Yorkshire Chess History



George Henry Bays, Senior & Junior











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site








1823/24, Cambridge



28/05/1858, Andover




21/07/1858, Andover


18/02/1909, Wrenthorpe



11/03/1913, Lincoln






Non-Chess Life


George Henry Bays, senior, was a son of an older George Henry Bays, who will here be differentiates as “George Bays, senissimus”.


George Henry Bays, senissimus, was born in Cambridge on 1797/98.  He became a solicitor.


By 1823 he had married Margaret [surname?] (born 1796/97, Cambridge).  This couple had at least four children:


George Henry Bays, (later “senior”)

born 1823/24, Cambridge

Bertha Bays

born 1828/29, Cambridge

Belinda Bays

born 1835/36,Potton, Beds.

Sophia S M Bays

born 1837/38, Chesterton, Cambridge


In Pigot’s 1839 Cambridgeshire directory George Henry Bays, senissimus, was listed as an attorney at Chesterton, a district in the NE of Cambridge, roughly one-and-a-half miles from the centre.  In Slater’s 1850 Cambridgeshire directory he was listed as an attorney at 17 Bullen Place, Barnwell, a district in the E of Cambridge.


Around 1849, Bertha Bays married farmer Ebenezer Pope (born Ely, Cambs., 1836/37).  This couple’s first child was George E. Pope (born July/August, 1850).  They had at least one other child, Edith Mary Pope (born 1863/64, Cambridge).


The 1851 census found George Henry Bays, senissimus, living at 17 Sun (?) Street, Cambridge, with wife Margaret, son George Henry Bays (later the “senior” chess-player), unmarried daughters Belinda and Sophia, married daughter Bertha Pope, son-in-law Ebenezer Pope, grandson George E. Pope, and a servant.  The father was a solicitor.  The 27-year-old son had no stated occupation.


Son George Henry Bays (later the “senior” chess-player) married Sarah Ann [surname?] in the first half of 1858.  This couple seem to have had only one child, another George Henry Bays (later the “junior” chess-player) who was born at Andover, on 28/05/1858, and so had clearly been conceived out of wedlock.  George Henry Bays, junior, was baptised on 21/07/1858, at Andover, Hampshire.


The 1861 census found 37-year-old George Henry Bays, senior, living at Roman Cottage, Winton Street, Andover, with wife Sarah Ann Bays, 2-year-old son George Henry Bays, junior, and a servant.  The father was a civil servant, being a “Surveyor of Taxes” with the Inland Revenue Stamp & Tax Department.


It was perhaps the father’s job as a civil servant which caused in the family to move to Wakefield.  Perhaps an opportunity for promotion arose in the Wakefield office.  Accordingly, the 1871 census found 47-year-old Inland Revenue Surveyor of Taxes, George Henry Bays, senior, living at Strafford Square, Northgate, Wakefield, with his wife, his son, his now-widowed mother, and a servant.  12-year-old George, junior, was a scholar.


The 1881 census found the parents and son, with two servants still living in Wakefield.  The 57-year-old father was now a retired surveyor of taxes, while the 22-year-old son had no specified occupation.


The 1891 census found parents and son living with one servant at 21 St John’s Square, Wakefield.  The father was now a financial agent whatever that meant), and retired surveyor of taxes, while the son was now an electrical engineer.


On 23/03/1897, at St John the Baptist ,Wakefield, George Henry Bays, junior, married Edith Mary Pope (born 1863/64, Cambridge), a daughter of the groom’s father’s sister, Bertha Pope and her husband Ebenezer Pope, making the bride and groom cousins.  The groom was described in the marriage register as a 38-year-old bachelor and electrical engineer, of 21 St. John’s Square, Wakefield, son of George Henry Bays, gentleman.  The bride was described as a 33-year-old spinster, of Abbey Road, Cambridge, daughter of deceased Ebenezer Pope, clerk.


The 1901 census found that George Henry Bays, junior, had moved to St. John Street, Wainfleet, Lincolnshire, where he and his wife lived with two servants.  George was described as “living on means”.  This appears to have been followed soon by a move to Lincoln.


George, junior, and Edith’s first, and possibly only, child, Francis Bays, was born in 1904/05, in Lincoln.


Meanwhile, George Henry Bays, senior, had moved to Rose Cottage, Wrenthorpe, very roughly 5 miles NW of Wakefield, where he died in 1909.


The 1911 census found parents George and Edith living with son Francis at 140 West Parade, Lincoln.  George was living on private means.




George Henry Bays, senior, died at Rose Cottage, Wrenthorpe, on 18/02/1909.  Administration of his estate was granted to George Henry Bays (junior), “gentleman of no occupation”.  He left £9,571 7s 2d.


George Henry Bays, junior, outlived his father by little over four years, dying on 11/03/1913, by which time he was resident at 36 The Park, Lincoln.  Administration of his estate passed to his widow, Edith Mary Bays.  He is recorded as leaving £10, which is either a mistake, or suggests some kind of ploy to avoid death duty, or similar.




“G. H. Bays, sen.” attended the West Yorkshire Chess Association meeting of 1879.


“G. H. Bays, jun.” attended the West Yorkshire Chess Association meeting of 1879, 1881, 1884 and 1885.


“G. H. Bays, jun.” played on board 57 for Yorkshire against Lancashire in 1883 and, on board 70 for Yorkshire against Lancashire in 1884.


He played in the Bradford v Wakefield telephone match of 29/09/1884.


He played for Wakefield in the early Woodhouse Cup, e.g. Wakefield v Bradford, 1886, and Wakefield v Sheffield, 1886.




Copyright © 2014 Stephen John Mann

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

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