Yorkshire Chess History



Rev. Otho Augustus Manners











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



11/01/1818, North Whitham, Lincs.



09/04/1897, Hawnby



When reporting on the 1871 Yorkshire v Lancashire match, the Rev. Arthur Bolland Skipworth, in the Chess Players’ Chronicle, included the name of the Rev. O. A. Manners of Hawnby in the list of strong North and East Riding chess players who were absent from the Yorkshire team.


Non-Chess Life


Otho Augustus Manners was born 11/01/1818 at North Witham, Lincolnshire, very roughly 10 miles S of Grantham, son of Otho Manners of Goadby, Leicestershire.


He was educated at Mr. Singleton’s school at Trusthorpe, Lincolnshire (a mile or so S of Mablethorpe), and Mr. Willan’s school at Cotterstock, Northamptonshire (2 miles NE of Oundle), in preparation for going to Cambridge, where he was admitted as a pensioner at Sidney on 23/05/1837.  He matriculated Michaelmas 1837.


The 1841 census found him living at an address in Hartford, Huntingdonshire, now in Cambridgeshire, and 2 to 3 miles NE of the centre of Huntingdon.  Though only 20 years of age he was independent and had two servants.


He got his BA in 1843.


He was ordained a deacon at York in 1844, and then a priest at Ripon in 1845.


The 1851 census found him resident at Ludford Parva, Lincolnshire, to the west of Ludford Magna, which in turn is 6 miles east of Market Rasen.


He became curate of Ludford (presumably both Magna and Parva), Lincolnshire, in 1852 (presumably for less than 12 months), and more importantly was rector of Hawnby, North Yorkshire, 6 miles NW of Helmsley, from 1852 to his death in 1897.


The 1861, 1871, 1881 and 1891 censuses found him residing, as rector of Hawnby, at simply Hawnby, or specifically at Hawnby rectory (called “vicarage” in 1881), always with at least two servants.  He seems never to have married.


Somewhere along the line, according to Venn, he became a Justice of the Peace for the North Riding, though this isn’t mentioned in census returns.


The Rev. Otho Augustus Manners thus had a lot in common with the Rev. Arthur Bolland Skipworth, who was vicar of Bilsdale from 1860 to 1872.  Both were born in Lincolnshire.  Both went to Cambridge, though as Manners was 12 years the senior, they did not overlap at Cambridge.  Both became priests.  Both at the time in question held cures in out-of-the-way locations in the North Riding of Yorkshire.  Also, it seems, both played chess.




The Rev. Otho Augustus Manners of Hawnby died on 09/04/1897, aged 79, the death being registered at Helmsley and so presumably taking place at Hawnby.  Probate was granted to Lawrence Augustus Manners (presumably a brother or nephew), Oliphant Collingwood, an actor, and Charles Wright, a valet.  (Members of a Wright family had numbered among his servants for years.)




Given that Skipworth regarded Manners as a strong chess player (see above), you’d expect some record of him playing chess.  However, if you look at lists of those present at Redcar 1865, Redcar 1866, York 1867, York 1868, and York 1869, and if you look in the indexes of the Chess Players’ Chronicle, under players and under problem composers, then you find that, like Macavity, he’s not there.


As Hawnby was only about 10 miles south of Bilsdale parsonage, it is quite likely the two were acquainted and perhaps played chess together while discussing the deeper significance of Leviticus, or whatever.



Sources include Venn for most of the biographical detail, and T. S. Eliot for the feline epitome of elusiveness.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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