Yorkshire Chess History



Murrell Wright junior











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1842, Southwark, Surrey



11/12/1889, Leeds


14/12/1889, St. Mark’s, Woodhouse


Non-Chess Life


Murrell Wright junior of Leeds was a son of Murrell Wright senior of Leeds, whose father was also called Murrell Wright.


Murrell Wright senior of Leeds was born at Sunninghill, Berkshire, in 1819.  The 1841 census found him working as a bank clerk and lodging at a house in Halford Terrace, Lambeth, London.


On 15/09/1841, at Holy Trinity Newington, Murrell Wright, clerk of Halford Terrace, son of Murrell Wright, corn and cod merchant, was married to Anne Portchmouth of 9 Winter Terrace, daughter of William Portchmouth, carpenter, by J. A. Johnson, curate.  The bride had been born at Winkfield, Berkshire, in 1814/15.


The couple had at least the following four children:


Murrell Wright, (junior)

born 1842, Southwark, Surrey

Mary Ann(a) Wright

born 1843/44, Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales

Howard Wright

born 1845/46, Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales

Laura Wright

born 1846/47, Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales


At some time the family moved from Southwark in 1842 or 1843, and settled for a while in Swansea.  Then at some time from 1846 to 1851, the family moved again, to Leeds.


Accordingly, the 1851 census found the family of two parents and four children, with two servants, living at Rose Cottage, Potternewton, Leeds.  Murrell Wright senior was now described as a Bank of England clerk.  Murrell junior, Mary and Howard were scholars.


The family is mostly elusive in the 1861 census.  14-year-old Laura Wright was at a boarding school run by Catharine Girdlestone at Horsefair, Pontfract.


Murrell Wright, more probably “senior”, was a subscriber to the a book apparently called “Worthies of Leeds, The Biographia Leodensis; or Biographical Sketches of the Worthies of Leeds and Neighbourhood,” the preface to which was dated April 1865, apparently compiled by the Rev. Richard Vickerman Taylor.


On 16/02/1870, at Leeds parish church, 28-year-old Murrell Wright, banker’s clerk of Chapeltown [Leeds], son of Murrell Wright, banker’s clerk, was married to 21-year-old Emily Shackleton of Gipton [Leeds], daughter of John Shackleton, solicitor.  The groom signed his name in the marriage register with “Junior” appended.  The bride had been born 1848/49, in Leeds.  The couple had at least the following six children:


Frederick Murrell Wright

born 1871/72, Chapel Allerton

John Ernest Wright

born 1872/73, Chapel Allerton

Emily Gertrude Wright

born 1874/75, Chapel Allerton

Lillian Wright

born 1876/77,Leeds

Laura Wright

born 1877/78, Leeds

Robert Hugh Wright

born Mar/Apr 1880, Leeds


Robert Hugh Wright was blind at birth, according to the 1881 census.


The 1871 census found Murrell Wright senior, his wife, the younger children, and one servant, living at Phoenix Cottage, Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds.  Murrell was described as a bank cashier, while Howard was a woollen salesman.  Whether “Phoenix Cottage” was the same as the subsequently mentioned “Phoenix Lodge” is unclear.


The 1871 census found 28-year-old Murrell Wright junior, his 22-year-old wife Emily, and one servant, living at 6 Woodland View, Leeds.


The places of birth of the children suggest Murrell Wright junior and family moved from Chapel Allerton to an address more central to Leeds at some time from 1874 to 1877.


Kelly's Directory of West Riding of Yorkshire, 1881, listed Murrell Wright senior, Chapeltown Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, and M. Wright junior, 30 Consort Terrace, Leeds.  It’s not clear whether the latter was Murrell Wright junior, but it was probably not him.


The 1881 census found Murrell Wright junior with the older five children, but no servants, at 25 Victoria Place, Leeds.  Sister Laura was visiting him at the time.  His wife and 11-month-old blind son, Robert Hugh Wright, were visiting Murrell Wright senior and family at Phoenix Lodge, Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds.  The household there consisted of Murrell senior, wife Annie, daughter Mary Anna, and one servant.  Howard had presumably set up his own home.  Laura may have been visiting somewhere.  Murrell senior was described as a bank cashier.  Murrell junior was described as a chartered accountant, while four oldest children were described as scholars.


Annie Wright of chapeltown, wife of Murrell Wright senior, and mother of Murrell Wright junior, died aged 74, and was buried on 11/03/1887 at St. Matthew, Chapel Allerton, by Reginald R. Kirby, vicar.


By 1889 Murrell Wright junior had moved to Wellclose Mount, Leeds.




Murrell Wright junior predeceased his father.  Murrell Wright the younger, formerly a banker’s clerk of Chapel Allerton, Leeds, but at the time an accountant of Wellclose Mount, Leeds, died on 11/12/1889 at Wellclose Mount.  He was buried on 14/12/1889 at St. Mark’s, Woodhouse, by A. W. M. Weatherly, assistant curate of All Soul’s.


His will was proved by Emily Wright of Wellclose Mount, widow and relict.  His personal estate amounted to a mere £6 10s.


After Death


The 1891 census found the widowed Murrell Wright senior still at Phoenix Lodge, Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, now a retired Bank of England clerk, living with daughters Mary and Laura, and a servant.


Murrell Wright senior, of Phoenix Lodge, Chapel Allerton, died, aged 73, in December 1892, and was buried on 09/12/1892 at St. Matthew, Chapel Allerton, by J.P. Maud, vicar.  Probate was granted to Howard Wright, woollen-cloth salesman, and Robert William Wright, artist (who was he?).  He left effects initially stated as £5,134 4s. 7d.  This was later re-sworn as £5,180 9s. 8d.




Murrell Wright attended ten meetings of the West Yorkshire Chess Association, those of 1876 to 1880, those of 1882 to 1885, and that of 1889.  Earlier references specifically mention him as “junior”, though that epithet was dropped in time, perhaps because the identity of the chess-playing Murrell Wright was assumed by then to be generally known.  There was also an R. A. Wright of Leeds at the meetings of 1877 and 1878, though it’s not clear that the two were related.





Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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

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