Made in Yorkshire
Grand Chess Meeting
Red Lion Inn, Market Place, Caistor
Thursday 9th October 1851
Caistor is a small
market town in rural north Lincolnshire which, though of no great importance
on its own, served as a focus for the small rural villages in the area.
Indeed, there was a “Caistor Union” which once embraced 76 or so
Caistor was the
venue for the first of this type of chess meeting organised by Arthur Bolland
Skipworth, perhaps being inspired, in broad principle, by the meetings of
the original Yorkshire Chess Association. Indeed, there’s a
possibility he became aware that there would be no meetng of the Yorkshire
Chess Association that year, and was tempted by this vacancy in the calendar.
mother and siblings moved to Caistor after the death of his father. At
the time of this event, he was a Cambridge undergraduate, and not as yet
ordained, but he went on to become the Reverend Arthur Bolland
The importance of this
event was that it was the start of Arthur Bolland Skipworth’s
chess-organising career which later blossomed, while he was a clergyman in
Yorkshire, in a way which became of importance to “provincial”
Player’s Chronicle of 1851, page 318 carried a notice of the
meeting, reading as follows:
GREAT CHESS MEETING
gathering of the Chess Players of Lincolnshire will take place in the
Assembly Rooms of Caistor, on Thursday, the 9th of October next.
Invitations have already been accepted by Mr. Staunton, Mr. Newham and Her
Lowenthal and many other distinguished players.
commence at 10 A.M., and a dinner will be provided in the
evening at which the President of the Caistor Chess Club will preside.
As Caistor is
of easy access by Railway from all parts of the kingdom, and the attendance
of amateurs from adjoining counties is confidently promised, a very
numerous and influential assemblage is expected at this interesting
for tickets should be made without delay to A. B. Skipworth, Esq., Caistor.
Rutland, and Stamford Mercury of 12th September 1851 announced the coming
event as follows:
Caistor.- The Grand Chess
Meeting.- We are happy to hear that Sir M. J. Cholmeley, Bart., M.P.,
A. Boucherett, Esq., G. Skipworth, Esq., and many other gentlemen in the
neighbourhood, have liberally given their support towards the grand chess
gathering which is to be held at Caistor on Thursday the 9th of October
next. A large attendance is expected, many eminent players having
promised to be present.
This was an
advertising approach which the unstated but inferred organiser, Arthur
Bolland Skipworth, was later to adopt for other events organised by him -
when advertising it, lend to it dignity and credibility by name-dropping.
name was that of to Sir Montague John Cholmeley, 2nd Baronet (born
05/08/1802, died 18/01/1874) who was MP for North Lincolnshire from 1847 to
1852, then again from 1857 to his death. Presumably the surname is
name was that of Ayscough (alternatively Ayscoghe) Boucherett (born 1792,
died 16/03/1857). He was the third of a series to bear that name.
He’s widely reputed to have been a some-time High Sheriff of
Lincolnshire, though the only list seen of holders of the post doesn’t
include him. The Boucherett family resided at Willingham House, North
Willingham, which was built for them in 1790. They were descended from
Huguenot immigrants to England. In 1859 his daughter, Jessie, became a
campaigner for women’s rights. White’s History,
Gazetteer & Directory of Lincolnshire, 1856, listed him as a
magistrate in the Kirton division of Lindsey, as joint trustee for the real
estate of the Lincoln Lunatic Asylum (est.1820), and as having had the parish
school at North Willingham built in 1845.
These first two
seems not to have shown their faces at the chess meeting, or to have had any
obviously documented interest in chess. They may, of course, have
provided funds to support the enterprise.
name was that of George Skipworth, Lord of the Manor of South Kelsey,
resident of Moor(e)town Lodge, and distant relative of the organiser, Arthur
Skipworth. (He shared a grandfather with Arthur Skipworth’s
father, or something like that). He did in fact attend the event,
bringing with him some of his family.
The Day Arrives
The meeting duly
took place on 9th October, 1851, at the Red Lion Inn, Market
Place, Caistor, Lincolnshire.
reports were carried by the Lincoln, Rutland, and Stamford Mercury and
the Doncaster, Nottingham, and Lincoln Gazette, both on 17th October
1851. Essentially the same report, but sounding closer to what
Skipworth himself probably wrote, appeared in the Hull Advertiser of
Friday 17th October 1851. (Click here for the texts of
There was no
detail in the papers of the chess played beyond references such as “the
extraordinary skill and profound acquaintance with the mysteries of this
antique and highly-intellectual game displayed by several eminent players who
A dinner was
provided. No information is offered of the funding of the dinner and
room-hire. The above advert didn’t mention a fee to
participate. It maybe that “Sir M. J. Cholmeley, Bart., M.P., A.
