Yorkshire Chess History



Gustavus Adolphus Menssing











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1836/37/38/39, Frankfurt, Germany



11/04/1900, Wiesbaden, Germany



In the 1860s and 70s, “A. Menssing” or “A. Mensing” crops up as Bradford chess-player.  Sometimes his first name, “Adolphus”, is given in full.  The only plausible “Mens(s)ing” to fit to bill would appear to be Gustavus Adolphus Menssing.  It is quite possible that this gentleman chose to be known as “Adolph(us)” rather than “Gustav(us)”.  Also, since German used a single letter resembling a Greek beta for double “s”, it seems possible this resulted in a single “s” being used by English writers.


Non-Chess Life


Gustavus Adolphus Menssing does not seem to have troubled the English census enumerators until 1871, when he was recorded as a lodger at the lodging house run by Jane Duckitt at 95 North Parade, Bradford.  He was said to be 34 years old, to have been born at Frankfurt (on Maine, presumably), but to be a naturalised British subject.  By occupation he was a stuff merchant.


That he is not evident in the 1861 census suggests he arrived in England at some time form 1861 to 1871.


Somewhere along the line he got married, probably by 1876.  His wife was called Johanna Lydia Menssing, and had been born in Prussia.  The couple had at least the following three children, all born in Bradford:


Wilhelmine Menssing

born 1876/77

Louis Menssing

born 1879

Maria D Menssing

born 1880


Around 1880/81 the Menssings seem to have moved to Ilkley.  The 1881 census found the parents and three children living with three servants at 2 Stourton Ford, Ilkley.  The father was described as a 42-year-old shipping merchant.  His ages as given in 1871 and 1881 are inconsistent.  The ages of Louis and Maria were both given as one.


The Menssings seem absent from subsequent English censuses, suggesting our man had returned to his native Germany at stage form 1881 to 1891.




He presumably still had assets in England in 1900, as UK probate documentation records that Gustav Adolph Menssing, of 56 Sonnenburger-strasse, Wiesdbaden, Germany, died on 18/01/1900, and that probate was granted to Johanna Lydia Menssing, widow.  His effects totalled £8,513 12s 11d.




“Mr. Mensing” or merely “Mensing” played forBradford in both legs of the 1864 Bradford-Huddersfield match.


“A. Menssing” played for Bradford in the 1872 Wakefield-Bradford match.


Adolphus Menssing attended the 1871 and 1874 meetings of the West Yorkshire Chess Association, being listed as a Bradford player.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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