Yorkshire Chess History



1854: 2nd Caister Chess Meeting











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Chess Gathering

Red Lion Inn, Plough Hill / Market Place, Caistor

Wednesday and Thursday 25th & 26th October 1854


After the first chess meeting at Caistor, in 1851, the organiser, Arthur Bolland Skipworth, continued his studies at Cambridge.  Then, in 1854, while he was still an undergraduate, he decided to organise another event.


By now it was normal for such events to be over two days.  The YCA meeting of 1847 in Hull had effectively been a two-day event, but then the YCA meetings of 1848 and 1850 had been one-day events, according to what had hitherto been the norm, as had the 1851 Caister meeting.  But with the second YCA meeting at Hull, that of 1852, a two-day format had become standard, being continued in the 1853 meeting of the Northern & Midland Counties Chess Association (into which the YCA had evolved) and in the 1854 N&MCCA meeting in Liverpool.


Pre-Event Notice


The Chess Player’s Chronicle carried a piece it took from the Illustrated London News, which read as follows.




About three seasons ago, it will be remembered by the spirited amateurs of Caistor and the vicinage organised a Chess assembly in their quaint, quiet little town, which, for the number and quality of the players, has not often been surpassed.  The brilliant success of this, their first meeting, has determined them to repeat the experiment, and, accordingly, invitations have been issued to many of the most distinguished masters of the game in England to “assist at the tourney” appointed to be kept at Caistor next month.  The sports are to commence, we believe, on the morning of the 18th proximo, and terminate with a grand dinner on the evening of the 20th.


The dates quoted weren’t quite correct.  The notices suggest, Interestingly, that a three-day event might originally have been planned.  In the event, it was a two-day event.


Arthur Skipworth adopted certain approaches which he similarly adopted with later events he organised; he adopted the name of an organisation as an umbrella for his activities, in this instance the “North Lincolnshire Chess Association” of which he was described as honorary secretary, and he created the idea that the two events, of 1851 and of 1854, formed a series from the outset, by calling the second one a “Triennial Meeting”, as though the 1854 event had been envisaged back in 1851,and as though one was anticipated in 1857 and so on.


The Actual Event


The meeting took place on Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th October, 1854, at the same venue as the previous event, the Red Lion Inn, Market Place, Caistor, Lincolnshire.


The Lincoln, Rutland, and Stamford Mercury of Friday 3rd November 1854 carried a report, as did the Chess Player’s Chronicle, New Vol. II, 1854, page 391.  (Click here for the text of these reports.)


Those in attendance were very much the same as those who attended in 1851.  Staunton and Lowenthal were again the main visiting prominent players.


The Lincoln, Rutland, and Stamford Mercury described some of the games played (colours not stated, odds-givers presumably white):


Howard Staunton

giving odds of P and 2 moves



AB Skipworth,

P Marris, &

FM Young,




giving odds of QN



Howlett *





giving odds of P and 2 moves


Oldham *





giving odds of QN



Newman &





giving odds of QN





giving odds of QN




The dinner was six o’clock on the Wednesday evening.  The Rev. Sir Charles Macgreor was to have taken the chair, but he was unable to attend due to the death of a relative, so Arthur Skipworth’s older half-brother, Henry Green Skipworth took the chair.


Curiously, the number of attenders listed in one or other of the two reports was 53, the same as in 1851.  Many were the same people as in 1851.  The number of clergymen was the same at 7, or 13%.  The number of females represented an increase, and at 27 out of the total of 53, or 51%, they outnumbered the males!    The comment was made in The Lincoln, Rutland, and Stamford Mercury report (written by Skipworth?) that, “Some of the ladies proved themselves formidable opponents even to those who were well skilled in the game.”

(Click here for a combination and reconciliation of two lists of attenders.)


Dramatis Personae


In addition to the star guests, Staunton and Lowenthal, those present were as follows.


People from London, or with London connections were

Oldham, TC
Thomas Charles Oldham, BA (Cantab.), b. 04/12/1820 at Saltfleetby, son of Thomas Oldham, soon to be admitted to Inner Temple (29/04/1852).  Was at Caistor 1851.


People from outside Lincolnshire, other than those from Hull and Londoners

Young, Mr. F. M.
Francis Mortimer Young, civil engineer, of Leeds.  His mother was a member of the Iles family at Binbrook.


There was a more-numerous contingent from Hull than in 1851:

Grey, Miss
Miss Grey of Hull.  Not easily identified.  The only person answering the description listed in F. White’s General Directory of Kingston-upon-Hull, and York, 1851, was Martha Grey, milliner and straw bonnet maker, 51 Mytongate, Hull.

Howlett, Mr.
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.  Was at Caistor 1851.

Middleton, Mr. M.
Not listed in F. White’s General Directory of Kingston-upon-Hull, and York, 1851, so maybe a son of an entrant therein.

Newman, Mr.
The only Newman in Hull, listed by F. White’s General Directory of Kingston-upon-Hull, and York, 1851, was John Newman, clerk of St. Paul’s, and boot and shoemaker, 18 Marlborough Terrace.  This might be our man.

Palmer, Mr. T/G. W.
Alderman Thomas William Palmer (born 31/03/1800, died 28/02/1881), mayor of Hull in the two years 1849-50 and 1850-51.

Walker, Mr.
Possibly the James Walker of Hull who was a subscriber to Skipworth’s 1868 “Yorkshire Chess Association” meeting, and attended the 1869 meeting.


People from Lincolnshire, outside Caistor, who was definitely a serious chess-player:

Doughty, C.
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.  Was at Caistor 1851.


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:

Andrews, Miss
Miss Andrews of Lincoln, probably accompanying Charles Doughty.

