Yorkshire Chess History
Conrad Gallimore Wenyon
Conrad Gallimore Wenyon’s father was Edwin James Wenyon, BA, BSc, MB (London), M.R.C.S (Eng.) (born 17/12/1952, West Bromwich). Edwin's father was originally called Samuel Onions, but this got changed to Wenyon as described below. His mother was Sarah Ann Gallimore, which is where our man got his middle name from.
Samuel Onions had wished all his sons to become Methodist ministers, but Edwin James Onions went his own way, training for medicine at Guy’s Hospital, London, eventually qualifying. He became a house surgeon at Guy’s, then went to the Rotunda Maternity College, Dublin, then returned to Scotland.
In 1879, the Onions family clubbed together to remedy their embarrassing surname. Accordingly the Times of 26/05/1879 carried the following:
“Wenyon” is in fact an anglicised pronunciation and spelling of the Welsh for onion, of which there are various forms, the one nearest to “Wenyon” perhaps being wynwyn.
On 30/09/1890, at Helensburgh, in modern Strathclyde, Edwin James Wenyon (né Onions) married Flora Agnes Fraser (born 01/03/1871, Edinburgh), 19-year-old daughter of an Edinburgh banker. James continued his medical career as medical officer on Sandy, one of the more northerly of the Orkney islands.
The transcription of the 1901 Scottish census records resulted in the birthplace of four of their children being rendered “Lady Parsse, Landayn B”. Unfortunately the custodians of the Scottish Census have not allowed public access to images of the original documents via genealogy websites, so interpretation of this placename is difficult. Fortunately, our man took a trip to the United States in 1933, and the typewritten arrival records for his voyage clearly stated his place of birth as “Sanday, Orkney”. The main settlement on Sanday, roughly in the middle, is called Lady, so that part of the census birthplace seems likely to be correct. The “Parsse” defies analysis, unless it means “parish”. “Landayn” looks like a misreading of “Sanday”, with a terminal squiggle of the “y” being read as “n”, and the “B” could be a misreading of “Is.” for “Island”. Thus we have “Lady Parish(?), Sanday Is.”
Dr. Wenyon and his wife, Flora Agnes née Fraser had at least the following five children:
There was reportedly a “Winona”, supposedly the fourth child, whose birth was not registered (under that name at least), possibly because the father was of uncertain identity. There is a suggestion Louie (a boy) was in fact a “Louisa” who may have changed her name later to Winona. Edwin Wenyon died as a baby.
The family seems to have lived on Sanday from 1890 or 1891. Then, after about six years, Flora Agnes Wenyon went off to Calcutta with the Sanday parish minister, the Rev. Alex Morrison, leaving her children behind with her husband and a nurse maid.
Kelly’s directory of Staffordshire for 1900, whose data probably relate to 1899, listed Edwin James Wenyon BA, MSc, MB London, at The Mount, Knutton Road, Wolstanton, Stoke-on-Trent. This was probably a brief residence in England before a return to Scotland.
In 1900, Edwin James Wenyon, by then of Dundee, sued his wife for divorce on the grounds of her adultery with the Rev. Alex Morrison, parish minister of Sanday, Orkney Islands. On 11/12/1900, Lord Low, in the Edinburgh Court of Session, granted the divorce and also a claim for £100 damages lodged against the co-respondent, with expenses also going against Rev. Alex Morrison (who was presumably at some stage defrocked). The case had been heard the previous week and was undefended. (Times, 12/12/1900)
Flora Agnes Wenyon was replaced by 17-year-old Mary Ellen Skellam, who had been nurse maid to the first clutch of children. The doctor and Mary Ellen Skellam may never formally have married (in view of her description in Dr. Wenyon's probate record). The doctor and Mary Ellen Skellam had the following children:
If Mary Ellen Skellam was the mother of Aurora, then that child had been conceived before the divorce . . .
The family may have lived for a short while afterwards in Arbroath (hardly 20 miles from Dundee), in view of the birthplace of the first of the second batch of children, but the parents soon settled more permanently in Dundee.
The 1901 Scottish census found the family of two parents and the first four children and Aurora living at 4 Dudhope Place, Dundee, Angus, which remained Dr. Wenyon’s residence until his death. Mary Ellen Skellam was at this stage 21 years of age, about 10 years younger than the doctor.
Prior to the age of about 12, Conrad had attended the Morgan Academy on Forfar Road, then, in 1904, he started at Dundee High School, on Euclid Crescent.
The family seems elusive in the 1911 census. Conrad would have been about 19 then, and was possibly at university.
On 27/07/1911, at St. Mary's, Dundee, “Conrad Wenyon”, son of “James Edwin Wenyon” (forenames reversed) and Flora Agnes Fraser, married Helen Ann Stott Litster, daughter of Alexander Litster junior and Jessie Margaret Sutherland, in a double wedding in which a John Litster junior (presumably Helen's brother) married Mary Urquhart, daughter of John Urquhart and Helen Macdonald.
