Yorkshire Chess History



Rev. Benjamin North Rockley Batty











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



15/04/1828, Almondbury


30/06/1828, Almondbury


07/06/1863, Redcar



Non-Chess Life


The Rev. Benjamin North Rockley Batty was born 15/04/1828, at Almondbury, to son of Benjamin North Rockley Batty senior, “yeoman” of Almondbury, and his wife Elizabeth.  He was baptised on 30/06/1828 by W. Kettlewell who recorded the date of birth in the margin of the baptism register.  Benjamin North Rockley Batty senior was himself born 1795 at Dewsbury, the son of a Benjamin Battye (recorded in the baptism register, seemingly, with a final “e”) of Scholes, a village one-and-a-half miles E of Holmfirth, and was baptised on 09/12/1795 at All Saints, Holmfirth.


Benjamin North Rockley Batty senior and wife Elizabeth appear to have had at least the following two children:


Benjamin North Rockley Batty

born 15/04/1828, Almondbury

Fanny E. M. Louisa Batty

born 1831/32, Almondbury


A certain “B. N. R. Battie” was recorded as attending Sheffield Collegiate School from August 1837 to June 1838 [1].  It is hard not to suspect that this might have been Benjamin North Rockley Batty junior, though a Sheffield connection is difficult to establish.


The 1841 census found 45-year-old Benjamin North Rockley Batty senior, apparently of independent means, living at Fenay, on the southern edge of Almondbury, with 25-year-old Ellen Batty and 9-year-old Fanny.  One isn’t told what relation Ellen was to Benjamin.


The 1851 census found 56-year-old Benjamin North Rockley Batty senior, a Magistrate of the West Riding (of Yorkshire), living at Fenay Hall, Almondbury, with his wife 60-year-old wife Elizabeth (born 1790/91, Woodbridge, Suffolk), 22-year-old Benjamin North Rockley Batty junior, a gentleman, and 19-year-old Fanny E. M. Louisa Batty.  It’s not clear where wife Elizabeth was in 1841.  The household also included five servants.


Benjamin North Rockley Batty junior seemingly didn’t go the Cambridge, so probably went to Oxford.  Be that as it may, he got an MA, and he become ordained at some time from 1851 to 1858.  By 1858 he was resident at Mirfield.


On 08/04/1858, at All Saints, Langham, Marylebone, Benjamin North Rockley Batty [junior], of full age, clerk in holy orders of Mirfield, son of Benjamin North Rockley Batty [senior], gentleman, was married to Augusta Fanny Besley, a minor, spinster of the district of All Souls Marylebone, daughter of Thomas Stone Besley, gentleman, deceased.  The marriage register had an explanatory note added: “by say[?] with the consent of her mother, widow.”  The bride had been born in 1838 at Tiverton, Devon, and so was about 10 years younger than her husband.


The couple had at least the following 6 six children:

Winifred Mary Batty

born 1858/59, Mirfield

Elizabeth Alice Batty

born 1861/62, Mirfield

Adelaide Margaret Batty

born 1863/64, Mirfield

Clara R. Batty

born 1866/67, Redcar

Christopher North Rockley Batty

born 1868/69, Redcar

Fanny A. Batty

born Jan/Feb 1871, Redcar


The 1861 census found recently-weds Benjamin N. R. Batty, curate of Christchurch [Mirfield], and wife Augusta F. Batty living at 2 Caroline Place, Mirfield, with 2-year-old Mirfield-born daughter Winifred Batty and 2 servants.  Benjamin North Rockley Batty senior, now a 66-year-old widower, was still a West Riding magistrate, and was living at High Street, Upleatham, 2 miles SW of Saltburn, and 5 miles SE of Redcar.


White’s Directory of Leeds, Bradford &c, 1854, listed the Rev. Thomas Nevin as incumbent at Christchurch, Mirfield, but didn’t mention any Batty in Mirfield.  However, White’s Directory of Leeds, Halifax, Huddersfield, Wakefield &c, 1858, listed Rev. R. Batty, curate, living at Battyeford. (Was the “R.” an error for “B”, or was he known as Rockley?)  Rev. Thomas Nevin M.A. was still the incumbent.  Thus our man seems to have moved to Mirfield from 1854 to 1858.  The Parsonage House was at Battyeford by the River Calder, but presumably there was no connection with this Batty(e) family.


Benjamin North Rockley Batty senior died on 07/06/1863 at Redcar, according to probate records.  This seems to have led to Benjamin North Rockley junior moving to Redcar at some time from 1863 to 1865, perhaps moving into his father’s home, as write-ups of the Redcar 1865 chess meeting place him in Redcar.  The birth places of the second three children place the family in Redcar soon after.


The 1871 census found both parents and all six children living at Cliffe House, Upleatham, Redcar, with three servants.  The Rev. Benjamin North Rockley was now a clergyman without cure; in other words, he’d retired.


The death of Augusta Fanny Batty, aged only 34, was registered in the second quarter of 1873 at Guisborough, presumably having died at Upleatham, Redcar (for which the registry location was Guisborough).




The death of the Rev. Benjamin North Rockley Batty was registered at Guisborough in the second quarter of 1875, presumably having died at Upleatham, Redcar.




He played in the 9-player all-play-all tournament at Redcar in 1865, losing 6 games and seemingly not playing 2 games, probably due to lack of time.  For the Redcar meeting of 1866, he was on the 23-strong General Committee, and was one of those of its members who were on the Executive Committee, serving as treasurer, but he did not compete in the formal tournaments.


He seems not to be listed as having attended meetings of the West Yorkshire Chess Association while living in Mirfield.




Sheffield Collegiate School, 1836-1885, A Biographical Register, Peter John Wallis MA Cantab (in Sheffield Local Studies Library)





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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