Yorkshire Chess History



Samuel Standidge Boden











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



04/05/1826, Retford


27/07/1826, East Retford


13/01/1882, London


17/01/1882, Brookwood Cemetery, Brookwood, Surrey



Popularly recycled wisdom has it that Samuel Standidge Boden was born in Hull, but this seems untrue.  His death in London on 13/01/1882 was documented in the chess periodicals of the day.  Related probate records name the Rev. Edward Boden of Clitheroe as a brother of the deceased.  Census records indicate the said Rev. Edward Boden of Clitheroe was a Cambridge man.  Venn records the father of the Rev. Edward Boden, and hence of his brother Samuel Standidge Boden, as a the Rev. James Boden, an Independent Minister resident in Retford at the time of Edward‘s birth.  England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 lists the baptisms at Retford of the four oldest Boden children, including Edward and Samuel Standidge.  The 1841 census finds the whole family, except the eldest son, living in Beverley, and significantly indicates the places of birth of Charlotte, Edward and Samuel were outside Yorkshire.  So, Samuel Standidge Boden was really born in Retford, Notts.  The chess-playing J. T. Boden of Settle was also a brother.


Paternal Grandparents


Samuel Standidge Boden’s paternal grandparents were the Congregational Minister James Boden, senior (born 1756/57), and Charlotte Boden (née Amery, born 1761/62).  The marriage of James Boden, clerk, and Charlotte Amery, both of the parish of Hanley, took place in Hanley parish church on 08/06/1790


James, senior, had started his career as a congregational minister in Hanley, Staffordshire, and while there he was one of the founder members of the London Bible Society, and was the last of those founders to die.


It seems likely to have been in Hanley that their son, James Boden, junior, the future father of Samuel Standidge Boden, was born in about 1797/98.


James, senior, was believed to have been serving in Hanley for 15 years when he took over from Jehoiada Brewer as minister at Queen Street Congregational Chapel, Sheffield, in November 1796 (or in 1798 or 1799, according to which source you believe; James junior being born outside Yorkshire, per the 1841 census, suggests one of the later dates).  James, senior, was frequently mentioned in newspapers while he was in Sheffield.


The National Register (London) of 20/10/1811 had commented on the preaching of a dissenting Rev. James Boden of Sheffield, including the words, “The Rev. James Boden, who has been for some years Minister of a respectable Dissenting Congregation as Sheffield, . . ”.


By 1819, James Boden, junior, who was presumably initially raised in Sheffield, had left home and was resident in East Retford, where he in turn served as a Congregational minister, but his parents remained in Sheffield for 20 or so more years.


The Sheffield Independent of 15/07/1826, reported:


The Rev. James Boden has set the first example of preaching a sermon for the benefit of the poor work people.  This he did on Sunday last, when the collection amounted to £17.  The amount of money paid for tickets last week was £165, and for work upwards of £50.


By 1828, the Rev. James Boden was a joint secretary, with one Thomas Best, of the Sheffield Bible Society, as evidenced by, for instance, a notice on the front page of the Sheffield Independent of 12/04/1828.


Mary and Emily were born in Sheffield.  Pigot & Co.'s 1828-29 directory of northern and midland counties listed the Rev. James Boden at Western Bank, Sheffield.


White’s History & Directory of Sheffield, &c, 1833, mentioned the Rev. James Boden as minister at the Queen Street Chapel (built 1784), though the information had probably recently become out of date, as evidenced by William Henry Boden’s date and place of birth.  It listed the Rev. James Boden, minster of Queen Street Chapel, residing at West Bank, which was either the name of a house or a mistake for the street name Western Bank, though such a mistake was very unlikely as White was himself a Sheffielder, so maybe “West Bank” was then a term for the general area around the modern Western Bank.


White’s History, Gazette and Directory of the West Riding of Yorkshire, 1837, listed the Rev. James Boden, independent minister, at West Bank, Sheffield.  In describing Sheffield’s independent chapels, White listed:

QUEEN STREET CHAPEL built 1784 (with burial ground and school-house over it) of which the Rev. James Boden is minister, assisted by the Rev. J. A. Miller.


Rev. James Boden, senior, resigned from his pastorate in Queen Street on 01/04/1839, due to increasing age and infirmity, and he retired to Chesterfield, Derbyshire, not far south of Sheffield.  There is apparently a monument to him inside the chapel.  He died in Chesterfield, aged 84, on 04/06/1841, and wife Charlotte died in Chesterfield, aged 80, on 03/12/1842.


