Yorkshire Chess History



William Ryder Scholefield











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1847/48, Leeds



14/08/1907, Wakefield



Non-Chess Life


The birth of William Ryder Scholefield was registered in the first quarter of 1848, in Leeds.  The probability is that his birth was in 1848, but it may have been in late 1847.


His parents were Benjamin Scholefield, born 1803/04 at Mirfield, and Hannah Scholefield, born 1811/12 at Idle.  He appears to have been their only child.


The 1851 census found the family of three living at Cross Keys, Idle, a clothing village about three miles to the east of Shipley, and in the NE corner of Bradford’s built-up area.  Father Benjamin was a slubber in the woollen industry, i.e. one who twists wool after carding, prior to spinning.


The 1861 census found the three living at 5 Runcorn Street, Leeds.  Benjamin was still a slubber.  William was a scholar.


The 1871 census found the three ling again at Cross Keys, Idle.  Benjamin was no a “woollen machine folder” and 23-year-old William was a woollen spinner.


Father Benjamin died at some stage from 1871 to 1881.


The 1881 census found widowed Hannah Scholefield and 33 year-old William Ryder Scholefield still living at Cross Keys, Idle.  William was now a mule spinner in the woollen industry.


Around 1882, give or take a year, William Ryder Scholefield moved to the Thornes area of Wakefield.  He was recorded as a member of Wakefield Chess Club from 1883 onwards.


The 1891 census found 43-year-old Leeds-born mule-spinner William R. Scholefield boarding with the Poole family at 20 Jessop Street, Thornes, Wakefield.


At some time from 1891 to 1901 the Poole family moved, and William R. Scholefield moved with them.  Accordingly, 53-year-old Leeds-born William R. Scholefield boarding with the Poole family at Albion Cottages, Major Street, Thornes, Wakefield, roughly 200 yards from where they’d lived before.  William was now described as a retired woollen-spinner.




William Ryder Scholefield seems to have almost evaded death – by spelling mistakes.  The death of William Ryder Schofield [sic], aged 59, was recorded in the third quarter of 1907, at Wakefield.  Probate records tell us that William Rider [sic] Scholefield of Major Street, Thornes, Wakefield, died on 14/08/1907.  Probate was granted to Samuel Taylor, card-manufacturer.  He left £476 0s 9d.




His recorded chess-playing seems to have started after he moved to Wakefield.  He was one of the increasing number of employed people for whom chess clubs were becoming accessible in the 1880s.  He was employed in a factory.  He probably never owned his own home.  In public life he was a nobody whose name never appeared in his home town’s directory.


He attended the West Yorkshire Chess Association meetings of 1883, 1885, 1888 and 1889.


He played for Yorkshire in the 1884 Lancashire-Yorkshire match, so he must have arrived in Wakefield with some skill in the game, and he played in the 1887 Yorkshire-Lancashire match.


He played for Wakefield in the Woodhouse Cup from the first season of the competition.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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