Yorkshire Chess History



William Wilson Fox











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



12/09/1844, Dewsbury




late Dec. 1908 or early Jan. 1909, Nottingham


08/01/1909, Dewsbury


The Name


His surname was “Fox”, and his mother’s maiden name was “Wilson” which became his middle name.  Occasionally, he was referred to as W. Wilson Fox, as though “Wilson Fox” were an unhyphenated double-barrelled surname.  Whether this stemmed from the player himself or was an error, is unclear.  Sometimes his full name was expressed as “Wm. Wilson Fox”, which might then be rendered “W. Wilson Fox”.


Non-Chess Life


William Wilson Fox was a son of Charles James Fox and Rachel Fox (née Wilson) of Dewsbury Moor, who married in Dewsbury in 1843, and had at least the following children:


William Wilson Fox

born 12/09/1844, Dewsbury

Thomas Bateman Fox

born 1847, Dewsbury

Mary Eliza Fox

born 1849/50, Dewsbury

Sarah Louisa Fox

born 1851, Dewsbury

Charles James Fox

born 1855, Dewsbury

Annie Maria Fox

born 1857, Dewsbury

John Lane Fox

born May/June 1860, Dewsbury


The 1847 Leeds & Woollen area directory listed Charles James Fox of Dewsbury Moor in the carpet-manufacturer section.


The 1851 census found parents, first three children and a servant living at Moor Bottom, Dewsbury.  Father Charles was a carpet manufacturer.


The 1861 census found mother, six children (not Thomas) and a servant living at an unnumbered address in Woodland Grove, Dewsbury.  William was now a carpet manufacturer, presumably working with his father, who presumably was away on business at this time.


Father Charles James Fox died aged 59 in 1869, in Dewsbury.


The 1871 census found the widowed mother and six children (not Sarah) living still in (unnumbered) Woodland Grove.  William and Thomas were now both commercial travellers.  (So who was running their father’s business?)  Charles was a grocer’s apprentice.


The family seems elusive in the 1881 census.


Mother Rachel died in Dewsbury early 1891, aged 70.


The 1891 census found William Wilson Fox as head of a household which included also his sister Annie, who was a certificated schoolteacher, brother John, who was an architect, Annie (wife of John), 11-month-old nephew Harold L Fox (son of John and his wife), and a servant.  William was a “b—“ (unreadable) and flock merchant, and a bedding manufacturer.


In Nov/Dec 1891, William Wilson Fox married Julia Maria Wanstall, at Hornsey Rise, Islington, the banns having been read there on 25/10/1891, 01/11/1891 and 08/11/1891.  The perinatal death of a William Walter Fox in Southwark around the same time is presumably unrelated.  The couple had at least the following children:


Marjorie Rachel M Fox

born 1994, Beeston

Carl Wanstall Fox

born 1897, Beeston


The 1893 directory of the West Riding listed Fox, William Wilson as a mattress manufacturer at King Street, Batley Carr (a suburb of Dewsbury).


From the birthplaces of the children it is evident that William and Julia had moved to Nottingham by 1894.


The 1894 directory of Leeds and the woollen district listed Fox, J. Lane as an architect art 1 Bond Street, Dewsbury.  This suggests he was known as “Lane “ rather than “John”, but it may merely be confusion if the directory office.  That directory seemed not to list William Wilson Fox.


The 1901 census found William Wilson Fox, wife, two children and a servant living at 18 Portland Road, Beeston, Nottingham.  William was listed as a bedding manufacturer.


Kelly’s 1904 Nottinghamshire directory listed “Fox William Wilson (bedding manufacturer, Dewsbury)” as having his home at 169a Noel Street, Nottingham.




William Wilson Fox died in late Dec 1908, or early January 1909, in Nottingham.  The burial took place on 08/01/1909.




He attended the West Yorksire Chess Association meetings of 1881 and 1882.


Examples of him in play include:

1882 simultaneous display in Dewsbury by J. G. Cunningham

1882 Wakefield v Dewsbury match,

1883 Yorkshire v Lancashire match.






Copyright © 2019 Stephen John Mann

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

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