Yorkshire Chess History



Edward Pelham Pierpoint











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



13/02/1830, Bath, Somerset [2]



21/01/1928, Bath, Somerset


26/01/1928, Locksbrook Cemetery, Bath


Non-Chess Life


Edwin Pelham Pierpoint was the son of William Horne Pierpoint (apparently the one baptised 13/05/1779, Blackfriars, London, son of Roger and Elizabeth Pierpoint), and his second wife [1] Annabella (born 1800/1801, daughter of Humphrey Sandford of The Isle, Shropshire).


It is important to differentiate from the Pierpoint family of Bath and the Pierrepont family of Bath.  Pierrepont Street, wherein are found plaques recording the former residence there of notable persons of one sort or another, is presumably named after the latter family.


Bath directories record that W. H. Pierpoint was (in 1846) one of the Commissioners of Land and Assessed Taxes for the City of Bath, and a Commissioner for the district of Bathwick, and (in 1852) was on the standing committees for “Provision, Coal, and Cattle Market” and for the “City Gaol”.  Mrs. Pierpoint was (in 1856) bible secretary (as opposed to cash secretary) of the Bath Ladies’ Branch Bible Society.


William Horne Pierpoint had at least five children:


Richard William Pierpoint

born 1811/12; died 22/04/1890, St. Leonards on Sea

Anne Pierpoint

born 1815/16; died 27/12/1899, St. Leonards on Sea

Frederick Pierpoint

born 1820/21

Edward Pelham Pierpoint

born 13/02/1830, Bath, Somerset

Folliott Sandford Pierpoint

born 07/10/1835, Bath; died 1917


Of these the first one, two or three may have been born to William Horne Pierpoint’s his first wife.


Venn, in Edward Pelham Pierpoint’s entry, none too lucidly describes William Horne Pierpoint as “of ‘Vineyards’, Somerset”.  “Vineyards” is a stretch of properties on the west side of Roman Road, Bath.  Early directories get their Pierpoints and Pierreponts in a bit of a twist: an 1826 directory lists “W. Pierrepoint” at 20 Vineyards; Keene’s 1829 Bath directory lists “W. Pierrepont” at 20 Vineyards; that one of Pigot’s National Commercial Directories for 1830 which includes Bath correctly lists Wm. H. Pierpoint at 20 Vineyards.  Pigot’s directory also listed Mrs. Admiral Pierrepont at 6 Brock Street.


Edward Pelham Pierpoint was sometimes described as born at Walcott, which is centred on the west bank of the Avon, but which as a parish also encompassed Bathwick, on the west bank of the River Avon.  That Venn mentions “Vineyards” means it’s reasonable to suppose out man was most probably born at 20 Vineyards, Bath.


From 1841 to 1911, the old Walcott schools (now residential flats or apartments) occupied a site immediately north of 20 Vinelands, between it and St. Swithin’s Church, and behind numbers 21 etc, Vineyards.  This was presumably too late for Edward Pelham Pierpoint to have started his education there.


William Horne Pierpoint lived for many years at Spa Villa, 9 Bathwick Hill, Bathwick, Bath, a detached property which is reportedly where younger brother Folliott was born.  William Horne Pierpoint was recorded as residing at Bathwick Hill in the 1832 Poll Book for the area, and it is recorded that Folliott Sandford Pierpoint was born at Spa Villa, 9 Bathwick Hill, Bathwith, Bath, Somerset (as it was then).


The 1841 census found William and Annabella living at Spa Villa, Bathwick Hill, Bath, with the last four of the above children.


Richard William Pierpoint was by this time curate of St. Mary’s Huntingdon.  Like Richard and Edward, Folliott Sandford Pierpoint also entered the church in due course, and is perhaps best known now as the author, around 1864, of the hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth”.


Edward Pelham Pierpoint was educated at Bath Grammar School, when the head was a Dr. Pears [1].  From there, on 05/07/1849, he was admitted as a pensioner to St. John’s College, Cambridge, matriculating in Michaelmas, 1849.  He chose to read mathematics though a desire “to systematise thought”, and “not any care for high honours.” [1]  The 1851 census thus found him as a 21-year-old at St John’s College Cambridge.


He got his BA (as a Junior Optime [1]) in1853, in which year he became second master at Huntingdon College, according to Venn, though his obituary says he took to teaching after the death of his father (which was in 1867).  Venn’s version seems accurate.


He was ordained as a deacon, at Ely, on 12/11/1854, and became curate of All Saints Huntingdon, which position he held from 1854 to 1857 [2].


Post Office Directory of Gloucestershire, Bath & Bristol, 1856, listed his father, William H Pierpoint living at Spa Villa, 9 Bathwick Hill Villas.  “Mrs. Pierpoint” was listed as bible secretary (as opposed to cash secretary) of the Bath Ladies’ Branch Bible Society.


He was made a priest on 07/06/1857 [1, 2].