The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent of 12/06/1841, and other papers, carried an informative obituary of James, senior.  The Hull Packet of 09/12/1842, in a death notice for Charlotte Boden, aged 80, helpfully states that she was “relict of the late Rev. James Boden, of Sheffield, and mother of the Rev. J. Boden, of Beverley.”




Samuel Standidge Boden’s parents were the son of the above James and Charlotte, namely Congregational minister James Boden, junior (born 1797/98, outside Yorkshire, and perhaps in Hanley), and Mary Frances Boden (née Thornton, 1800/01, Hull; only daughter of John Thornton of Hull).  They were married by licence, dated 03/02/1819, from the Archbishop of York, wherein the intended place of the marriage was stated as Sculcoates Parish Church, Hull, and the 21-year-old bridegroom was stated to be resident in East Retford.  (A licence was presumably required as the 18-year-old bride was under 21.)  The marriage was widely reported in newspapers as occurring on Thursday 04/02/1819, as in the Nottingham Review and General Advertiser for the Midland Counties of Friday, 12/02/1819, which used a form of the archaic term “seven-night”, instead of the “4th inst.” used by other papers, as follows:


At Sculcoates Church, near Hull, on Thursday se’nnight, the Rev. James Boden, of Retford, in this county, to Mary Frances, only daughter of John Thornton, Esq of Hull.


The couple had at least the following ten children:


John Thornton Boden

born 16/11/1820, Retford

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

Charlotte Frances Boden

born 13/04/1822, Retford

baptised 17/09/1822, Chapel Gate Congregational, East Retford

Edward Boden

born 10/01/1824, Retford

baptised 20/05/1824, Chapel Gate Congregational, East Retford

Samuel Standidge Boden

born 04/04/1826, Retford

baptised 27/07/1826, Chapel Gate Congregational, East Retford

Mary Ann Boden

born 27/02/1828, Sheffield

baptised 18/07/1828, Queen Street Congregational, Sheffield

Emily Jane Boden

born 05/05/1830, Sheffield

baptised 03/08/1830, Queen Street Congregational, Sheffield

William Henry Boden

born 19/05/1832, Beverley

baptised 15/10/1833, Lairgate Independent, Beverley

Lucy Boden

born 16/11/1833, Beverley

baptised 29/07/1834, Lairgate Independent, Beverley

James Boden

born 03/02/1837, Beverley

listed in Queen Street Congregational, Sheffield, register

Edith Boden

born 1839/40, Beverley



English Births and Christenings 1558-1975 lists baptisms in Sheffield for all but Lucy, as well as the ones in East Retford or Beverley.  All but two of the Sheffield baptisms are bogus, arising from misunderstanding of the Sheffield Queen Street Congregational Chapel Baptism Register, as explained lower down.  Except for John Thornton Boden, the two christening records for each child agree on date of birth.  For John Thornton Boden, the East Retford christening records gives 16/11/1820 at date of birth, whereas the Sheffield christening record gives 16/11/1821 as date of birth, but the former is the only birth date to agree with ages in census returns and 16/11/1820 is what appeared in the original document.


Quite where the middle name “Standidge” came from is not immediately evident.  There was a couple named Samuel Standidge and Elizabeth Standidge, who had a child (with no forename given) baptised in Pontefract on 01/07/1798.  If Elizabeth Standidge had been sister to James Boden, senior, then that would offer an explanation, though any such connection seems highly improbable.


The father’s job meant the family moved round from place to place.


Retford, Nottinghamshire


Around the early 1820s, James Boden was an Independent Minister in West Retford [1].  It was while the family lived in Retford that the eldest four children, including Edward Boden and Samuel Standidge Boden, were born.  (East Retford is on the east bank of the River Idle, while West Retford and South Retford are on the west bank of the River Idle.  Today they are known together simply as Retford.)


The England Birth and Christening Indexes list Samuel Standidge Boden as born 04/05/1826 to James Boden and Mary Frances Boden, and baptised on 27/07/1826 at Chapelgate Congregational (or Independent) church, East Retford, Notts.


Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire


On the basis of the places of birth of the children, in about 1826 the James Boden, junior, and family, moved to Sheffield.  Whether they lived with James’s parents, James senior and Charlotte, is not evident.  One might suspect James junior had become pastor at another chapel, but this seems unlikely as newspaper references of the relevant period never referred to “Rev. James Boden” with “senior” or “junior” appended.


Mary Ann Boden and Emily Jane Boden were born in Sheffield, and their baptisms at Queen Street Chapel are recorded in the baptism register.


The dates of birth and baptism of the children imply the family moved to Beverley at some time from 03/08/1830 to 19/05/1832.


Queen Street Chapel, Sheffield, Baptism Register


When this page was created in 2013, a transcription of the Queen Street Chapel’s baptism register was available on one of the genealogy websites, and this transcription listed various Boden children, with dates of birth and also baptism dates which mysteriously varied from such earlier-recorded dates as existed.  The quoted dates of birth largely matched any earlier-recorded elsewhere, though one differed, due, it transpires, to a transcription error.  Since then, an image of the document has become available on another website, and from this all becomes clear.  Grandfather James Boden, senor, was adding in the birthdays of his other grandchildren, as well as the baptism records of Mary Ann Boden and Emily Jane Boden.


Thus the entries for the Retford-born Boden children were birth-only non-baptismal entries which had been squeezed retrospectively in between existing entries, so as to fit broadly into order by date of birth, and without stating any date of baptism.  However, in the transcription process of genealogical websites, the incorrect assumption was evidently made that “ditto” was to be assumed, and that the children without an explicit baptism date were to be taken as having been baptised on the same day as the previously-listed child.


Worse still, a transcription available alongside the image on the second genealogy website also attributed the previous child’s date of birth to Samuel Standidge Boden (although his own date of birth was recorded below), so that he had attributed to him, in the transcription, the dates both of birth and baptism of one Emma Brown!


Thus the actions of the Rev. James Boden, senior, have resulted in bogus data being introduced to transcriptions on genealogical websites.


Sheffield-born Mary and Emily, on the other hand, have entries entered properly on new lines, with dates of baptism, and are genuine Sheffield baptismal entries.


William similarly appears on a new line, rather than having been squeezed between earlier lines, perhaps because he was being entered at the end of the existing list.  He is given a baptism date which is the same as that given in Beverley, and so this not a record of a baptism in Sheffield despite being presented as such.


Lucy then gets squeezed in interstitially, without a baptism date.


James (third generation) gets his own line, but this is because he happened to fit chronologically at the end of the list, but his has no baptism date in the original document.


It thus becomes evident that the entries for Boden children born in Retford or Beverley were not baptismal entries (and any quoted Sheffield baptism dates in a transcription are mostly bogus), while entries for those born in Sheffield were genuine baptismal entries.


It thus seems this register was primarily a baptism register, but doubled as a list of the birthdays of the minister’s grandchildren!


Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire


As described earlier, at some time from 23/04/1931 to 19/05/1832 the family moved to Beverley, about eight miles north of Kingston-upon-Hull, and it was in Beverley that the youngest four children were born.


The 1841 census found the family living in Beverley, at Riding Fields in the St. Nicholas part of Beverley.  Eldest son John Thornton Boden had by now left home, it seems, and 7-year-old Lucy Boden wasn’t listed either, though she was back in the fold by 1851.


White’s History, Gazette & Directory of the East and North Ridings, 1840, listed the Rev. James Boden at Ridding Field House, Beverley.  (The modern “Riding Fields Square” suggests “Riding Field House” was perhaps the correct spelling.)


Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Yorks, Leics &c , 1841, listed Rev. James Boden at Riding Fields, Beverley.


Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire


White’s Hull and York Directory of 1846 listed no Boden in Beverley, but listed Mrs. Mary Boden at 22 Charles Street, Hull.  This implied almost certainly that at some time from 1841 to 1846, the father, James Boden, died, and the family moved to Hull and elsewhere.  The family continued to disperse during this decade.


The 1851 census found the widowed Mary Frances Boden, who was now described as a landed proprietor, living at 12 Wellington Place, in the Sculcoates part of Hull.  Edward was by now vice-principal of Huddersfield College, and Samuel was absent.  William Henry was now a merchant’s clerk, and James was a scholar.  They had one servant.


The 1861 census found Mary Frances Boden, a land-owner, living at 14 Wellington Terrace, Beverley Road, Hull.  Charlotte, Emily Jane and Lucy had now left home, leaving at home only William, a timber merchant, James, a merchant’s clerk (working for his brother?), and Edith.  They had one servant.


