Yorkshire Chess History



Charles Demain Knapton











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1838, Bradford



07/02/1912, Bradford



Non-Chess Life


Charles Demain Knapton’s parents were bookkeeper Jonas Knapton and Ann Demain, both of whom were resident in the parish of St. James, Tong, 4 miles SE of the centre of Bradford, at the time their banns of marriage were read on the 6th, 13th and 20th of December 1835.


Ann (or Anne, both got used) Demain was born in Bradford to comber Joseph Demain and Betty Demain, and was baptised at St. Peter’s, Bradford, on 28/01/1814.


Jonas and Ann had at least the following three children, all born in Bradford:


Charles Demain Knapton

born 1838

Elizabeth Knapton

born 1840/41

Mary Jane Knapton

born 1843/44


Ages in census returns put Charles Demain Knapton’s date of birth in the period 03/04/1838 to 06/06/1838.


The 1841 census found parents Jonas and Ann living with Charles and Elizabeth at West Grove Street, Bradford.  They had a visitor, 13-year-old Arabella Knapton.  Jonas was a book keeper.


The 1851 census found parents and all three children living at 11 Victoria Street, Bradford.  Jonas was a bookkeeper and the three children were scholars.


The death of the mother, Anne Knapton, was registered in the third quarter of 1859, at Bradford.  Perhaps in part as a consequence of this, a Hannah Knapton (probably Jonas’s mother) appears to have joined the household.


The 1861 census found 49-year-old Jonas Knapton, 78-year-old Hannah Knapton, Charles Demain Knapton, Mary Jane Knapton and a servant living still at 11 Victoria Street, Bradford.  White’s 1861 directory listed Jonas as a clerk living at this address.  (Original census page not available at time on website consulted.)


On 30/06/1866, the Office of the Commissioners of Patents for Inventions recorded a petition by “Charles Demain Knapton, of Bradford, in the county of York, Manufacturer's Clerk, for the invention of ‘improvements in spinning frames.’”  This was reported in the London Gazette of 13/07/1866.  Whether his patent application was ultimately successful is unclear, but it gives a clue as to the nature of the business whose books he helped keep.


By early 1870, if not before, Charles Demain Knapton got married to Sarah, born 1838/39 in Bradford.  The couple had at least the following three children, all born in Bradford:


Frederick William Knapton

born Sep/Oct 1870

Philip Henry Knapton

born 1871/72

George A Knapton

born 1874/75


The 1871 census found the parents and 6-month-old Frederick living at 33 Hanover Place (Square?), Bradford.  32-year-old Charles was described as bookkeeper to worsted spinners.  Kelly’s 1861 and 1881 directories listed Hanover Square off Manningham Lane, which remains today, but did not list a Hanover Place.


The 1881 census found a change in street name, but not number, as the family, now with all three children, was living at 33 Stanacre Place, Bradford.  Charles was still a bookkeeper in the worsted business.  The children were all scholars.  Kelly’s 1881 Bradford directory listed our man’s father, Jonas, still living at 11 Victoria Street, Bradford, but didn’t list Charles Demain Knapton, not even in the street section under Stanacre Place.


White’s Directory of Bradford, Halifax &c, 1887, listed C.D.Knapton, bookkeeper,4 Eldon Place, Bradford, showing a change of address at some time from 1881 to 1887.


The 1891 census found the family of five, now with two servants, living at 4 Eldon Place, Bradford.  53-year-old Charles was still a bookkeeper but of unspecified field of business.  20-year-old Fredrick was apprentice to a famer-cum-builder.  19-year-old Philip was a worsted manufacturer.  16-year-old George was an electrical engineer.  The Post Office Bradford Directory of 1881 listed C. D. Knapton, bookkeeper, at 4 Eldon Place, Bradford.


At some stage from 1891 to 1900, the family moved to Laytham Hall, in the small village of Laytham, in the parish of Aughton in the East Riding of Yorkshire, about 8 miles north of Howden, 10 miles north of Goole, and 8 miles west of Market Weighton.


The death of Charles’s wife, Sarah Knapton, aged 62, was registered in the second quarter of 1900, at Howden, two or three miles to the north of Goole.


The 1901 census found 62-year-old widower Charles living with 30-year-old Frederick and 29-year-old Philip, with three servants, at Laytham Hall, Laytham.  Charles was described as a worsted stuff manufacturer and farmer.  The “farmer” bit would explain the rural environment which contrasted so with his origins in Bradford.  Frederick had no stated occupation.  Philip was described as a worsted stuff manufacturer.  George was not listed with them.


It would appear the family had retained its residence in Bradford, as Kelly’s 1901 Bradford Directory still listed Charles Demain Knapton at 4 Eldon Place, Bradford.


The 1911 census found son Philip, now married and with three children, living again at 4 Eldon Place, Bradford.  Widower father, 72-year-old Charles Demain Knapton, was living there two, though Philip listed himself as head of the household.   They had two servants.  Father Charles and son Philip were both listed as worsted stuff manufacturers, but there was no more mention of farming.  It seems Frederick had taken over the farming side of things.  Kelly's Directory of N & E Ridings of Yorkshire, 1913, listed Frederick William Knapton, farmer, at the Hall, Laytham.




Charles Demain Knapton of 4 Eldon Place, Bradford, died 07/02/1912.  Probate was granted to Frederick William Knapton, farmer, and Philip Henry Knapton, manufacturer.  His effects were totalled initially as £18,167 15s 8d, later re-sworn as £18,227 15s 8d.




He attended each of the annual meetings of the West Yorkshire Chess Association from 1876 to 1879 inclusive.


Besides playing inter-club chess for Bradford in the pre-Woodhouse days, he played for Bradford in the earlier years of the Woodhouse Cup.


He played for Yorkshire in the 1884 Lancashire-Yorkshire match.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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