He finally got his MA in 1858.


The 1861 census found Edward Pelham Pierpoint lodging at 304 Glossop Road, Sheffield, with Mrs. Ann Wild and her daughter.  He was described as a curate without cure, not as a schoolmaster, so maybe he was then on the verge of taking up the teaching post.  White’s Directory & Topography of Sheffield, 1862, recorded his home address as Fernley Place, which consisted of 288 to 304 Glossop Road.


In 1861 [2] he became second master at Sheffield Free School in St George’s Square, replacing the previous second master, the Rev. Percival Bowen (who held that post in about 1856, according to the White’s 1856 Sheffield directory), when Bowen took over the headship.  White’s Directory & Topography of Sheffield, 1862, listed Bowen as headmaster, and Pierpoint as second master of the Free School.  The Rev. E. P. Pierpoint was also recorded as one of the two honorary secretaries of the Church Of England Educational Institute in St James Street, Sheffield.


Sheffield Free Grammar School was the first educational institution in Sheffield, founded in the reign of James I.  It was endowed by Thomas Smith with land to raise income to subsidise the instruction of 35 to 40 boys at half the usual charges.  Around 1856 the total number of boys was about 75.  It was under the control of the vicar of Sheffield and the church burgesses.  It was originally located in Townhead Street, but new premises were built in St George’s Square by public subscription in 1825.  If became known as the Sheffield Grammar School and later acquired the epithet “Royal”.


Back in Bath, father William Horne Pierpoint was listed in the directories at Spa Villa, Bathwick Hill, up to and including that of 1856-57.  The 1858-59 directory then listed him at 17 Raby Place, a terrace property on the same road but lower down from Bathwick Hill.  (Curiously the carved name “Church Street” is evident as well as the painted “Raby Place” on the front.)  His stay at Raby Place must have been brief, as the directories of 1860-61 to 1866-67 listed him at 8 Darlington Street.


Around 1863, Edward Pelham Pierpoint moved back to Bath to take up a post at Somersetshire College, 11 Circus, Bath.  There is nothing about the external appearance of the property to show now that it once housed the college.  (Click here for an image of 11 Circus, Bath.)


Edward Pelham Pierpoint and Edmund Thorold were chess-playing Sheffield schoolmasters of similar ages, and were both members of the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club.  They both moved from Sheffield to Bath at about the same time.  One can’t help wondering whether Pierpoint had a hand in Thorold also taking up a teaching post at Somersetshire College, in Bath, Pierpoint’s home town.


The Post Office Bath Directory, 1862-63, didn’t mention the Rev Edward Pelham Pierpoint, but the Post Office Bath Directory, 1864-65, listed him living at 18 Park Street.  His father, William Horne Pierpoint, was then living at 8 Darlington Street, holding the post of Commissioner of Assessed Taxes.  “Mrs Pierpoint” was listed as a secretary of the British and Foreign Bible Society, Ladies’ Bath Branch.  The directory also contained an advert for Somersetshire College, at which both Pierpoint and Thorold took up posts around this time.


Somersetshire College 1864.png


The father, William Horne Pierpoint, died at 8 Darlington Street, Bathwick, Bath, on 12/06/1867.  (Today, the front door to no. 8 has been filled in, leaving only the doors to nos. 7 and 9 either side.)


The 1871 census recorded the Rev Edward Pelham Pierpoint living at 18 Park Street, Bath, with 3 servants.  He was described as a clergyman without care of souls, and a mathematical tutor.  This makes it sounds as though he may at this time have been taking private pupils alongside the day job at the College.


Up to 1874 inclusive, the directories hadn’t disclosed his teaching profession, either in the alphabetical list or in the professional and trade section.  From about 1862/63 he had been teaching at Somersetshire College.  Then, in early in 1875 [1], after 12 years teaching at Somersetshire College according to the advert below, Rev Edward Pelham Pierpoint left the College and started working as a private tutor, “taking pupils for the Staff College, Woolwich, and Sandhurst, with considerable success.” [1].  Consequently, from 1876-77 to 1901 inclusive, he was listed in the professional and trade section of the directories under the classification “Classical and Mathematical Tutors”.


The Post Office Bath Directory, 1876-77, carried the following advert for his services as a private tutor:


Pierpoint Ad.png


In directories, the Reverend Edward Pelham Pierpoint’s name was often shortened to “Edward P. Pierpoint” or “Edwd P. Pierpoint”.  These abbreviations, however, are quite possibly based on an editorial assumption that he was normally known by his first forename rather than his middle name.  This advert, whose wording was presumably specified by man himself, suggests he used “Pelham” as his forename rather than “Edward”.


He was listed in the directories, at 18 Park Street, up to and including that of 1874, but the directories from 1876-77 to 1901 inclusive listed him next door at 19 Park Street.  The reason for the move may have been to provide more accommodation for boarders.  No. 19 had more-spacious accommodation on the third floor than did no. 18, judging from the outside appearance.  (Click here for image of the two properties.)


