Yorkshire Chess History



Robert Savels Stansfield











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1869/70, Acomb


15/05/1870, Acomb


03/03/1955, Cleckheaton


Scholes, Cleckheaton


Non-Chess Life


Robert Savels Stansfield was the youngest child of ironmonger’s assistant James Stansfield (born 1834/35, York) and Mary Ann Stansfield (née Braithwaite, 1839/40, Leeds) who had married in 1861 at Acomb, and had at least the following children:


Albert John Stansfield

born 1863/64, Acomb

Sydney Stansfield

born 1864/65, Acomb

Kate Stansfield

born 1866, Acomb

Ernest Stansfield

born 1868, Acomb

Robert Savels Stansfield

born 1869/70, Acomb


The above 5 children were listed in the 1871 census.   There was also a Frederick James Stansfield whose birth was registered in the 3rd quarter of 1871 and death was registered in the 4th quarter of 1871.  The death of the above 5 children’s mother, Mary Ann Stansfield, was registered in the 3rd quarter of 1871, aged 31, so it seems reasonable to infer that the mother died giving birth of the said Frederick James Stansfield, who died shortly afterwards, within 6 months of birth.


These tragedies were followed by the death of the father, James Stansfield, aged 37, in 1872, in Acomb.  Presumably all the children went into one or more orphanages.  In particular, the 1881 census found Acomb-born Ernest Stansfield and Robert S. Stansfield living at Headingley Orphan Boys’ Home in Grosvenor Terrace, Headingly, Leeds, under the care of Olive Davies, matron.  Both brothers were scholars.


Robert got into the printing trade, and accordingly, the 1891 census found 21-year-old Acomb-born Robert Savels Stansfield (with middle name misspelt as something looking more like “Saville”) living as a boarder at 1 Ebor Mount, Headingly, Leeds., and employed as a printer-compositor.


Robert Savels Stansfield married Elizabeth Pearce in 1892, in Leeds.  The couple had at least the following children:


Elsie Marian Stansfield

born 1892/93, Cleckheaton

Sydney Pearce Stansfield

born 1896/97, Cleckheaton

Constance Stansfield

born 1898/99, Cleckheaton

Barbara Stansfield

born 1906/07, Cleckheaton


In 1893, give or take a few months, Robert and Elizabeth moved to Cleckheaton.  Accordingly, the 1901 census found Robert, Elizabeth and the first three children living at Elder Terrace, Snelsins Lane, Cleckheaton.  Robert was a letterpress printer, employing staff.  Robert was in 1917 described as “head”, at least of the Cleckheaton site, of a firm called the Valley Printing Company (which had sites at both Leeds and Cleckheaton).  He was presumably employed first at the Leeds branch, and then moved to the Cleckheaton branch, either initially as manager, or in time working his way up to being manager.  The 1894 Leeds and Woollen District directory listed “Valley Printing Co. Bradford Road, Cleckheaton; & at Leeds”.


The 1911 census found parents, four children and a servant living at Westcliffe, Cleckheaton.


In 1917, son Sydney Pearce Stansfield, who had enlisted as a private and worked his way to Second-Lieutenant, was killed in action.  At that time his parents lived at Hamilton House, Cleckheaton.




Robert Savels Stansfield died on 03/03/1955, at Cleckheaton, and was buried at Cleckheaton New Cemetery, Whitechapel Road, Scholes, Cleckheaton.




The documented chess career of “R S Stansfield” seems limited roughly to the brief period 1889 to 1898, just ten years.


From 1889 to 1892 he played in the Woodhouse Cup for Leeds. (Woodhouse Cup 1889, Woodhouse Cup 1890, Woodhouse Cup 1891, Woodhouse Cup 1891-92)


After the move to Cleckheaton, he played for Heckmondwike.  He represented Heckmondwike in the Woodhouse Cup in 1894, and then in the Minor Trophy competition in 1895.


He played in the North of England v South match of 1894.


He represented Yorkshire in the 1896 Yorkshire v Cheshire match and the 1898 Lancashire v Yorkshire match.





Copyright © 2020 Stephen John Mann

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

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