Yorkshire Chess History



William Ash











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



27/06/1840, Wakefield


11/01/1848, Wakefield





William Ash was a son of John Shepley Ash (born 1799/1801, Fairfield, Lancs.) of Wakefield and Harrietta Ash (born 1802/03, Brighouse), who had at least the following five children, all born in Wakefield:


Ann Hamilton/Hamerton  Ash

born 1828/29

Alfred Ash

born 1829/30

Benjamin Ash

born 1833/34

John Shepley Ash, junior

born 1836/37

William Ash

born 27/06/1840, Wakefield

baptised 11/01/1848, Wakefield


William Ash was thus apparently the youngest member of the family, born 27/06/1840, though not baptised until the age of seven.


The 1851 census found 51-year-old John Shepley Ash, a painter employing 3 men, 48-year-old Harrietta Ash, and the five children, living in Great Bull Yard, Wakefield.  Alfred was a clerk to a corn factor, and the three youngest children were scholars.  They had living with them 56-year-old annuitant Elizabeth Haigh, born at Ockbrook, Derbyshire, about a mile as the crow flies from Spondon, Derby, who represented as the widowed sister of the head of the household.  There were also two servants.


White’s Directory of Leeds, Halifax, Huddersfield, Wakefield &c, 1858, listed John Shepley Ash, painter, at Stamp Office Yard.  Alfred Ash, corn agent, Hardy Street, Wakefield.


The 1861 census found the same family members, except John Shepley Ash junior and Elizabeth Haigh, living at Stock’s Yard (off Westgate), Wakefield.  The 61-year-old father was still a painter, now employing 2 men; “30”-year-old Ann Hamilton Ash, who had apparently aged only eight years in the last decade, had some sort of interest-based income of her own; 31-year-old Alfred was now a corn merchant, 27-year-old Benjamin apparently had some of independent interest-based income; 20-year-old William was a corn factor’s clerk, perhaps working for older brother Alfred.  They now had only one servant.


White’s Directory of Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield &c, 1866, listed the following:

William Ash & Co., corn factors, Bridge Street, Wakefield

William Ash, Bellefield House, Wakefield

Alfred Ash (of William Ash & Co.), with home at Heathfield, Sandal.


Heathfield was a road or area in the Belle Vue locality of Sandall Magna township, Wakefield, just before Agbrigg as one leaves Wakefield via Doncaster Road, which was one a turnpike road.  The location of Bellefield House is unclear.


The marriage of William Ash to Emily Smith Roberts, born 1842/43 at Bawtry, was registered at East Retford in the first quarter of 1867.  The couple had at the following four children:


Emily Ash

born 1867/68, Sandal

W S Ash

born 1868/69

Percy R Ash

born May/June 1870

Florence M Ash

born 1875/76, Sandal


White's Directory of Leeds & the West Riding, 1870, listed the following:

William Ash & Co., corn factors, Bellfield Warehouse, Sandal Road, Wakefield

Alfred Ash (of William Ash & Co.), with home at Heathfield, Sandal Magna.

Ash Brothers (William and John), maltsters,Heathfield, Sandal Magna.



The 1871 census found 30-year-old William and 28-year-old Emily with the first three children, and two servants, living at Heathfield, Sandal.  Sandal and Sandal Magna are roughly two miles to the south of the centre of Wakefield.  William was now described as a maltster, employing nine men.  The census didn’t give the children’s forenames in full, merely giving initials.  Percy R. Ash may have been away at school.


Kelly's Directory of West Riding of Yorkshire, 1881, listed the following:


Ash Brothers, maltsters and corn factors, Agbrigg malt kilns

Alfred Ash, corn merchant, Heathfield, Belle Vue, Wakefield


Alfred Ash, at Heathfield, Belle Vue, Wakefield

William Ash, at Heathfield, Belle Vue, Wakefield


The 1881 census found parents William, a maltster, and Emily, Emily junior and Florence, with two servants, living at Birdbush, Sandal Magna.


White's Directory of Bradford, Halifax &c, 1887, listed William Ash (of Ash Bros.), maltster, Agbrigg, with home at 12 St. John’s Place (off Margaret Street), Wakefield.  He was so listed in both the alphabetical and street sections, so William Ash’s family moved had from Sandal Magna to the centre of Wakefield, at some time from 1881 to 1887, but they were soon back in Sandal Magna.


The 1891 census found the parents with children Emily, Percy and Florence, and William’s widowed sister Ann Ellis, and two servants, living at West House, Heathfield, Sandal Magna.  William was a maltster and corn merchant.  Sister Ann was living on her own means.


The 1901 census found 60-year-old William, 58-year-old Emily, 25-year-old daughter Florence, and two servants living at Heathfield Sandal.  William was still listed as a corn merchant and maltster, employing other people.


The 1911 census found Bawtry-born Emily Ash living at Hampstead.








One “Ash” or another of Wakefield attended the meetings of the West Yorkshire Chess Association in 1857, 1862, 1866, 1867, 1871 & 1872, 1875, 1878 & 1879, 1882, and 1885.


“Ash” of Wakefield attended the 1857 meeting of the West Yorkshire Chess Association. William Ash would have been 17 years and 5 months old, so this “Ash” might have been perhaps his father.  It wasn’t until 1867 that “W. Ash” of Wakefield was listed.  Then in 1871 he was specifically “William Ash”.  It seems likely that most if not all attendances by an “Ash” of Wakefield were of William Ash.


He played matches representing Wakefield, such as:

1862 Huddersfield v Wakefield

1872 Wakefield-Bradford

1885 Woodhouse Cup, Wakefield v Bradford

1886 Woodhouse Cup, Wakefield v Sheffield

1886 YCCC 1 Bradford





Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information

Last Updated