Yorkshire Chess History



Ernest James Griffith











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



08/01/1881, Weston-super-Mare



19/11/1957, Swinton, nr. Mexborough


22/11/1957, Swinton, Churchyard


Non-Chess Life (Somerset & Kent)


The parents of Ernest James Griffith were Charles Griffith (born 1846/47, Weston Super Mare) and Elizabeth Griffith (1846/47, Doynton, Glos. [now Avon]), who had nine children, including the following:


Rose J. Griffith

born 1870/71, Bristol

Francis P. Griffith

born 1872/73, Weston‑super‑Mare

Frederick T. Griffith

born 13/07/1874, Weston‑super‑Mare

Catherine Mary Griffith

born 1875/76, Weston‑super‑Mare

Charles J. Griffith

born 1878/79, Weston‑super‑Mare

Ernest James Griffith

born 08/01/1881, Weston‑super‑Mare

Albert B Griffith

born 1882/83, Weston‑super‑Mare


Only five of the nine children survived to the date of the 1911 census.


The birth of Ernest James Griffith, on 08/01/1881, at Weston Super Mare, Somerset, was registered in the first quarter of 1881, at Axminster, Somerset.


The 1881 census found the parents and first six of the above children living at 35 High Street, Weston Super Mare.  Father Charles was a chemist.  Ernest was at this stage only 3 months old.


The 1891 census found children Rose, Ernest, Charles and Albert, with a domestic servant, at 111 Sandgate Road, Folkstone, Kent, with 20-year-old Rose in charge.  The parents were perhaps away at the time.


The 1901 census found Weston-born Ernest Griffith, civil engineer and architect, boarding at Garfield House, Garfield Road, Margate, Kent.  His age was incorrectly stated as 25.


Father Charles died in 1909.


The 1911 census found the now-widowed Elizabeth Griffith with Catherine, Ernest James Griffith and a servant, at a boarding house called Ocean View, at Westgate on Sea, Kent.  Ernest was now listed just as an architect.


Non-Chess Life (South Yorkshire)


Older brother Frederick T. Griffith seems to have been the first of the Griffith family to move to Yorkshire.  He was still living with parents Charles and Elizabeth in Paddington at the time of the 1901 census, wherein he was described as a dentist’s assistant, yet by 1903 he seems to have moved to Sheffield, as he married Ellen Maud Burnett in Sheffield on 23/12/1903.


It would appear that Frederick worked as a maker and/or fitter of artificial teeth in Sheffield and also Rotherham, while residing in Sheffield.


From as early as 1908, and possibly earlier though not as early as 1905, directories of Rotherham listed Frederick Griffith, a maker and/or fitter of artificial teeth, with business premises at Imperial Buildings, Rotherham.  Imperial Buildings, at the top of High Street, with the site of the old Rotherham market to the south-east, still remains intact and in use, despite modern demolition and partial rebuilding in the immediate vicinity.


Frederick’s place of abode was listed in electoral registers for Rotherham as being at 3 Collegiate Terrace, Sheffield, in 1910 and 1911, then at 6 Broomgrove Road, Sheffield, in 1913, and then at 226 Chippenhouse [sic – meant Chippinghouse] Road, Sheffield, in 1914 and 1915.  The qualification for being on Rotherham’s electoral role was ownership of a tenement over 6 Imperial Buildings, High Street, Rotherham.


The 1911 census found 36-year-old Weston-super-mare native Frederick T. Griffith living with wife Ellen Maud Griffith, stepson James Burnett, children Ronald Frederick Griffith and Irene Ellen Griffith, and three servants, at 261 Ecclesall Road, Sheffield.  Frederick was a false teeth manufacturer working from home.


As described earlier, the 1911 census found our man living still in Weston-super-Mare, and there was no mention of Ernest James Griffith in 1911 or 1912 Rotherham directories, yet he might have been around, assisting Frederick (T.) Griffith, possibly living in the tenement over 6 Imperial Buildings in later 1911 and/or 1912.  In any event he seems to have arrived in Rotherham by 1913, as Ernest James Griffith married Mabel Stenton Woodhouse on 06/11/1913, at Rotherham.  This couple had at least the following three children:


James Samuel Griffith

born 18/04/1914, Rotherham; died 1997, Doncaster area

Frederick Charles Griffith

born 1915, Rotherham

Florence (“Florie”) Kathleen Nancy Griffith

born 07/08/1917, Rotherham; died 1990, Preston area


White’s Sheffield & Rotherham Directory, 1916, listed Frederick Griffith in a different manner from before, referring to Fredrick Griffith Bros, artificial teeth maker, Imperial Buildings, Rotherham.  White also now listed Ernest James Griffith, artificial teeth maker, of Frederick Griffith Bros., with his home at 1 Estaforde, Doncaster Road, Rotherham.  (“Estaforde” is now known as Estaforde Terrace, and is just before where St. John’s Terrace turns off Doncaster Road on the left.)  Thus Ernest James Griffith seems to have come to Rotherham to work with his brother, at some time from 1911 to 1913, and Frederick moved from Sheffield to Rotherham, though he didn’t use his middle initial “T.”