The 1871 census found Mary Frances Boden, an annuitant, living still at 14 Wellington Terrace, with married daughter Charlotte Frances Bean, unmarried daughter Edith Boden and one servant.


Mary Frances Boden died on 22/07/1879.  She left an estate of “under £2,000”.  James Boden, merchant, and Richard Champney, both of Anlaby Road, Hull, were the executors.


John Thornton Boden


Eldest brother John was another chess-player. . He embarked on a career in banking, which took him to Settle and then Thirsk.  For more details see John Thornton Boden.


Edward Boden (brother of Samuel Standidge Boden)


There’s a suggestion Edward was also a chess-player.  His details are important for identifying him as the brother mentioned in Samuel Standidge Boden’s probate record, thereby identifying this family as that of the chess-player Samuel Standidge Boden.


Venn tells us Edward Boden was born 10/01/1824 at West Retford, where his father, James Boden, was an Independent Minister.  Edward was admitted as a sizar at St. John’s College, Cambridge, matriculating Easter 1847, getting his BA in 1850, and his MA in 1853.  He was ordained a deacon (Ripon) in 1851, and a priest in 1851.  He did not, however, enter the priesthood, but became a schoolmaster.  He was vice-principal of Huddersfield College School from 1850 to 1853, then headmaster of Clitheroe Grammar School, Lancashire, from 1853 to 1886.  He died 04/12/1886 at Clitheroe, and was buried there.  These details enable us to identify this Edward Boden as the brother of Samuel Standidge Boden who has an executor of the latter’s will.


Edward and his wife Julia had at least nine children, and named one of their sons Samuel Standidge.  This Samuel Standidge Boden, nephew to the chess-playing artist, was born 17/05/1862, and baptised at Clitheroe, Lancs., on 22/06/1862.  His marriage to Constance Mary Ensor was recorded in the first quarter of 1872.  He died on 01/06/1914; probate was granted to his wife, Constance Mary Boden, and Cecil Louth Boden, bank manager.  There was a Samuel Standidge Boden who was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 14th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry who was killed in action after nine months in France on 15/10/1916.  This Samuel Standidge Boden seems likely to have been the son of the chess-player’s nephew of that name.


The 1851 census found 28-year-old Retford-born Edward Boden, B.A. Cambs., vice-principal of [Huddersfield] Collegiate School, living at Collegiate House, Clare Hill, Huddersfield.


The move in 1853 to Clitheroe, Lancashire, hints at a connection with the fact that brother John’s wife was born in Clitheroe.  Maybe that was just coincidental.


The 1871 census found 47-year-old Retford-born Edward Boden, grammar school master, M.A. Cambs., clergyman, at Well Hall Clitheroe with wife and seven children.


The 1881 census found 57-year-old Retford-born Edward Boden, M.A. Cambs., clergyman without cure of souls, headmaster of Clitheroe Grammar School, living at Well Hall, York Street, Clitheroe.  Living with him were his wife Julia T. Boden (born 1828/29, Ecclesfield, near Sheffield), and six Clitheroe-born children of ages ranging from 10 to 24.


Samuel Standidge Boden


Samuel Standidge Boden seems oddly elusive in the 1851 census and subsequent ones.  This may be due in part to his name being mis-transcribed in the searchable databases, and may be due in part to him moving to London.  (His surname in the 1841 census was mis-transcribed as “Bochen”.)


For the earlier part of his chess career he was described as coming from Hull, but at some stage he moved to London, which is where he resided when he died.  He was a member of Hull Chess Club in 1847, at the time of the Annual Meeting of the Yorkshire Chess Association that year in Hull.  That he participated in the “Provincial” tournament at the 1851 tournament, suggested he still lived in Hull at the time.  Indeed, The Chess Player of 1851 refers to him as “of Hull”.  By 1856 he was playing against the likes of Barnes, Buckle, Falkbeer and the Rev. Owen, which would presumably mean he was in London.


F. White’s General Directory of Kingston-upon-Hull, and York, 1851, listed no “Boden” among the Beverley gentry and clergy etc, suggesting father James had moved on or died, nor were there any Boden’s listed in Hull.