Conrad Gallimore Wenyon of Dundee became a notable swimmer. He began swimming in 1908, became a member of the Belmont swimming club, becoming club champion in 1909, and becoming the Scottish 200-yard record holder. In 1911, having switched from using the trudge(e)on stroke, a form of sidestroke named after John Trudg(e)on (1853-1909), to the front crawl, he won the Tay Swim. The narrowest crossing of the Firth of Tay in he vicinity of Dundee is betweenBroughty Ferry and Newport. In 1912 he won the (Scottish?) 200‑yards open water championship, the 100-yards Midland Counties title, and the 100-yards Scottish championship.
Then, at the 1913 annual gala of the Belmont Club at Dundee swimming baths, the Scottish 200-yard record was again broken by “Conrad G. Wenyon, the Dundee lad who has brought many fine trophies to the city and possesses an imposing array of local prizes.”
At some time from 1913 to 1918, Conrad and Mary Ellen evidently moved to Huddersfield, as in 1918, the first of their three England-born children was born there, these children being:
It could be that they already had older children born in Scotland. A Cecil Edgar Gallimore Wenyon (married in Bradford in 1937, so perhaps born in Dundee) is recorded as a son of Conrad Gallimore Wenyon.
Telephone directories of 1929, 1930 and 1931 listed C. Wenyon at “Eske Idge” [Eske Lodge?], Dalton, Huddersfield. As the subsequently mentioned Long Lane is in the Dalton district of Huddersfield, “Eske Idge” may have been the name of 100 Long Lane.
In 1933 Conrad Gallimore Wenyon undertook a trip to the United States. Accordingly, 41-year-old chemist Conrad Wenyon, of 100 Long Lane, Huddersfield, was recorded as departing from Liverpool aboard the White Star line’s Georgic on 23/09/1933. Nine days later, 41-year-old chemist Conrad Gallimore Wenyon, of Huddersfield, born on Sanday, Orkney, was recorded as arriving from Liverpool at New York aboard the Georgic on 02/10/1933.
Flora Agnes Fraser, Conrad's mother, ended up in Australia, and died on 18/08/1935, and was buried at Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery
Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. He age is quoted as 67, though 65 would seem nearer.
Conrad’s father died on 20/02/1937. Probate records gave his address as Skailbrae, 4 Dunhope [sic, meant Dudhope] Street, Dundee, and referred to his widow somewhat enigmatically as “Mary Ellen Skellam or Wenyon”, suggesting perhaps that they weren’t actually married. (Graves in Scotland often, at one time usually perhaps, recorded a deceased married woman's using her maiden name and then “wife of”, so maybe that approach was being adopted here.
Conrad Wenyon was still resident in Huddersfield in 1939, but at some time from 1939 to 1945 he moved to Cheshire.
The marriage of Conrad G. Wenyon to Marjorie Wilcox was registered at Bucklow, Cheshire, in the third quarter of 1944 (date possibly Iate June) . This was probably Conrad G. Wenyon junior, in which case the bride was soon to become a war widow. They had a daughter June R Wenyon, born in 1945, in Manchester.
Sergeant Conrad Gallimore Wenyon (junior), an RAF gunner with 101 squadron, is recorded as having died on 01/07/1944 and being buried at St. Doulchard Communal Cemetery in France.
Telephone directories for 1945 through to 1959 listed C. G Wenyon at 843 Kingsway, Didsbury, Cheshire. Then in 1959/60 he moved to 7 Lees Road, Syddall Park, Bramhall, Manchester, where he was listed in telephone directories of 1959 to 1960, the year of his death, and as late as 1963.
The death of Conrad G. Wenyon, aged 68, was registered in the third quarter of 1960 in north-east Cheshire. His stepmother, Mary Ellen Wenyon, outlived him, her death at age 83 being registered in the second quarter of 1963 at Portsmouth, Hants.
An early instance of CG Wenyon playing for Huddersfield was in the I. M. Brown (weaker than Woodhouse Cup) on 23/01/1923. The following season he was playing in the Woodhouse Cup, appearing on board 4 on 15/11/1924, and thereafter on board 2 (with H. E. Atkins on board 1) on 29/11/1924, 17/01/1925, 31/01/1925, 14/02/1925, and 28/02/1925.
He played for Yorkshire against Warwickshire on 10/10/1925 in the English Counties' semi-finals, and in the subsequent final against Middlesex on 12/12/1925. In each case his middle initial was widely printed as “E”, explicable by a mishearing of “G”; as his club was recorded as Huddersfield there is no doubt this county player was C. G. Wenyon,
Besides representing Huddersfield in the Woodhouse Cup, and Yorkshire in county matches, C. G. Wenyon was Yorkshire champion in the season 1928/29. He was presumably the most northerly-born Yorkshire Chess Champion.
Copyright © 2013, 2018 Stephen John Mann
Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information