Boucherett, Esq., G. Skipworth, Esq., and many other gentlemen in the
neighbourhood” had donated funds to run the event.
Samuel Newham of Nottingham was “unanimously elected to the
chair” to preside over the toasts and “several eloquent and
appropriate addresses” that were delivered. Samuel Newham was one
of the country’s strongest players outside London, possibly the
strongest in his day.
Together the three
reports list 53 people as being present (or 52 if Miss “K.” Bell
represents Elizabeth or Frances, as seems likely). Of these, 13 were
clergyman (excluding Arthur Skipworth who was not yet ordained), i.e.
13%. A more surprising feature, which comes to be a common feature of
Arthur Skipworth’s early chess events, was the relatively high number
of females present, mainly wives and daughters of men present. 15
females are listed, i.e. 28%. (Click
here for a combination and reconciliation of the three lists.)
Of the “many
eminent players having promised to be present”, Samuel Newham, who took the
chair after dinner, was the most clearly identified.
Although Howard Staunton appeared to
be listed as present by the Lincoln, Rutland, and Stamford Mercury and
the Doncaster, Nottingham, and Lincoln Gazette, he doesn’t seem to
have mentioned the meeting in his magazine The Chess Player’s
Chronicle. Did he feel snubbed by not being presented prominently
in the way which was common in such write-ups? Did he resent playing second
fiddle to Samuel Newham of Nottingham, who took the chair at dinner, and
resent following in the listing a baronet, a major local lord of the manor,
and a clergyman who merely composed chess problems? On the other hand,
the Hull Advertiser listed H. Stainton, seemingly of Louth, so maybe
Staunton wasn’t present. Nevertheless, identifying “H.
Stainton” of Louth, or of the Lincolnshire/Hull area generally, is
difficult, so the famous Howard Staunton remains the prime suspect.
player was Johann
Jacob Löwenthal. At first “T. Lowenthal,
Perth” may seem to mean someone else. In those days a
hand-written “J” was often misread by compositors as another
letter, such as “T”. That all three papers put
“T” slightly erodes confidence in the person being the famous
Löwenthal, and the Hull Advertiser’s “Perth”
might seem more conclusively to preclude this person being Johann Jacob
Löwenthal, yet when you remember that the great Hungarian was born and
raised in Pest, before it merged with Buda to form Budapest, and when you
further remember that Pest was sometimes written Pesth, then
“Perth” becomes readily understandable as being in Hungary, not
Scotland. The Hull Advertiser’s compositor should not be
blamed; his task was not an easy one.
chess person, at a lower level, was the Reverend Horatio Bolton,
rector of the combined parish of Oby, Ashby and
Thurne, near Yarmouth, who was famous more for his chess problems than
for his chess-playing, and was distantly related to Horatio Nelson, after
whom he was named.
That Thomas C.
Oldham of Lincoln was listed as one of those who “supported” the
president, suggests he perhaps numbered among the “many eminent
What was the nature of the other people listed as
attending the meeting? A stark contrast becomes apparent, between the
people attending this meeting at Caistor and those attending meetings of the
original Yorkshire Chess Association. At the later meetings, those
attending were overwhelmingly people with an interest in chess; they were
there for the chess, not the spectacle and the refreshments.
At this Caistor meeting, the majority of those listed as
attending would seem to be there for the spectacle and the social occasion;
they are predominantly the local bigwigs, clerics, professional men
generally, and a good number of the wives and daughters of these people.
A few were people of only modest social standing from further afield, outside
Lincolnshire; these were probably there for the chess, being predominantly
from Hull or, it seems, Nottingham, though there were two from London.
Skipworth might have ranked these two as “eminent”.
Under the 1971 local government reorganisation
“Humberside” was formed, trying to combine the north bank of the
Humber estuary with its south bank, in a union which was none too popular
with many (most?) living in its area, and which in time was scrapped.
Yet in the 1800s, Hull and Grimsby seem to have been quite closely associated
culturally and commercially, being connected by sea rather than the long way
round via the Humber Bridge. Hull chess-players were very much nearer
Caistor than to the West Riding of Yorkshire. Hull’s was probably
the nearest chess club to Caistor, at least as the crow flies.
