Yorkshire Chess History



Benjamin Tansley











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



22/04/1839, York


17/05/1839, York


01/10/1901, Bridlington



Non-Chess Life


The parents of Benjamin Tansley were William Tansley (born 1805/06, York) and Sarah Tansley (1815/16, York), whom had at least the following seven children:


Henrietta C Tansley

born 1836/37

William Tansley

born 1837

Benjamin Tansley

born 22/04/1839

Sarah A Tansley

born 1840

John H Tansley

born 1842/43

Mary Tansley

born 1844/45

Louisa Tansley

born 1846/47


The 1841 census found parents William and Sarah, with all the eldest four of the above children, and a servant, living at “Feasgate” (now spelt “Feasegate”), York.  William was a cooper.


The 1851 census found parents William and Sarah, with all the above seven children, living at 27 Feasegate, York.  Father William was a master cooper, employing three men.  Eldest son William was also a cooper.  The other children were scholars.


York-born Benjamin Tansley is elusive in the 1861 census, though a namesake of the same age born in Cottingham, Northants, is evident.


The 1871 census found “30”-year-old York-born Benjamin Tansley to be a telegraph clerk boarding at 5 Church Street, Hackney, London.


York-born Benjamin Tansley is elusive also in the 1881 census, though his Cottingham-born namesake is evident again evident.  He appears to have been still living in the London area.


The marriage of Benjamin Tansley to the widowed Catharine Topham (née Ascough, 1842/43, Scarborough) was registered in the first quarter of 1883, at Chelsea, London.


In the 1881 census, widow Catharine Topham had been listed as living with her parents, William Ascough and Sarah Ascough, her brother William Ascough, and her son John V. Topham, at 16 Aberdeen Walk, Scarborough.  William senior was a retired publican, William junior was a draper, and Catharine was a lodging-house keeper.  Her husband, John Lawson Topham, had died in 1872.


The 1891 census found married (not widowed) 51-year-old York-born Benjamin Tansley and 19-year-old Scarborough-born stepson John V. Topham living at 26 Candler Street, Scarborough.  Benjamin was a retired clerk, while John was a nurseryman.  Catharine Tansley’s absence from the household was possibly due to her being in an asylum.


B. Tansley played chess for Scarborougn in 1894,and so was probably still living in Scarborough at that time, though he soon moved to Bridlington, perhaps after the death of his wife.


Catharine Tansley, wife of Benjamin Tansley, died on 11/03/1896, at the North Riding lunatic asylum, “Clifton-without”.  Probate was granted to John Hamilton esquire, M.D.  She left £318.


The 1901 census found “62”-year-old York-born widower Benjamin Tansley boarding at 3 Palace Avenue, Bridlington.  He was described as a retired telegraph clerk.




The death of Benjamin Tansley, aged 62, was registered in the fourth quarter of 1901, at Bridlington.




“B. Tansley” played for Scarborough in the 1894 Whitby v Scarborough match and the 1894 Scarborough v Whitby match.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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