Yorkshire Chess History
Charles Henry Hinchliff
Identity of the Chess-player
Various Yorkshire chess-players with surnames like “Hinch(e)liff(e)”are listed here. This is the only one listed who so far is here identified with certainty. Martyn Griffiths, while compiling the history of Llandudno Chess Club, discovered that a C. H. Hinchcliffe had been North Wales Chess Champion. Contact with a grandson of Charles Henry Hinchliff revealed that this was a member of a Hepworth family who had for five generations been postmasters, and that Charles Henry Hinchliff had been a keen member of Huddersfield Chess Club, and had moved North Wales. This facilitates easy identification of the Huddersfield player C. H. Hinchliff, and suggests possible identities for E. Hinchliff(e) and J E Hinch(c)liff(e). Some of the snippets which follow come from that grandson via Martyn Griffiths.
Charles Henry Hinchliff represented the third of five generations of postmasters, originally in Hepworth, a village 2 miles south-east of Holmfirth, which in turn is 5 miles south of Huddersfield.
The first of this line of postmasters was this chess-player’s paternal grandfather Joseph Hinchliff (born 1823, Hepworth or Kirkburton; died 25/03/1885, Hepworth), who was a son of John Hinchliff (born 1796/97, Almondbury, 2 miles SE of the centre of Huddersfield, or else Holmfirth) and the somewhat older Rachel Hinchliff (born 1784/85, South Crosland). Census returns give differing places of birth.
Joseph Hinchliff married Mary Duckworth (born 1824, Hepworth or Almondbury; died 06/11/1890, Hepworth), the marriage registration being in the fourth quarter of 1844, at Huddersfield. The two went on the have at least the following Hepworth-born children:
Of these children, either Elliott or Edwin may have been the Holmfirth/Huddersfield chess-player “E. Hinchliffe” mentioned here.
The 1851 census
found three generations living together at Hepworth,
Another grandchild of John and Rachel was in the household, 8-year-old Hepworth-born scholar Rachel Sykes.
John’s wife Rachel died in 1854.
The 1861 census found widowed John, who was now a farmer of 6 acres, son wool handloom weaver Joseph and his wife Mary, and the latter two’s children Elliott, Richard, Herbert and Edwin, the first three of whom were scholars, all living at an unnamed address in Hepworth, but presumably in a farm house.
Patriarch John seems to have died at some time from 1861 to 1871. Around a dozen people of his name died in the Huddersfield area in this period. The one who died in 1862, aged 65, being buried on 25/09/1862, somewhere in the Huddersfield area, was probably the one.
The 1871 census found Joseph had taken over the 6-acre farm at Hepworth, while continuing working as a wool weaver. Mary was a farmer’s wife, so perhaps assisted with work on the farm. With them were children Elliott (labourer at brick works), Richard (wool weaver), Edwin (scholar) and Alice (scholar).
The 1881 census found the family living at the Farm House, Hepworth. Joseph was now a famer of 9 acres, so there had been expansion there. Also living on the farm were his wife Mary, and offspring Elliott (currently unemployed earthenware sanitary-tube maker), Richard (a woollen-weaver), Edwin (a joiner and cabinetmaker), and Alice (a dressmaker).
At some stage during the next ten years, Joseph became postmaster at Hepworth, as the 1881 W Riding Directory listed under Hepworth, “Hinchliffe Joseph, farmer, & post office.” The idea that Hepworth had a post office in the sense of a shop or office which customers could get service throughout weekdays would probably be over-ambitious. Instead Richard would be the official representative of the post office organisation, fulfilling whatever responsibilities that entailed. The post office side of things gets little mention later.
It seems Joseph died at some tine from 1881 to 1891, and the position if postmaster passed to Richard, who in turn seemingly passed it on to his son Charles Henry (the chess-player), who bought a post office in Llanfairfechan in 1932, and in turn passed it on to one of his sons (Stanley?), who in turn passed it on to one of his sons (Andrew R?).
In 1887, in the registration district of Dewsbury, Richard married Jane Mellor (born 1853/54, Darton, near Barnsley). They went on to have at least the following children, all Hepworth-born:
It appears that older brother John Elliott Hinchliff was the “J E Hinchcliffe” who won the 1920/21 Yorkshire Championship, also that he was the “J Hinchliffe” who lost his game play in a simultaneous display by H. E. Atkins, in Huddersfield, on 25/09/1915, and the “J Hinchcliffe” who played twice on board 2 for Bradford in the 1919-20 Woodhouse Cup.
Joseph Hinchliff died on 25/03/1885, and was buried in Hepworth Wesleyan Methodist Chapelyard, with the earlier deaths of children Mary Ann, Louisa Ann, Herbert and Rachel also recorded in the memorial inscription, which goes on to record the subsequent deaths of wife Mary and son Elliott, who presumably were buried in the same grave.
The 1891 census found Richard, wife Jane and 1-year-old first child Mary Jane living not at the farm, but in Town Gate in Hepworth. Richard was now a postmaster and printer. The post office function would very likely be run from part of the printing premises.
The 1901 census found Richard and Jane with their four children living at Hepworth. Richard was now a letterpress printer and newsagent.
He was reportedly instrumental in informing the Huddersfield Motor Club, but that seems unlikely as it was formed in 1904, when Charles was about 8 years of age, and celebrated its centenary in 2004. Presumably he did have some important involvement with the club at some stage.
