Yorkshire Chess History



Henry Brady Priestman











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1853, Thornton‑le‑Dale



22/11/1920, Bedford



Non-Chess Life


The Priestmans were a Quaker family.  The parents of Henry Brady Priestman were John Priestman (born 1828/29, Malton, North Yorkshire) and Henrietta Priestman (born 1827/28, North Shields, Northumberland – now Tyne & Wear).  This couple had at least the following ten children;


Henry Brady Priestman

1853/54, Thornton‑le‑Dale

Margaret Priestman

1854/55, Thornton‑le‑Dale

Arthur Priestman

1855/56, Thornton‑le‑Dale

Herbert Priestman

1857/58, Thornton‑le‑Dale

Marian Priestman

1859/60, Thornton‑le‑Dale

Edgar Priestman

1861/62, Thornton‑le‑Dale

Janet Priestman

1863/64, Bradford

Edith Priestman

1864/65, Bradford

Thornton Priestman

1866/67, Bradford

Ida Mary Priestman

1868/70, Bradford


Thornton-le-Dale, also known either as Thornton Dale or, locally, merely as Thornton, is a village 3 miles east of Pickering, North Yorkshire, and is not to be confused with Thornton-le-Beans, Thornton-le-Clay, Thornton-le-Moor, Thornton-le-Street, Thornton-on-the-Hill, Thornton in Craven, Thornton in Lonsdale, Thornton Bridge, Thornton Moor, Thornton Rust, Thornton Steward, or Thornton Watlass, all of which are in North Yorkshire, or indeed with the suburb of Bradford called Thornton.  It is situated where the modern A170 crosses Thornton Beck.


The 1861 census found parents and first five of the above children living with 3 servants at Thornton Dale, in a cottage whose name is unreadable but started with “B” or “P” and was perhaps something like “Pishell”.  Father John Priestman was a miller employing 4 men.  Henry, Margaret and Arthur were students.


The family moved to Bradford around 1862/63, with a shift in occupation for father John Priestman.  It would appear father John Priestman and eldest son Henry Brady Priestman entered into partnership with relatives in Bradford, Alfred Priestman and Arthur Priestman carrying on business as worsted spinners and manufacturers in Bradford, under the style of Alfred Priestman and Co.


The 1871 census found the parents and all ten offspring, except for sons Arthur and Herbert, living with four servants at 6 Walmer Villas, Manningham, Bradford.  Father John and eldest son Henry were now both described as “worsted spinner and manufacturer, landowner, and town councillor.  Also living in the household was John’s 22-year-old Hull-born cousin, Joshua Priestman, a farmer’s apprentice.  Marian, Edgar, Janet and Edith were scholars.


In 1876, Henry Brady Priestman made a trip to Tasmania, and possibly elsewhere.  The National Archive contains a letter written by him from Tasmania to his parents.


The Friends Provident Institution was set up in Bradford, in 1832, by Quakers Joseph Rowntree and Samuel Tuke into whose family the Priestman family appears to have married, producing Alfred Tuke Priestman.  This organisation was a “friendly society” for the benefit of members of the Society of Friends, usually known as Quakers.  It became a mutual life assurance company in 1854.  At some stage, Henry Brady Priestman became a director of this organisation.


In 1878, Henry Brady Priestman married Alice Beaumont (born 1853, Bradford).  Thereafter she was normally listed in censuses as Alice Priestman, though in 1911, husband Henry listed her as Alice Beaumont Priestman.  The couple went on to have at least the following six children, all born in Bradford;


John Beaumont Priestman


Muriel Priestman

Oct/Sep 1880

Austin Priestman


Nora S Priestman


Kathleen Isabel Priestman


Evangeline Priestman



The 1881 census found Henry, Alice and the first two children living with two servants at 15 Farcliffe Terrace, Manningham, Bradford.  Henry was listed as a worsted spinner and manufacturer.


Kelly’s Directory of the West Riding of Yorkshire, 1881, listed John Priestman, presumably our man’s father, and also Alfred Priestman, Edward Priestman, Frederick Priestman (an alderman), James Priestman and Walter Priestman as resident in Bradford, most of these latter four, presumably, being uncles, cousins or more distant relatives of Henry Brady Priestman.


The partnership trading as Alfred Priestman and Co. was dissolved by mutual consent on 30/09/1889.  Consequent to this, Henry Brady Priestman and Alfred Tuke Priestman entered partnership as worsted spinners and stuff manufacturers under the same style of Alfred Priestman and Co.  This looks like the fathers handing over to their sons.


The 1891 census found Henry, Alice, the first five of the above children, and two servants, living at 7 Fairfield Road, Manningham, Bradford.  Henry was, as before a worsted spinner and manufacturer.  The oldest four children were scholars.


The partnership of Henry Brady Priestman and Alfred Tuke Priestman, trading as Alfred Priestman and Co., was dissolved by mutual consent on 31/12/1894, with the business then being carried on by Henry Brady Priestman alone, under the style of H. B. Priestman and Co.


The 1901 census found essentially the same family living at the same address as before but with the addition of Evangeline (or Evangelina).  Mother Alice and son Austin were away from home at the time.  Henry was now a magistrate, minister in the Society of Friends (i.e. Quakers), and a worsted spinner and manufacturer.  So John was similarly a worsted manufacturer, with the subtle difference that Henry was an employer while John was employed (presumably by his father).  Austin was probably at university, as he ended up as a medical practitioner.


The 1911 census found Henry, Alice and Austin living with two servants at 31 Wilmer Drive, Bradford.  Henry was a spinner of worsted yarns, and Austin was medical practitioner.


In July 1912, Henry and Alice arrived on a ship at Montreal, Canada, with England as their final destination.  They appear to have been returning from a trip to the United States, calling at Montreal on the way.


In 1913, Kathleen Isabel Priestman, 25-year-old spinster of 31 Wilmer Drive, Bradford, daughter of Henry Brady Priestman, worsted spinner, and Alice Beaumont Priestman, married 27-year-old civil engineer, Hugh Charles Darbishire, of 17 Chester Square, Ashton-under-Lyne, son of Charles Henry Darbishire, quarry owner, and Mary Lilian Darbishire.


Kelly’s 1917 directory of Bradford listed H. B. Priestman & Co., worsted spinners, at Brick Lane Mills, Thornton Road, Bradford.


Henry’s wife, Alice B. Priestman, died on 04/02/1919, at Bradford, aged 65.


At some stage Henry Brady Priestman moved to Hertfordshire, perhaps following the death of his wife, whom he outlived by less than two years.




Henry Brady Priestman of 2 Sollershott, West Letchworth, Hertfordshire, died on 22/11/1920, at Redondo House, Linden Road, Bedford.  Probate was granted to John Beaumont Priestman, spinner, and Henry Denbigh Beaumont, merchant.  He left effects of £66,477 13s 6d.


Former business partner (and cousin?) Alfred Tuke Priestman, of 5 Ashburnam Grove, Heaton, Bradford, died on 21/02/1921.




“H B Priestman” played in the first-ever Woodhouse Cup match, that between Bradford and Leeds played on 17/01/1885.


H. B. Priestman was presumably active locally as a chess-player, though most other references to “Priestman” in Bradford chess seem to relate to (Alderman) Frederick Priestman.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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