Yorkshire Chess History



Edward Shepherd











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site







Holme, Burton‑in‑Kendal, Westmoreland


Edward Shepherd, of Wakefield, was one of the founder members of the original Yorkshire Chess Association.


He was born 1808/09 in Northallerton.


White’s Leeds & Clothing District Directory, 1830, listed a Thomas Shepherd as governor of the House of Correction at the bottom of West Gate, Wakefield.  There was no mention of Edward.  The house of correction was expanded in time, and the modern Wakefield Prison still occupies the same site.


On 29th May 1830, Edward Shepherd was married at St. John the Baptist’s, Wakefield, by Joseph Twentyman, to Helen Elizabeth O’Dwyer, born 1808/09 in Doncaster.


In time the couple had at least seven children:


Ada Shepherd

born 1830/31


Catharine Shepherd

born 1832/33


Walter Shepherd

born 1836


Arthur Shepherd

born 1837/38


Eliza L. Shepherd

born 1843/44


Francis Edward Shepherd

born 1844/45

baptised 21/02/1845, Wakefield

Helen Shepherd

born 1849/50



Edward appears to have taken over from Thomas as governor of the prison at some time from 1830 to 1841.


The 1841 census found Edward living at the House of Correction in Wakefield with his wife and three children, Ada, Walter and Arthur.  (Where was Catharine?)


White’s Directory of Leeds & the Clothing District, 1842, listed Edward Shepherd as governor of the House of Correction, West Gate, while that of and 1847 listed him also as governor of the Convict Prison on the same sight.  (There were 839 inmates in House of Correction in 1841, and 800 in 1847.)  White’s Directory of Leeds, Bradford etc, 1854 and 1858, listed his as governor of the House of Correction and Convict Prison, West Gate.


The 1851 census found the situation little changed.  Catharine was listed at home again, but Walter and Arthur were not.  Eliza, Francis and Helen had been added to the family.


Walter was at this time living with his schoolmaster uncle, Alfred Cannon(? illegible) O’Dwyer, at Old Road, Dukinfield.  Widower Alfred lived with wife Maria and daughter Maria Ellin.  Fourteen-year-old Walter was described as “scholar pupil”, presumably attending his uncle’s school.


The 1861 census found only three of the children still at home, Ada, Walter and Helen.  Walter was described as a matting manufacturer, a line of business in which Francis ended up.  (Was Walter working for Francis?)


On 3rd July 1861, at Bradford cathedral (St. Peter’s), 25-year-old “manufacturer” Walter married Mary Mitchell, daughter of Edmund Johnson Mitchell, a merchant.


At the close of 1864, Edward Shepherd resigned as prison governor.  White’s Directory of Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield etc, 1866, listed a different governor, and didn’t list Edward any longer in the alphabetical section.


Later, at some time from 1864 to 1872, he appears to have moved to Burton-in-Kendal, Westmoreland, where he was involved with his son, Francis Edward Shepherd, in a coconut matting manufacturing business.


On 20th April, 1870, his son, 25-year-old Francis Edward Shepherd, married 18-year-old Jane Edgecombe, daughter of William James Edgecombe, at Grasmere, Westmoreland.


The 1871 census seems to suggest the Shepherds of Huddersfield had moved to Applethwaite, about 2 miles NW or Keswick.  Various members of the extended family were listed as lodgers at a lodging house called Woodland Villa, run by Joseph and Elizabeth Harrison and their granddaughter.  The census listed Helen E. Shepherd, our man’s wife, Helen, their youngest daughter, and Helen’s relative (sister-in-law?) 47-year-old Maria E. O’Dwyer.  The household included two servants, one of whom was called Mary Shepherd.  Whether she was a relative of our man is unclear.


Our man was not himself listed at Applethwaite, but a Northallerton-born Edward Shepherd was listed in the census as a visitor at the Rutland Arms, Bakewell, Derbyshire.  His age was quoted as 60 rather than 63, and he was described as a landowner, but he looks like our man, presumably en route to or from Applethwaite.


It rather looks as though the Shepherds had moved to Applethwaite around 1870/71, and that the lodging house was a temporary arrangement.


Kelly’s Post Office Directory of Cumberland & Westmorland, 1873, listed Edward Shepherd, at Curwen Woods, Holme, Burton-in-Kendal, Westmoreland, and also listed Francis Edward Shepherd, and Edward Shepherd & Son, Cocoanut [sic] matting manufacturers in Holme and with premises at Bishop’s Yard, Water Side, Kendal.


Francis and Jane had a daughter, Edith Jane Shepherd, who was born at Holme, and baptised on 6th March 1873.




Edward Shepherd died on 22nd January 1881, at the age of 72.  The death was registered at Kendal.  BCM vol. XII, 1898, p.78, says he died at Holme [at home!].


The 1881 census Edward’s widow, Elizabeth, was shown to have returned to Yorkshire, living at 67 Reginald Terrace, Potternewton, Leeds.  She was described as living off interest.  She had living with her daughters Eliza L. Shepherd and Helen Shepherd.


The 1891 census records his son 66-year-old Francis Edward Shepherd, living back in West Yorkshire, at Methley.


On 7th December 1895, Edward’s granddaughter, Edith Jane Shepherd, married Eric Danks, (born at Cheltenham 30th September 1870, only son of William), at Rangoon, Bengal, in pre-partition India.  Eric Danks was listed in The India List and India Office List, 1905, as having been educated at Ripon Grammar School, getting a BA at Queen’s College Oxford [matriculated 22nd October 1889, aged 19, exhibitioner 1889, 2 classical mods. 1891], entering the Indian Civil Service after passing the CS exam in 1893, arriving in India on 15th December 1894, serving in Burma as an assistant commander, and transferring in 1899 to Central Province where he was assistant commander.




While resident in Wakefield, he attended the WYCA meetings of 1841 (Jan), 1841 (Nov), 1842 and 1843, and attended the WYCA meetings of 1859, 1860, 1861 and 1864.  In 1872, while resident in Burton-in-Kendal, Westmoreland, he attended the WYCA meeting which in that year was in Leeds.  He attended the Nottingham Chess Club meeting of 1844.  He was a subscriber to R .A. Brown’s book of problems etc.


An “A. Shepherd” of Wakefield was also active in chess in the early 1840s.  This was most probably Edward’s son, Arthur Shepherd.





Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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

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