Yorkshire Chess History



Robert McCheyne Macmaster











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



c. 1859, Coventry



19/01/1905, Bradford



Early Years


Robert McCheyne Macmaster of Bradford was a son the Baptist minister Rev Robert Paton Macmaster (born in Ayr, Scotland) and Annie M Macmaster (born in Leash[?], Scotland).  The family had moved round from place to place.


Older brother Joseph Milner Macmaster was born in Walsall c. 1853/54, older sister Annie was born c. 1856/57 in Walsall, Robert McCheyne Macmaster himself was born in Coventry c. 1858, and younger sister Alice was born in Bristol c. 1870/71.


The 1861 census found the parents and the eldest three of the above children living with one domestic servant at 9 White Street, Coventry.  The father was described as a Baptist minister.


The 1871 census found the parents and the above four children, except Annie, who’d be fourteen.  She may have been living elsewhere at the time, but she doesn’t re-appear in the family household, suggesting she’d died.  The remaining family now lived at 99 Kingsdowne Parade, Bristol.  The father was described as Baptist minister of Counterslip [?] Chapel.  The eldest son was described as J Milner Macmaster, suggesting he was known by his middle name.  He and Robert were both scholars.


The family had moved by 1881 to Bradford, as in the 1881 census, the family is recorded as living at 9 Selborn Terrace, Manningham, Bradford.  The Rev RP Macmaster was Baptist minister of Hallfield Chapel; Robert’s older brother was working as a journalist, and his sister Alice was still at school.  Robert himself was an articled pupil solicitor.


White's Directory of Bradford, Halifax &c, 1887, listed his father at 53 Athol Road, Bradford, fourteen doors away from chess-player Antonio Fattorini who lived at no.25.  Robert was presumably living at the same address.


Married Life


In the second quarter of 1890, his marriage to Mary Ann Kennedy (born 1859, Keighley) was registered at Bradford.


The 1891 census found Robert and Mary living at 11 Welbury Avenue, Manningham, Bradford.  Robert was now described as a solicitor, and was listed in the directories.


In 1891/92 the couple had a son, John Kennedy Macmaster, born in Bradford.


The Post Office Bradford Directory, 1891, listed Robert McCheyne Macmaster as in partnership with William B. Gordon and Frederic T. Hunter in the firm of Gordon, Hunter and Macmaster, solicitors, Old Bank Chambers, 1 Cheapside, Bradford.  He was also a listed as a councillor for Manningham Ward.  His residence at the time was 11 Welbury Drive, Bradford, just a few streets away from Selborn Terrace.  His father was still resident at 53 Athol Road, Bradford.


The 1901 census found the parents and nine-year-old son, with two domestic servants, at 7 Park Drive, Bradford.  Robert was still listed as a solicitor.




Robert McCheyne Macmaster died 19/01/1905 at Devonshire Terrace, Manningham, Bradford.  He was only 45 or 46 years old.  Probate was granted on 11/03/1905 to Holmes Clapham, merchant, and Frederic Hunter, solicitor, who had been his business partner.  He left effects of £6,715. 19s 6d.


Mary Macmaster, his wife, died 20/04/1924.  At the time she was resident at 70 St. Mary’s Road, Bradford.  Probate was granted 05/06/1924 at London to John Kennedy Macmaster, woollen buyer.  She left effects of £2,120 3s 11d.


Chess Activity


Besides playing locally in Bradford, Robert McCheyne Macmaster attended the meetings of the West Yorkshire Chess Association meetings of 1877 to 1879 inclusive, and those of 1883 to 1885.


At the BCA/YCCC congress at Bradford, in 1888, he entered British Amateur Championship, finishing 7th-8th equal out of 13 players, with 5½ out of 12.  Four other Yorkshire players finished above him.  He fared better, however, in the Tennyson event, which was open to members of the professions, as he won.  His prize was a copy of the complete works of the Poet Laureate, Alfred Lord Tennyson, signed by the poet.  Tennyson was President of the British Chess Association at the time.





Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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

Last Updated