Yorkshire Chess History



Robert Cadman











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site




Sheepscar, Leeds





Richmond, Surrey ?





Robert Cadman was a Leeds-born player who was a contemporary of the somewhat younger John Rhodes, the two being probably the strongest two players in Yorkshire at one time.


Non-Chess Life


He was born to Thomas Cadman and Ann Cadman (née Oastler, born at Thirsk, 1778/79), who were married at St. Peter’s, Leeds, on 20/11/1797, by Edward Wilson.  Rather oddly, the bride signed the marriage register as Ann Cadman rather than Ann Oastler.  Thomas was described in the marriage register as a tobacco merchant.  The marriage was witnessed by Robert Oastler, Eliza Darnton and William Lupton.


Thomas and Ann Cadman appear to have had the following children:


John Cadman

born 24 Aug 1798 at Leeds,

baptised 29 Sep 1798

Sarah Cadman

born 30 Mar 1800 at Leeds,

baptised 24 Apr 1800

Sarah Cadman

born 04 Oct 1801 at Leeds,

baptised 05 Nov 1801

William Cadman

born 09 Jan 1803 at Sheepscar, Leeds,

baptised 05 Feb 1803

Robert Cadman

born 16 Aug 1805 at Sheepscar, Leeds,

baptised 26 Sep 1805.


All the children were baptised at the Arian Independent/Congregational Church, Call Lane, Leeds.  All five were probably born in the same Sheepscar area of Leeds.  The presence of two Sarahs suggests that the first died in the first year of life, and the name was then re-used for the next daughter.


There was also a Thomas Cadman born 1806/07 in Leeds, who may have been a sibling of the above.


It is easier to track the fortunes of Robert’s brothers John and William, especially the latter.  To what extent Robert was involved in the businesses run by his father and/or brothers is not immediately clear.


A Leeds Directory, dated 1798, lists the following:

Thomas Cadman, Sheepscar Road, Leeds

Cadman, Glover and Darnton, tobacconists, Lower Head Row, Leeds [note the Darnton who witnessed Thomas’s marriage]

Cadman and Harrison, liquor merchants, Hunslet Lane, Leeds


We know from the marriage register that Thomas was involved in the tobacco business, so he is likely to have been “Cadman” of Cadman, Glover and Darnton.  John eventually got involved in the wine trade, so maybe Thomas was also the “Cadman” Cadman and Harrison.


Baines’s Directory of Leeds, dated 1817, lists

Cadman and Darnton, tobacco manufacturers, Lady Lane, Leeds

showing “Glover” to have discontinued involvement.  As Lady Lane is slap bang alongside Lower Head Row, it’s possible the premises hadn’t in fact moved, and if they had then it was by only a short distance.


Baines’s History, Directory & Gazetteer of Yorkshire, Volume 1, West Riding, 1822, listed:

Thomas Cadman, tobacco manufacturer, with home at Sheepscar;

Cadmans and Stanley, tobacco manufacturers, Lady Lane, Leeds;

John Cadman, distiller and wine merchant, Simpson’s Fold, Leeds.


The “Cadmans” of “Cadmans and Stanley” would appear to have been Thomas and his second son, William, as the latter appears in due course to take over the business in Lady Lane.  Meanwhile, eldest son John appears to be taking charge of the wine business.  Both John and William would appear to have been living with their parents, in the absence of evidence to the contrary.


Parson’s General & Commercial Directory of Leeds, dated 1826, lists:

Thomas Cadman, tobacco manufacturer; 37 North Street, Leeds;

Cadmans and Stanley, tobacco manufacturers, 2 and 31 Lady Lane, Leeds;

John Cadman, distiller and wine merchant, 21 Dock Street, with his home at 18 Kendell Street, Bowman Lane.


North Street runs from near the centre of Leeds to Sheepscar where it meets the southern end of Roundhay Road, near the meeting of Sheepscar Street North, Sheepscar Street South, and Barrack Road (off which Chapeltown Road runs).  This area has since been largely redeveloped in the interests of the free flow of large volumes of vehicular traffic, leaving a barren wasteland which would be quite unrecognisable to the Cadman family, were they able to observe it.  The one redeeming feature of the area now is that it is home to the Leeds branch of the West Yorkshire Archives.  [Since I wrote this the said West Yorkshire Archives collection has been moved, rather inconveniently for me, to Batley.]


Pigot & Co.'s Directory of the various northern counties, dated 1828-29, lists:

Cadmans and Stanley, tobacco manufacturers, Lady Lane, Leeds;

John Cadman, wine and spirit merchant and rectifier, 18 and 21 Dock Street.


