Yorkshire Chess History



John Henry Tetley











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



12/01/1841, Leeds


13/04/1841, St. Peter’s, Leeds


20/07/1932, Ilkley



Identity of the Chess-Player


The Post Office Bradford Directory, 1883, listed both John Henry Tetley, woolstapler, at 4 Fawcett Street, Bradford, with his home at Thornhill House, Thornbury, and John H. Tetley, Oxykali soap merchant, 10 Brunswick Place, Bradford, as well as the John Henry Tetley described here, and haven’t yet been positively eliminated by the writer as possible identities of the chess-player, except by their absence from earlier directories etc.


Non-Chess Life


Entry 523 of the baptism register of St. Peter’s, Leeds, records the baptism thereon 13/04/1841, by W. Clarke, of John Henry Tetley, son of iron founder John Tetley and Mary Ann Tetley, of Garden Street, Leeds.  The child’s date of birth was recorded in the left margin as 12/01/1841.


Parents John Tetley (born 1819/20, Wibsey, Bradford) and Mary Ann Tetley (born 1821/22, Leeds) went on to have at least the following seven children:


John Henry Tetley

born 12/01/1841, Leeds

Sherwood Tetley

born 1843/44, Leeds

Emma Tetley

born 1846/47, Leeds

Benjamin Tetley

born 1849/50, Leeds

Catharine Marion Tetley

born 1851/52, Leeds

Mary Hannah Tetley

born 1853/54, Leeds

William Tetley

born Jun/Jul 1860, West Hartlepool


Father John Tetley’s occupation changed somewhat over the years.  On John Tetley’s baptism register entry he was an iron founder.


The relevant 1841 census return is elusive.  White’s Directory of Leeds & the Clothing District, 1842, listed John Tetley, iron moulder, at 7 Parliament Street.


White’s Directory of Leeds & the Clothing Districts, 1847, listed John Tetley, millwright and press setter, at 99 Park Lane, with his home at 151 Park Lane.


The 1851 census found parents and first four children living at 9 Rutland Street, Leeds.  Father John was described as a millwright.  The eldest three children were scholars.  White’s Directory of Leeds & the Clothing Districts, 1847, listed William Tetley as an iron founder at Spark Street, with his home at 8 Rutland Street, next door to John Tetley and family, suggesting a connection.


White’s Directory of Leeds, Bradford &c, 1854, seems not to have listed father John Tetley, suggesting the move to Co. Durham had already taken place.


The 1861 census listed parents and seven children living with John Tetley’s brother-in-law, 26-year-old Wilson Sherwood, at 45 Scarborough Street, in the Stranton area of Hartlepool, Co. Durham.  Father John was once more an iron founder, as were eldest two sons John Henry Tetley and Sherwood Tetley.  Emma was “engaged at home”, presumably helping her mother.  Benjamin was a scholar.  Wilson Sherwood was a cloth finisher.


Around 1865, John Henry Tetley married Elizabeth (born 1841/42, Stranton, Co. Durham).  The couple had at least the following six children:


Albert Edwin Tetley

born 1865/66, West Hartlepool

Ernest F. Tetley

born 1867/68, Bradford

Arthur Henry Reginald Tetley

born 1869/70, Bradford

Rose Kate Tetley

born 1873/74, Leeds

John William Tetley

born 1875/76, Leeds

Annie Tetley

born 1879/80, Leeds


The dates and places of birth of the children map out the movements of John Henry Tetley and his growing family.  After residing for a while after the marriage in Hartlepool area of Co. Durham, the family moved back to the father’s native West Riding of Yorkshire, more specifically to Bradford, around 1866/67, give or take a year.  Then around 1870, give or take a year the family moved to Leeds.


White’s Directory of Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield &c., 1866, and White's Directory of Leeds & the West Riding, 1870, seem not to have listed John Henry Tetley.


The 1871 census found the parents and first three children living at Burley Road, Leeds.  John Henry Tetley was no longer involved in iron-founding, but instead was a “grocer and builder’s clerk”, presumably meaning he was both a grocer and a clerk to a builder rather than being a clerk to one who mixed a grocery business with being a builder.  The three boys were scholars.


At some time from 1871 to 1881 the family moved to nearby Belle Vue Road, Leeds, were our man lived for very roughly 30 years, albeit with a move from one house number to another.


