Football League Division Three was formed in 1920 when the Football League expanded from two divisions to incorporate a third. The teams chosen to fill this new division were mainly in the Southern League, including Bristol Rovers, but also included Grimsby Town who had been relegated from Division Two. The third division only lasted for a single season, before being regionalised into Division Three (South) and Division Three (North) in 1921.
The Third Division was returned to its original format in 1958, with the top half of the two regional leagues being put in Division Three and the bottom half of each league into the newly created Division Four, a division in which Rovers never played. This restructuring did not affect Rovers at the time, as they were plying their trade in Division Two at the time, and didn't drop back down to the Third Division until 1962.
Rovers remained at the third level until 1974, when they won promotion after finishing in second place, but dropped back down in 1981. They played for another nine seasons in Division Three before winning the league title in 1990, pipping Bristol City to the spoils. Shortly after this, in 1992, the creation of the Premier League meant that Division Three went from being the third level to the fourth level in the English game. Rovers played in this lower-level third division for three years, from 2001 until it was replaced by League Two in 2004.
Bristol Rovers have had four spells in Division Three – in 1920-21, from 1962 to 1974, 1981 to 1990, and from 2001 until the division was rebranded League Two in 2004. They twice left the division through league restructuring and twice through promotion. The club were never relegated from Division Three.