Yorkshire Chess History



John Musgrove











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



04/01/1857 [1], Blackhill, Co. Durham



09/06/1928, Leeds


12/06/1928, St Matthew’s, Chapel Allerton, Leeds


Non-Chess Life


John Musgrove’s parents were George Musgrove (born 1827/28, Newburn, Northumberland) and Mary Ann Musgrove (née Richardson).  Their marriage was registered in the third quarter of 1853, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  The couple had at least the following four children, all born at Blackhill, Co. Durham, which is now part of Consett:


Matthias Musgrove

born 1854/55

John Musgrove

born 1856/57

George Musgrove

born 1858/59

Mary Ann Musgrove

born Feb/Mar 1861


It would appear that the mother, Mary Ann Musgrove, died during of soon after giving birth to the daughter who took her name, as her death was registered in the first quarter of 1861, at Durham.


The 1861 census found 34-year-old widowed George Musgrove living with the four motherless children at Benfieldside, Co. Durham, another part of the modern Consett.  Father George was an “engineman” (probably in the context of railway engines, as he was a “brakesman” in 1851).  Our man, 4-year-old John Musgrove, was a scholar.


Further tragedy evidently struck as the death of daughter Mary Ann Musgrove was registered in the second quarter of 1861.


Around 1862, George Musgrove took a second wife, Isabella (née Nixon [apparently], 1839/40).  George and Isabella had a t least the following three children, step-siblings to Matthias, John and George:


William Musgrove

born 1863/64

Thomas Musgrove

born 1865/66

Mary Ann Musgrove

born 1867/68


The first daughter born to the couple was given the name of George’s first wife and first daughter.


The 1871 census found George and second wife Isabella living with John, George, William, Thomas, and Mary Ann, at Pelton Fell Road, Chester-le-Street.  Father George was still an “engine man”, while John and George were working in a pit, and William and Thomas were scholars.


On 23/10/1878, at St Peter’s Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Quarry Hill, Leeds, John Musgrove married Mary Elizabeth Spence [1] (born 1858/59, Leeds).  Mary had been born on 23/07/1858, at 56 St James Street, Leeds [1].  She was the daughter of Crowther Spence (born 1831, Leeds), a tinsmith who later became an insurance superintendant, and Elizabeth Spence (née Hodgson, 1831, Portsmouth) [1].  The couple had at least the following four children:


George E Musgrove

born Feb/Mar 1880, Leeds

John Herbert Musgrove*

born 1881, Leeds

Emily Isabella Musgrove

born 1883, Sheepscar, Leeds

Selwyn Percy Musgrove

born 01/11/1902, Harehills, Leeds

* normally known as “Herbert”. [1]


The 1881 census found John, Mary and baby George living at 11 Enfield Road, Leeds.  John Musgrove had apparently left the pit behind and was now an insurance agent.


The 1891 census found the family had moved to an area a little further out along Roundhay Road, and now lived at 19 Bayswater Grove, Leeds, which was of the “back-to-back” variety of property which was so common in Leeds.  John was now a commission agent, though seemingly in insurance.  George, John and Emily were scholars.


The 1901 census found the family had moved to the fourth parallel road northwards from Bayswater Grove, to 6 Elford Place, Leeds, still a back-to-back property.  Father John was still an insurance agent.  Son George was a pawnbroker’s assistant, and son John was an engineers’ pay clerk.


The 1911 census found the family (except Emily) living at 68 Savile Place, Leeds, barely a mile from Elford Place.  Father John was as ever an insurance agent.  Son George had risen to being a pawnbroker’s manager.  Son John was still a wage cashier.


John Musgrove’s wife, Mary Elizabeth Musgrove, died at their home, 32 Methley Place, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, in May 1928, age 69.  She was buried at St Matthew’s, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, on 30/05/1928. [1]




John Musgrove died at his home, 32 Methley Place, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, on 09/06/1928, age 71.  He was buried on 12/06/1928, at St Matthew’s, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, only 13 days after the burial of his wife. [1]  (This is the graveyard in which John Rhodes was buried thirty years earlier.)


The cause of death was given as general carcinomatosis, and more specifically carcinoma of gall bladder. [1]




J. Musgrove attended the West Yorkshire Chess Association annual meetings of 1888 and 1889, and probably later ones as well.


He played for Leeds in Woodhouse Cup competitions from 1884-85 onwards, up to at least 1906-07, and probably later.


He played in the 1888 West Yorkshire Chess association v Tyneside/Teesside match.


He played in the 1890 Yorkshire v Sussex correspondence match.


He played in the 1895 West Yorkshire Chess Association v Sussex, correspondence match.


He played in Yorkshire-Lancashire county matches from 1898.


He won the Yorkshire championship in 1900-01.




1 In addition to information originally derived from the “usual” sources, a great-grandson of John Musgrove, Stephen Hey, has kindly supplied this additional and/or more-detailed information.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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