Yorkshire Chess History
Dr. William Ellis
Though Dr. William Ellis spent most of his life in Morley, 4 to 5 miles SW of the centre of Leeds, he was born in Doncaster according to census returns. His ages (the plausible ones) stated as at various dates limit his date of birth to the period 08/04/1813 to 16/02/1814. In his second marriage register entry his father was identified as the William Ellis, “clerk in holy orders”.
Baines’s History, Directory & Gazetteer of the County of York &c, Vol. I - West Riding, 1822, listed Rev. W. Ellis under “Academies, Schools, Public & Private” as running a gentlemen’s boarding establishment of the specified kind at Hall Gate. This is presumably where the future Dr. William Ellis received his early education.
Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Cheshire, Cumberland &c, 1828-29, similarly listed Rev. Wm. Ellis, under “Academies and Schools”, as running a gentlemen’s boarding establishment at Hall Gate.
White’s History, Gazetteer, and Directory, of the West-Riding of Yorkshire, &c, 1837, didn’t list the Rev. Wm. Ellis in Doncaster, nor did Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Yorkshire, Leicestershire &c, 1841.
Dr. William Ellis’s medical qualifications, as stated in census returns, were “LAC” (Licentiate of the Apothecaries’ Company), “MRCSL” (Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, London), and “L. F. P. S. G.” whatever that means.
His marriage to Ann Hall (born at Knottingley, probably in 1810/11) was registered in the fourth quarter of 1839, at Doncaster. Ann’s age as staged in the 1851 and 1861 censuses (37 and 48) seem understated by two years when compared with her stated age at death.
The 1841 census found William and Ann with two servants, one of who was Mary Richardson, living at Banks Hill, Morley. William was described as a surgeon.
William and Ann in due course had two children, both born in Morley:
The 1851 census found the parents, two children and three servants living at Middlethorp, Morley. Doncaster-born William was listed as a surgeon. Middlethorp is not evident in the OS Street Atlas.
On 07/02/1860, son William Ellis died at the age of 14, and was interred at St. Peter’s, Morley.
The 1861 census found the Ellis household more specifically as Manor House, Morley, which address was listed between ones given simply as Middlethorp, suggesting the Manor House was in Middlethorp. Modern street names suggest this was in the Churwell district to the NE of the centre of Morley. The household included a 16-year-old pupil of Dr. William Ellis. Surviving son George was not listed, so perhaps he was away at school.
On 14/03/1866, Mary Richardson, who had served William Ellis as a domestic servant for 25 years or more, died at the age of 72, and was interred in the same grave plot as 14-year-old William Ellis junior.
On 11/09/1867, Dr. William Ellis’s wife, Ann, died, her age being given on the grave’s headstone as 56. On 14/09/1867 she was interred in the same grave plot as son William and housekeeper Mary Richardson by A. M. Parkinson,incumbent, her age in the burial register being given as 51.
Dr. William Ellis remarried in time. Thus, on 05/08/1868, at Bradford parish church, “52”-year-old Morley surgeon, William Ellis, son of William Ellis, clerk in holy orders, was married to Maria Freeman, spinster of Horton, daughter of James Freeman, farmer, by a certain Frederic Freeman as officiating minister, suggesting there was a clergyman in the family.
William and his second wife, Maria, soon had a son:
William Stuart Ellis died on 29/07/1869, aged only 4 weeks, and was interred in the family grave plot at St. Peter’s, Morley.
The 1871 census found William and Maria, with two servants, living at Queen Street, Morley, which is now a largely pedestrianised main shopping street running through the centre of Morley.
On 21/09/1871, only surviving son, George Ellis, died at the age of 24, and was interred in the family grave plot at St. Peter’s, Morley.
At some time from 1871 to 1879 the Ellises, William and Mary, moved to 4 Prince of Wales Road, Scarborough. This moved was probably after the 24/05/1873 on the basis of records of chess activity.
Probates records state that William Ellis, late of Manor House, Norley [sic], in the parish of Batley, M.D., died on 16/04/1879 at 4 Prince of Wales Road, Scarborough.
He was interred in the family grave plot at St. Peter’s, Morley, on 19/02/1879, by Henry Jackson, his age being given in the burial register (entry number 1582) as 65 years. (Click here for images of the grave.)
His will was proved by his widow, Maria Ellis, of 4 Prince of Wales Road, Scarborough.
The single headstone at the St. Peter’s grave plot reads:
IN MEMORY OF
SON OF WILLIAM AND ANN ELLIS,
WHO DIED FEBRUARY 7TH 1860,
AGED 14 YEARS.
WHO DIED MARCH 14TH 1866,
AGED 72 YEARS.
ALSO ANN ELLIS,
WHO DIED SEPEMBER 11TH, 1867,
AGED 56 YEARS.
ALSO WILLIAM STUART,
SON OF WILLIAM AND MARIA ELLIS
WHO DIED JULY 29TH, 1869,
AGED 4 WEEKS.
ALSO GEORGE ELLIS,
WHO DIED SEPTEMBER 21ST, 1871,
AGED 24 YEARS.
ALSO THE AFORESAID WILLIAM ELLIS,
WHO DIED FEBRUARY 16TH, 1879,
AGED 65 YEARS.
Dr. W. Ellis of Morley is recorded as attending 8 annual meetings of the West Yorkshire Chess Association, those of 1859, 1864, 1867, and all from 1869 to 1873. W. Ellis of Leeds is recorded as attending in 1862 and 1868, when Dr. W. Ellis of Morley was absent, so we can probably assume W. Ellis of Leeds [Chess Club] was the same person as Dr. W. Ellis of Morley [by residence]. He normally participated in one or other of the knock-out competitions at the WYCA meetings.
Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann
Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information