Yorkshire Chess History



Henry Lister Maw











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1801, Warmsworth, near Doncaster


22/03/ 1801, Warmsworth


Q4 1874, Birkenhead



Identity of the Chess-Player(s)


Among those listed as attending the second 1841 meeting of the original Yorkshire Chess Association were “Johnson”, “Pearson” and “Maw” (without forename or initials), of Doncaster.  Similarly, “Maw” from Crowle, Lincolnshire, was listed as attending the next two meetings, in 1842 and 1843.  On that information alone, the most likely candidate for a single “Maw” associated with both Doncaster and Crowle seems to be Henry Lister Maw, who was at the time resident in Crowle, but had been born at Warmsworth on the periphery of Doncaster, and so probably retained connections with Doncaster.  However, there could be two people involved, or Henry Lister Maw may not have been a chess-player.


Although the report of the 1846 meeting in the Wakefield Express lists no Maw attending that meeting, reports of that event in Bell’s Life and Le Palamède (both unseen) are reported as listing a Samuel Maw attending that meeting.  Samuel Maw of Crowle is easy enough to identify.


The “Maw” of Crowle attending the 1842 and 1843 meetings could have been Henry Lister Maw of Tetley Hall, who as the chief Maw of Crowle would in those days tend not to need forename or initials to identify him, but this “Maw” was perhaps more likely to have been Henry’s poorer relation, farmer Samuel Maw, who lived on Crowle High Street, and the reporter simply didn’t know his forename or initial which properly would be given.


It could be that Samuel Maw of Crowle took advantage of the recently-constructed railway passing through Crowle to make contact with chess-players in Doncaster.  There was a formal Doncaster Chess Club in existence in 1850, so there may have been a formal or informal club in 1841.  Thus “Maw” of Doncaster was perhaps most probably Samuel Maw of Crowle, but could have been Henry Lister Maw, or indeed one of the people called Maw resident in Doncaster at the time.


It seems unlikely Samuel and Henry were brothers, otherwise Henry, who was younger than Samuel, would presumably not have come to inhabit Tetley Hall.  On the other hand, they are likely to have been cousins.


The Maws of Crowle


Crowle is 16 miles east of Doncaster, on the north-west edge of the Isle of Axholme, in the Lincolnshire “riding” of Lindsey.  “Crowle” station on the modern Doncaster-to-Cleethorpes railway line is actually situated at the hamlet of Ealand, in the township of Crowle, a mile or so to the south of Crowle itself, and on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal.  The population increased from 1889 in 1831 to 2548 in 1851, showing Crowle to be a thriving market town around that time.


Crowle fell within the polling district of Epworth, Lincolnshire, but in the district of Thorne, Yorkshire, for the purposes of death registration etc.


The polling list for the December 1832 election listed Richard Maw, John Maw (born 1790/91), Samuel Maw and Cornelius Maw (born 16/11/1798, Crowle) as having voting qualifications (not necessarily residence) in Crowle.  The 1835 polling list recorded the same Maws with voting qualifications in Crowle.


Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Yorks, Leics etc, 1841, listed at Crowle, under the “Gentry and Clergy” heading, four gentlemen called Maw: Cornelius Maw, John Maw, Richard Maw and Samuel Maw.  There were odd possibly-related Maws from Doncaster to Hull, but there was a similar noticeable cluster of Maws at Epworth.


The 1841 polling list saw the addition, to the earlier four, of Henry Lister Maw and Robert Maw to the Maws with voting qualifications in Crowle.


Henry Lister Maw


Henry Lister Maw was a son of John Henry Maw (born 1758/59, at Epworth, Lincolnshire, died 23rd June 1826 at Doncaster) and Elizabeth Maw (née Lister, born  1774/75 at Tetley Hall, in the hamlet of Tetley, in the township of Crowle, died 6th October 1853).  He was born, apparently, at Warmsworth Hall in1801.  He was christened at Warmsworth on 22nd March 1801.  Warmsworth is on the south-west periphery of Doncaster.


Tetley Hall was apparently the established “seat” of the Maws of Crowle, so quite how Henry Lister Maw’s mother came to be born there is unclear.  There are at least 23 Maws buried in Crowle cemetery.


On 21st March 1839 he married Sarah Ann Peacock, at Crowle.  These two had at least four children:


Henry Cornelius Maw

baptised 22/01/1841, Crowle;

died 13/03/1841 (at Thorne?).

Sarah Ann Elizabeth Maw

birth reg. Q1 1843, Crowle;

death reg. Q1 1897, Faversham, Kent.

John Henry Cornelius Maw

birth reg. Q4 1847, Tetley Hall, Crowle;

death reg. Q2 1902, Bucklow, Cheshire.

Thomas Edwin Lister Maw

birth reg. Q2 1853, Tetley Hall, Crowle

died Q2 1889, Wirral, Cheshire.


Henry Lister Maw is elusive in the 1841 census.  He may have been at sea.  The places of the birth of the children make it clear his domestic residence was Tetley Hall, Crowle.


Tetley is a hamlet between Crowle and Ealand.  Apparently the original Tetley Hall was built in the 18th century by George Stovin, but was further developed by Henry Lister Maw over the period 1829-39.


The 1841 polling list saw the addition, to the earlier four Maws listed, of Henry Lister Maw of Tetley Hall and Robert Maw to the Maws with voting qualifications (not necessarily residence) in Crowle.


The 1851 census found Henry Lister Maw, his wife and first three children, living at Tetley Hall, Crowle, with nine servants.  Henry was a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, and was a landowner.


The 1852 polling list had Henry Maw Lister, Samuel Maw and Cornelius Maw as the only Maws still listed under Crowle.


White’s History, Gazetteer & Directory of Lincolnshire, 1856, listed Henry Lister Maw at Tetley Hall.  White’s says of this gentleman, “His ancestors were long-seated here, and one of them suffered martyrdom at Lincoln.”  White goes on to list Solomon Maw as a boot and shoe maker, Cornelius and Samuel Maw as jointly owning a farm, Robert Maw and Simon Maw as owning their own farms, Robert Maw junior as a potato merchant, and James Maw as a farmer (but not owner).


Kelly’s Post Office Directory of Lincolnshire, 1861, lists under “Private Residents” Cornelius Maw, Henry Lister Maw (still at Tetley Hall), and Samuel Maw, and lists under “Commercial” James Maw and Simon Maw as farmers.


The 1861 census found brothers found Henry, his wife, daughter Sarah and son Thomas, living at Tetley Hall, Crowle, with five servants.  Farmers Samuel and Cornelius were at the same time living in High Street, Crowle, with two domestic servants.  Henry was now a retired Royal Navy lieutenant.


Henry Lister Maw wrote a book “Journal of a passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic: [etc]”


In 1871 he was living in retirement at 1 Columbia Road, Birkenhead, Cheshire.




The death of Henry Lister Maw was registered in the last quarter of 1874, at Birkenhead, Cheshire.  The death of his wife was registered in the third quarter of 1878, at Birkenhead, Cheshire.




“Maw, Doncaster” attended the second annual meeting of the original Yorkshire Chess Association, in November 1841, at Wakefield.  The attribution “Doncaster” suggests this “Maw” is more likely to have been Henry Lister Maw than Samuel Maw.





Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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

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