Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Hind-Yelf Tragedy

A recent comment regarding the Hind-Yelf branch of the family reminded me of this extract I came across from a New Zealand newspaper circa 1890s, of all places.

Quite how they picked up the details of this tragic tale on the other side of the world and why they thought it was worthy of reporting I'm not sure, but it certainly explains some of the confusions I had with regard to understanding the genealogy of this particular part of the family. I'm also intrigued at the mention of Guernsey as the island has come up a couple of times in different Yelf references, so it looks as though there may be some deeper links to be explored there

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cricketing Yelf - William Richard and the Isle of Wight Xl

Before the establishment of the national team and test matches between nations (triggered in the public consciousness by the inaugeral Australian tour of 1878) there were few more eagerly anticipated events than the challenge of a United All-England Team. To the average cricket fan on the Isle of Wight, the 18th September 1862 was a red-letter day as the cream of the island's cricketers had their chance to take a crack at some of the mainland's finest in a three day feast of leather and willow. The United All-England Team, packed with luminaries from the Marylebone Cricket Club, Surrey, Hampshire and Yorkshire to name but a few, were arriving on the Island in the aftermath of the seismic shock caused at a recent All-England Xl match against Surrey during which a simmering bowling dispute finally came to the boil
The watershed was reached on 26 August 1862 at The Oval when Surrey hosted All-England. The England bowler Edgar Willsher deliberately bowled overarm and was no-balled six times in succession by umpire John Lillywhite, ironically the son of William Lillywhite, the famous bowler who had done so much to have roundarm legalised in 1835.
In what was surely a pre-rehearsed demonstration, Willsher and the other eight professionals in the England team staged a walkoff, leaving their two amateur colleagues looking non-plussed in the middle. Play continued next day, but Lillywhite diplomatically withdrew and was replaced by another umpire.
The rules weren't changed for another year or so and bowling in our game would have been either underarm or roundarm - a sort of half-way house which ironically is now the illegal form!

So our Yelf connection was stepping into a match against some pretty big names at a time of ferment and change and would, ironically, be up against John Lillywhite, the unfortunate umpire of the Surrey Oval match. William Richard Yelf was a keen local cricketer and ran Yelf & Sons Printers at Newport following the unfortunate demise of his father William Wheeler Yelf. William Wheeler had died in Millbank prison after being convicted of stealing thousands of pounds from the IOW Savings Bank, but it's probably fair to assume William Richard Yelf had put that awkward fact behind him and that he was eager to join the other 21 local players facing up to the All-England Xl. That's right.... against lesser teams the All-England side would allow them a 2 to 1 advantage and William Richard found himself batting at number 14!

William was probably more of a bowler as he was one of the six Isle of Wight bowlers on the day. And this shows another diference to the modern game in the number of balls in an over - at this time it was just four balls so for his six overs William delivered just 24 balls, but his figures were very good with two wickets for 12 runs. Mr Ede went for a duck whilst William also took the wicket of the unfortunate John Lillywhite for 4 runs!

John Wisden - Scourge of Yelf batsmen
The All-England side eventually were all out for 248 runs and the 22 batsmen of the Isle of Wight must have been feeling pretty confident. It was a misplaced confidence though. The England bowlers ripped through them with only three Vectis batsmen reaching double figures. William was fifth highest scorer with just six runs, being clean bowled by arguably the best all-rounder of his time, John Wisden. Wisden was coming to the end of his career and a couple of years later retired to found his Wisden's Almanack publishing empire. Not before claiming his first and only Yelf scalp though...

Isle of Wight were all out for 139 and the England team decided to put them straight in to bat again with predictable results. The Isle of Wight were skittled out for 99 runs with William Richard Yelf only managing two runs before he was caught by John Lillywhite, who thus gained his revenge!

The match might have been scheduled for three days but I'm not sure the Isle of Wight managed the distance... 

England's 1859 touring team of America - practice for the IoW

 The All England Xl were certainly a strong team. The picture above shows the group that went to America in 1859 for the first ever England tour (reports of which can be read here). Five of these inaugeral tourists played in the Isle of Wight game a few years later, notably John Lillwhite (sitting on the floor on the right), John Wisden (middle row, on the left), Robert Carpenter (standing on left), William Caffyn (standing second left) and James Grundy (middle row fourth left, black hat). If it's any consolation to William Richard Yelf, the Americans fared no better than the Isle of Wight did...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sarah Yelf - Edge Hill Principal

I was pleased to come across an entry on the 125 by 125 blog by Mike Nolan who posted the following article on May 4 2010 about Sarah Yelf, a pioneering female educator who spent much of her career in the Liverpool/Manchester region and eventually became Edge Hill College's first principal. 

I can't see anyway of contacting Mike on his blog so I've taken the liberty of both linking to the original article and, as it's basically a photo and a quote, posting the entire entry (in italics).

Sarah Yelf was the first principal of Edge Hill College from 1885 to 1890. On her retirement on health grounds the committee had the following to say:

Miss Yelf by the wisdom with which she arranged the general rules, discipline and curriculum of the College, not less than by the conscientiousness, earnestness and christian temper of mind with which she addressed herself to the arduous duties of her anxious task soon raised the College to an honourable position among the Female Training Colleges of the kingdom, and she leaves it with the high rank of fifth on the list of all those Colleges as attested by the last Government examination. it is impossible for the Committee to speak too highly of the beneficent influence which Miss Yelf by her strength of character, firmness, loftiness of mind and affectionate solicitude for their truest welfare, has exercised upon the development of the characters of the Students committed to her charge.

Well said!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ginger Beer & typwriters

I tend to keep a look out for any Yelf-related items that come up for sale, even if I don't actually end up buying them.  so I was interested to see a Yelf ginger beer bottle advertised recently as one half of a pair. They were going for £15 plus £5 postage which was a bit rich for me so I gave them a miss this time round. Nice looking bottle though...
"The Property of Yelf & Co. Ltd. Ryde & Sandown"
The second item up for auction is one of Henry Yelf's typwriters. Henry holds several patents in the world of typwriters including the typwriter eraser that I bought a couple of years ago. Here's one of his, now slightly battered, portable typwriters. You can see his nameplate to the left above the keyboard

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Battle of Loos website - Alfred Leeds Yelf, DCM, G. 1888-1977

Theres a wonderful write up of how Alfred Yelf won his DCM at the Battle of Loos on this particular website. I don't know who did the research so I can't credit them but it's an interesting read and full of detail. Alfred Leeds Yelf, DCM, G. 1888-1977