Yorkshire Chess History
John Egleton Morey
John Egleton Morey would appear to have been born to John and Maria Morey, who appear to have had at least four children:
The presence of two Johns in the list suggests the first perhaps died in infancy. George’s baptism looks like one occurring later than in infancy, or else he was a member of a different family.
From his age at in death and the date of his baptism we infer he was born at some time from 19/01/1790 to 24/09/1790.
His obituary stated him to be “a native of, and long resident in, Doncaster.” The claim that he was a native of Doncaster in the strict sense seems untenable, but the general tone of the obituary suggests we may regard this gentleman as “naturalised Doncaster”, accepted as one of them by those amongst whom he lived and worked.
He was living in Doncaster as early as 1817, as John Egleton Morey of Doncaster is recorded as marrying Elizabeth Dockray of Lambeth (born 1796/97), on 12/06/1817, at St. Mary Lambeth, by the curate, Arthur Gibson.
Elizabeth Dockray appeared to be Yorkshire-born according to the 1841 census, though if that were the case then she appears to had moved to London before marrying. There was a “Jane Elizabeth Dockeray” (with “e” before the “r”) born 03/071796 to Jane Dockeray, and baptised on 12/03/1796 at Christchurch, Spitalfields, London. As the mother was called Jane, the daughter would quite likely be called “Elizabeth”, so this Jane Elizabeth Dockeray may have been our man’s wife.
The couple appear to have had no surviving children; our man’s obituary made no mention of any progeny. However, the 1841 census listed 11-year-old Fanny Steble (Stable?) living with the Moreys, and the 1851 census listed 21-year-old Fanny M. A. Stable (Steble?), born 1829/30 at Guildford, Surrey, specifically as their adopted daughter.
Pigot’s The Commercial Directory for 1818-19-20, listed John Egleton Morey as a surgeon at Church Street, Doncaster.
He presumably moved from Church Street to High Street at some time from 1881 to 1822 as Baines’s History, Directory & Gazetteer of Yorkshire, Vol. I: West Riding, 1822, listed John Eggleton [sic] Morey as a surgeon at High Street, Doncaster. Whether this was the same as his later-recorded address numbered 27 is not evident.
The 1832 Doncaster Poll Book listed John Egleton Morey at freehold property on High Street, Doncaster. The same address was repeated in the Poll Books for 1835, 1841 and 1848. He probably remained here until moving to Almholme in 1856.
White’s History, Gazette and Directory of the West Riding, 1837, listed John Eagleton [sic] Morey, High Street, Doncaster.
He was first returned as a Doncaster town councillor on 01/11/1839, when he and a Mr. Carlton were returned for the two seats for East Ward, but only by a margin of seven votes, he receiving 86 votes as against 79 votes for a third candidate, Mr. Chatham.
Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Yorks, Leics &c, 1841, listed John Egleton Morey as a surgeon at High Street, Doncaster.
The 1841 census found 47-year-old John E. Morey, surgeon, and his 44-year-old wife Elizabeth Morey living at High Street, Doncaster. Also living with them was 11-year-old Fanny Steble (or Stable), who turns out to be an adopted daughter, two domestic servants and a groom. Our man’s quoted age is at variance with what is implied by his age at death, which would make him 50 or 51. Similarly, Elizabeth’s quoted age was inconsistent with her stated age at death, which would imply she was 47 or 48. Such cosmetically adjusted ages seem to have been common in censuses. The 1841 census didn’t record places of birth, merely whether a person was born in the county where the census was being taken or not. In this case John E. Morey was recorded as born outside Yorkshire, whereas Elizabeth Morey was recorded as born in Yorkshire.
He had to defend his seat on the town council in 1842, when Carlton received 116 votes, Morey 110, and Hastie 63, meaning Carlton and Morey were re-elected for East Ward.
