Yorkshire Chess History



Percival Wright Humble











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1828/29, Sunderland



1851, Newcastle‑upon‑Tyne



Percival Wright Humble of Newcastle-upon-Tyne was an apparently promising player who died tragically young, at the age of 22.


Non-Chess Life


It would appear Percival Wright Humble’s was still quite young when his father died, which must have been at some time from 1834 to 1841.  His mother was Northumberland-born Mary Humble.  There seem to have been at least seven children in this Humble family:


Elizabeth Humble

born 1816/17, Sunderland

Isabella Humble

born 1822/23, (outside Northumberland)

George Humble

born 1824/25, Gateshead

Jane Humble

born 1826/27, (outside Northumberland)

Percival Wright Humble

born 1828/29, Sunderland

Ann W. Humble

born 1831/32, Sunderland

Frances S Humble

born 1835/36, Newcastle-upon-Tyne


Elizabeth Humble, it seems, had married a land agent, Mr. Maughan, before the 1841 census, and had left her mother’s home.


The 1841 census found 50-year-old Northumberland-born Mary Humble as an innkeeper on Nun Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, living with children Isabella, George (apprenticed to a brass finisher), Jane, Percival and Ann, and two servants.


The 1851 census found 61-year-old Mary Humble now a bank shareholder living at 36 Blackett Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with married daughter Elizabeth Maughan, George (now a master plumber, employing 6 men), Percival (a commission agent), Ann and Frances, and two servants.  The Blackett Street residence was barely 300 yards from the Nun Street one.


Our man was thus by occupation a commission agent.




The Chess Player’s Chronicle of 1851, on page 318, reported his death as follows:

We deeply regret to have this month to announce the death of P. W. Humble of Newcastle-upon-Tyne; who at the early age of 22, and after only a few days illness, has fallen a victim to a violent attack of fever.  Mr. Humble was unquestionably one of the finest and most promising chess players in the north of England, and only needed the training of a little first-rate practice to have taken a very high rank amongst the strongest players of the day.  He was besides universally esteemed for his amiable and friendly disposition; and we feel assured that his premature loss will not be more deplored by any of his numerous acquaintances, than by that portion of them whose friendship was formed and cemented by the misnamed “unsocial” game.  In another part of the present No. will be found nearly the last game he played.


His death was registered in the third quarter of 1851, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne.




He was a member of what seemed to be called the Northumberland Chess Club, presumably in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.


“W. Humble” was listed as attending the 1850 annual meeting of the original Yorkshire Chess Association, in Leeds.  This presumably meant “P. W. Humble”.


The Chess Player’s Chronicle of 1851, on page 294, recorded a game in which P. W. Humble beat Silas Angas, another strong North-Eastern player, this being the game referred to in the above obituary.


Other games of his appeared in the Chess Player’s Chronicle of 1850, on pages 129, 235 and 236.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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