Yorkshire Chess History
Frederick Eglin Spedding
Identity of the chess-player
Identification of the player is initially hampered by him being variously described while in Yorkshire as “E. Spedding” and “F. Spedding”. After he disappears from Yorkshire chess, “F. E. Spedding” appears in Liverpool. All the non-chess records relating to one “Spedding”, taken together, form a whole which matches the chess activity of the various manifestations of Spedding. Finally, the British Chess Magazine of 1896, with reference to a Cheshire East v. West match, refers to F. E. Spedding as “the ex-Yorkshire player”.
The apparently erroneous use of “E. Spedding” proves explicable as correct, since it appears he was known (or chose to be known) by his middle name, Eglin, as the British Chess Magazine of 1896 once said, “The following position was sent in by Mr. F. Eglin Spedding.”
Frederick Eglin Spedding’s parents were John Warbrick Spedding and Hanna Spedding, who had at least three children:
Lund’s Bradford Directory, 1856, listed John W. Spedding, schoolmaster, living at 21 St James Square, Bradford, and listing him under “Academies and Schools” at St. James’s School.
The national birth index records the birth of “Frederick Elgin Spedding”, registered in the first quarter of 1861, at Huddersfield. It is clear that “Elgin” is a plausible misreading of “Eglin”. Census records tell us more specifically that he was born at Lockwood, a mile south of Huddersfield.
His date of birth was conveniently recorded in his baptism register entries (both of them).
Entry 680 of the baptism register of Emmanuel parish church, Lockwood, recorded the baptism there on 30/07/1871 by the Rev. Thomas Barton Benstead, M.A., of Frederick Eglin Spedding, son of schoolmaster John Warbrick Spedding and Hannah Spedding, of Lockwood. The child’s date of birth is given in the left-hand margin as 17/01/1861.
He was in fact baptised again when he was ten, and his date of birth was then given as 13/01/1861. The earlier-quoted date is the more likely to be correct, for reasons described later.
The 1861 census found 2-month-old Frederick Eglin Spedding as a boarder in the household of George and Tamer Rhodes, at Salford, a hamlet adjacent to Lockwood. Where his parents were is far from clear.
The 1871 census found 10-year-old Frederick Eglin Spedding, and his sister, 14-year-old Bradford-born Emma Eliza Spedding, living with their uncle and aunt, George Hardisty (born 1812/13, Guiseley) and Margaret Hardisty (born 1812, Lancaster), and George and Margaret’s daughter, 23-year-old Sarah Jane Hardisty, at 34 Hyde Park Road, Headingley, Leeds. This seems to imply Frederick Eglin Spedding’s mother’s maiden name was Hardisty. In successive censuses this family moved further and further out along Hyde Park Road.
It may be that the Spedding children had lost their parents early on. If that were the case, then it’s possible Frederick Eglin Spedding didn’t know that he had been baptised. He might not even have been sure of his exact date of birth. That his baptism in 1861 had been forgotten would possibly explain why he was again baptised in 1871.
Entry 948 of the baptism register of St. Saviour, Leeds, records the baptism there on 30/07/1871, by R. Collins, of Frederick Eglin Spedding of Hyde Park Road, Leeds, son of schoolmaster John Warbrick Spedding and Hannah Spedding. The date of birth was given in the left-hand margin as 13/01/1861, which was slightly at variance with the above-mentioned baptism register entry of 1861. The date given in 1861 is probably reliable, as the parents were presumably then at hand to furnish correct details. It seems that after losing his parents early in his life, as presumably was the case, he lacked accurate knowledge as to his date of birth, relying perhaps of the recollections of his uncle and aunt, George and Margaret Hardisty.
The 1881 census found 20-year-old Frederick E. Spedding and his sister 24-year-old Emma E. Spedding still living with their uncle and aunt, and the latter couple’s now-married daughter Sarah Jane Cocking, and her son “J. B. Cocking”. The household had now moved to 67 Hyde Park Road, Headingley, Leeds. The census enumerator represented the Spedding brother and sister’s surname as “Speddy”, which in modern times was misread during digitisation and rendered “Sheddy”. Frederick was now by occupation a mechanical engineer’s clerk, while Emma was an assistant schoolmistress.
It seems our man went to university at some stage, as the results of the Hull v Leeds Woodhouse Cup match on 10/01/1891 listed him as “F. E. Spedding, B.A.”
The 1891 census found the household somewhat depleted. Uncle George had died, and neither his married cousin Sarah Jane Cocking nor his sister Emma were listed as resident. That left the 84-year-old widowed Margaret Hardisty, Fredrick Eglin Spedding, and Margaret Hardisty’s grandson, 14-year-old James Birtles Cocker. They were now at 101 Hyde Park Road, Headingley, Leeds. Frederick was now by occupation a mathematical tutor, while young James was a scholar.
From chess records it seems Fredrick Eglin Spedding had moved to Cheshire by 1894, being recorded in reports of the 1894 North v South match as being from Seacombe, a district in the south of Wallasey, on the Wirral.
Gore's Directory of Liverpool & Birkenhead, 1900, seems not to have listed Fredrick Eglin Spedding.
The 1901 census caught 40-year-old Lockwood-born Frederick Spedding visiting people at 3 Newport Mount, Leeds, and so failed to identify his place of residence at the time. His occupation was recorded as that of private tutor.
The death of Frederick Eglin Spedding, at age 41, occurred on 18/07/1902, at Liscard, Wallasey, Cheshire.
E. Spedding or F. Spedding attended the annual meetings of the West Yorkshire Chess Association in 1888 and 1889.
“F.Spedding” of Leeds played for the West Riding in 1888 West Yorkshire v. Tyne/Tess Side.
“Spedding” of Leeds played for Yorkshire in the 1889 Lancashire v Yorkshire match.
“F. E. Spedding” of Seacombe played for 1896 Cheshire in the Cheshire-Yorkshire match. Seacombe is an area in the southern part of Wallasey, on he Wirral.
“F. E. Spedding” of Liverpool played for Lancashire in the 1899 Yorkshire-Lancashire match.
“F. E. Spedding” of Liverpool played for Lancashire in the 1900 Lancashire-Yorkshire match.
“F. E. Spedding” of Liverpool played for Lancashire in the 1901 Yorkshire-Lancashire match.
It seems some Cheshire-resident players also played for Liverpool clubs, on the Lancashire side of the Mersey.
Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann
Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information