Yorkshire Chess History



Seth Ward, junior











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



Dec/Jan 1870/71, Dewsbury



23/01/1912, Sheffield


26/01/1912, Dewsbury Cemetery


Non-Chess Life


Seth Ward, junior, of Dewsbury and later Sheffield, was a son of chess-player George Ely Ward, who in turn was a younger brother of Seth Ward (senior) of Dewsbury and later Harrogate.


The 1871 census, taken as at 02/04/1871, gave his age as three months, implying he was born roughly from 03/04/1870 to 02/01/1871.  His birth was registered in the first quarter of 1871, at Dewsbury, rather implying he was born in late December 1870, or on one of the first two days of January 1871.


Details of his parents, and his family life up to 1881 can be found under George Ely Ward, and of his paternal grandparents and uncle Seth (to whom he was “junior”) under Seth Ward (senior).


Seth Ward junior is elusive in the 1891 census.


He embarked on a career in banking, which meant he moved round from one location to another.  By 1901 he was living in Grantham.


The 1901 census found 30-year-old Dewsbury-born Seth Ward boarding with the family of the widowed Mary Trickett, at 82 Dudley Road, New Somerby, Grantham, Lincolnshire.  Seth was an unmarried bank clerk.


Later in 1901, or in 1902, Seth married Margaret (born 1877/78, Dewsbury).  This couple had only two children:


Dorothy Margaret Ward

1902/03, Grantham

Stanley Fawcett Ward

Jan/Feb 1911, Sheffield


By 24/01/1901, his chess activity placed him in Sheffield, whither he family had moved when Seth took up a position in the London City and Midland Bank, which had a branch on High Street, Sheffield, and another, its Sheffield Union Bank branch, on Bank Street, Sheffield.


The 1911 census found the family of four living at 7 Spring Hill, in the Crookes/Crookesmoor area of Sheffield.


For some reason White's Directory of Sheffield & Rotherham, 1910, lacked an entry for 7 Spring Hill, Sheffield, as did the 1911 and 1912 editions.




A week prior to his death, Seth Ward junior had been at the office, seemingly quite well, but had then contracted what was believed to be influenza, and he died suddenly, at his home, 7 Spring Hill, Sheffield, on Tuesday, 23/01/1912, at the age of 41, leaving a wife and two young children.


The Sheffield Daily Telegraph of Thursday, 25/01/1912, under “Deaths”, carried the following:


WARD. – Tuesday, 23rd January, at 7 Spring Hill, Sheffield, Seth Ward, beloved husband of Margaret Ward (eldest son of the late George Ely Ward), aged 41 years.


A brief chess-related obituary on the same page read as follows:




The death occurred on Tuesday, at 7, Spring Hill, Sheffield, of Mr. Seth Ward.  A native of Dewsbury, Mr. Ward came to Sheffield two years ago to take up a position in the London City and Midland Bank.  He was well known locally as a keen chess player, and will be remembered for his effort some years ago to secure the championship of Yorkshire.

Mr. Ward’s death, which was due to an attack of influenza, , occurred suddenly.  Only a week ago to-day he was at the office, and was apparently quite well..  He was 41 years of age, and leaves a widow and two young children.  The funeral will take place at Dewsbury to-morrow.


The British Chess Magazine of 1912 carried a reference to his death on page 77.


Entry 17278 of the burial register of Dewsbury Cemetery records the burial there on 26/01/1912 of Seth Ward, aged 41 years, of 7 Spring Hill, Sheffield, in a private grave in unconsecrated section, number E471, by William H. Bright.  There seems no longer any evidence of the grave above ground.




There is potential for confusion between Seth Ward (senior) before he moved to Harrogate, and Seth Ward junior before he left Dewsbury.  The times of these events are unclear, but any such period would be roughly 1891 to 1895.


The “S. Ward” of Dewsbury who played for Yorkshire in the 1890: Yorkshire v Lancashire match could be argued to be Seth Ward (senior), as no “junior” qualification was given and Seth Ward junior would be only two or three months past his 19th birthday.


At a committee meeting of the Yorkshire County Chess Club held on 27/12/1890, at Bradford, “Seth Ward, jun., (Dewsbury)”, was one of five people, each from different clubs, appointed to a sub-committee to rank players and assign them to sections for the annual tournament meeting to be held on 17/01/1891 at Halifax.  Was young Seth appointed on the basis of playing strength, or knowledge of the players in his part of the riding, or both?


Both G. E. Ward of Dewsbury and Seth Ward junior of Dewsbury were listed as those competing in the 1892-93 West Riding Chess Association individual championship, and in the 1892-93 Yorkshire County Chess Club championship [Leeds Mercury Weekly Supplement 03/12/1892 and 28/01/1893].  Seth Ward junior reached the final of the 1893 Yorkshire Championship, but lost to J. E. Hall of Bradford [British Chess Magazine 1912, p.77].


The “Seth Ward” of Dewsbury who played at the 1895 Yorkshire County Chess Club meeting, in the Class A tournament, for the Yorkshire Championship, was presumably this Seth Ward junior, as his uncle, Seth Ward (senior), was then resident in Harrogate.


The “S Ward, junior” (Dewsbury) who played in the Yorkshire v Lancashire match at Manchester on 19/02/1898 seems more conclusively to be our man’s nephew of the same name.


The Dewsbury Woodhouse Cup team is recorded as having lost three or four of their strongest players prior to the start of the 1911-12 season [Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 23/10/1911].  It seems likely Seth Ward junior was one of those the writer had in mind.


“S. Ward (Sheffield)” played for Yorkshire in 1910 v Lancashire.


While he lived in Sheffield, he seems less active on the local chess scene than one might expect.  He did not, for instance, play for either for his adopted Sheffield of for his native Dewsbury in the Woodhouse Cup of 1911-12.


At the time he died he was playing on board 17 of an 80-board correspondence match between Yorkshire and Lancashire, which started on 01/01/1912.  [BCM 1912, p.77]





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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