Yorkshire Chess History



Frank Preston Wildman











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



10/11/1849, Leeds



30/10/1910, Leeds



Non-Chess Life


The birth of Frank Preston Wildman was registered in the fourth quarter of 1849, at Leeds.  His parents were Matthias Wildman (born 1813/14, Leeds) and Elizabeth Wildman (née Wray, 1822/23, Leeds).


The 1851 census found the two parents and 1-year-old Frank visiting the Wray family at 44 Hunslet Lane, Leeds, so we aren’t given Frank’s home address.  Father Matthias’s occupation was that of currier (meaning leatherworker).


The death of Matthias Wildman was registered in the fourth quarter of 1856.  Thus Elizabeth Wildman was widowed, with a son to bring up.


The 1861 census found 38-year-old widowed Elizabeth Wildman and 11-year-old son Frank Preston Wildman living with four members of the Wray family, at 81 Meadow Lane, Leeds.  The Wrays in the household were Elizabeth’s sister Maria, an assistant leather seller (presumably helping Elizabeth, brother John Dixon Wray, a woollen salesman, brother Thomas Wray, an engine fitter, and a 6-year-old nephew who was a scholar.


Meanwhile, at 4 Arthur’s Terrace, Ipswich, there lived a 28-year-old  Leeds-born commercial traveller, Richard Ibbotson Richmond (born 1832/33), with his Leeds-born wife Eliza (born 1833/34) and their three children, Edmund James Richmond (born 1856/57, Huddersfield), Sarah Ellen Richmond (born 1858/59, Huddersfield) and Harry Richmond (born Dec 1860 or early Jan 1861, Ipswich).  This Richmond family appears to have moved to the parents’ native town of Leeds, where Eliza Richardson, aged 33, died, the death being registered in the third quarter of 1866, at Kirkstall.


The marriage of widower and father of three, Richard Ibbotson Richmond, to widow and mother of one, Eliza Wildman, was registered in the third quarter of 1867.


The 1871 census accordingly recorded the combined Richmond-Wildman family living at 78 Green Mount, Leeds.  Father Richard was listed as a leather merchant.  (When a commercial traveller, had he been dealing in leather goods?)  At 21 years of age Frank Preston Wildman was the oldest of the combined Richmond-Wildman brood, and worked as a leather salesman, presumably for his step-father.  Edward James Preston, only 14 years of age, was an errand boy.  Sarah and Harry were scholars.


On 12/01/1876, at St. Peter’s, Leeds, 26-year-old commercial traveller Frank Preston Wildman, son of leather seller Matthias Wildman, was married to Mary Jane Naylor, daughter of cap manufacturer Thomas Naylor, by James H. W. [indecipherable surname], incumbent of Holy Trinity.  Their first (and only?) child was born in Leeds, but the family moved for some reason to Warwickshire.


Accordingly, the 1881 census found Frank Preston Wildman and Mary Jane Wildman living at 44 Lozells Street, Aston, Warwickshire, with 4-year-old daughter Mabel Una Wildman.  Frank was described as a commission agent in leather.


The family remained in Warwickshire until 1883, when our man went to America, though whether the whole family went is unclear.  When he returned from America in 1886, he settled, with his family, once more in his native Leeds.


The 1891 census found the family of three living at 14 Craven Terrace, Leeds.  Frank seems to have given up travelling, as he was described as a clerk.  Una (now listed without “Mabel”) was a scholar.


The family seems elusive in the 1901 census, but it seems it moved in time to 22 Reynold Mount, Leeds, and Frank became a journalist.




Frank Preston Wildman of 22 Reynold Mount, Leeds, journalist, died 30/10/1910, according to probate records (date also given in The Chess Amateur).  Administration was granted to Mary Jane Wildman.  He left effects of £359 12s 4d.




He attended the West Yorkshire Chess Association meeting of 1870, on 21/05/1870, in Halifax, playing in the fourth 8-player section, beating Thomas Brown of Sheffield in round one, but losing to Thomas Holliday of Huddersfield (the eventual section winner) in round two.


After returning to England in1886 he started to write on chess in the Leeds-based Yorkshire Weekly Post.


Shortly after returning to Leeds he won the Leeds Chess Club championship in three successive years.


He attended the West Yorkshire Chess Association meeting of 1889 on 27/04/1889, in Leeds.


He played on board 4 of the 12-man West Yorkshire Chess Association team in a correspondence match with Surrey in 1895.


He was a regular over-the-board player in Yorkshire teams from 1896, and played for Leeds in the Woodhouse Cup, both almost to his death.


He played on board 4 in the Yorkshire-London cable match on 18/12/1897.


He was Yorkshire Individual Champion in 1901-02 and one other year.


He lost to Samuel Keir of Lancashire in the final of the NCCU Individual Championship at Lancaster on 11/10/1902.  [Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 13/10/1902]


In 1908 he tied for first place with Fred Dewhirst Yates and Isaac McIntyre Brown in the YCA’s Kitchin Memorial correspondence tournament.


In 1907, he was mentioned as being chess editor of the Yorkshire Weekly Post.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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