Yorkshire Chess History



Sir Frank Tillyard, C. B. E.











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1865, Sprowston, Norfolk



10/07/1961, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford



While he was playing chess in Sheffield, he was simply Frank Tillyard.  He acquired his C.B.E. and knighthood after leaving Sheffield.


Non-Chess Life


Frank Tillyard was born in Sprowston, 2 miles to the NE of the centre of Norwich, on the periphery of the modern Norwich built up area.  The birth was registered in the first quarter of 1865, at St. Faith (area to the north of Norwich).  His mother was Mary Tillyard (born 1825/26, Norwich).


Frank is elusive in the 1871 census, when he’d be only 6 years old,


The 1881 census found 16-year-old Frank boarding at 160 Amhurst Road, Hackney, London, with 51-year-old Julia Scott.  Frank was a scholar.


His involvement with the Mansfield House University Settlement, mentioned below, suggests he went to Oxford University.  In the years from 1881 to 1891 Frank acquired an M.A. and qualified as a barrister.


The 1891 census found 26-year-old Sprowston-born barrister Frank Tillyard was living at 3 Mosshall(?) Crescent, Finchley, with his widowed mother, 65-year-old Mary Tillyard, and his 31-year-old Norwich-born sister, Fanny M. Tillyard.  The three were at the time being visited by 39-year-old Norwich-born Alfred I. Tillyard, who was probably Frank’s brother, and 38-year-old Cambridge-born Catherine S. Tillyard, who was possibly Alfred’s wife.  The household also included one servant.  Frank was a barrister, while Alfred was living on his own means.


In 1889, something called the Mansfield House University Settlement was set up for the quaint-sounding purpose of providing tudents of Mansfield College, Oxford, experience of involvement with working-class people, and to demonstrate to those working-class people a more respectable way of life than spending their free time in public houses.  Among services provided to the working-class members of the Settlement was a ‘Poor Man’s Lawyer’ scheme under which law students provided free legal advice.  Frank Tillyard is credited with setting up this scheme in 1891.


On 25/09/1891, Frank Tillyard married Emily Katherine Ridley, at Finchley.  The bride was known by her middle name, Katherine.  She was born in 1867/68, at Hackney.  The couple had at least the following two children:


Kathleen Mary Tillyard

born 1895/96, Woodford Green, Essex

Alice Margaret Tillyard

born 1897/98, Sheffield


The names of his wife and children are here spelt as Frank Tillyard himself spelt them in his 1911 census return.


By March 1898, if not before, Frank was living in Sheffield.


The 1901 census found Frank and Katherine (the latter misrepresented as “Catherine E. Tillyard”), two daughters and one servant living at 276 Granville Road, Sheffield.  (The daughters’ names were also somewhat misrepresented.)  Frank was described as a barrister and private secretary.


While in Sheffield Frank engaged in worthy voluntary work in the community.  White’s Directory of Sheffield & Rotherham, 1901, confirms his home address as 276 Granville Road, Sheffield, and also informs us that he was honorary secretary of Shales Moor Neighbour Guild, Ebenezer Street, Sheffield, as well as being secretary of Kingsley House Boys’ and Girls’ Evening Club, 185 Woodside Lane, Sheffield.


His stay in Sheffield was relatively short.  He was still in Sheffield in 1902, but by 1911 had moved to Birmingham, where he took a post as lecturer in law at Birmingham University.  (In 1902 a law faculty seems not to have been listed, so maybe it was a new faculty when he joined it.)


The 1911 census found Frank, his wife, two children and two servants at 27 Thornton(??) Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham.  Frank was described as a lecturer on law at Birmingham University, a barrister not in practice, and organising secretary for a “charity organisation society”.  His daughters were scholars.


This census return hits at continued charitable philanthropic activity, which was very probably what led to his being made a Commander of the British Empire in the Birthday Honours list of 1929, at which time he was 64 years old.


In time he became Emeritus Professor of Commercial Law at the University of Birmingham.  He also became “Chairman of Trade Boards” for the Ministry of Labour and National Service.  It was probably his retirement in the latter capacity which prompted his knighthood.


In the 1945 Birthday Honours List, “Professor Frank Tillyard, C.B.E., lately Chairman of Trade Boards, Ministry of Labour and National Service” was knighted, so becoming Sir Frank Tillyard, C.B.E.  At this stage he was 80 years old.


Frank Tillyard’s pen was not idle.  He wrote a number of books of little interest to the average chess-player, including:

Goodwill And Its Treatment In Accounts (Lawrence Robert Dicksee and Frank Tillyard)

Industrial Law (Frank Tillyard)

Unemployment Insurance in Great Britain, 1911–1948 (Sir Frank Tillyard, C.B.E., M.A., M.COM., of the Middle Temple,. Barrister-at-Law)

The Worker and The State (Sir Frank Tillyard)

Banking and Negotiable Instruments (Sir Frank Tillyard)

An Introduction to Commercial Law (Sir Frank Tillyard)




Frank Tillyard died, aged 96, on 10/07/1961.


Probate records state that Sir Frank Tillyard C. B. E., knight, of 6 Church Road, Highgate, London, died on 10/07/1961 at Oxford’s Radcliffe Infirmary.  Administration of his estate was granted to Marjorie Lily Sammons, married woman.  He left effects of £12,138 7s 10d.




He played in the Sheffield league for Arundel Chess Club.  He was good enough to beat Rotherham’s Joseph Wollman, but not good enough to beat West End’s Hildreth Dudley Rocket.


He played for Sheffield in the Woodhouse Cup, tending to draw his games.


He played on board 35 for Yorkshire in the 1899-1900 friendly correspondence match with Kent.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

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

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