Robinson is a common name in Lancashire and it is likely that several Robinson families have been associated with the Island. In the early 19th century two such played some role - a James Robinson, brewer, grocer and co-tennant of the Nunnery Mill and a John Robinson, millwright, father to John Robinson jnr, an architect responsible for much of 1840's Douglas. So far no connection between these families has been found, nor with Hannah Robinson , later Hannah Dixon, first landlady of the new British Hotel.

In 1809 a Mrs Robinson was noted as running the Green Dragon in Fort Street, near the Old Assembly Rooms but in February 1810 the Dragon, ‘previously Mr. Wm. Oates’s house,‘ was to let; and being taken by a Dr. Taylor from England ceased to be an inn [see Mathieson's Old Inns and Coffeehouses]. In Pigot's directory of 1837 John Robinson was noted as running an unnamed tavern in Fort street; his widow was noted in 1841 as living in Fort Street and in 1851 in Society Lane - I suspect the house was on the corner where Society Lane met Fort Street. A Hannah Robinson, daughter of Mrs Frances Wilson, opened the British Hotel in 1809 and Mathieson links her with the Mrs Robinson of the Green Dragon; Holden's 1814 (1811) directory has under Douglas "Robinson James, brewer; Robinson Hannah, British Hotel, Douglas" In 1823 directory: Robinson John, Joiner, builder & millwright, Lord-st; Robinson, Margt. straw hat maker, Lord-street and under lodging houses: Robinson Mrs. Jane, Bond St.

In 1823 there was also a James Robinson, joiner whose death in that year was reported in Manx Advertiser (16 April 1823) - "Suddenly on Sunday Last [6th April] in New Bond Street, of apolexy, Mr James Robinson, joiner aged 56 formerly of Liverpool" - he died intestate and note of administration in Episcopal wills [MM GL741] refers to only child Mary and Widow Jane (buried Braddan Old Southside grave #506 MI "Here lie the remains of / Isabella STEVENSON / Widow, Largy Doo who / departed this life November 7th /1801 aged 91 years / also James ROBINSON / who departed this life / 8th April 1823 /aged 56 years". There is a newspaper ref to Mary, daughter of Mr James Robinson, joiner marrying Mr Joseph Whitehead, foreman to Mr Owen, corn merchant in Manx Sun 14 Jan 1823.

John Robinson - millwright

According to the family John Robinson, snr, was born in Liverpool and at sometime worked as a millwright on the Nunnery Mill - this mill was newly constructed by Major Goldie Taubman in the late 1790's (c.1798) and again rebuilt after a fire in 1803. S. Slack also credits him as a builder of Ballabrooie House, Peel Road Douglas (to design by T Brine). The first mention I can find is that of a John Robinson, is in Manx Advertiser 17 Oct 1801, where an advertisement for a Linen printer mentions that orders etc can be accepted at Mr John Robinson's at the sign of the Windmill - as windmills are virtually unknown on the Island this was a strange sign or name to choose but would fit with John Robinson, millwright, as no mention of this name as a public house is known. The Manx Gazette, 4 March 1813, mentions John Robinson millwright. A later reference in 1823 refers to John Robinson, millwright - it is possible that the 1823 reference was to the son, John Robinson, jnr, rather than the father.

Jane Cannell Robinson describes herself as a publican in both 1841 and 1851 censuses.

Some of the genealogy is complicated by their connection with the Athol Street Chapel (i.e. do not appear in parish records) though the first four children are baptised at St George's - several birth dates are those supplied by Jane Charters Robinson Hindley as part of the Mormon emphasis on baptism for the dead.

The death of John Robinson, snr, was reported in the Manx Sun 8 March 1839 :- on Friday evening last [March 1st] in King Street, John Robinson in his 75th year. Buried in Braddan old yard (southside grave #201 in IoM FHS numbering plan). Administration of his estate (no will included) is found under Episcopal Wills of 1843 which sheweth:

That some time since John Robinson of the town of Douglas, your petitioners husband departed this life leaving issue surviving William Robinson, Henry Robinson, Elizabeth Robinson, Eleanor Douglas Widow; Margaret Ward wife of John Ward of the town of Douglas, Jane Harris wife of John Harris of the said town, John Robinson, Elizabeth Robinson, [space] Robinson and [space] Robinson, his children.

