Yorkshire Chess History



Robert Sayle Corlett











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1849/50, Lezayre, Isle of Man


07/01/1850, St. Jude, Andreas, Isle of Man


January 1924, Andreas, Isle of Man




Identity of the Chess-Player


The surname “Corlett” seems to originate in the Isle of Man, but there were a number of that name also in Liverpool, first footfall for islanders migrating to the mainland.  “R. S. Corlett” was said to be the oldest participant in the NCCU Championship at Blackpool in 1913, so had to be born before 01/01/1859 (Dawbarn’s D.O.B.)  “R. S. Corlett” was quite a common name, typically with Richard, Robert or Reginald for the first element, and Samuel, Sayle, Sidney or Stuart as the second.  “Sayle” was a matrilineal maiden name which got embedded in names for some generations.


Fortunately, the British Chess Magazine of 1924, on page 216, gave a notice of his death (currently unseem), quoting the name “R. Sayle Corlett”, which is perhaps mistakenly treating “Sayle Corlett” as an unhyphenated double-barrelled surname.  Less likely seems the possibility that he was known as “Sayle” as a forename in preference to “Robert” (or “Bob”).


Non-Chess Life


Robert Sayle Corlett was a son of Robert Corlett (born 1825/26, Lezayre, IoM) and Sarah Ann Corlett (neé Howe, 1825/26, Whitehaven, Cumberland, nearest mainland port to IoM).  This couple had at least the following children:


Robert Sayle Corlett

1849/50, Lezayre

Thomas S Corlett

1851/52, Andreas

Henrietta Corlett

1853/54, Lezayre


Robert Sayle Corlett was born at Lezayre, 2 miles west of, and inland from, the coastal town of Ramsey, and he was baptised on 07/01/1850, at St. Jude, about 2 miles south of Andreas, Isle of Man.  This suggests he may have been born in (late) 1849.


The 1851 census found three generations of Corletts living at Craig, in the vicinity of Sulby, 2 miles south of St. Jude’s.  There were Robert Sayle Corlett’s paternal grandparents, Robert Corlett, senior (born 1789/90, Lezayre), a farmer of 120 acres, and Mary Corlett (born 1893/94, Douglas, IoM); there were three Lezayre-born children of this couple, 35-year-old Robert Corlett, junior (R. S. Corlett’s father), unmarried 19-year-old John Corlett, and unmarried 17-year-old Eliza Corlett; and there were Sarah Ann Corlett (R.S. Corlett’s mother), and 1-year-old Robert S. Corlett himself.  There were two other grandchildren of Robert Corlett senior, 8-year-old Oscar Kissock Corlett and 5-year-old Catharine Corlett.  These latter two were apparently not Robert Sayle Corlett’s siblings.  There was also a maid servant, 18-year-old Ellinor Corlett – presumably a relative of some sort.


Grandfather Robert Corlett senior died during the next ten years.  Sarah Ann Corlett in 1854.


The 1861 census found widower Robert Corlett junior farming 150 acres, employing 5 labourers, and living at East Craige (the “e” is probably spurious), which may well have been his father’s farm.  With him lived the above three children (all scholars), his widowed 67-year-old mother Mary Corlett who was an annuitant, his 36-year-old widowed older sister Judith Strickett, and two nieces, 16-year-old Catharine S. Kissock and 11-year-old Sarah S. Strickett (presumably sister Judith’s daughter).


Robert Corlett junior re-married during the next twenty years.


These Corletts are elusive in the 1871 census.


The 1881 census found Robert Corlett junior, a farmer now of 244 acres, still living at Craig, with second wife Jane Corlett, his three children by his first wife, and a 9-year-old daughter Anne C. Corlett.  There was also a servant.  That Anne was not shown as a step-daughter of the head of the household rather implies Robert’s marriage to his second wife was from 1861 to 1871.  31-year-old Richard S. Corlett was simply a farmer’s son.  Whether than implies he did work on the farm is unclear.


The 1891 census found a reduced Corlett household at “The Craige” (now with its terminal “e” again), consisting of Robert Corlett junior, wife Jane Corlett, son Robert S. Corlett and daughter Henrietta Corlett. (whose age was given incorrectly as 46 rather than 36).


The 1901 census found a 50-year-old grain merchant called “Robert S. Corlett” living as a boarder in the household of a 48-year-old Thomas Corlett, (who was employed as a miller), at Elder Cottage, Bowring(?) Road, Lezayre, IoM.  This appears to be our man living with his brother.  Though our man was now a corn merchant, he evidently retained (or later acquired) ownership of the family farm.


On 21/01/1906, 56-year-old Robert Sayle Corlett married Catherine Ann Teare (born 1870/71, Bride, IoM), daughter of Daniel Teare, at Bride, the northernmost village of the Isle of Man.  The bride was 21 years younger than the groom.


The 1911 census found 61-year-old landowner, farmer and corn merchant Robert Sayle Corlett living with wife Catherine Anne Corlett, 57-year-old unmarried sister Henrietta, and a servant, at The Craige (and our man spelt it himself with the final “e”), Sulby, IoM.  Maybe a house called “The Craige” was in a locality called “Craig”.  This was the family “seat”.


By 1910 Robert Sayle Corlett was recorded as of “Liverpool”, meaning either that he was a member of Liverpool chess cub, or that he lived in Liverpool.  Whether he moved from the Isle of Man to Liverpool is unclear.  It’s difficult to believe he would leave a tranquil rural locality with four-horned Loaghtan sheep in the fields for the hustle and bustle of Liverpool.  Perhaps he took numerous business trips to Liverpool, and frequented the chess club there on such trips.




Chess-player Robert Sayle Corlett, who at the time was resident at Andreas, Isle of Man, died in January 1924, aged 74.  The death was noted in the Ramsey Courier of 11/01/1924.




“R. S. Corlett (Liverpool)” played in the 1910 Lancashire-Yorkshire match and the 1912 Lancashire v Yorkshire match.


“R. S. Corlett (Liverpool)” finished fourth out of seven in the Northern Counties Chess Union’s individual championship of 1913, in Blackpool.  He lost to F. D. Yates (to be expected); he drew with reigning Yorkshire Champion H. A. Burton (commendable); he drew with C. Y. C. Dawbarn (commendable) and beat his other three opponents.





Copyright © 2017 Stephen John Mann

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

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