One report lists “Thos. Hind, Esq., Jas.
Hind, Esq., W. B. Bramley, Esq.” which accords with the three belonging
together in some way, while the other report very clearly lists these three
and “Thos. Worth” as coming from “Norfolk”, which is
a strangely vague. There was a James Hind of
Nottingham at the 1850 Yorkshire Chess Association meeting in Leeds. Trying
to identify anybody, chess-player or not, answering to “W. B.
Bramley” suggests he’s William Burdus
Bramley from Nottingham. It becomes clear that the references in the Hull
Advertiser to “Norfolk” are erroneously derived from some
written rendering of “Nottingham” or perhaps “Notts”.
The four are thus fairly clearly Nottingham Chess Club members accompanying
The two from London,
or with London connections were
Possibly Michael Drury, retired general practitioner, of Clay Hill, Bushey,
Herts. (b. 1894/95 in Ireland);
Thomas Charles Oldham, BA (Cantab.), b. 04/12/1820 at Saltfleetby,
Lincs., son of Thomas Oldham, soon to be admitted to Inner Temple
identified as coming from “Norfolk”, apparently meaning Nottingham,
Presumably William Burdus Bramley pawnbroker of Nottingham, perhaps
an associate of Samuel Newham. Married Elizabeth, having at least one
child, Kate Bramley. Died 18/08/1866. Lascelles & Hagar's Commercial
Directory of Nottingham, 1848, listed William B. Bramley, pawnbroker
and clothier, at 37 Clumber Street, Nottingham. (There were also
listed two by the name of merely William Bramley.) The Post Office
Directory of Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire, 1855, similarly listed
William Burdus Bramley, pawnbroker, at 37 Clumber Street, Nottingham.
Wright's Nottingham Directory, 1858, listed William B. Bramley on
the section of Mansfield Road between Villa Road and Mapperley Road.
Presumably the James Hind of Nottingham, who attended the 1850 YCA
meeting in Leeds. (Wright's Nottingham Directory, 1858, listed
James Fisher Hind of Hollins, Son, and Hind, with home at Wilford, and at
Park Row, but this may not be our man.)
Quite probably a Thomas Hind related to the above James Hind, and
probably from Nottingham. Lascelles & Hagar's Commercial
Directory of Nottingham, 1848, listed a Thomas Hind, clerk at the
savings bank, Low Pavement. Wright's Nottingham Directory, 1858,
listed Thomas Hind, clerk at the savings bank on Low Pavement, with home at
Trent Lane, Sneiton (about a mile east of the centre of Nottingham).
(The Post Office Directory of Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire, 1855,
listed a Thomas Hind with his seat at Goverton, roughly fifteen miles NE of
Nottingham, but this looks less like our man.)
Presumably a chess-playing Thomas Worth of Nottingham.
Lascelles & Hagar's Commercial Directory of Nottingham, 1848,
listed Thomas Worth, surgeon, 79 Upper Parliament Street. The Post
Office Directory of Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire, 1855, listed
Thomas Worth, surgeon, Middle Pavement, Nottingham. Wright's Nottingham
Directory, 1858, listed Thomas Worth, surgeon, at High Pavement,
as from Hull were
Ayre, Fred(erick) T
Fearnley Ayre of Hull, then a 19-year-old attorney’s clerk
(later a solicitor in his own right), son of William Ayre, solicitor, and clerk
to the justices, and Mary Jane Eyre, the family then living at 1 Leicester
Place, West Sculcoates, Hull [1851 census]. It seems probable that
Frederic worked for his father. F. White’s General Directory
of Kingston-upon-Hull, and York, 1851, listed William Ayre, junior,
solicitor, and clerk to the borough magistrates (the magistrates’
clerk’s office being at 14 Bowlalley Lane), living at Leicester
Hands, Wm. (assuming “Mands” to be a typo)
Quite possibly William Hands of East Parade, Heworth Road, York
Probably Elisha Howlett, described in F. White’s General
Directory of Kingston-upon-Hull, and York, 1851, as a carver and
guilder, of 40 Savile Street, Hull;
Wharton Kirke (b. 1813/14 at Irby, Lincs.), hosier, living at 72
Lister Street, Hull. He was listed as secretary of Hull Chess Club in
1854 [Chess Player’s Chronicle, 1854 monthly listing of chess
Presumably the E. Lucas present as treasurer of Hull Chess Club at
the 1847 YCA meeting in Hull. Probably Edward Lucas, listed in
F. White’s General Directory of Kingston-upon-Hull, and York, 1851,
as a gold and silversmith, living at 7 Ocean Place.