That it is necessary that administration of the said John Robinson's Estate and Effects should be granted and the said William Robinson, Henry Robinson, Elizabeth Robinson [wife of Henry] Elinor Douglas, John Ward, John Harris John Robinson and Elizabeth Robinson [2nd wife of John] have have consented that your petitioner should be appointed administratrix to the Estate and Effects of the said John Robinson.

Wherefore your petitioner prays a hearing of this petition and that your [...] to appoint your petitioner administratrix in Trust of the Estate. and Effects of the said John Robinson and petitioners will pray

Agreed that this petition do come on to be heard at a court to beholden at Douglas on Friday next when of the parties to have due notice. Given this 22 Dec 1842

At a court holden at Douglas the 23 Dec 1842 - Jane Robinson is sworn well and truly to administer the estate and effects of John Robinson decd to pay all his just debts and funeral expenses so far forth as the goods extend and the law binds her and to return a true and perfect inventory of the said deceased Estate and Effects and of ...


We the undersigned children of the late John Robinson of the town of Douglas do hereby consent and agree that our mother Jane Robinson of the said town, widow of the said John Robinson shall be appointed administratrix of the estate and effects of the said John Robinson

as [] our [] this 22nd day of December 1842

Witness Present : John Creer

William Robinson; Henry Robinson; Elizabeth Robinson; Elinor Douglas; John Ward; Jn Harris ; Jane Harris; John Robinson; Margt Ward; Elizabeth Robinson.

Possibly this shows that the Robinsons were not conversant with Manx Law as by law and practice the widow of an intestate who left issue, was not entitled to administration, but it was always granted to the children whereas in England it would have passed to the wife - hence a rather late petition and the absence of an earlier grant of administration that would have been expected. He is buried in Braddan Old yard (Southside grave #201) - however the adjacent grave (#200) is also related (quoted from IoMFHS MI's):

#200: Here repose the remains of / Jane CANNELL alias COWELL wife of /Edward CANNELL : Late of Douglas / who departed this life on the 6th / November 1805 aged 73 years / also 3 infant children of Henry and Elizabeth ROBINSON / Harold / infant son of A.W. and Charlotte Robinson.

#201: [Broken stone]
Quicsat inpace [CHECK] [- this should be Requiescat in Pace -'Rest in Peace' and usually associated with Roman Catholics]
In Memory of / John ROBINSON / Joiner / of Douglas / died on the 1st March 1839 / in his 75th year / also of Jane ROBINSON /alias CANNELL / [wife] of the above --- who died 9th April 185- / aged 82 years / Frederick Fletcher / son A.W. & C Robinson died 6 September 1898 /aged 8 months.

The A.W is presumably Henry Robinson's son Alfred Wallace - however the wording suggests that the stone postdates the death - like the death notice in the Manx Sun it quotes 'in his 75th year' but adds 'joiner' which is not in the death notice.

