Yorkshire Chess History



James Haines Greaves











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



29/02/1816, Sheffield


31/03/1816, Independent Church, Garden Street, Sheffield


07/12/1863, Sheffield




James Haines Greaves was one of at least five children born to William Greaves and Elizabeth Greaves (b. 1876/77 at Dolby, Leics. [1851 census]).


Elizabeth Greaves





25/06/1809, Independent Church, Garden Street, Sheffield

Joseph Greaves





22/12/1811, Independent Church, Garden Street, Sheffield

John Greaves





13/02/1814, Independent Church, Garden Street, Sheffield




James Haines Greaves


29/02/1816, Sheffield



31/03/1816, Independent Church, Garden Street, Sheffield



07/12/1863, Sheffield

Benjamin Greaves





14/05/1818, Independent Church, Garden Street, Sheffield


He appears to have been resident in Sheffield for his whole life.


There were various people by the names of Greaves in the Sheffield directories of the early 1800s, often engaged in similar trades, and many doubtless related to each other.  In particular, two by the name William Greaves are listed in 1825.  The identity of our man’s father becomes apparent from our man’s probate record, which lists as one of the executors his brother John, who is described as a cut nail manufacturer.  This latter business points to father William being the William Greaves, awl, blade and cut nail manufacturer, 4 Broad Street, Sheffield, listed in Gell’s General & Commercial Directory of Sheffield, 1825.


By 1830, sister Elizabeth Greaves had evidently married someone by the name of Atkinson.  The 1841 and 1851 censuses make it apparent that Elizabeth Atkinson was widowed by 1841, after having at least three children:


William B. Atkinson

born 1830/31 at Mansfield, Notts.

Sarah Elizabeth Atkinson

born 1834/35 at Sheffield

Mary Ann Atkinson

born 1836/37 at Sheffield


It is also apparent from the directories that father William Greaves died at some time from 1825 to 1833, as White’s History & Directory of Sheffield, Rotherham ..., 1833, listed Mrs. Elizabeth Greaves, 4 Broad Street, Sheffield, pointing to her husband’s demise.  (There was another Mrs. Elizabeth Greaves and a simple Elizabeth Greaves, but their addresses are not that of William Greaves.)  None of the sons are listed by White’s of 1833, but the cut nail manufacturing business clearly continued in the family, as Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Yorks., Leics. &c, 1841, listed Edward and John Greaves as nail makers at Broad Street, Park.  (Was Edward another brother?)


James Haines Greaves had struck out in his own line of business.


Printing, Books and Stationery


James Haines Greaves is absent from White’s directory of 1833 and Pigot’s of 1834, but appears in Robson’s 1839 directory of Birmingham and Sheffield as J. H. Greaves, 40 Angel Street, stationer and bookbinder.


Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Yorkshire, Leicestershire &c, 1841, listed him in the trade section under “Booksellers and Stationers” at 40 Angel Street, Sheffield, and under “Printers – Letterpress” at the same address.  White’s Sheffield directory of 1841 similarly lists him as a bookseller at 40 Angel Street.


The 1841 census listed 20-year-old James Haines Greaves as a printer and bookseller living at 40 Angel Street with 30-year-old widowed sister Elizabeth Atkinson (described as independent), her two daughters, Sara Elizabeth Atkinson and Mary Ann Atkinson, and also a servant.  Elizabeth’s son William was perhaps away at school.  The home address was presumably also his business address, though directories are inexplicit on the point.  At this point Elizabeth Greaves, senior, mother of James Haines Greaves and Elizabeth Atkinson, was living at Western Bank, being described as independent, apparently as a widow, with a servant.


White’s Sheffield directory of 1845 sees James Haines Greaves at new premises, 56 Snig Hill (then written “Snighill”), Sheffield, trading as a printer, stationer and paper dealer.  Slater's Directories of Important English Towns, 1847, listed him similarly as a stationer at 56 Snig Hill, Sheffield, without specifying a separate home address.  Thus he’d moved from Angel Street the short distance down to Snig Hill, at some time from 1841 to 1845.  (Snig Hill is a continuation of Angel Street, and both are short streets.)


