Yorkshire Chess History



Joseph Addey Fawcett











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



30/04/1840, Wakefield


28/05/1840, All Saints, Wakefield


24/10/1912, Harrogate



Joseph Addey Fawcett was born to James Fawcett (born 1809/10, Wakefield) and Sarah Isabella Blair Fawcett (born 1813/14, Barnsley).  This couple had at least four children:

Mary Ann Fawcett

born 1837/38, Wakefield

Emily E. Fawcett

born 1838/38, Wakefield

Joseph Addey Fawcett

born 30/04/1840, Wakefield;

baptised 28/05/1840, All Saints, Wakefield

Sara Isabella

born Aug/Sep 1850, Wakefield


Thus our man was born in Wakefield, 30th April 1840, and was baptised at Wakefield on 28th May 1840.  His parents’ abode was given in the baptism register as Kirkgate, Wakefield, and the fathers occupation as that of maltster.


The 1841 census found him as a 1-year-old in Wakefield.


White’s Directory of Leeds, Bradford &c, 1854, listed James Fawcett as a corn miller at Ings Mill, Wakefield, with his home at Cliff Parade, Wakefield.  He was also listed as a maltster at Ings Road; also listed as maltsters were John Fawcett and Joseph Fawcett, both at Kirkgate, Wakefield, and probably both relatives of James.


The 1851 census found the Fawcett parents and above four children living at Cliffe Terrace, Wakefield.  Father, James, was a corn miller employing 17 men.  Of the children Mary Ann Fawcett alone was a scholar.  The family had three servants.


White’s Directory of Leeds, Halifax, Huddersfield, Wakefield &c, 1858, listed James Fawcett, corn miller, at Old Mills, Kirkgate, with home at Rishworth House, and James Fawcett, maltster, at Ings Mill.


The 1861 census found the Fawcett parents with the older three children, but not Sara Isabella Fawcett, living at Bond Street, Wakefield.  The inference is that Rishworth House was on Bond Street.  Father, James, was now corn miller (employing 50 men), farmer and maltster.  Our man was now a “bookkeeper assistant to his father”, and so was entering the family business.


White’s Directory of Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield &c, 1866, listed Joseph Addy [sic] Fawcett, corn miller and maltster, Wakefield Mills, living at Rishworth House.


On 20th April 1868, James Fawcett and Joseph Addey Fawcett, of Wakefield, millers, were granted a Letter of Patent for an invention of "improvements in steam boilers or apparatus for generating steam."  The London Gazette of 28th April 1871, page 2089, tells us that this patent became void “by reason of the non-payment of the additional Stamp Duty of £50, before the expiration of the third year from the date of such Patents, pursuant to the Act of the 16th Vic., c. 5, sec. 2, for the week ending the 22nd day of April, 1871.”


The Edinburgh Gazette of 28th July 1868, page 940, tells us, in connection with the 5th West Riding of Yorkshire Rifle Volunteer Corps, that Joseph Addey Fawcett was to be an Ensign, in place of Ensign Dacre H. Dunn, who had been promoted from Ensign to Captain.  This directive was dated 1st June 1868.  (At the same time, fellow chess player W. H. B. Tomlinson was promoted from Lieutenant to Captain, replacing a certain Kendall who had resigned.)


White's Directory of Leeds & the West Riding, 1870, listed James Fawcett & Sons, Ings Mills, Wakefield, maltsters and corn millers.


James Fawcett, corn miller of Wakefield, died 25th March 1870, aged 60.


The 1871 census found our man, a corn-miller and maltster, aged 30, living at Southgate house, Southgate, Wakefield, with three servants.  At the time of the census he was being visited, unchaperoned, by his bride-to-be, Caroline A. Aspdin, a 27-year-old seamstress.


The Leeds Times of 16th August 1873 reported that our man married Caroline Amelia Aspdin, daughter of the late William Aspdin of Itzehoe, Holstein, Germany, on 12th August 1873, at Wakefield parish church.  The bride was born 1843/44, at Rotherhithe, variously described in census returns as in Kent, Middlesex, or Surrey.  The couple appear to have had no children.


Kelly's Directory of West Riding of Yorkshire, 1881, listed Joseph Addey Fawcett, 130 Westgate, Wakefield.


The 1881 census found 67-year-old Barnsley-born Sarah Isabella Blair Fawcett as head of a household consisting of herself, 40-year-old Wakefield-born Joseph Addey Fawcett, his 37-year-old Rotherhithe-born wife Caroline Amelia Fawcett, his 43-year-old Wakefield-born sister Mary A Fawcett, and two servants.  They lived at Westgate, Wakefield.  Our man was described as a maltster and retired corn miller.


At some time from 1881 to 1891, he moved to the London area, perhaps following the death of his mother.


The 1891 census found 50-year-old Wakefield-born Joseph Addey Fawcett and 47-year-old Rotherhithe-born Caroline Amelia Fawcett living at 150 Malpas Road, Deptford.  Our man was described as a corn mill manager.


While in the London area he had some kind of involvement in the Chemical Society, as the Proceedings of the Chemical Society, no. 132, issued 01/02/1895, noted that at the meeting of 18th January 1894 “Certificates were read for the first time in favour of Messrs. [ten names]”; one of the ten listed was “Joseph Addey Fawcett, 153 Malpas Road, Brockley, S.E.”, though understanding of what was meant evades the present writer.


From 1895 to 1901 our man seems to have had a change in life-plan, as he became a commercial traveller (in what we know not) and moved home to Harrogate.  Thus the 1901 census found Joseph, a commercial traveller by occupation, and his wife Caroline, aged 60 and 57 respectively, living in Princes Street, Harrogate.  With them was living 14-year-old Rowland Pollard.


At some time from 1901 to 1912, wife Caroline died.


The 1911 census found our man as a 70-year-old widow, a commercial traveller by occupation, in a boarding house at 27 Waterdale, Doncaster.  He appears to have been listed as if resident there, though the address was probably a stop-off on his commercial travelling, as he was recorded as resident in Harrogate when he died about eighteen months later.




Joseph Addey Fawcett died 24th October 1912 at Harrogate.  His residence at the time was given in probate records as 6 Granville Road, Harrogate.  Probate was granted to “the Public Trustee” Isabella Emily Wright, wife of Samuel Wright, and Jessie Maria Harriss [sic], spinster.  He left effects of £2,079 9s 9d.


That he ended up in Harrogate suggests a possible link with Fawcetts in Knaresborough who in turn were connected with James Fawcett, architect, of Sheffield.  (The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent, of 11th October 1870 reported a marriage, Nichol–Fawcett, on 8th October, at Knaresborough parish church, conducted by the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Ripon, assisted by the Rev. James Fawcett, vicar of Knaresborough; the bride was sister to J. Fawcett, architect, of Sheffield, and niece to the late Rev. Henry Farish, of Ecclesall, Sheffield.)


There are also two Fawcett graves in the grounds of Christ Church, Harrogate, aligned head to toe with a yew tree jammed between the headstones.  (Curiously, “Also William Fawcett, who died Nov. 14th 1871, aged 49 years.” is inscribed on both headstones, suggesting an initial error by the mason!)




He attended the annual meetings of the West Yorkshire Chess Association of 1861 & 1862, 1864, 1866 & 1867, 1869, 1871 to 1873, 1878 & 1879.


He played for Wakefield in their 1862 match against Huddersfield.  He played for Wakefield in their match against Bradford played at the 1869 WYCA meeting in Huddersfield.





Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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

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