Yorkshire Chess History



John Pearson











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1800/01, Doncaster





Identity of the Chess Players


“John Pearson” was recorded as attending the 1846 meeting of the original Yorkshire Chess Association.  Also, “Pearson” of Doncaster was recorded as attending the second 1841 meeting, and was probably the same player, though a more-detailed report of that 1841 meeting would be needed to confirm this.


There were a number of people called John Pearson in Doncaster.  There was a John Pearson who married Elizabeth Jenkinson on 05/12/1827 in Doncaster.


There was a John Pearson who appeared in the Doncaster poll books at Silver Street, Doncaster, for the years 1832, 1835, 1837 and 1841; in the 1848 poll book his residence changed to London, suggesting this was the next John Pearson.


There was a John Pearson, born 1800/01, in Doncaster, who in the 1851 census was recorded as an innkeeper in Southwark, with a wife called Mary.  This looks rather like the preceding John Pearson.


There was another John Pearson, born 1800/01, in Doncaster, who was an attorney and solicitor, was for a while mayor of Doncaster, and seems to have been resident in Doncaster when the chess-player was active there.  This John Pearson is by far the one most likely to be the chess-player, and is the one described here.


Non-Chess Life


John Pearson was born in 1800/01, in Doncaster, according to the 1851 and 1861 censuses.


He seems elusive in the 1841 census.  Pigot's Directory of Yorkshire, Leicestershire &c, 1841, listed John Pearson, as an attorney at St. George Gate, Doncaster.


The 1851 census found him living in Priory Street, Doncaster, working as an attorney and solicitor.  He was unmarried, and had a servant to act as his house-keeper.


F. White’s General Directory of Kingston-upon-Hull, and York &c, 1851, which included Doncaster, listed John Pearson as an attorney at Priory Street, Doncaster.


Lists of Mayors of Doncaster show John Pearson being appointed in 1860, so holding the post in 1860-61.


The 1861 census found John Pearson living at, more explicitly, 10 Priory Place, with one servant.  He was explicitly stated to be an attorney and Mayor of Doncaster.  The Mansion House is round the corner, in High Street, so he hadn’t far to go when council business called.




There was a John Pearson whose death at age 78 was registered in the third quarter of 1879, at Howden, to the north of Goole.  This could have been our man, though it may yet prove not to be the case.




“John Pearson” of Doncaster was reported as attending the 1846 meeting of the original Yorkshire Chess Association.


“Pearson” of Doncaster was reported as attending the second 1841 Yorkshire Chess Association meeting.  This “Pearson” seems likely to have been the John Pearson at the 1846 meeting.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

Last Updated