It wasn't until March 12 that year that the WRU was founded at the Castle Hotel in Neath and took charge of running the national side. After such an inauspicious start things improved dramatically and, 133 years later, the two nations stand tied at 56 wins each in the series to date.
It has been a topsy-turvy rivalry but, given Wales has a playing population of a mere 66,114 compared to England's 2,028,348, it is remarkable that Wales have been able to compete so well for so long.
This weekend's vital RBS 6 Nations clash will be the 49th played between the two countries at Twickenham. England lead 28-13 with seven draws at their home stadium and 35-19 with eight draws across all venues on home soil.
Here are a few other landmarks in the history of the fixture:
• England won the first five matches and it took Wales nine years before they secured their first win - 1-0 at Crown Flatt, Dewsbury in 1890.
• Wales were unbeaten against England between 1899-1909, winning five on the trot before a draw and five further wins.
• England didn't win in Wales between 1895-1913.
• England then held a stranglehold on the fixture between 1923-1931, winning seven and drawing two of the nine fixtures.
• Between 1964-1973, Wales won eight and drew two of the 10 games. They also remained unbeaten at home between 1965-1991.
• Between 1964 and 1979, England won once in 16 matches.
• Between 1994-2005, Wales won once in 13 matches
• England were unbeaten at Twickenham between 1910-1933. England were also unbeaten there between 1990-2005.
• Wales won four in a row between 1987-1989, including a World Cup quarter-final in Brisbane.
• In 1989, Wales led the series by 11 wins.
• England were 8 victories ahead in 1896, 1898 and 1947.
• Wales levelled the series for the first time in 1906 and went ahead in 1907. But by the time World War 1 started in 1914, England were one ahead.
• The countries were level once again in 1970, 2003, 2009 and 2013.
• Wales last led in the series in 2002.