White’s Leeds & Clothing District Directory, dated 1830, lists:

Thomas Cadman, tobacco manufacturer, still living at 37 North Street, Leeds

Thomas Cadman and Co, tobacco manufacturers, Lady Lane, Leeds

John Cadman, distiller & wine merchant, 21 Dock Street; home 12 Kendell Street


The Cadman family was now seemingly in sole control of the tobacco business, with Thomas in overall charge.


Baines’s General & Commercial Directory of Leeds, dated 1834, listed the following:

Thomas Cadman, gentleman, at North Street, Leeds, (listed between 37 and 38);

William Cadman, tobacco manufacturer, 2 and 31 Lady Lane, Leeds, living in North Street, Leeds, (listed between 37 and 38, presumably with his parents);

John Cadman, distiller and wine merchant, 21 Dock Street, with his home now at 24 Dock Street.


Thus, by 1834, Thomas Cadman had retired, possibly having built a new house between numbers 37 and 38, while William had taken over the tobacco business, but seemingly was still living with his parents.


Missing from the preceding picture is any evidence of what Robert Cadman was up to all this time.  He may have been involved behind the scenes in one or both of the Cadman businesses, or he may have worked outside Leeds.  Electronically searchable Leeds directories seem to contain no reference to Robert.  Despite this, he seems to have been resident in Leeds for most of the first 62 years of his life, as in reports of his chess activity from 1839 to 1867 he is invariably represented as coming from Leeds.


By the time Robert appears in the directories, he is listed in the “Nobility, Gentry and Clergy” section of the directories.


Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Yorkshire, Leicestershire etc, dated 1841, listed:

Mrs Ann Cadman (under gentry), 41 North Street;

Mr. Robert Cadman (under gentry), North Street;

John and William Cadman, wine and spirit merchants and distillers,
21 Dock Street;

William Cadman (under gentry), Roundhay, Leeds.


These entries in Pigot rather imply that from 1834 to 1841, the family’s father, Thomas, had died, and Robert was living with, or next door to, his widowed mother.  It also appears the tobacco business had been disposed of, with William joining older brother John in the wine concern.  William is also seen to have moved out to Roundhay, one of the satellite villages of Leeds (since absorbed).


The 1841 census lists only mother Ann and son Robert living at North Street, Leeds, both being of independent means.


White’s Directory of Leeds & the Clothing District, dated 1842, lists:

Mrs Ann Cadman, 41 North Street

Mr. Robert Cadman, 41 North Street

John and William Cadman, wine and spirit merchants and distillers,
12 [sic] Dock Street; John living at 12 Kendall [sic, Kendell is correct] Street

W. Cadman, Esq., Woodend, Roundhay


Apart from typographical errors this reiterates earlier details, but shows Robert to be living with his mother, and amplifies William’s address.  “Wood End” was a mansion in Roundhay Park, apparently occupied from 1842/43 by Reverend James Armitage Rhodes (of Hebden Bridge Lane, Halifax, in White’s 1842).  Whether William lived in this mansion, or in the general vicinity, isn’t clear, but White’s Directory of Leeds & the Clothing District, 1847, no longer lists William Cadman at Roundhay, but includes the said Rev. Rhodes.


By 1829, William had got married to an Amelia (born 1805/06 in Leeds).  There was a William Cadman who married an Amelia Rhodes, at Roundhay, on 5th November 1827; this marriage looks like it was that of our man.  There was an Amelia Rhodes recorded as baptised at St Peter’s, Leeds, on 8th July 1805.  This may have been William’s future wife.  Their children are listed later.


On the basis of a Leeds-born Robert Cadman listed at Richmond in the 1871 census, it would appear that by 1842, Robert Cadman had got married or at least started a family, in circumstances which suggest a measure of secrecy as in the 1851 and 1861 census he is represented as a bachelor living with his mother or a brother.


The 1851 census shows 45-year-old Robert as an unmarried land and farm proprietor still living in a household headed by his fund-holding 72-year-old mother Ann, at 43 North Street, Leeds, with Ann’s 18-year-old granddaughter Mary Davy.  Robert’s brother William, on the other hand, was now living with his wife and five children in the North Riding, at Wold Newton, 7 miles SW of Filey.  William was a “landed proprietor”, which probably meant he owned farmland.  William and Amelia’s children living with them in Wold Newton were:


Martha Rhodes Cadman

born 1828, in Sheepscar, Leeds,

baptised 31st December 1828, at Roundhay, Leeds;

John Cadman

born 1831/32, in Sheepscar, Leeds,

baptised 9th February 1832, at Roundhay, Leeds,

working as a solicitor’s articled clerk;

Amelia A. Cadman

born 1837/38, in Sheepscar, Leeds,

baptised ?;

Mary Eliza Cadman

born 1844, in Wold Newton,

baptised 8th October 1844,

a “scholar at home”;

Reginald Cadman

born 1846/47, in Wold Newton,

baptised 25th June 1846,

a “scholar at home”.