Kelly’s Sheffield & Rotherham Directory, 1922, listed Ernest James Griffith, artificial teeth fitter, living at a new address, 11 Lindum Terrace, Doncaster Road, Rotherham.


At some time from 1922 to 1925, Frederick Griffith dropped out of the Rotherham directories.  Thus Kelly’s Sheffield & Rotherham Directory, 1925, listed Ernest James Griffith, now a dentist, with business address still at Imperial Buildings, and home address still at 11 Lindum Terrace.


Directories show that around 1930 his business premises changed to Chantry Buildings, Corporation Street, Rotherham.  His home remained as 11 Lindum Terrace.  About three years later the business address in directories changed to 1 Corporation Street.  Whether this was the same address by a different name is unclear.


Ernest’s wife Mabel presumably died at some time from 1917 to 1934, or else the couple divorced, as the marriage of Ernest James Griffith to Nora Constance Garlick Hodgkinson took place on 15/02/1934, at Rotherham.


Ernest’s daughter Florie Kathleen N Griffith married Lewis Eland in 1938, in the Fylde district of Lancashire.


Brother Frederick Griffith died at age 64, in Sheffield, on 07/11/1939.  The death was registered at Sheffield in the fourth quarter of 1939.


Ernest James Griffith continued to be listed as a dentist at 1 Corporation Street, Rotherham, up to 1941, but by 1948 was no longer mentioned.  Kelly’s Sheffield & Rotherham directory of 1948, in fact, listed neither Ernest James Griffith in the alphabetical section, nor a number 1 Corporation Street in the street section.


It seems our man moved to Swinton in about 1941, as telephone directories listed E. J. Griffith as living at Thornleigh, Station Street, Swinton, near Mexborough, and not far from Rotherham from 1941 or earlier.


An Ernest James Griffith, Esq., was awarded an M.B.E. in the 1953 New Year Honours list, for political and public services in the West Riding of Yorkshire, but the Sheffield Daily Telegraph didn’t mention Ernest James Griffith in its list of local people receiving honours, so this M.BE. recipient was probably not our man.




Ernest James Griffith of Thornleigh, Station Street, Swinton, near Mexborough, died on 19/11/1957, at the age of 76.


The Sheffield Daily Telegraph of 21/11/1957 reported his death at age 76 as occurring on 19/11/1957, at Thornleigh, and said his interment was to be at Swinton Parish Churchyard on Friday, 22/11/1957, at 12.30 p.m.


The grave inscription reads as follows:


In Loving Memory of

a Dear Husband and Father

Ernest James Griffith

Died November 19th 1957

Aged 76 Year


At Rest


Click here for an image of the headstone.


Probate was granted to Nora Constance Garlick Griffith [second wife], widow, and Frederick Charles Griffith [son by first wife], dental surgeon.  He left £12,845 6s 9d.




E.J. Griffith seems to have been one of the initial members of the Rotherham Chess Club when it was resurrected around 1920.  He was recorded as both president and captain in 1922, and as captain at least in 1920-21 and 1922-23.


E. J. Griffith played in the 1922 Capablanca simultaneous display at Rotherham.  He was similarly one of those playing in the 1923 Yates simultaneous display in Rotherham.


He played in the Yorkshire Championship in 1924-25, beating George Barron of Hull in the semi-final, then losing to Charles Reuben Gurnhill in the final.  He presumably participated in other years.


He appears to have played his first county match for Yorkshire in the 1935 Lancashire v Yorkshire match.  He later played in the 1936 Yorkshire v Lancashire match.


Details of his chess in Rotherham and the Sheffield & District Chess Association are not to hand, but he seems to have first appeared in the Woodhouse Cup for Sheffield (=Sheffield & District Chess Association) on 25/01/1936.


In 1937-38 he was a vice-president of the Yorkshire Chess Association.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

Last Updated