Yorkshire Chess History



John Thornton Boden











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



16/11/1820, Retford


17/04/1821, Chapel Gate Congregational, East Retford


11/12/1902, Thirsk



Non-Chess Life


John Thornton Boden was the oldest brother of the more-famous Samuel Standidge Boden, under whose entry the origins of the family are described.


He embarked on a career in banking, which took him to Settle and finally Thirsk, where he was manager of the Yorkshire Banking Company’s Thirsk branch in Market Place, Thirsk.


The 20-year-old John Thornton Boden is elusive in the 1841 census, but may have been in Lancashire, the birthplace of his future bride.


Entry 425 in the marriage register of St Mary the Virgin, Blackburn, Lancs., records that on 03/09/1848, John Thornton Boden, banker’s clerk of Settle, son of James Boden, gentleman, was married by W. J. Monk to Margaret Birch, spinster of Livesey [in the parish of Blackburn], daughter of John Birch, farmer.  Margaret Birch was born 1825/26 in Chatburn, Lancashire, two miles NE of Clitheroe.  The couple had at least the following four children:


John James Boden

born 1849/50, Settle

Margaret F. Boden

born 1853/54, Thirsk

Edward Thornton Boden

born 1857/58, Thirsk

Herbert Standidge Boden

born 1859/60, Thirsk


The 1851 census found John and Margaret with their son, John James Boden (born 1849/50, Settle), living with Margaret’s 60-year-old Blackburn-born mother, Margaret Briggs (who must have re-married), at Back Lane, Settle.  Father John was a bank clerk.  Also living with them was another grandson of Margaret Briggs, 11-year-old schoolboy Thomas Ellison, born 1839/40, Barnoldswick.  (An Ellison was a witness at John and Margaret’s wedding.)


By 1854, the family had moved to the Sowerby district of Thirsk, and the 1861 census found John T. Boden, wife Margaret, the three youngest children and one servant, at Mowbray Place, Sowerby, near Thirsk.  John was a banker’s clerk.  Young Margaret was a scholar.  11-year-old John James Boden was perhaps at school somewhere.


The 1871 census found the family at Market Place, Thirsk, possibly in living accommodation attached to the Yorkshire Banking Company’s Thirsk branch.  50-year-old John Thornton Boden was now a bank manager.  All three sons were still living with their parents.  John James Boden was a bank clerk, presumably in his father’s bank (census returns usual omit such detail), and the other two boys were scholars.   Daughter Margaret was absent, presumably having got married.


Kelly's 1879 directory for Thirsk, listed John Thornton Boden as manager of the Yorkshire Banking Company’s Thirsk branch in Market Place, Thirsk, and as a private resident in Market Place, Thirsk.


The 1881 census found the family still at Market Place.  The father was still a bank manager.  Son John James Boden was no longer a bank clerk, and was an “artist, drawing and painting”, so reflecting the inclinations of his uncle Samuel.  Edward had left home, it seems, probably having joined the army.  Herbert had explicitly “no occupation”.


The 1891 census revealed that our man was now a retired bank manager and the family had moved to South Terrace, Sowerby, Thirsk.  John James Boden had presumably found being an artist wasn’t too lucrative as he was back behind a desk, now as clerk.  Edward was back at home, described as an “ex-soldier (gunner R.A.)”.  Herbert was not listed in the household.


At some time from 1891 to 1901, Margaret Boden, our man’s wife, must have died, as the 1901 census found father john as an 80-year-old widower living at Sowerby, Thirsk (still at South Terrace on the evidence of the probate record), with son John, a “general clerk & accountant, works”, and son Edward who had no declared occupation.




John Thornton Boden of South Terrace, Sowerby, near Thirsk, died 11/12/1902.  Probate was granted to Francis Robert Hansell, bank manager, and Richard Arthur Fawcett, grocer, one or both perhaps being a son-in-law.  He left effects of £7,315 9s. 2d.




In 1851 his brother Samuel had published a manual on chess called “A Popular Introduction to Chess”, which Staunton commended in the Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1851, page 368, were in was reproduced from the book a game between John Thomas Boden and his brother Samuel Standidge Boden.


Further games between the two appeared in The Chess Player, Vol. 1, pages 106, 146 and 154.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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