In 1844, he was proposed for election as Doncaster’s chief magistrate, which post was in those days synonymous with the mayoralty of Doncaster. In the event there was support for the re-election of the existing office-holder, Joseph Birley, and a rival nomination was also made. In the event, and it took three meetings to resolve the matter, with a two-man contest, but our man was elected on 18/11/1844 by 11 votes to 7 votes for his opponent Robert Milner. That was for the municipal year 1844-1845. He was re-elected for 1845-46, with 173 votes (a curious total compared with 18 votes of the previous year, taken from the obituary; perhaps it was 17 to 3).
On 03/11/1845, on the retirement of Alderman Thomas Walker, our man was elevated to the aldermanic bench.
At some stage our man entered into partnership with Henry Brooking Square as surgeons, apothecaries and accoucheurs, under the name of Messrs. Morey and Square. An “accoucheur” is “a person who assists women in childbirth” (Chambers), the feminine version being “accoucheuse” which equates to “midwife”. This partnership ceased, seemingly amicably, in 1847. The London Gazette of Friday 20th August 1847 carried the following notice:
His wife, Elizabeth, died on 02/04/1848 at the age of 54.
White’s General Directory of Kingston-upon-Hull, and York, 1851, which also covered Doncaster, listed John Egleton Morey as an alderman on Doncaster town council, listing him also as a surgeon at High Street, Doncaster.
The 1851 census recorded 58-year-old widower, John E. Morey, living at High Street, Doncaster. In the column for occupation, were listed:
For some reason no information was offered as to his place of birth, which would have been welcome in confirming his origins. Living with him were his adopted daughter, 21-year-old Guildford-born Fanny M. A. Stables, and two domestic servants, and a groom.
Slater's Commercial Directory of Durham, Northumberland & Yorkshire, 1855, listed John Egleton Morey as a surgeon at high Street, Doncaster.
Despite his apparent energy and efficacy, as a town councillor and mayor, which he’d shown hither to, after the period of his mayoralty his attendance at council meetings dwindled to the extent that, by around 1854, some people said his seat should be declared vacant, but that didn’t happen.
As a surgeon, however, he seems to have earned the highest regard and praise. His dedication and fearlessness evidenced when tending patients at all hours, during the Asiatic cholera epidemic, resulted in him being presented with a testimonial of public approbation.
His obituary mentioned that had accumulated quite a large collection of art works, albeit not all of top quality. When, prior to his retirement, he auctioned off his art collection, it apparently failed to meet his expectations as regards the sum realised.
In the summer of 1856, he moved home to Almholme, a quiet hamlet mainly of farms, roughly three miles NNE of the centre of Doncaster as the crow flies, though more like four miles by road via the villages of Bentley and Arksey.
The Post Office Directory of Yorkshire, 1857, listed John Egleton Morey, consulting surgeon, 27 High Street, Doncaster. Though slightly out of date, this directory is commendable in that it gives us a house number.
According to his obituary, John Egleton Morey died at about 11.00 p.m. on Sunday 18th January 1857, though the date of his death was generally quoted as Monday the 19th, which is doubtless the earliest a doctor could attend to certify the death.
The Doncaster, Nottingham, and Lincoln Gazette of Friday 23rd January, 1857, gave under “Deaths” on page 8 the following:
The Doncaster Chronicle of the same day carried the same notice.
The same edition of the Gazette carried on the same page an obituary.
He was interred at All Saints, Arksey. The grave is of the type resembling a roof with four sloping surfaces. Usually the inscriptions are incised into the two larger sloping surfaces. In this instance the inscription runs linearly round the four bevelled edges of the base, and read as follows:
+ IN MEMORY OF JOHN EGLETON MOREY ESQRE OF
DONCASTER WHO DIED
JANY 19, 1857, AGED 66, AND ELIZABETH, HIS WIFE WHO DIED
APRIL 2, 1848, AGED 54.
His obituary does not mention chess, though the description of his approach to his work as a surgeon is reminiscent of that appropriate to a chess-player.
“Morey” was one of the Doncaster players named as participating in the 1834-35 Leeds-Doncaster correspondence match. John Egleton Morey is the only person plausibly identifiable as this “Morey”.
Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann
Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information