The 1881 census found the parents and six children living at 54 Belle Vue Road, Leeds.  Our man had ditched the grocery line of work, and a master joiner and builder, perhaps having taken control of the building business for which he had been a clerk.  Albert was a School Board pupil teacher, while the next four children were scholars.


Next door, at 56 Belle Vue Road, lived our man’s younger brother, Sherwood Tetley, and his wife and family.  Sherwood two was listed as a joiner and builder, so presumably the two brothers are likely to have been working together.


Kelly's Directory of West Riding of Yorkshire, 1881, listed John Henry Tetley at 54 Belle Vue Road, Leeds, and Sherwood Tetley next door at number 56.


During the period 1881 to 1888, our man both retired and moved house further out along Belle Vue Road.  Kelly's Directory of Leeds, 1888, listed John Hy. Tetley, joiner & builder, at 143 Bellevue [as one word] Road, Leeds.


The 1891 census found our man, his wife, and youngest four children, living at 143 Belle View Road, Leeds.  John Henry Tetley was now described as a retired builder.  The third son was named simply Reginald Tetley, whereas hitherto he had been presented as Arthur, with or without following initials; he was an elementary teacher.  Rose was a pupil teacher.  The two youngest were still scholars.


White's Directory of Leeds & the Clothing District, 1894, listed Jn. Hy. Tetley, joiner & builder, at 143 Bellevue Road, Leeds.


The death at age 52 of Elizabeth Tetley, John Henry Tetley’s wife of nearly 30 years, was registered in the second quarter of 1894, at Leeds.


In 1895 or 1896, John Henry Tetley took a second wife, widowed Selina Redmayne (born 1852/53, Burley, Leeds).  The couple both had children by their previous marriages, but had none between them.


The 1901 census found John and Selina living at 143 Belle Vue Road, Leeds, with three of John’s children, Albert, Arthur and Annie, and with Selina’s daughter Ada L. Redmayne (born 1881/82, Bradford).  John was described as a retired joiner/carpenter.


At some stage from 1901 to 1911, John and Selina moved to Ilkley.  Accordingly, the 1911 census found 70-year-old John Henry Tetley and wife of 15 years, 58-year-old Selina Tetley, living at 3 Parish Ghyll Road, Ilkley, with one servant.  John had described himself as a retired builder.  The coupe were recorded as having been married for 15 full years and with no issue from that marriage.


Despite being about 12 years older than his second wife, Selina, John Henry Tetley nevertheless outlived her by 17 years.  The death at age 62 of Selina Tetley of 3 Parish Ghyll, Ilkley, wife of John Henry Tetley, occurred on 16/07/1915 at 28 Hessle Terrace, Leeds.  It may be that she made her will before remarrying, as probate was granted to Arthur Edgar Redmayne, wool packer, and Frederick William Lodge, political agent.


Widower John Henry Tetley remained at 3 Parish Ghyll, Ilkley, to his death.




John Henry Tetley of 3 Parish Ghyll, Ilkley, died at the age of 90 on 20/07/1932.  Probate was granted to Albert Edwin Tetley and Arthur Henry Reginald Tetley, retired schoolmasters, and John William Tetley, shop-keeper.  He left effects of £14,947 7s.




“Tetley” of Bradford attended the West Yorkshire Chess Association meeting on 04/06/1861, at Leeds.  This will not have been John Henry Tetley, as he was then resident in Hartlepool.  Nor will it have been George Rennie Tetley, who would have been only ten or eleven years of age at that time.  There were of course other Tetley families in Leeds at the time, but George Rennie Tetley’s father, George G. Tetley, stuff merchant and later Justice of the Peace seems a likely candidate.


Both J. H. Tetley and Geo. R. Tetley attended the West Yorkshire Chess Association annual meeting of 1877, held in Bradford, as members of Bradford Chess Club, although John Henry Tetley was resident in Leeds.  Thereafter J.H. Tetley is recorded as attending the WYCA meetings of 1878 (Leeds), 1884 (Leeds) and 1888 (Bradford).


J. H. Tetley played on board 38 in the 1884 Yorkshire-Lancashire match.


Though resident in Leeds he seems to have played his chess as a member of Bradford Chess Club.  He played for Bradford in the Woodhouse Cup from 1885-86 (and probably for the start in 1884-85).


“Tetley” played at the first Yorkshire County Chess Club meeting, in 1886, at Bradford.  This looks like John Henry Tetley.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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