Edward Guthlac Sergeant

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Colin Patterson
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Edward Guthlac Sergeant

Postby Colin Patterson » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:13 pm

I seem to have uncovered one or two puzzling details about this player. I'm hoping one of our resident experts has some concrete knowledge.

Most authoritative texts including Gaige, give his birth as 3/12/1881, in Gateshead. However, Wikipedia has his birthplace as Crowland, Lincolnshire, sourced to a Birth, Marriages Deaths and/or census search. Sure enough, my own check of BMD revealed a person of exactly that name, born/registered in Peterborough (reasonably close) in the first quarter of 1882 (again reasonably close). This is somewhat confusing as his name sounds like it ought to be unique. And no sign of the alleged Gateshead birth on BMD, although those records can be very patchy anyway.

Secondly, some sources, including Golombek, say that he and PW Sergeant are cousins and yet, PW Sergeant, in his opus 'A Century of British Chess' does not mention any relationship when he speaks of EG Sergeant. He does, on the other hand, speak openly of other relatives, like his father and uncle. Of course it may just be that they are only second cousins (I read that somewhere else) and he didn't feel it was noteworthy?

I'm also a bit puzzled about his tournament successes which vary quite a lot, depending on source. Most credit him with continuing to be a strong player in later life; indeed one source claims he won the London Championship in 1951, i.e. at age 70. Is that true? Could there be some confusion between London and a particular London club perhaps?

I'd be grateful to learn of any definitive account of his life somewhere - I traced his obituary in CHESS - but it was very skimpy. I've also seen selective parts of the BCM obit, but I'm still not convinced that the conflicts are fully ironed out.

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John Saunders
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Re: Edward Guthlac Sergeant

Postby John Saunders » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:45 pm

The Gateshead confusion may be something to do with his entry in the 1891 Census, when he was living in Gateshead with his family. Here are the details

1891 Census. Location: 2 Gladstone Terrace, Gateshead
William R Sergeant, aged 37, registered General Medical Practitioner, born Brigg, Lincolnshire
Frances (ditto) (wife), 35, born Bourne, Lincs
Hilda (ditto) (daughter), 10, born Crowland, Lincs
Edward G (ditto) (son), 9, born Crowland, Lincs

There is also a 1901 census entry giving much the same info (they were living at the same address in Gateshead). It gives Croyland as the place of birth but this is an older name for the same place according to Wiki. By this time EGS was an articled clerk (law).

My understanding is that PW and EG Sergeant were distant cousins, rather than first cousins, but that is just based on my shaky memory. I will see if I can establish the exact relationship.
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Richard James
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Re: Edward Guthlac Sergeant

Postby Richard James » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:50 pm

They don't seem to have been first cousins.

Edward Guthlac Sergeant was the son of William, a GP, and the grandson of Richard. He was born in Crowland and living in Gateshead in 1891, hence the confusion. He retained his chess strength late in life, scoring 6½/11 in the 1959 British Championships.

Philip Walsingham Sergeant was the son of Lewis, a writer, and the grandson of John. He lived in the same block of flats as Luke McShane. Not at the same time, though.

I can't find any family trees online with both Ed and Phil, but I'll keep looking.

(Cross posted with John Saunders.)

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Re: Edward Guthlac Sergeant

Postby Gordon Cadden » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:27 pm

In 1910/11, Philip Walsingham Sergeant, and Edward Guthlac Sergeant, were members of the Hampstead Chess Club. I have an official club photograph for that year, in which they sat in the second row.
It is very likely that they were distant cousins.

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Re: Edward Guthlac Sergeant

Postby Colin Patterson » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:05 pm

Thanks guys. Already making a lot more sense ...

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Edward Guthlac Sergeant

Postby Kevin Thurlow » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:21 am

And I believe he died in Kingston, but is not buried in the Municipal Cemetery (unlike RP Michell and Edith (Tapsell)Michell). Local paper didn't mention where the funeral took place. Maybe he went back "home"?

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John Saunders
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Re: Edward Guthlac Sergeant

Postby John Saunders » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:18 am

Yes, probate records show EG Sergeant died in the New Victoria Hospital, New Malden, Surrey, on 16 November 1961. His residence at death had been 24 Gloucester Road, Kingston Hill. Probate (26 Jan 1962) granted to Lewis Carter Sergeant, a Lieutenant-Colonel in HM Army. Effects £6,586.

I suppose Lewis Carter Sergeant might be worth following up to give a clue as to possible burial location. His dates were 1920-2004. He was born in Paddington, married (1948) in Surrey N and died in Greenwich. Perhaps more significantly, electoral registers for the mid-1960s show him residing in Brent, so it is feasible that EGS was buried there rather than Kingston. Unfortunately I can't seem to find any children for Lewis Sergeant (his wife's maiden name was Kathleen G Valentine - I think her dates were 1910-1992 and she was quite old by the standards of the time when they married) - that might have given us some living relatives to contact.