The 1861 census found he had indeed by then moved to London.  Retford-born Samuel Boden (no “Standidge”) was a lodger at 57 Pratt Street, St. Pancras.  His age was incorrectly given as 37 (actually 34, but nearly 35).  His occupation was given as that of landscape artist.


There exists a record of the marriage of a Samuel Standidge Boden being registered in the first quarter of 1872, at Burton-on-Trent, Staffs.  He’d be 45 years of age at the time, if this were the chess-player, but there were a surprising number of people of the same name, and this is very unlikely to have been the chess-player.


He started his working life as a railway clerk [2], but was also something of a landscape artist [2].  At some stage he inherited some property from a relative and has able to devote himself more to his art [2].  His probate record described him simply as “artist” as regards occupation.


By the time of his death he was living at 3 Tavistock Street, Bedford Square, Middlesex.




Samuel Standidge Boden, artist, died 13/01/1882 at his residence, 3 Tavistock Street, Bedford Square, Middlesex.  The executors of his will were his brother, Reverend Edward Boden “of Hall Clitheroe Lancs.”, and Thomas Hewitt of 27 Ely Place, Middlesex, solicitor [probate record].  The phrase “of Hall Clitheroe Lancs” clearly should have read “of Well Hall Clitheroe Lancs.”  The death was registered in the St Giles district.  The quarterly death return index gave his middle name as “Standridge”, and listed his age at death as “56”, perhaps a misreading by the typist of handwritten “55”, (then erroneously transcribed for digitisation as 57!).  The age of 55 as given by the Chess Player’s Quarterly seems accurate.  He had been ill for about fourteen days before he died [2].


The notice of his death in The (London Evening) Standard of 16/01/1882 gave his age as 55.


He was buried on 17/01/1882 at Brookwood Cemetery, Brookwood, Surrey.  This cemetery was also known as the London Necropolis, having been specially instituted to take London’s dead at a time when space within London was becoming scarce.  A transcription of the Surrey Burial Registers gave his name as “Samuel Standage Boden” and his age to be 55.  The burial date, the deceased’s age, and the nature of the cemetery, together make it clear this was the chess-player, even though they misspelt his middle name.


(The Find a Grave website records the burial of a Samuel Standidge Boden at St Peter's Church, Old Woking, Woking Borough, Surrey, without a grave photo, the date of interment or other related data.  This looks as though the person uploading the record wrongly assumed the Woking parish church burial yard was the correct cemetery in the general Woking area.)




He attended the 1847 meeting of the original Yorkshire Chess Association, as did eldest brother, John Thornton Boden, then of Settle.


The write-up of the 1850 meeting of the original Yorkshire Chess Association listed “E. Boden” of Hull as attending.  Was this a typographical error for “S. Boden”, or was it Samuel’s older brother Edward putting in an appearance just before taking up the new job in Huddersfield?  Either way, Samuel was present as he is recorded as playing St. Amant, receiving odds of pawn and two moves, and winning [The Chess Player (edited by Kling & Horwitz), CP Vol.1, No.16, Nov. 1st 1851, p.128].


He won the “Provincial Tournament” at the 1851 London tournament.


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


He played in the 1857 meeting of the (British) Chess Association at Manchester, finishing second behind Löwenthal.


When Morphy was in England, he played Boden, scoring +7, =1, -2.  Morphy supposedly expressed the opinion that Boden was the strongest player in England at the time.


In a match against the Rev. John Owen, in 1858, he scored 10½-4½.


At the 4th British Chess Association Tournament, Bristol, 1861, he came second to Louis Paulsen in the Grand Tournament (8-player knockout.)  He also played in the Bristol-London telegraph match, drawing with J. Kling.


His name was given to the mating pattern in a game of his with Schulder in 1853 (British Chess Review, 1853, page 58), known as Boden's Mate, in which mate is delivered by one bishop which the other bishop, operating at right angles to the first, covers two squares by the mated king.  The other two squares by the mated king were occupied by two of the mated king’s own men, though variants with those squares covered by an opposing piece or pieces might also be thought of as examples of Boden’s mate.


His name attaches also to a number of variations of chess openings, perhaps most noticeably the Boden-Kieseritzky Gambit (1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nxe4 4. Nc3).




[1]  Venn

[2]  Obituary in Chess Player’s Chronicle, Vol. VI, 1882, p. 31





Copyright © 2013, 2021 Stephen John Mann

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

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