Yorkshire Chess History



Rev. James William Wilkinson











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1864, Preston



November 1932, Balderstone


23/11/1932, Balderstone


Non-Chess Life


On the basis of his age at death and the censuses of 1891 and 1911, the future Rev. James William Wilkinson was born in the period 06/04/1864 to 23/11/1864, at Preston, Lancashire.


Identifying the Rev. James William Wilkinson in censuses prior to 1891 is difficult.  At the time of the 1881 census he’d be 16 and may have been at boarding school.  It’s even possible that his father was one of the various other Reverends James William Wilkinson, and that the parental home was not in Lancashire.


It seems James William Wilkinson started his working life as a schoolmaster, and only later entered the church.  The 1891 census found unmarried 26-year-old Preston-born schoolmaster James W. Wilkinson lodging at 75 Adelaide Street, Blackpool.


Over the period 1891 to 1903 (year of the earliest mention found of him as a clergyman) he evidently became a Church of England clergyman.


In 1896 he married Annie Jeffrey (born 1864/65, Southport), in the Fylde area of Lancashire (Blackpool etc).  The 1911 census said they had had by then four children (all surviving).


In March 1903, the Rev. J. W. Wilkinson, described as formerly curate-in-charge, was appointed vicar of Rawtenstall.  From here he moved in 1905 to nearby Goodshaw.


(There were references in early 1905 to a Rev. J. W. Wilkinson, M.A., as vicar of St. Paul’s, Compstall, in February and March 1905, which is about 2 miles east of Romiley, and is encompassed by the modern-day Greater Manchester.  Some references describe him as “Rev. J.W. Chaplin-Wilkinson”.  In particular, a history of the church says “Rev. J.W. Chaplin-Wilkinson” was the incumbent from 1904 to 1914.  This seems not to have been our Rev. J. W. Wilkinson.)


A history of St. Mary and All Saints church, Goodshaw, 2 miles north of Rawtenstall, in the broader district of Rossendale, records Rev. J. W. Wilkinson, M.A. as the incumbent there from 1905 to 1909.  Goodshaw is not far outside the modern Greater Manchester.


In 1909, the Rev. James William Wilkinson became vicar of St. John’s, Accrington, within 5 miles as the crow flies north-north-east of Goodshaw.


The 1911 census found 46-year-old Preston-born clergyman of the established church (C of E) James William Wilkinson living with wife Annie Wilkinson, daughter Alice Marjorie Wilkinson (born 1905, Rawtenstall) and two servants living at St. John’s Vicarage, Accrington.  They had had three other children.  Quite were they were is unclear.  They also had two visitors at the time, one being 52-year-old Mary Jeffrey, perhaps Annie’s sister.


He remained vicar of Accrington at least to 1918.  The ten years after that are foggy, but by 1929 he was being mentioned as vicar of St. Leonard’s, Balderstone, 4 miles NW of Blackburn, and 5 miles east of his native Preston.




Rev. J. W. Wilkinson died at Balderstone in November 1932, and was buried there on 23/11/1932.




References to him playing chess range through the first three decades of the 1900s.  In particular, he played in the Major section of the 1913 NCCU congress in Blackpool.





Copyright © 2017 Stephen John Mann

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

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