Yorkshire Chess History



Rev. Michael Edward Thorold











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



17/10/1855, Eastnor



03/12/1934, Bristol


06/12/1934, Greenbank Cemetery, Bristol

Parents and Siblings


Michael Edward Thorold was the son of Edmund Thorold’s older brother, Michael Richard Thorold, nephew of the Rev. William Thorold, and of Eliza Mary Thorold.


Fuller details of the family’s background appear under the entry for brother Edmund Thorold.


The baptism register entry of his father, Michael Richard Thorold, was no. 1125, which recorded the baptism on 06/10/1830 at All Saints, Blyth, of Michael Richard Thorold, born to Michael Wynne Thorold, gentleman, and Eliza Thorold, of Barnby Moor, by J. Rudd, A.M. [=M.A.], vicar.


The family had arrived in Sheffield around 1844.


Unlike his two younger brothers, Michael Richard Thorold did not attend Sheffield Collegiate School.  He may have attended Wesleyan Proprietary Grammar School.


On 19th December 1853, in Sheffield, Michael Richard Thorold married Anne Gilbee (born 1826 at Crookes, Sheffield).


By 1855/56 the couple were living at Eastnor, Herefordshire.  They had (at least) six children, all Eastnor-born:


Michael Edward Thorold

born 17/10/1855

Mary Katherine Thorold

born  1857/58

Richard Gilbee Thorold

born  1859/60

Ethel Anne Louisa Thorold

born  1861/62

Margaret Rose Thorold

born  1862/63;

died 31/01/1935, Sutton Bridge, Lincs.

Mabel Thorold

born  1865/66


The 1861 census found the parents and eldest three children at Brousil(?), Eastnor, Hertfordshire, with four servants.


By the time of the 1871 census they were living at Shrub House, Bridge Road, Sutton St. Mary, Lincolnshire.  The five youngest children were living with them, but Michael junior had left home by then.  The father was a land agent.  They now had only three servants.


By the 1881 census, Mabel had disappeared, but otherwise the picture was the same as before, except that Richard was now secretary to a dock company.  They had three servants still.


The 1891 census painted the same picture.


The parents still lived at Shrub House in 1901, but by then Mary was the only one of the children still with then.


The 1911 census found a widowed retired land agent Michael Richard Thorold living with daughter Mary at Sutton Bridge, Wisbech, Lincs.


Probate records state that Michael Richard Thorold of Sutton Bridge, Lincs., died on 21/02/1916.  Probate was granted to Mary Katharine Thorold and Margaret Rose Thorold.  He left effects of £8,821 10s. 5d.


Non-Chess Life


Michael Edward Thorold was born at Eastnor, Herefordshire, on 17/10/1855, and lived with his parents, as described above, up to some point from 1861 to 1871 when he went to be educated in Bath, living with his uncle Edmund and aunt Louisa.


The 1871 census listed him as a 15-year-old at his uncle Edmund’s household in Bath, perhaps  being tutored by his uncle Edmund.  Venn records that he was educated at Bath Proprietary College.


He was admitted to Caius College, Cambridge, on 01/10/1874.  (Venn described his father as Receiver for Guy’s Hospital.)  He matriculated Michaelmas 1874, got his BA in 1878, and MA in 1882.  He was ordained deacon and priest (Ripon) in 1879.


Posts held by the Rev. M. E. Thorold were as follows [Venn]:

1879-81, curate of St. James, Halifax;

1881-85, curate of Dewsbury;

1885-88, Organising Secretary, Church of England Temperance Society in the diocese of Peterborough)

1888-91, curate of Barnack, in Northants. per Venn, but now Cambridgeshire;

1891-96, curate of Aston, Birmingham;

1896-09, vicar of All Saints, Darlaston, Staffs.;

1909-34, rector of Sts. Philip and Jacob, Bristol.


