Yorkshire Chess History
Francis Percival Wenman
Identity of the Chess-Player
A “P. Wenman” pops up in various places and contexts as a chess-player. Most if not all of them seem to be the same person, consistently not using his first name, Francis.
The birth of Francis Percival Wenman was registered in the second quarter of 1891, at Croydon, Surrey. His name in the birth registration index was given as “Francis Percival H. Wenman”, though the “H.” seems not to appear in other records.
1901 census records that 9-year-old “Francis P Wenman” was born at Anerley, Surrey. Anerley is a district within Bromley, London. The date of birth of Francis Percival Wenman is given in some places as 06/05/1891 , which matches the birth registration index and is so presumably correct.
The parents of this “Francis P. Wenman” were Francis N. Wenman (born 1839/40, Southwark) and Jessie C. [or E.] Wenman (born 1866/67, Cornworthy, Devon – near the River Dart).
The 1901 census the found 61-year-old Francis N. Wenman, his wife, 34-year-old Jessie C. Wenman, and 9-year-old son Francis P. Wenman living at 214 Croydon Road, Penge, Kent. Father Francis was an estate agent. That the father was called Frederick wouldd explain why the son might became known as “Percy”.
Francis Percival Wenman is elusive in the 1911 census, but that might be explained by removal to Scotland. He is said to have moved to Scotland in 1911, and was active there as a chess-player from 1911 to 1922, at which stage ne moved to Yorkshire .
“P. Wenman” was known as a Leeds chess-player from 1922 to 1925, at which stage he moved to North Yorkshire.
The 1925 poll book for Ripon listed house-owner Elizabeth Wenman and a Percival Wenman living at 24 North Road, Ripon. Was this Elizabeth Wenman the above Jessie C./E. Wenman? One source places the former Leeds chess-player in Northallerton by June 1925 . Northallerton is about 10 miles north of Ripon, so these two allusions to “P. Wenman” are quite possibly to the same person.
By the time of his death it would seem he was living in Cardiff.
Francis Percival Wenman is said to have died on 19/03/1972, at Cardiff .
He was active as a chess-player in Scotland from 1911 to 1920, winning the Scottish championship in 1920.
While living in Leeds, he represented Yorkshire in the 1924 Yorkshire v Surrey match, and represented Leeds in the Woodhouse Cup, at least in the 1924-25 season, when he had the following results:
After moving to North Yorkshire, he played in the 1925 Scarborough congress.
He edited a number of collections of chess problems and other books, including the following:
Thirty Chess Problems, Whitehead and Miller, Leeds, 1945.
50 Two-Move Problems, Whitehead and Miller, Leeds, (6th edition 1946).
Thirty Three-Movers Whitehead and Miller, Leeds, 1945.
100 Published Problems, Whitehead and Miller, Leeds, (2nd edition 1945).
111 Selected Problems by Famous Composers, Whitehead and Miller, Leeds, 1945.
Thirty problems by Ehrenstein, Whitehead and Miller, Leeds, 1946.
Thirty End Games by Horwitz, Mitre Press, London, 1946.
Thirty Problems by Guidelli, Mitre Press, London, 1946.
Thirty Two-Movers, Mitre Press, London, 1946.
Six Hundred Problems Ancient and Modern, Daily Post, Liverpool, 1948.
100 Chess Gems
175 Chess Brilliancies
Gems of the Chess Board
 Yorkshire Telegraph & Star of 21/02/1925, 04/04/1925, 06/06/1925 and 13/06/1925.
Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann
Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information