Yorkshire Chess History
John Ellis Parry
Identity of the Chess-Player
The geographical movements of this John E. Parry exactly mirror the locations recorded for chess-player “J. E. Parry” in chess reports. Whilst there were numerous people with a name matching “J. E.Parry”, the chess references are clearly all to this single person.
John Ellis Parry was born some time from 08/04/1857 to 31/03/1858 in the village of Llanllechid, Caernarvonshire, which is about 5 miles SE of Bangor. The birth seems not to have been registered with the second forename Ellis (which is given in the 1911 census return completed by the man himself). There are three registrations of “John Parry” in the relevant period in the relevant registration district (i.e. Bangor), one in Q2 of 1857, and two in Q1 of 1858. His parents were slate quarrier William Parry and his wife Jane Parry, who had at least the following children:
Llanllechid was in the registration district of Bangor, where three instances of “John Parry”, but none with a middle name given, had there births registered in the relevant period.
The 1861 census found the family of parents and the first five children, including 3-year-old Llanllechid-born “John Parry” with no middle name given, living in Georgon Street, Llannllechid.
Jane Perry seems to have died in 1861, perhaps at of shortly after the childbirth. Father William seems to have married a Mary, probably Mary Hughes, in 1861 or 1864. William at least one more child by his new wife:
The 1871 census found William and Mary Parry, and children John, Ann, Ellis and Henry living at The George and Dragon, 156 High Street, Bangor, where father William was now an innkeeper, and John was a scholar. The father was recorded merely as “Mr. Parry”.
At some stage from 1871 to 1881 John Ellis Parry left Bangor for Liverpool.
The 1881 census found 23-year-old Llanllechid-born “John E Parry” (now for the first time with middle initial “E” recorded in a census) working in the field of wholesale grocery and tea, and living as a boarder in 22 Eversley Street, in the Toxteth area of Liverpool.
At some time from 1881 to 1890, John E Parry married a Mary Ann Edwards, who was born 1857/58 in Cilycwm, Carmarthenshire. Their marriage was seemingly that registered in the third quarter of 1889, at Toxteth Park, between “John Parry” (no “E”) and “Mary Ann Edwards”, the latter probably being the one whose birth was registered in the second quarter of 1857 at Llandovery which encompassed Cilycwm. The couple had at least the following children:
The 1891 census found married 33-year-old John E Parry, who was a tea traveller and clerk, living, seemingly as a lodger, at 11 Martensen Street in the West Derby district of Liverpool. His place of birth was given as Bethesda, which is barely 2 miles from the smaller Llanllechid which for some purposes might be seen as encompassed by Bethesda.
Wife Mary Ann Parry was meanwhile found in the 1891 census living, temporarily, in her native Cilycwm, with brothers Timothy Edwards (a farmer) and David E Edwards (a physician and surgeon), and her baby daughter Rachel J Parry, and two servants. She had evidently moved there for the birth of her first child.
Kelly’s 1896 Liverpool directory listed John Edwd Parry as a commercial traveller living at 8 Mortensen Street, Liverpool. It seems “Ellis” was perhaps written down and then misread later as “Edwd”.
Chess records place “J. E. Parry” in Liverpool up to 10/03/1900 or later. He must have move from Liverpool to Shrewsbury at some time from March to May 1900, as he appeared on board 1 for Shropshire on 01/06/1900.
The 1901 census found parents and two children living at 27 Bishop Street, Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Father John E Parry was a commercial traveller in tea.
Around 1907/08 “J. E. Parry” moved from Shrewsbury back to Bangor. He played for Shrewsbury against Dawley as late as November 1907, but on 18/11/1908 appeared for Bangor against Colwyn Bay.
The 1911 census found parents and two children living at 4 Glandwr Terrace, Bangor, Caernarvonshire, where the father was still a commercial traveller in tea as well as being an agent for sundry grocery goods. The full name of John E Parry was given by the man himself as “John Ellis Parry”. All four were stated to speak both Welsh and English.
“J. E. Parry” was recorded as resident at Market Drayton, Shropshire, in 1914.
Chess records show that at some time from 1914 to 1921 “J. E. Parry” moved to Manchester.
The death of a “John Parry”, aged 75, was registered in the first quarter of 1934, in the registration district of Ormskirk, Lancashire. This may have been that of the chess-player.
Chess activity is not evident prior to his move to Liverpool, from which he represented Liverpool and Lancashire form 1884 or earlier through to 1900. From 1900 to 1907/8 he played for Shrewsbury and Shropshire, then from 1907/8 he played for Bangor until sometime from 1911 to 1914. After 1918 he seems to have been known as a Manchester player.
He played in the 1900 SCCU Congress in Bath, finishing 9th out of 15.
On Wednesday 08/07/1903 he visited Denbigh Chess Club while on business in the area, and gave a simultaneous display against 15 club member, winning all 15 games! In the report in the North Wales Times he was described as “of Liverpool Chess Club”, though he lived in Shrewsbury at the time.
He played at the British Championships:
1906, Shrewsbury, 11th out of 12 in Championship proper (when he was part of the local organising committee).
1910, Oxford (playing in Major Open)
1911 Glasgow, 11th out of 12 in Championship proper (when he was recorded as hailing from Bangor)
1914 Chester, 10th out of 12 in Championship proper (when he was recorded as hailing from Market Drayton)
1925 Stratford, 10th out of 12 in the Major Open
He was present for part of the time, if not playing, at the 1909 BCF Congress in Scarborough. He played in a lightning (10 seconds per move) tournament, finishing 2nd out of 48 players.
He played at the 1921 NCCU Congress in Manchester.
Copyright © 2020 Stephen John Mann
Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information