White’s directory of Leeds and district for 1881 records him as curate at St James, Halifax, where the vicar was the Rev. W. E. Hancock B. A.  Kelly’s directory confirms this, giving his home address as 36 North Parade.  St. James’s church was on St James Road, on the corner with North Parade.  It was built in 1830, but was demolished in 1954/5.  A block of flats now occupies its site.


The 1881 census he was at that time unmarried and lodging with Mr. Matthew Rhodes and his wife Mrs. Selina Rhodes, at an address in Vicarage Road, Dewsbury, and his occupation was that of curate of Dewsbury.  Later the same year he took up a post in Dewsbury.


On 02/03/1884, Michael Edward Thorold, son of Michael Richard Thorold, land agent, was married to Halifax-born Ada Jane Bairstow, daughter of Joseph Bairstow, mechanic, by George F(?). H. Rowe at St. Augustine’s, Halifax, where he had previously been curate.  The banns of marriage had been read on 17/02/1884, 24/02/1884 and 02/03/1884.


From 1885 to 1888 he seems to have relinquished “cure of souls”, becoming the organising secretary of the Church of England Temperance Society in the Diocese of Peterborough, which is mildly amusing in the context of the alleged excesses of his uncle, the Rev. William Thorold.


1888 saw his resumption of the cure of souls, and an attendant move to Barnack, 3 miles SE of Stamford.  Though Stamford is in his family’s native Lincolnshire, the village of Barnack is south of the boundary-defining River Welland and is (now) in Cambridgeshire.  Although Venn placed Barnack in Northamptonshire, before being in Cambridgeshire it was in Huntingdonshire, prior to that county’s abolition.


In the 1891 census he and his wife were recorded as resident in the Square, in the village of Barnack near Stamford, Lincolnshire.  Michael was listed as curate of Barnack.  They had 18-year-old Halifax-born Alice Bairstow, Ada’s sister, living with them.


Later in 1891 he took up a post in Aston, Birmingham.  He was a keen cyclist, and claimed to have been the one of the last men in Birmingham to regularly ride a penny-farthing bicycle [1].


In 1896 he took up a post in Darlaston, Staffordshire, 7 miles south of Stoke-on-Trent.  The 1901 census listed him at Wednesbury, Staffordshire.


1909 saw his final posting, to St. Philip’s, Bristol, about ten miles from his former school in Bath, swapping jobs with the Rev. J. O. West [1].


The 1911 census lists him and his wife, still with sister-in-law Alice, and a servant, at (St. Philip’s Vicarage,) 24 King Street, Bristol, which was then in Gloucestershire.  The census return recorded that the couple had had no children.


Around 1913 he became president of the Bristol Vegetarian Society, and on relinquishing that post in 1931 mentioned that he and his wife had been vegetarians for over thirty years [1].


In 1933, at the age of about 78, he upgraded his method of transport around his parish to riding a motorcycle [1].


He was variously, at some time or another, a master of the Gloucestershire and Bristol Diocesan Association of Change Ringers, and secretary of the Samaritan Society [1].  He had antiquarian interests and wrote a history of St. Philip’s Church, Bristol [1].




Probate records stated that the Rev. Michael Edward Thorold of St. Philip’s Vicarage, 24 King Street, Bristol, died on 03/12/1934.


The funeral took place on 06/12/1934, at St. Philip and St. Jacob’s church.  His wife was so infirm that she had to follow the service from a car parked outside the church door.  The only other family members present were an unmarried sister, which being unclear, and an unmarried sister-in-law.  Local clergy and members of organisations in which he’d had an interest were well represented at the funeral, but there was no reference in his obituary [1] or report on the funeral [2] to chess.


Probate was granted to Ada Jane Thorold, widow. He left effects of £2,998 9s. 2d.




Records of the West Yorkshire Chess Association record the Rev. M. E. Thorold as a member of Dewsbury chess club attending the WYCA meetings of 1881, 1882 and 1885.  He was also recorded as playing in matches while resident in West Yorkshire.




Western Evening Press, 04/12/1934 (obituary)

Western Evening Press, 07/12/1934 (funeral)





Copyright © 2012, 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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