Yorkshire Chess History
William Peverill Turnbull
In census returns and other records, “Peverill” is often erroneously given only one “l” at the end, and often is given with an “e” instead the “i”. He had a younger brother whose first name was “Peverill”. However, his son who bore that name spelt it with only one “l”. William Peverill Turnbull himself completed his 1911 census return with “Peverill” for himself and “Peveril” for his son! The name of the castle which is the eponym of Castleton in North Derbyshire is “Peveril Castle”, so perhaps our man felt he was correcting his father’s spelling mistake.
The parents of William Peverill Turnbull were Robert Turnbull (born 1811/12, Knaresbrough) and Mary Turnbull (née Watson, 1812/13, Scarborough, daughter of John Watson of Scalby). This couple had at least the following eight children, all born at Hackness, about four to five miles WNW of Scarborough:
The 1851 census found the parents, the above eight children except Anne, and 73-year-old mother-in-law Ann Watson living at an unspecified location in Hackness. Also in the household was an “agricultural pupil” from Van Dieman’s Land (not renamed “Tasmania” until 1853), another “pupil”, and eight servants. Father John was a land agent. The children, apart from Robert and Peverill, were scholars at home.
William later went to St. Peter’s School in York, and on 01/03/1860 was admitted as a pensioner to Trinity College Cambridge, and matriculated Michaelmas 1860. Older brother John had gone to Cambridge earlier.
The 1861 census found parents, Anne, Henry, William, Robert, Peverill, two wards with the surname Kidd, one boarder and five servants livng at Low House, Hackness. Father Robert was a land agent and a farmer of 340 acres. Anne was a governess. Henry was an articled attorney’s clerk. William was an undergraduate of Trinity College, Cambridge. Robert and Peverill were scholars.
William got his BA in 1864, finishing 2nd Wrangler and winning 2nd Smith’s prize. He became a fellow in 1865, and was an assistant tutor from 1865 to 1870. He got his MA in 1867.
William Peverill Turnbull authored a number of mathematical textbooks, including An Introduction to Analytical Plane Geometry, originally published by Deighton, Bell and Co., 1867, and still available in reprint.
James Stuart, in his Reminiscences (see below), helpfully states: “After Turnbull took his degree he was for a few years a college lecturer. But he left this to become an inspector of schools. This was soon after the commencement of the Education Act of 1870.”
The 1871 census found 29-year-old William visiting the Bell family who resided at Westcroft, Hampstead, London. He was “Fellow of College, M. A.” He was perhaps on a trip to attend a job interview.
Later in 1871 [Venn] he embarked on his “day job” as one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools.
In 1879 he became a fellow of St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge.
The 1881 census found 39-year-old William P. Turnbull, an inspector of schools, and his 36-year-old sister Elizabeth Turnbull lodging at 15 Merridale Lane, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire.
On 21/12/1882 he married Fanny Hayes (born 1853/54, Wolverhampton), daughter of Edwin John Hayes of Ashby House, Handsworth, Birmingham, the marriage being registered at West Bromwich. The couple had at least the following six children:
Our man is elusive in the 1891 census.
In1894 he became a divisional Inspector of Schools, presumably in charge of a regional division of the country.
At some time from 1890 to 1898 William Peverill Turnbull moved to Sheffield. He wasn’t mentioned in Kelly’s 1890 directory, but was listed in the 1898 directory as HM Chief Inspector of Schools, living at 459 Glossop Road, Sheffield.
The 1901 census William and wife Fanny living with the above six children and four servants at 459 Glossop Road, Sheffield.
Our man was still listed in Kelly’s of 1905 at 459 Glossop Road, but was absent from the directory of 1908, implying the family left Sheffield at some time from 1905 to 1908. The point at which chess activity in Sheffield stops suggests the move was after 02/11/1905.
He retired from the schools inspectorate in 1906 [Venn], so it seems likely that precipitated the move from Sheffield.
The 1911 census found 69-year-old Hackness-born William Peverill Turnbull, retired HM Inspector of Schools, living with wife Fanny, sons Peveril, Derwent and Alan, daughter Margaret, and three servants, at Holly Bank, Settle.
Derwent Christopher Turnbull, R.A.M.C., died in Belgium on Sunday 14/03/1915, from injuries received on 10/03/1915 while trying to save the life of a wounded officer, which fact was noted in The Chess Amateur of May 1915, suggesting Derwent was himself also a chess-player.
By the time of his death, William Peverill Turnbull he was resident at Church Stretton, Shopshire.
Politician James Stuart (1843-1913), in his Reminiscences (produced for private circulation, printed by Chiswick Press, London, 1911), referred to him at some length, starting on page 203 with the following:
William Peverill Turnbull died on 24/01/1917 at Church Stretton, Shropshire. Probate was granted to son Peveril Turnbull, gentleman. He left £10,287 5s.
An obituary appeared in The Times of 27/01/1917 (unseen).
While an assistant tutor at Cambridge, he was a subscriber to Skipworths Yorkshire Chess Association meeting at York in 1868.
He played in Yorkshire v Lancashire matches of 1898 through to 1904.
In the season 1903-04, at least, he was a vice-president of the Sheffield & District Chess Association.
He represented Sheffield in the Woodhouse Cup from 1899-00 (and possibly before) to 02/11/1905.
In The Chess Amateur of September 1907 there commenced a discourse by Turnbull on “the opposition”, which ran on from month to month to month.
Sydney Peverill Turnbull who played for Scarborough in matches against Whitby in 1894, home and away, was a nephew of William Peverill Turnbull, being a son of William’s brother Henry.
the usual census and birth/marriage/death sources
Venn (Cambridge Alumni)
James Stuart Reminiscences
Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann
Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information