Yorkshire Chess History



Francis Mortimer Young











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



07/03/1814, Brompton, South West London


20/04/1815, St. George the Martyr, Queen Square, Middlesex


26/01/1860, Dijon, France


01/02/1860, Headingley Chapel, Leeds


Francis Mortimer Young was born in 07/03/1814, at Brompton, London, (means Brompton, Kent?).  His baptism record, which is one of those with the date of birth added, has the remark “said to have been privately baptised at Brompton Chapel” written along the bottom.  He was the only son of Francis Young and Mary Iles of the same family as the Iles of Binbrook, who feature in the Caistor chess meetings.


He was educated by the Rev. W.* Tate, at Richmond, Yorkshire, where he attained considerable proficiency in mathematics.  He then gained practical engineering experience and employment on the developing railway system.

(* As given in ICE obit., but more probably Rev. James Tate.  Baines’s History, Directory & Gazetteer of Yorkshire, Vol. II: East & North Ridings, 1823, lists Rev. James Tate, MA, master of the “Free Grammar” academy on Frenchgate, Richmond.  Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Cheshire, Cumberland etc, 1828-29, listed Richmond Free Grammar School as run by Rev. Jas. Tate and Rev. Ed. Lockwood.)


In 1831, he became a pupil of Robert Stephenson (of “Stephenson’s Rocket” fame), by whom he was first sent for two years to the Stephenson locomotive works at Forth Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, to obtain a practical knowledge of mechanics, and then was placed at Coventry, on the London and Birmingham Railway.  On the completion of that line, he was appointed one of the Resident Engineers of the Manchester and Leeds, (later the Lancashire and Yorkshire,) Railway.


He’s not easy to find in 1841 census records.  White’s Directory of Leeds & the Clothing District, 1842, appears not to have listed our man.


In 1843-44, he was engaged in preliminary work for the Leeds and Bradford Valley Line.  He was then appointed to join the East Lancashire Railway.


He then turned his attention from railways to more general construction works, for which purpose he entered into partnership with a Mr. Bolton, perhaps Thomas Bolton (1790-1853), with whom he successfully executed several contracts in the north of England.


White’s Directory of Leeds & the Clothing Districts, 1847, listed Francis Mortimer Young, civil engineer, and John Young, engineer, living at 4 York Place, Leeds.  It was therefore perhaps in about 1843 that he came to live in Leeds.


He must have married Frances M. of uncertain surname (Loft?) at some stage from 1835 to 1846.  The couple had at least three children:

Francis Joseph Young

born 22/07/1847, at Leeds

Anne S. J. Young

born 1849/50, at Leeds

Frederick Mortimer Young

born 14/03/1860, at Leeds


died 07/06/1927, Hobart, Tasmania


Francis Joseph Young got a BA at Cambridge in 1874, and emigrated to Tasmania.  Francis Mortimer Young, junior, got a BA at Cambridge in 1884, also emigrated to Tasmania.


Francis Mortimer Young became a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in 1851.


The 1851 census found him as a 37-year-old civil engineer living at 4 York Place, Leeds, with his 32-year-old wife, a 64-year-old Tadcaster-born widow by the name of Mary Loft, who was described as a landed proprietor, and the oldest of the above two children.


White’s Directory of Leeds, Bradford &c, 1854, listed Francis Mortimer Young, civil engineer, of 4 York Place, Leeds, but not John in his former roll.  White’s Directory of Leeds, Halifax, Huddersfield, Wakefield &c, 1858, listed Francis Mortimer Young as a civil Engineer at 3 Park Place, Leeds.




His death occurred suddenly, in a railway carriage, near Dijon, on the 26th January 1860, aged 46, while he was returning home from a working trip to Switzerland.  Sons Francis Joseph Young and Anne were 12½ years and about 10 years old respectively, at the time, and wife Frances was carrying the unborn Frederick Mortimer Young.


The body was repatriated and buried at Headingley chapel on 1st February 1860.




He is not recorded as attending any meeting of the Yorkshire Chess Association or of the West Yorkshire Chess Association, yet he attended the 1854 Caistor chess meeting.  His presence at Caistor is explained by his mother being a member of the Iles family at Binbrook.


At Caistor he was one of a consulting team playing Staunton, so he was presumably judged to be of reasonable strength.



Sources (other than as stated in the text):

Venn, for details of his sons.

Memoir of Francis Mortimer Young in ICE Minutes of the Proceedings, Volume 20, Issue 1861, 01 January 1861 , pages 159 –160, for early life, professional life, and details of death, found on ICE Virtual Library website:





Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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

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