The 1911 census found Richard, Jane and the four children living at an address specified as no more than “Hepworth, Huddersfield”. Richard was a letterpress printer, Mary Jane had no specified employment, Annie Elizabeth was an assistant teacher, while John Elliott was a “teacher student” (i.e. student teacher) and Charles Henry was a letterpress printing apprentice.
Richard was described as working from home, which implies the home and business premises where one.
Charles went on to work for Standard Fireworks, printing the labels.
Charles Henry Hinchliff married Irene Wilkinson in 1914 in the Huddersfield area, going on to have at least the following children:
There are other Hinchliff births which may be attributable to the same parents.
In October 1916, he applied to become a member of the Member of the Huddersfield branch of the Typographical Association. His name was given in full, correctly, and his age was given as 20, which tallies.
The First World War saw him serve in the Royal Navy. He reportedly saw action at the battle of Jutland (31/05/1916 to 01/06/1916), though that seems slightly at odds with the date of the application to join the Typographical Association; maybe be was in the Jutland area later on. His Royal Navy war record (which bore the stamp “Formerly RNVR Y” – i.e. Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve) gives his date of birth as 26/11/1895, which is three days later that the date given in the 1939 Register, and place of residence as Hepworth. He was recorded as being 5 feet 7¼ inches tall, with a 36½-inch chest, black hair, brown eyes, and a fresh complexion. He served on the Victory I from 18/01/1917 to 01/05/1917, then on the Agincourt from 02/05/1917 to 01/12/1917, then on the Victory I again from 02/12/1917 to 25/03/1918, then on the Agincourt again from 26/03/1918 to 25/02/1919 being promoted from Ordinary Seaman to Able-Bodied Seaman on 22/08/918.
A search of records of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve has yielded nothing perhaps, due perhaps to an error in the surname.
In 1932, Charles Henry Hinchliff purchased a post office in Llanfairfechan, on Colwyn Bay, about 12 miles or so westwards along the coast from Llandudno, and a similar distance eastwards from Bangor, and overlooked by the majestic if bleak-looking Penmaenmawr.
The 1939 census found Charles Henry Hinchliff, wife Irene and the two boys, living at Highbury, Plas Gwyn, Llanfairfechan, Caernarvonshire. Charles was a newsagent and stationer by occupation, but presumably still owned the post office; he was also a special constable as regards contribution to the war effort. Stanley was a student of wireless, but evidently later went to fight in the war. Peter was still under school age.
By 1944, the Hinchliff family had moved to Station Road, Llanfairfechan.
In 1944, at Llanfairfechan, son Stanley married Margaret (“Peggy”) Wynne at Llanfairfechan, and the two went on to have sons John S Hinchliff (born 1946, Llanfairfechan) and Andrew S Hinchliff (born 03/10/1949, Llanfairfechan).
After his son (Stanley, unless there were more sons) had returned from serving in World War II, Charles Henry Hinchliff passed the post office business on to him in 1946, and that son in turn passed it to one of his sons in 1979.
After giving up the post office in 1946, Charles Henry Hinchliff returned to the Huddersfield area, where he was certainly living by 1948.
Later on Charles and wife Irene seem to have move back to North Wales, as both died in North Wales.
The death of Irene Hinchliff was registered in the second quarter of 1972, in the Conway district. Charles then moved in with his son’s family, over the post office.
The death of Charles Henry Hinchliff, after a short illness, was registered in the second quarter of 1987, in the Aberconwy district, which included Llanfairfechan.
His grandson believed that Charles Henry Hinchliff had been Yorkshire Champion, which seems unlikely, there being no such record evident. The apparent confusion probably arises from the “J. E. Hincliffe” who won the Yorkshire Championship in 1920/21 and was probably Charles Henry Hinchliff’s brother John Elliott Hinchliff with a mangled surname.
A few examples of C. H. Hincliff in play are to hand (often recorded under an incorrectly spelt name).
“C. H. Hinchcliffe” played board 6 for Huddersfield 2nd team against Sheffield 2nd team on 13/10/1923.
“C. H. Hinchcliff” played on board 2 for Huddersfield 2nd team v Sheffield 2nd team on 08/11/1924.
He probably played more frequently for the 2nd team in Yorkshire team competitions, but sometimes got called on by the 1st team captain, it seems. Thus “C. H. Hinchcliffe” played once for Huddersfield in the 1924-25 Woodhouse Cup.
He was listed as a member of Huddersfield Chess Club in 1935, though he was not resident in Huddersfield at the time, so perhaps he simply maintained his membership from afar.
While in North Wales, he joined Llandudno Chess Club, and he won the North Wales Individual Chess Championship in 1936.
He is recorded as being treasurer of Huddersfield Chess Club around 1947 and 1948, after his return to the area, taking the lead in finding new premises for the club when they were threatened with a large rent increase at their old venue.
“C H Hinchliffe” played for Huddersfield v Hull on 17/12/1949.
C H Hinchliff, without a terminal “e”, played for Hull v Huddersfield on 25/03/1950.
His one competition win at Huddersfield Chess Club was winning their Individual Knock Out Section 1, in 1958.
Copyright © 2021 Stephen John Mann
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