Yorkshire Chess History



Henry Hislop Oakley











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



25/04/1850, Whitchurch, Hants.



07/03/1937, Sheffield


10/03/1937, City Road Crematorium


Non-Chess Life


Henry Hislop Oakley’s great-great-great-grandfather was one of those who established the Methodist movement in Sheffield [1].


Henry Hislop Oakley’s parents were Henry Oakley (born 10/11/1821, Bradfield, near Sheffield) and Mary Oakley (1824, Sheffield), who were both baptised at Sheffield parish church, and were married there.  This couple had at least the following six children:


John Thomas Oakley

born 1847/48, Sheffield, Yorks.

Henry Hislop Oakley

born 25/04/1850, Whitchurch, Hants.

Mary Henrietta Oakley

born 1852/53, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham

Frederick Theodore Oakley

born 1854/55, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham

Cuthbert Woodhouse Oakley

born 1856/57, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham

Arthur Ernest Oakley

born 1859/60, Richmond, Yorks.

Ebenezer Sherman Oakley

born 1863, Richmond, Yorks.


The last-named became the Rev. E. Sherman Oakley, Indian missionary and hymn writer. [1]


Father Henry was a schoolmaster to 1857 and congregational minister thereafter.  His family moved round with his job:



1847 to 1849



1849 to 1852

Whitchurch, Hants.


1852 to 1857

Barnard Castle, C. Durham


1857  to 1866

Richmond, Yorks


1866  to 1887

Chester‑le‑Street, Co. Durham


The 1851 census found the family, including 11-month old Henry Hislop Oakley, at Church Street, Whitchurch, Hants.


From about 1852 to 1857 the family was resident in Barnard Castle, where the father was teaching.  Slater's Commercial Directory of Durham, Northumberland & Yorkshire, 1855, listed Henry Oakley as master at the Wesletan School, Demesne, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham.  Father Henry then took a post as a congregational minister in Richmond, Yorkshire, from 1857 to 1866 [3].


The 1861 census found the family at West End Buildings, Reeth Road, Richmond, Yorks., with Henry Hislop Oakley being listed as a scholar.  He was later educated at Lewisham Congregational School, which he left in 1865 [1].


It was at about the age of 15 that young Henry made his first attempt at preaching. [1]


From 1866 to 1867 Henry Hislop Oakley was assistant master at Gainford academy Co. Durham.  Meanwhile father, Henry Oakley, became congregational minister at Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham, which post he held to his death in 1887 [3].


From 1867 to 1868 Henry Hislop Oakley was assistant master at Silcoates School, Wrenthorpe, Wakefield [3].


He is listed as being an examinee at London University in June 1868 and June 1869, when in both cases he was listed as being from Chester-le-Street.  He matriculated at London University [1], but it appears he never got round to graduating, as subsequent censuses described him as an undergraduate of London University, but never a graduate.


From 1867 [1] or 1868 [3] to February [1] 1872 he attended Rotherham as a student for the ministry.  The 1871 census found Henry Hislop Oakley visiting the Saft family at 1 Portland Place, Worksop, Notts.  He was described as a student of theology and something (undergraduate?) of London University.


From 1872 to 1887 he was congregational pastor at George Street Congregational Chapel, Heckmondwike, Yorkshire [1, 3], which appears to be his only period of organised chess activity.


On 08/09/1875 at Whitby, he married Jane Storr Foster (born 20/12/1856), younger daughter of Captain and Mrs. W. Foster of Whitby, with his father as one of the officiating ministers.  [1]  The couple had the following six children:


Hilda Foster Oakley

born 19/12/1876, Heckmondwike

Mildred Alice Oakley

born 1879, Heckmondwike

Oliver Craddock Oakley

born 25/08/1882, Heckmondwike

Marjory Tattersfield Oakley

born 28/07/1885, Heckmondwike

Roland Storr Oakley

born 11/01/1888, Sheffield

Maurice Hamilton Oakley

born 27/03/1890, Sheffield


The 1881 census found him, his wife, two children and a servant living at Cemetery Road, Heckmondwike.  Kelly's Directory of West Riding of Yorkshire, 1881, listed Oakley Henry, Cemetery Road, Heckmondwike.


Father Henry Oakley died 25/12/1887.


From 1887 to early 1922 Henry Hislop Oakley was congregational minister at Broompark Congregational Chapel on what became Newbould Lane, Sheffield.  A Mission Room in St Philip’s Road, Sheffield appears to have been his responsibility as well.


His addresses in directories and censuses after 1887 were:


8 Highnam Crescent Road, Sheffield (Kelly’s 1890, census 1891);

13 Roslin Road, Sheffield (White’s 1898, 1901, 1905; Kelly’s 1901);

8 St. Mark’s Crescent, Sheffield (Kelly’s 1908, White’s1916);

20 Dover Road, Sheffield (Kelly’s 1925, 1928);

33 Armthorpe Road, Sheffield (Kelly’s 1930);

48 Westwood Road, Sheffield (Kelly’s 1934, 1935, 1936).


The First World War seemingly resulted in the death of Mildred, who as Sister Mildred Oakley, R.R.C., was matron at St. George’s Military Hospital on Malta, and then matron at Firvale, Sheffield [1].  The war was apparently the cause also of the deaths of Roland and Maurice [1],  though an unverified source says son Roland Storr Oakley died 02/02/1923, and son Maurice Hamilton Oakley died 01/10/1924.


By the time of his own death Henry Hislop Oakley had moved to 48 Westwood Road, Sheffield.




Henry Hislop Oakley of 48 Westwood Road, Sheffield, died on 07/03/1937 after about three weeks of illness, seemingly a repetition of a bout of illness which had seized with while on holiday in Skegness in the summer of 1936.


The chess column in the Yorkshire Telegraph and Star of 13/03/1937 carried a notice of his death.


He was survived by his wife, daughter Hilda (Mrs. J. W. Aizlewood), son Oliver, daughter Marjory, four grandchildren and a grandchild.


Probate was granted to Jane Storr Oakley.  He left effects of £1,450 10s 10d.


Kelly’s directory of 1937 listed Mrs. Jane Storr Oakley living at 4 Fulney Road.


Chess [2]


It was suggested that at his death that he was at the time the oldest chess-player in Sheffield.


His claim to chess fame is that he had started a chess club in Heckmondwike while he was resident there (1872 to 1887).  He had not, however, participated in organised chess in Sheffield.


The Star said, “Mrs. Oakley is also a chess player, though she did not learn the game until she was over 70 years of age.  Of recent years, chess had been Mr. and Mrs. Oakley’s favourite recreation, and they played almost every evening, except Sunday.




1  Obituary in Sheffield Telegraph of Monday 08/03/1937.

2  Notice of his death in the chess column in Yorkshire Telegraph and Star of 13/03/1937.

3  Database of Congregational Ministers at http://surman.english.qmul.ac.uk/





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

Last Updated