There was one person from Lincolnshire,
outside Caistor, who was definitely a serious chess-player:
Charles Doughty of Lincoln, who attended the 1868 West
Yorkshire Chess Association meeting. White’s History,
Gazetteer & Directory of Lincolnshire, 1856, listed Charles Doughty
as High-Constables for the Lincoln parishes. Akrill’s City
of Lincoln Directory, 1857, listed a Charles Doughty, merchant, at 201
High Street, Lincoln. It also lists Joseph George Doughty and Son,
seed-crushers, bone, cake, coal and seed merchants, 201 High Street.
This suggests Charles was the “Son”. Joseph George
Doughty’s home was at 45 Bailgate, which looks like being Charles
Doughty’s home as well. Lincoln Chess Club seems to have been
formed in 1847 or 1848; Charles Doughty was its secretary in 1854.
There were nine
people from Lincolnshire, outside Caistor (apart from the wider
Skipworth family), who probably could not be thought of as serious
chess-players, though a minority of them may well have had a significant interest,
as Charles Doughty did:
Charles E. Banks (b. 1831/32 at Louth) attorney’s articled
clerk, son of John T. Banks and Susanne M. Banks who lived at Stewton
House, Stewton Road, Louth, Lincolnshire. John T. Banks (b. 1806/07, at
Boston, Lincs.) was “Justice of the Peace and graduated MD of the
university of Edinburgh” [1851 census];
Iles, Miss M(argaret), and
Iles, Miss T
Miss Margaret Iles, one of the daughters (b. 1829/30) of John Iles,
farmer of Binbrook, and wife Elizabeth;
Miss T Iles (?), presumably a relative of the preceding (no sister
apparent with initial “T”, initial possibly incorrect);
Macgregor, Rev Sir Charles, Bart, of Cabourne:
Rev. Sir Charles Macgregor, Bart, of Cabourne, rural dean and rector
of Swallow, of Swallow Rectory;
Marshall, John D, and
The 1851 census lists these as two Sheffield-born brothers who were landed
proprietors, despite being only 23 and 29 years of age respectively, living
at Nettleton with 5 servants.
John Marshall was named without a middle initial in the 1851 census,
and as “Head” despite being the younger. He may have
returned at some stage to Sheffield, where the name is too common to make
tracking him down very easy.
Thomas Marshall may have stayed on in Lincolnshire, as a Thomas
Marshall died in Q2 of 1910, aged 87, at Spilsby.
Steventon/Stevenson, Rev. H(I)
Rev. Henry James Steventon (born 1821, Osgodby, Lincs.) of the School House, Moulton, Lincs. (near
Spalding), but only recently returned from spell in Jamaica.
Cambridge-educated, though Venn lacks any detail of life after getting BA
Turner, Rev Sam(uel) and
Turner, Mrs Margaret
Rev. Samuel Turner, AM, rector of St John the Baptist, Nettleton, of
Mrs. Margaret Turner, wife of above.
seventeen people from Caistor itself (apart from members of the
Skipworth family). It seems unlikely that many of these had any great
interest in chess.
Bell, Rev. T, and
Bell, Miss Elizabeth, and
Bell, Miss Frances, and
Bell, Miss K
A John Tesh Bell is listed in Pigot and Co.’s National
Commercial Directory for 1828-9 lists, under “Grocers and tea
dealers”, at Market Place, Caistor, and was presumably the John Tesh
Bell born to Joseph and Frances Bell, and baptised at Caistor on 17th
January 1786. The same parents had on older son, Dickson Bell,
baptised 13th November 1779. Pigot and Co.’s National
Commercial Directory for 1828-9 lists Dixon Bell as a wine and spirit
merchant of Market Place, Caistor. If we assume “Dickson”
was the same as “Dixon”, then this Dickson/Dixon Bell would
presumably be the one described by Venn as father of a younger John Tesh
Bell who was born 1808/09 and became a cleric. Dixon Bell was a wine
and brandy merchant of Caistor according to a leaflet held by Lincolnshire
Archive [1 DIXON 12/3/15 1836]. (An application to transfer an
alehouse licence from Joseph Robert Atkinson to Dixon Bell was made on 4
May 1843 [Lincolnshire Archives CAISTOR PAR/13/11/2]). These four Bells are
therefore presumably members of the family of John Tesh Bell, the grocer,
and/or Dixon Bell the wine and brandy merchant. Dixon Bell appears to
have died at Caistor in 1864.