The census clearly uses the spelling “Regenald”, which is a little odd, but other sources use the more conventional spelling.


William and Amelia had at least one other child:

Robert Cadman,

baptised 29th June 1843, at Wold Newton.

The inference is that he probably died young, before the 1851 census.


At some time from 1851 to 1861, William’s wife, Amelia, died, and by 1861, the widower William had moved with his youngest daughter to 13 The Crescent, Scarborough, and had also been joined by his brother Robert, his mother Ann, and two nieces.  The 1861 census listed the household as:

William Cadman

a “land proprietor”, head of household

Ann Cadman

mother of William and Robert;

Mary Eliza Cadman

William’s youngest daughter;

Robert Cadman

a “land proprietor”, brother of William;

Sarah E. Davy

William’s niece, born 1843/44 at Sheepscar;

Julia Davy

William’s niece, born 1845/46 at Sheepscar.


William’s two nieces by the name of Davy were presumably sisters of the above Mary Davy, and were presumably his sister Sarah’s daughters.


The widow Ann Cadman, Robert’s mother, died on 16/02/1863, leaving effects “under £800”..  Probate records indicated that she had by then moved back to Leeds.  Her will was proved by William Cadman Esquire of Scarborough and Robert Cadman Esquire of Leeds.


The 1871 census rather confusingly lists Leeds-born Robert Cadman, aged 65, living in Richmond, Surrey, with a grown-up family!.  His household at Grove House, next door to 1 Kew Foot Lane, Richmond, Surrey, was listed as:


Robert Cadman

head, 65yrs, born Leeds, “widowed”, an annuitant;

Emily Cadman

daughter, 28 yrs, born Leeds;

Charles Cadman

son, 24 yrs, born Leeds, an instrument maker;

Annie Cadman

daughter, 19 yrs, born Leeds;

William Cadman

son, 17 yrs, born Leeds, an engineer;

Margaret Fuller

married daughter, 26 yrs, born Leeds;

George Fuller

son‑in‑law, 23 yrs, born Richmond, Surrey, a “Cosar” ? merchant;

and a domestic servant.


He also had a son called Harry, who appears to have been the eldest.


Probate records makes it clear this Robert Cadman of Richmond, Surrey, had in fact formerly been a resident of Leeds.  The children, apart perhaps from Harry, were born in Leeds over the period 1842 to 1854.  Who the mother was is unclear, but the “widowed” attribute rather suggests she’d died by 1871.  Whether this was a family he’d kept secret from his mother and siblings, or whether he had openly been an absentee father is unclear.  Quite when the children moved to Richmond is unclear.




Probate records state that Robert Cadman formerly of Leeds but lately of Grove House, Richmond, Surrey, died on 26/02/1873 at Richmond, Surrey.  His will was proved by sons Harry Cadman of Grove House, shipper, and Charles Cadman of 9 Castle Street, Oxford Street, Middlesex, surgical instrument maker, and daughter Emily, spinster.  He left “under £4,000”.


After Death


The Post Office Directory of Surrey (Kelly’s), dated 1878, listed William Cadman, 5 Dynevor Road, Church Road, Richmond, Surrey.  The 1881 census listed William and sister Emily living at the same address.


Under “Seats and Residences of the Nobility and Gentry”, Bulmer’s History & Directory of East Yorkshire, dated 1892, lists John Cadman Esq., Wold Newton Hall, Ganton, Yorkshire.  Ganton is in the vicinity of the Wold Newton where William’s family had lived, and is the apparent birthplace of Robert’s brother William’s daughter.  This suggests this John Cadman was Robert’s brother William’s eldest son.


Chess Activity


He was part of the Leeds “committee” in the Leeds-Liverpool correspondence matches.  He attended the YCA meetings of 1841 (both), 1842, 1843, 1848, and 1850.  He attended the WYCA meetings of 1856, 1857, 1858, 1859, 1860, 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1866, and 1867.  He attended the Nottingham Chess Club of 1844.  He was a subscriber to R. A. Brown’s book of problems etc.  He attended the 1866 Redcar tournament.





Copyright © 2012 and 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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