another member was a man named Whittaker.
Games were played in a field opposite the Golden Cross Inn on the High Street, roughly where Cranwell Street is today. Lincoln, as far as is known, was the only club in Lincolnshire at the time and in order to get matches these games had to be arranged over the border in Yorkshire. This proved to be a financial burden for the amateur players who had to fund the transport arrangements out of their own pockets. The club's initial period of life only lasted two or three years due to the difficulty in obtaining matches, but it did reform again a few years later with D.M. Bell as Chairman of the Committee.
A purple braided cap dated 1899 1900 with the letters LRFC and bearing the Imp Logo is evidence that the Club was certainly going strong at that time. Understandably, rugby seems to have ceased during the years of the Great War. In 1920 a letter appeared in the Lincolnshire Echo from H.B. Watney, son of the Rev. H.J. Watney, vicar of Canwick. The only reply was from R.D. Stokes and the matter was dropped until 1921 where a repeat of the letter seems to have found its mark.