Yorkshire Chess History



John Watts Narcross











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



02/12/1896, Leeds


1963, Ryedale district


29/09/1963, Langton, N. Yorkshire.


Non-Chess Life


John Watts Narcross was one of three children born to Henry Narcross (born 28/08/1868, Lowerhouse district of Burnley, Lancs.) and Susan Ann Narcross (née Watts 1875/76, Menheniot, near Liskeard, Cornwall), who had been married in 1892 at Burnley:


Caroline Mary Narcross

born 1894, Burnley

John Watts Narcross

born 02/12/1896, Leeds

Philip Henry Narcross

born 1901, Leeds


The family had seemingly lived in Burnley initially, but by 1896 had moved to Leeds, about 55 miles east as the crow flies.  John Watts Narcross was born 02/12/1896, very probably at the address in Gelderd Road where they lived in 1901, and received his mother's maiden name for his middle name.


The 1901 census found the family – parents and three children - living at 117 Gelderd Road, Leeds.  Father Henry was secretary to a limited company of fruit preservers.  There was also a live-in nurse on account of Philip being less than a month old.


 The 1911 census gave essentially the same as ten years earlier, but there was no longer a nurse.  It revealed that there had been two other children, who had died prior t 1911.  These might have been Norman Narcross, born and died 1892, Burnley, and either Annie Narcross or Henrietta Narcross, both born 1899 in Leeds and died 1900.


Mother Susan Ann Narcross died around April in 1915, in the Wortley area of Leeds (which included the Gelderd Road address), aged 53.


On 04/12/1915, two days after his 19th birthday, John Watts Narcross, who was described as a student, enlisted with the first battalion or the Scots Guards, having received a call-up notice.  On 1803/1919 he was transferred on demobilisation to the Class 2 Army Reserve.  However, on 20/03/1919 he was discharged from the army.


In 1915, 19-year-old John Watts Narcross enlisted with the first battalion or the Scots Guards, and was presumably whisked off to foreign places, but must have survived the experience.


In 1920, father Henry and son John were listed in the electoral role as residents of Lidgett Lane.  This was presumably 70 Lidgett Lane, in the Gledhow/Roundhay area of Leeds (as below).


On 03/01/1923, in Helmsley, John Watts Narcross was married by Edward A B Pitman to Ethel Marwood (born 23/08/1899 at/near Pickering) in the bride’s parish of Stonegrave, about a third of the way from Helmsley to Malton.  The groom’s occupation was given as chemist - industrial chemist rather pharmaceutical chemist was probably in fact the case.  His residence was given as being in St Edmund parish, Roundhay, Leeds (i. e. 70 Lidgett Lane).  The bride’s father was farmer Frederick George Marwood.  The couple had at least the following two children:


Douglas H Narcross

born 1925, Hunslet

Paul F Narcross

born 1930, Leeds


It would appear the newly-weds lived initially in the Hunslet area of Leeds, to the south of the centre, on the basis of the place of birth of Douglas.


In 1926, 1927 and 1928, John and wife Ethel were listed on the electoral role as residents of King Lane, Leeds, which is a long road north of the centre.


In 1930 and 1931, the two were listed in the electoral role at Boundary Farm, King Lane (probably the same address specified more precisely).


Wife Ethel’s father, Frederick George Marwood, died at the age of 69 in 1937, in the Buckrose registration district (since abolished, including Brilington, Driffield and Pocklington).


The 1939 Register found John Watts Narcross with his wife Ethel living with his father Henry (now about 70 years old), at 70 Lidgett Lane.  Henry had evidently made it to director level at the fruit preservers’ company, as he was described as a retired director and secretary of a limited company.  John was works chemist in a grease works, and also an A.R.P. warden.


Father Henry Narcross died in Leeds in 1947.


John near Malton, N. Yorks., which could be explained by him or his wife inheriting property formerly owned by farmer Frederick George Marwood.  At the time of his death he was resident a Nutholme, Langton.




J. W. Narcross appeared frequently for Leeds in the Woodhouse Cup in the 1930s and after the war, e.g in 1933-34, 1934-35, and 1935-36, and probably before and or this period, also in county matches e.g. in 1933-34, 1934-35, 1937-38, 1938-39, 1945-46 and 1946-47.




The death of John Watts Narcross, aged 66, was registered in the Ryedale district which includes Malton, Helmsley and Pickering.  He was buried at St Andrews, Langton, about 3 miles south of Malton, on 29/09/1963, under the officiation of the rector, Ralph B. Jackson.


Wife Ethel died in 1983 in Wakefield.






Copyright © 2018 Stephen John Mann

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

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