Brief profile of Willie Bates
by Don Ambrose
BATES, Willie (William)
Born at Lascelles Hall, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, 19th November 1855.
Died at Lepton, Yorkshire, 8th January 1900.
Related to the Thewlis, Lockwood and Eastwood families of Lascelles Hall he was a woollen weaver, but first went out as a professional cricketer to Rochdale in 1873, when he was only seventeen. In 1877 he was first selected for Yorkshire and played for them in 202 matches between then and 1887. In total he played in 299 first-class matches, including 15 Tests, and toured Australia on five occasions and North America once. At the end of 1887, while practising in the nets at Melbourne, he was hit in the eye by the ball and his professional cricketing career was brought to an end.
He was able to play league cricket, being professional at Haslingden in 1891 and at Leek in 1892. He was known as The Duke because of his smart dress. Just after Xmas in 1899 he attended John Thewliss funeral, caught cold, and died shortly afterwards. His son William Ederick Bates played first-class cricket in 406 matches, including 113 for Yorkshire and 283 for Glamorgan.
The 1881 Census shows him living at Thistle Hill, Lepton, the house of his 58 year old widowed mother Mary. His sister, Mary Ann, a worsted weaver, aged 27, and two brothers George, a woollen weaver aged 20, and Harry, a mill hand, aged 16, were also all present, unmarried, together with another sister Alice, aged 14, a cotton piecer. Lawrence Jessop an 8 year old grandson of Mary was also present. At the time Willie was an unmarried 25 year old woollen weaver.
(Article: Copyright © 2003 Don Ambrose)