Yorkshire Chess History



John Newton











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1838/40, York


16/01/1840, York


07/02/1918, Ripon



There were a number of people called “John Newton” in the York 1860s, though only one, a farming son of solicitor Henry Newton, was of sufficient social status to be the chess-player involved in Arthur Bolland Skipworth’s chess meetings in York.  Any doubt as to the chess-player’s identity is dispelled by various references connecting him with Grove Lodge, which was the residence of Henry Newton.


John Newton of Grove Lodge had a number of siblings, including younger brother Frederick Hawkins Newton, who was presumably the “F. Newton (Grange Lodge)” mentioned in the records, and four sister, three of whom were still unmarried in the late 1860s, and so accounted for the loosely termed “Misses Newton”.


The Newtons of Grove Lodge, York


The parents of the chess-players were Henry Newton (born 1800/01, Guisborough), solicitor, and Elizabeth Mary Newton (born 1810/11, Beverley).  The couple appear to have had at least nine children, all born in York:


Elizabeth Mary Newton jnr.

born 1831/32

baptised 18/03/1832

Sarah Helen Newton

born 1833

baptised 13/08/1833, York

Thomas Henry Newton

born 1834

baptised 15/11/1834

William Edward Newton

baptised 28/10/1836

(died in early infancy?)

Henry Newton

born 1838

baptised 07/05/1838

John Newton

born 1839/40

baptised 16/01/1840, York

Lucy Anne Newton

born 1841/42

baptised 16/01/1842

Alice Reeves Newton

born 1843

baptised 21/12/1843

Frederick Hawkins Newton

born 1847

baptised 11/08/1847


The 1851 census found the mother and eight children living at Grove Lodge, Clifton, York, with four servants.  The father, 50-year-old solicitor Henry Newton, happened at the time to be staying at a hotel in, Tavistock Row, St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, London.  Eldest son Thomas Henry Newton was an articled clerk, one suspects in his father’s business.  The younger children, including all the chess-players, were scholars.


The 1861 census found the whole family except Thomas and Henry still at Grove Lodge, with four servants.  Father Henry was still a solicitor.  John Newton was now a “farmer”, which would mean he owned or managed farmland, not that he was a farm labourer.  Only young Frederick was still a scholar.


In 1864 Sarah Helen Newton got married to solicitor Charles Fryer (born 1834/35, York), the marriage being registered in the second quarter of 1864, at York.


The 1871 census found the whole family except Sarah, Thomas and Frederick, still at Grove Lodge, with three servants.  Henry was now the Rev. Henry Newton, vicar of Naburn, about eight miles south of York.  John was a farmer of 442 acres.  This tells us that the candidates for identity as “the Misses Newton” were Elizabeth Mary Newton, junior, Lucy Anne Newton and Alice Reeves Newton.


John Newton’s Non-Chess Life


John Newton got married to Bertha Louisa [surname?] in 1878 or 1879, setting up home in Skelton, about four miles beyond the city wall, along the Shipton Road.  They had five children:


Bertha Louisa Lucy Newton (known as Louisa)

born 1879, Skelton

Wilfred Maistx Newton [where x is illegible]

born Apr/May 1880, Skelton

Thomas J. Newton

born 1881/82, Skelton

Thomas Cuthbert Newton (known as Cuthbert)

born 1882/83, Crayke

Hilda Mary Newton (known as Hilda)

born 1886/87, Crayke


The 1881 census found John Farmer, wife, two children and three servants living at Rose Cottage, Skelton.  John Newton was described as a farmer of 200 acres.


Around 1882 John Newton’s family had moved to Crayke, a village about two miles east of Easingwold.  (The spelling “Craike” seemed prevalent up to 1901, but the modern spelling is “Crayke”, which John Newton himself used in his 1911 census return.) 


The chess-players’ father, Henry Newton, died at Grove Lodge, aged 82, on 03/03/1884.  His estate was administered by his widow, Elizabeth Mary Newton, and sons the Rev. Henry Newton of Horton, and John Newton of “Craike”, gentlemen.


The 1891 census accordingly found John Newton’s household at “Crayke House, Craike”, an odd mixture of spellings.  By now John Newton was “living on own means”.  Wilfred was absent, perhaps at boarding school.  The other children were scholars.


The 1901 census found John Newton’s family back in York, at 16 Bootham Terrace.  John Newton was now described as a County Magistrate.  Of the children, Louisa, Cuthbert and Hilda were listed, being named as such, without second forenames being given, implying those were the names by which they were normally known.


By 1911 the family had moved to Ripon. The 1911 census found retired farmer John Newton living with his wife, children Bertha junior, Wilfred and Hilda, at Trinity Hill (now Trinity Lane?), Ripon.  John Farmer gave Wilfred’s middle name clearly as “Maist” with another indecipherable letter or two added.  He had been married 33 full years, and had had five children, all of whom had survived.


John Newton’s Death


John Newton of Trinity Hill, Ripon, died 07/02/1918, aged 78, the death being registered at Ripon.  Probate was granted to his widow, Bertha Louisa Newton.  He left effects of £4,817 15s. 1d.




At the North Yorkshire & Durham Chess Association’s 3rd Annual Meeting, York, 1867, John Newton of York played in the Class III tournament, finishing second after Miss Chaddock of Cheshire.


At the “Yorkshire Chess Association”, 1st Annual Meeting, York, 1868, John Newton played in the second class tournament, but didn’t win first or second prize.  Meanwhile “F. Newton”, who we may guess was John Newton’s younger brother Frederick Hawkins Newton, played in the third class tournament, similarly not winning first of second prize.  Among the visitors, probably non-competing, were “the Misses Newton”; who we can assume were two or all three of John and Frederick Newton’s unmarried sisters, Elizabeth Mary Newton, junior, Lucy Anne Newton and Alice Reeves Newton.


For the “Yorkshire Chess Association”, 2nd Annual Meeting, York, 1869, John Newton of Grove Lodge acted as Honorary Secretary.


For the Counties Chess Association 1st Annual Meeting, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, John Newton of York was listed as a member of the General Committee, but not the Executive Committee (a subset of the former) and may not have involved have actually attended the event.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

Last Updated