EDIT: Further info from EGS's granddaughter Marian may be found further down the thread here.
Last edited by John Saunders on Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Gordon Cadden
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Re: Edward Guthlac Sergeant

Postby Gordon Cadden » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:34 am

You will find an appreciation of EGS, by Bruce Hayden, in the BCM 1962 volume. He does confirm that P.W. Sergeant was his cousin. He was taught chess by an uncle, Anthony Sergeant, described as a well known, and strong Lincolnshire chess player. He was awarded the O.B.E., for services to the Inland Revenue. He wrote an authoritative work entitled, Sergeant on Stamp Duties.
Over the years, he was a member of several London chess clubs; London University CC, Metropolitan CC, City of London CC, Hampstead CC, and West London CC.
He continued playing chess, until shortly before his death at 80 years of age.

Gordon Cadden
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Re: Edward Guthlac Sergeant

Postby Gordon Cadden » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:39 am

John Saunders wrote:Yes, probate records show EG Sergeant died in the New Victoria Hospital, New Malden, Surrey, on 16 November 1961. His residence at death had been 24 Gloucester Road, Kingston Hill. Probate (26 Jan 1962) granted to Lewis Carter Sergeant, a Lieutenant-Colonel in HM Army. Effects £6,586.

I suppose Lewis Carter Sergeant might be worth following up to give a clue as to possible burial location. His dates were 1920-2004. He was born in Paddington, married (1948) in Surrey N and died in Greenwich. Perhaps more significantly, electoral registers for the mid-1960s show him residing in Brent, so it is feasible that EGS was buried there rather than Kingston. Unfortunately I can't seem to find any children for Lewis Sergeant (his wife's maiden name was Kathleen G Valentine - I think her dates were 1910-1992 and she was quite old by the standards of the time when they married) - that might have given us some living relatives to contact.

Bruce Hayden does state that he died at Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.

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John Saunders
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Re: Edward Guthlac Sergeant

Postby John Saunders » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:07 pm

It is not wrong to say that the New Victoria Hospital is in either New Malden or Kingston-upon-Thames. It's between the two so either designation would do.
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Re: Edward Guthlac Sergeant

Postby Richard James » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:48 pm

OK - here's where I've got to so far.

Edward was the son of William Robert, and the grandson of, not as I stated earlier, Richard, but of Antonie (sic) Middleton Sergeant, a brewer by trade, born about 1807, who moved from Camberwell, London, to Brigg, Lincolnshire. There seem to have been family connections with both places.

One of Antonie's other sons, also Antonie Middleton, was presumably the uncle from whom Edward learnt chess.

Philip's grandfather, John Sergeant, a schoolmaster, was born in Camberwell in about 1805. If John and the older Antonie were brothers that would make Edward and Philip 2nd cousins.

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John Saunders
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Re: Edward Guthlac Sergeant

Postby John Saunders » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:03 pm

Yes, I think I can corroborate Richard's researches. I vaguely remember researching the link - only to mislay my notes!

I should have added to my note on Lewis Carter Sergeant that he was EGS's son. EGS married Dorothy F Carter in Gravesend in 1918 and Lewis Carter Sergeant was born in 1920. Richard has already told us PWS's father was called Lewis so it may have been a traditional forename of the wider family.
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Re: Edward Guthlac Sergeant

Postby Richard James » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:18 pm

John Saunders wrote:Yes, I think I can corroborate Richard's researches. I vaguely remember researching the link - only to mislay my notes!

I should have added to my note on Lewis Carter Sergeant that he was EGS's son. EGS married Dorothy F Carter in Gravesend in 1918 and Lewis Carter Sergeant was born in 1920. Richard has already told us PWS's father was called Lewis so it may have been a traditional forename of the wider family.


PWS's father was named after his mother: Maryann Lewis. EGS's use of the name (which was relatively uncommon in those days) for his son suggests that he held his cousin in considerable affection.

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John Saunders
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Re: Edward Guthlac Sergeant

Postby John Saunders » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:47 pm

Just noted something amusing - apparently I amended PWS's Wikipedia page in June 2012 to confirm that he was EGS's second cousin. Must have done the researches then. Not the first time I have gone round the same loop twice when conducting genealogical researches... (EDIT: I've now edited the EGS Wikipedia page to say the same thing)

Here's the full text of PWS's Times obituary (some of which can usefully be added to Wikipedia):

Times, 14 Nov 1952, page 8, column 5 wrote:“Mr. Philip Walsingham Sergeant, who died in hospital at Guildford recently, was a well-known chess expert. Born in London on January 27, 1872, he was educated at St. Paul’s School and Trinity College, Oxford. He was for five years from 1899 to 1904, editor of the Hong Kong Daily Press, and was the author of a number of books on Stuart England and Napoleonic France, but it was his writing on chess on which his reputation chiefly rests. He was chess correspondent to the Manchester Guardian for a number of years. A familiar figure at the various chess congresses both in this country and the Continent, he knew personally many of the great masters. He was associate editor of Modern Chess Openings and his theoretical knowledge of chess was considerable.”
Last edited by John Saunders on Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Leonard Barden
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Re: Edward Guthlac Sergeant

Postby Leonard Barden » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:03 pm

On the unusual middle name, a contributor to Chessgames.com noted yesterday that St Guthlac was an Anglo-Saxon hermit who came from Crowland, where Sergeant was born.


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