Iles, Mr. H. W.,

Iles, Miss F.,

Iles, Miss A.,

Iles, Miss M
John Iles (b. 1792/93,Louth) was a farmer at Binbrook.  He had a number of children with his wife Elizabeth, mainly daughters.
H. W. Iles is elusive;
Miss F. Iles would be Frances Mary Iles (b. 1826/27, to John and Elizabeth Iles);
Miss A. Iles would be Anna Maria Iles (b. 1830/31, to John and Elizabeth Iles);
Miss M Iles would be Margaret Iles (b. 1829/30 to John and Elizabeth Iles), as at Caistor 1851.
The mother of Frances Mortimer Young was probably one of the earliest-born daughters ofJohn and Elizabeth Iles of Binbrook.

Häupfner, Miss
Miss Häupfner was presented as resident at Great Limber House, the home of the Rev, Pooley, but is difficult to identify.

Lloyd, Rev. H. R.,

Lloyd, Mrs.
Rev. Henry Robert Lloyd (b. 09/08/1809, Woolwich), Cambridge-educated Vicar of Owersby with Kirkby and Osgodby [Venn];
Mrs Harriett Lloyd, daughter of the Hon. Edward Grey, Bishop of Hereford; married 17/10/1843, at Lyonshall, Herefordshire.

Marris, P.,

Marris, Mr. T.
Thomas Marris was a farmer of Ulceby parish.  Probably related to George Maris, solicitor of Caistor.  Henry Green’s mother was a Marris.

Overton, Rev. J. G.
Rev. Isle Grant Overton, rector of St Mary Magdalen, Rothwell; living at the Rectory, Rothwell.

Parkin, Rev. L.,

Parkin, Mrs.
Rev. Lewis Parkin, rector of St Mary's, South Kelsey.

Parkinson, Miss
Miss Parkinson of Stallingborough.  (Daughter of Mrs Martha Parkinson?)

Pooley, Rev. J.
Rev. James Pooley, curate of Great Limber, living at Great Limber House.

Richardson, Mrs.,

Richardson, Miss
Mrs Mary Eliza Richardson, farmer, describes as at Great Limber House;
Miss Richardson was presumably her daughter.

Turner, Rev S and

Turner, Mrs,

Turner, S. W.
Rev. Samuel Turner, AM, rector of St John the Baptist, Nettleton, of Nettleton Rectory.  Was at Caistor 1851.
Mrs. Margaret Turner, wife of above.  Was at Caistor 1851.
SW Turner, son of above?

Wright, Mrs.,

Wright, Miss
Miss Wright of Wold Newton, daughter of William Wright, farmer?

Young (Thoresby), Mrs.,

Young (Thoresby), Miss
Wife and daughter of Richard Young, farmer?

Young (Claxby House), Mr.,

Young (Claxby House), Mrs.
John Joseph Young, of Claxby House, some-time JP,
wife of above.


There were 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. JT, and

Bell, Miss
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.  Was at Caistor 1851.
Miss Bell was probably either
Miss Elizabeth Bell, born 1814/15 at Caistor (sister of John Tesh Bell?); was at Caistor 1851; OR
Miss Francis Bell, born roughly 1815/16 at Caistor (sister of John Tesh Bell?).  Was at Caistor 1851.

Daubney, JH
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);

Macgregor, Miss
Probably a sister or niece of Cambridge-educated Rev. Sir Charles Macgregor, 3rd Baronet of Savile Row, b. 1819, d. 1879, rural dean and rector (1854 - 1880) of Swallow, of Swallow Rectory, who was absent due to a recent death in the family.  He didn’t marry until 1845; this is unlikely to be 9-year-old daughter.

Macintosh, Dr., and

Macintosh, Mrs
Dr John Innis Macintosh, MD, surgeon, of Market Row, Caistor;
Mrs. Macintosh, wife of the above;

Maclean, Rev H., and

Maclean, Mrs,

Maclean, Miss,

Maclean, Miss M.
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 above;
These two had a daughter called Mary, approx. 13 years old, and another called Margaret, approx. 10 years old, as well as much younger daughters.  Another speculative possibility would be the “Miss” was Hippisley’s visiting sister (i.e. a senior Miss Maclean, requiring no identifying initial), while “Miss M” was a daughter.

Smith, Miss
Presumably a daughter of Charles Smith (b. 1799/1800 at Long Drax, Yorks.), attorney, widower with seven children, all born at Caistor, probably Maria Smith (b. 1832/33 at Caistor), 21-year-old eldest daughter, the next oldest daughter being only 11.


There were five of the Moortown family of Skipworths, who were distantly related to the organiser, Arthur Bolland Skipworth:

Skipworth, Miss
A daughter of George Skipworth, senior, Lord of the Manor of South Kelsey, Moortown House, Moortown (
b. 1790/91) and his wife Mrs. Emily Skipworth, probably either Susanna Maria Skipworth, baptised 04 Nov 1824, or Ann Elizabeth Skipworth, baptised 08 Jul 1830, daughter of George Skipworth, senior.  (These four lived at Moortown House, Moortown [1851 census].)


There were three of organiser Arthur Skipworth’s immediate family, including himself:

Skipworth, Mr. H. G.,

Skipworth, AB,

Skipworth, Mrs,

Skipworth, Miss
Henry Green Skipworth, farmer at Rothwell, half-brother of Arthur Bolland Skipworth
Arthur Bolland Skipworth, Cambridge undergraduate,;
Mrs. Philip/Lucy Skipworth, Lucy, mother of Arthur Bolland Skipworth, widow of Philip Skipworth;
Miss Julia Owen Skipworth, sister of Arthur Bolland Skipworth.
The four lived at Rothwell House, Rothwell.


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Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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