Yorkshire Chess History



Richard Hinchliff











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



15/11/1866, Netherthong




15/11/1866, Huddersfield




Identity of the Chessplayer


There was a Richard Hinchliff who is recorded as being a member of Huddersfield Chess Club at least from 1859 to 1864, referred to sometimes simply with the initial “H.”, but in at least one case with the full “Richard”.


Reference to census and similar data, and directories suggests this was most probably the Richard Hinchliff born 1819 in Netherthong to an Elizabeth Hinchliff who as early as 1841 was already a widow.  Elizabeth was a farmer and later land proprietor, while Richard became an “agent” of some sort.  Whilst there were others in the area called Richard Hinchliff(e), they were farm labourer of clothing manufacturing workers such as would not be members of Huddersfield Chess Club in the 1860s.


Identifying the father, husband of Elizabeth, is nigh impossible, but presumably he had been a famer in Netherthong.  Elizabeth was older than the John Hinchliff who was patrilineal great-grandfather of chess-players John Elliott Hinchliff and Charles Henry Hinchliff, so Elizabeth’s husband may well have been an older brother of John.


It is nice to entertain the idea of such a link to other Hinchliff chess-players of Huddersfield’s south-west rural environs, though it is far from proven.


Non-Chess Life


If his dates if birth recorded in the 1851 and 1861 censuses are accurate, then he was born in the small window 31/03/1819 to 07/04/1819, which is consistent with is age given at death.  His mother, Elizabeth Hinchliff, of unidentified maiden name, has inconsistently quoted ages in censuses, which imply her date of birth to be some time from 1790 to 1793, at Netherthong.  Her absence from the 1871 census suggests she died from 1861 to 1871.  The 79-year-old Elizabeth Hinchliff who died in the Huddersfield registration district in 1869, and is evidently Richard’s mother, who thus is implied to have been born in 1790.


Elizabeth and her husband, who evidently died before the 1841 census, had the following children, all born seemingly in Netherthong:


Sarah Hinchliff


Richard Hinchliff

born 1819

Hannah Hinchliff

born 1821/22

James Hinchliff

born 1821‑26

Ellen Hinchliff

born 1824/25

Isabella Hinchliff

born 1829/30


The 1841 census found farmer Elizabeth living at Greave, Netherthong, with all the above six children, though the fifth was recorded as “Emma” rather than “Ellen”.  Elizabeth, implied as widowed by the absence of a mention of a husband, was described as a farmer.  No occupation was given for any of the children, but Pigot’s 1841 directory of Yorkshire listed Hinchliff, Joseph, Greave, under Woollen Manufacturers.


In 1848, Richard married Cassandra Gartside (born 1818, Almondbury) in the Huddersfield area.  They had at least the following children:


Richard Edward Hinchliff

born 1851 Lockwood

James Joshua Hinchliff

born 1853 Huddersfield


The 1851 census found Richard and Cassandra living with a servant at the Crescent, Lockwood.  Richard was at this stage a bookkeeper.


Meanwhile, the same census found mother Elizabeth living as a famer of 9 acres, employing one man, with daughters Sarah and Hannah, still at Greave, Netherthong.


Richard’s wife Cassandra died in early 1857, and was buried on 25/02/1857, presumably in Netherthong, and Richard and the children move in with matriarch Elizabeth.


The 1861 census found widow Elizabeth, son Richard, grandchildren Richard Edward and James Joshua, and daughters Hannah and Ellen, living at Lower Greave, Netherthong.  Elizabeth was now described as a “landed proprietor”, and they had evidently moved from the Greave farm to a house at Lower Greave.  Richard was now described as an agent, which could mean anything, but may have meant a land agent or similar rather than an agent for a woollen manufacturer or merchant which is another possibility.


These changed circumstances, with three resident child-minders, would facilitate going into Huddersfield to the chess club.


At the time of his death he resided at Fitzwilliam Street, Huddersfield.




Richard Hinchliff died on 15/11/1866, in the Huddersfield area.  His sisters Hannah and Ellen, both of whom were spinsters and resident with him at Fitzwilliam Street, were his executors.




Records of Richard Hinchliff as a member of Huddersfield chess club include his attendance of the annual meetings of the West Yorkshire Chess Association in 1859 (when his full name “Richard” was given) and 1864, and of the opening night of the 1864-65 season of Huddersfield Chess Club.  His name tended to be towards the end of lists of Huddersfield players, so he was presumably not one of the club’s top players.






Copyright © 2021 Stephen John Mann

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

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