White’s General Directory of Sheffield, 1849, listed him as a printer, bookseller and stationer, at 56 Snig Hill, Sheffield, with his home at Western Bank, Sheffield, presumably at the same address as his mother.  The change of residential address to Western Bank presumably occurred about 1848.


The 1851 census described him as a master printer, living at Western Bank with his widowed mother, Elizabeth Greaves, his widowed sister Elizabeth Atkinson (described as an annuitant, b. 1810 at Sheffield), her son William B. Atkinson (b. 1830/31 at Mansfield. Notts.), who was a merchant’s clerk, her daughter Sarah E Atkinson, who was a scholar (b. 1834/35 at Sheffield), and a domestic servant.  The Western Bank address was probably where Elizabeth, senior, was living in 1841.


White’s Gazetteer & General Directory of Sheffield, 1852, listed him slightly differently, as a printer and stationer, at 56 Snig Hill, Sheffield, with his home at Western Bank.




On 14th April 1853, at Saint Oswald’s, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, he married Mary Elizabeth Miers, born 1827/28 at Ashbourne [1861 census], daughter of John Miers.


The Sheffield Examiner


Around February or March, 1854, he launched a conservative weekly newspaper called the Sheffield Examiner.  This lasted about a year and seven months, then folded on 29th September 1855, due to lack of support.  [White’s General Directory of Sheffield, Rotherham &c, 1856, p.13.]


Slater's Commercial Directory of Durham, Northumberland & Yorkshire, 1855, listed him as a stationer at 56 Snig Hill, Sheffield.


White’s Sheffield directory of 1856 lists James Haines Greaves as a printer, and out-datedly as proprietor and publisher of the Sheffield Examiner (Saturday), Prior Court, 50 High Street.  His former premises at 56 Snig Hill were now occupied by Thomas Gibson, auctioneer.  Also he seems not to have been listed at his former Western Bank residence, nor his future Glossop Road residence, so maybe he lived over his place of work.


Estate Agency


Following the failure of the Sheffield Examiner, he made a career change, moving into estate agency.  Accordingly, Melville’s1859 Sheffield directory lists J. H. Greaves estate agent, 391 Glossop Road, Sheffield.


The 1861 census listed 45-year-old James Haines Greaves as an estate agent living at Queen’s Terrace (presumably 391), Glossop Road, Sheffield, a few doors away from John James Champion.  He was living with his wife, 33-year-old Mary Elizabeth Greaves, and unmarried 19-year-old sister-in-law, Catherine S. Miers (b.1841/42 at Ashbourne), who was described as a governess.  Our man is not to be confused with a commercial traveller of a similar name and age.


F. White’s Directory & Topography of Sheffield, 1862, listed James Haines Greaves, estate agent, High Court, 35 High Street, Sheffield, with home at Queen’s Terrace, Glossop Road.


The 1862 directory also recorded him as secretary of the Sheffield Athenaeum Club (not its Chess Club).


Drake’s Commercial and Trades Directory of Sheffield, 1863, listed Jas. Haines Greaves, estate agent, High Court, 35 High Street, Sheffield, with home at Glossop Road.




James Haines Greaves died on 7th December 1863, at Sheffield.  The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent of Tuesday 8th December 1863 carried the following, under “Deaths”.

GREAVES.- Dec. 7th, suddenly, Mr. James Haines Greaves, Glossop Road, aged 47,deeply regretted by a large circle of relatives and friends.


His will was proved by his brother John, described as a cut nail manufacturer, and John Miers, innkeeper of Ashborne, Derbys.  (His wife’s father was called John Miers, though he might equally have been some brother of the same name.)




He was a member of the Sheffield Athenaeum club, being its secretary around 1862, but he joined the Sheffield Athenaeum’s chess club seemingly only in 1850 and 1852, so wasn’t that great and enthusiast.  There was a “Greaves” who attended the first meeting of the original Yorkshire Chess Association, in January 1841.  It’s possible that this “Greaves” was James Haines Greaves, who’d be a month short of 25 years of age at the time.  It’s equally conceivable that this “Greaves” was our man’s father, William Greaves (if still alive), and there were of course others of that surname in Sheffield at the time, most noticeably, perhaps, Henry Marwood Greaves.





Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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

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