Rev. John Tesh Bell, born 1808, son of Dixon Bell, started as a
pensioner at Peterhouse, Cambridge, on 30/06/1830, age 22;
Miss Elizabeth Bell, born 1814/15 at Caistor (sister of John Tesh
Miss Francis Bell, born roughly 1815/16 at Caistor (sister of John
Miss K Bell, less identifiable.
Joseph Heaford Daubney, solicitor, clerk to Board of Guardians,
assurance agent, of Church Street, Caistor (b. 1812/1813 at Great Grimsby,
d. Q4 1865 at Caistor);
Dixon, JG, and
James Green Dixon -
either the farmer; later corn coal and seed merchant, Market Place, Caistor
(b. 1790/91 at Holton-le-Moor, died 27/02/1879 at Caistor);
or (more probably) his son of the same name (b. 1832/33 at Caister);
Thomas Parkinson Dixon (b. 1827/28, d. Q1 1906 at Caistor) of Market
Place, Caistor, son of the above James Green Dixon, senior;
William Ellis LLD, unmarried schoolmaster of Butter Market, Caistor
(b. 1802/03 in Scotland);
George Jameson (b. 1812/13 at Jarrow, Co. Durham), medical
practitioner of Market Place, Caistor;
Thomas Kirby, manager at Smith, Ellison & Co, bankers, &
Macintosh, John J, and
Dr John Innis Macintosh, MD, surgeon, of Market Row, Caistor;
Mrs. Macintosh, wife of the above;
Maclean, Rev H., and
Maclean, Mrs, Caistor
Rev. Hippisley Maclean (b. 1807/08 at Sudbury, Suffolk),
Cambridge-educated vicar of Caistor
Mrs Charlotte Maclean (b. 1811/12 at Greenwich, Kent), wife of the
Padley, Rev AF, Caistor
Rev Augustus Frederick Padley, rector of Greetwell, Lincs;
Smith, JA, and
Charles Smith (b. 1799/1800 at Long Drax, Yorks.), attorney, widower
with seven children, all born at Caistor, and
John A Smith (b. 1833/34 at Caistor), 17-year-old eldest son of
Charles Smith, and
probably Maria Smith (b. 1832/33 at Caistor), 18-year-old eldest
daughter of Charles Smith, next oldest daughter being only 8.
There were five of the Moortown family of
Skipworths, who were distantly related to the organiser, Arthur
Skipworth, George, sen,
Skipworth, Mrs (as distinct from Mrs. P. Skipworth in Hull
Skipworth, Miss S,
Skipworth, Miss A,
Skipworth, GB (George, jun), and
Skipworth, James G.
George Skipworth, senior, was Lord of the Manor of South Kelsey,
Moortown House, Moortown (b. 1790/91);
Mrs. Emily Skipworth, wife of George Skipworth, senior, is probably
the uninitiallied Mrs. Skipworth in the Hull report;
Susanna Maria Skipworth,
baptised 04 Nov 1824, daughter of George Skipworth, senior;
Ann Elizabeth Skipworth,
baptised 08 Jul 1830, daughter of George Skipworth, senior;
(the above four lived at Moortown House, Moortown [1851 census], but the
following two had left home by then)
George Borman Skipworth, baptised 09
Jan 1820, son of George Skipworth, senior,
James Green Skipworth, baptised 29
Jan 1826, son of George Skipworth, senior.
There were three of organiser Arthur
Skipworth’s immediate family, including himself:
Skipworth, AB (Arthur),
Skipworth, Mrs P, and
Skipworth, Miss Julia
Bolland Skipworth, Cambridge undergraduate who with his mother and
some siblings lived at Caistor;
Mrs. Philip/Lucy Skipworth, Lucy, mother of Arthur Bolland
Skipworth, widow of Philip Skipworth;
Miss Julia Owen Skipworth, sister of Arthur Bolland Skipworth.
Less readily identifiable are
Seemingly possibly another Hull player, judging by his position in the
lists, but F. White’s General Directory of Kingston-upon-Hull, and York,
1851, lists none of these surnames in Hull, though all three versions exist
as surnames. Perhaps more local.
Without initials, location, or accompanying fuller-named person of
the same surname, difficult to identify; probably local, accompanied by
sources (in addition to those stated in the text):
census, and directories of Lincolnshire and Hull.