On 05/08/1880, aged 50, he got married to Elizabeth Catherine May (born 1839/40, Tilehurst, Berkshire), daughter of Walter May, gent, (and elder sister of Mrs. T. H. D. May [1],) at Teddington St. Mary, Richmond-upon-Thames.


The 1881 census accordingly found Pelham and Catherine residing at 19 Park Street, with 2 servants, and with a certain Arthur F. Salmon, an 18-year-old pupil who was boarding with them, presumably a student of Pelham’s.  The census return was a little inaccurate, as Pelham was named “Edwin P Pierpoint”, and his degree was stated as “MA Oxon”.


The Post Office Bath Directory, 1884-85, contained another advert for his services as a tutor.


The directory of 1902, and most through to that of 1926, listed Rev. Edward Pelham Pierpoint, MA, as residing at 2 Park Lane, Bath, and no longer listed him in the Professional and Trades section.  2 Park Lane is a detached property near the foot of Park Lane, which runs along the west side of Royal Victoria Park.  The move to a much pleasanter residence seems to have coincided with retirement from tutoring.  (Click here for an image of 2 Park Lane.)


Kelly's Directory of Somerset, 1919, enigmatically listed “Pierpoint Mrs, 2 Park Lane”, suggesting Pelham had died, but he hadn’t.  He was still resident there at his death in 1928.


His wife predeceased him by a number of years [1].


It would appear that latterly he was attended by a nurse by the name of Baker.


His obituary in the Bath Chronicle and Herald described his activities outside teaching as follows:


During the ministry of the Rev. John Mcnaght [sic, means Mcnaught, incumbent from 1868 to 1871] at Laura Chapel, [in Henrietta Street,] Mr. Pierpoint frequently preached for him, and published a small volume of “sermons” – thoughtfully learned and terse.  Mr. Pierpoint was keenly interested in philosophy – in which he was deeply read – art and botany, while he was a chess player of considerable ability.




Venn states that Rev Edward Pelham Pierpoint died at Bath in 1897, but that is quite wrong.  Venn may have been confused by the death of another Pierpoint.


The Bath Chronicle and Herald of Saturday 28/01/1928, under “Deaths” on page 11, carried the following:


PIERPOINT – Rev. Edward Pelham Pierpoint MA, at 2, Park Lane, Bath, on Monday January 23rd, 1928, aged 97.


There was an obituary on page 20.  There it said, “Despite his great age, he was able to get about the house until quite recently.  About a fortnight ago, however, he had a stroke, from which he never recovered.”


He was interred at Bath’s Locksbrook cemetery on 26/01/1928 following a service at Christ Church conducted by Dr. J. L. Buchanan.  T. H. D. May, a brother-in-law, and Nurse Baker were present.


Probate records state that Edward Pelham Pierpoint of 2 Park Lane, Bath, died on 21/01/1928, leaving effects of £1,078 19s 7d, probate being granted to Morgan May, solicitor, who was presumably a relative of his wife.




The Reverend Edwin Pelham Pierpoint is recorded as having paid a subscription as a member of Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club in 1861.  He is also recorded as attending the West Yorkshire Chess Association meeting held at Leeds in 1861, being listed along with Edmund Thorold as a Sheffield player.


In 1863/64 both Pierpoint and Thorold left Sheffield for Somerset.  Their recent departure from Sheffield is noted in a report on the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club in Staunton’s Chess Player’s Magazine, vol. II, 1864, p356 (December issue).  The April issue had carried on page 155 a game played between the two, at Bath:

Casual game, Bath, ??/03/1864

White: Pierpoint, Rev Edward Pelham (Bath), Black: Thorold, Edmund (Bath),

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O f5 5. Bxg8 Rxg8 6. d3 f4 7. c3 Qf6 8. d4 exd4 9. e5 Qf5 10. cxd4 Be7 11. Nc3 g5 12. Nd5 g4 13. Nxc7+ Kd8 14. Nxa8 gxf3 15. Qxf3 Nxd4 16. Qd5 Qg4 17. Kh1 Rg6 18. h3 Rh6 19. Kh2 f3 20. Rg1 Rh5 21. Qc4 d6 22. Qc7+ Ke8 23. exd6 Rxh3+ and Black wins.


Chess Player’s Magazine, 1865, p. 344, gave details of an all-play-all handicap tournament, involving players from both the Bristol and Bath Chess Clubs, in which the Rev. Pierpoint finished second.  (Staunton erroneously gave his surname as “Pierrepoint” throughout the long report.  The Pierrepoints, of whom one at least was an admiral, were a different family, who gave their name to Pierrepoint Street in Bath.)





1  Obituary in the Bath Chronicle and Herald of 28/01/1928, page 20

2  Venn





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

Last Updated