John Robinson = Jane Cannell (m. 29 Sep 1794 Kirk Braddan)
 1764-1839    |  1772-1854
bp 1795 (St George's - however in IGI this is relative supplied info 
   |                     and is not confirmed by Parish Reg)
| married John Ward | Edward bp. 16 Nov 1796 | John Architect 1798-1880 (bp. 18 Jul 1798) | Jane bp. 25 May 1800 d.1878 | Richard bp.10 May 1802 Reported in Manx Sun 12 Apl 1831 as having died aboard HMS Schooner Fire Fly aged 28 | Thomas Schoolmaster in Liverpool m. Catherine Quirk 18 Sep 1826 St Paul's, Liverpool (extensive family but Liverpool based) b.18 June 1804 d. 9 3 1886 | Eleanor Isabella (m 21 Dec 1830 Thomas Douglas, Kirk Braddan) b. 1806 | Henry Builder 1808 d. Jun 1890 | William presumably died in infancy 1812 | William Printer 1814 John=(1)Eleanor Charters (m. 14 Dec 1824 Kirk Braddan) | b.12 Nov,1801 Balmaghie, Scotland; d.1832 | parents: Alexander Charters b. 1775 Scotland and Ann Charters b. 1779 and they attended Calvin church | Anna Margaret 6 Oct 1825 um. d. 11 Aug 1905 (Douglas) | Jane Charters (emig 1855 to SLC and married polygamously John Hindley b. 6 Jan 1828 d. 1908 =(2)Elizabeth Maltby (m. 16 May 1833 )(Mormon convert - after death of John moved to salt Lake City) | b. Aug 1, 1810 Leeds, Yorkshire d. 1892 | Elizabeth (also moved to Utah with mother) 1834 d.1893 | Helena Lydia (emig with half sister to Utah and married) 27 Apl 1836 | Richard (emigrated to Adelaide, S. Australia) 1836 | Emma (was in Leeds 1899) 1840 | Eliza 1842 (d. 1845) | Sarah b.21 Dec 1844 | Martha (m. 22 Sep 1870 John Dominique Bregazzi at St Mary's R.C. church Douglas) 1846 The Bregazzi's were Carvers and Guilders in Douglas from c.1835 - John Bregazzi cabinet worker, 8 Athol street in 1880's) | (2nd child Ada bp 29 Jan 1873 St Mathew's C of E; 5 children by 1881) | John William (also moved to Utah with mother ) 14 Jan 1851 | Laura Blanche (m. & moved to London/S.E England) 1852-1946 | Edith Florence (also moved to Utah with mother) b. 7 Mar. 1854 Henry=Elizabeth White (m.1842) | b. 1821 d. 1897 | Mary Jane b.7 June 1845 | Louisa 13 Nov 1846 (bp 30 Nov 1846 Athol St chapel) | Emily Ann (bp 27 Dec 1848 Athol St chapel) | d. 1927 | Frances Jane 1850 | Henry White b. Sep 1850 | Alice Mary 1855 | Elizabeth Margaret 1856 | George Edward bp. 7 Feb 1860 d.1864 | Alfred William - co-founder (with George Harris) of Robinson Bros bp.25 Aug 1863; d.20 Feb 1927 | Edward John bp.11 Aug 1864 d. 1868 | George Harris bp.27 Feb 1867 William = Ellen Cashen (b. 3 May 1822, Liverpool, m. 4 Nov 1845, Braddan) | d. 1875 | William Phillip b. August 8, 1848 Douglas | Alfred b. August 13, 1852, Bolton Lancashire d. 1935, Toronto, Ontario | Catherine b. Abt. 1858, Bolton | Charles b. Abt. 1861, Bolton, Ocp: 1881, Tea Dealer | George b. Abt. 1864, Bolton | Frederick R. b. Abt. 1866, Bolton

 James Robinson - miller & brewer

Some family tree can be constructed from the will of Catherine Robinson, died 16 November 1808 - the announcement of which in the Manx Advertiser stated "died on the 16th inst, at Telegraph-Place, Nunnery Mills, Miss Catherine Robinson, eldest daughter of John Robinson, Esq, late of Islington, London" - the petition by James Robinson, her cousin, for her affairs to be speedily dealt with described her as spinster and cousin as well as stating that "the co-executor is off this Island and beyond seas" - the co-executor was her cousin Robert Robinson. Catherine left £2,900 (equivalent to about £200,000 in today's terms) - half to her sister Margaret (who would appear to be unmarried and childless) with the rest spread between cousins. These cousins are named: William Robinson, Robert Robinson,Sarah Jane Robinson, Armenella Robinson, Sarah Jane Robinson and Elinor Robinson children of my said cousins James and Ellinor Robinson, his wife [it is not immediately clear if those named are the children or if the children of James and Ellinor are likewise included, which interpretation is more likely as these children are named in the following paragraphs] . A Templeton Robinson son of James and Ellinor is mentioned as is another son John Robinson (not yet reached age of 21). Her step-mother Jane Robinson is also mentioned. A small bequest is also made to the Rev John Haining, Minister of the Gospel (this may possibly be the uncle of Samuel Haining) - a codicil also mentions her £200 advanced as stock in the Nunnery Mill with James Robinson and Robert Hastings as partners. Witnesses were John Donaldson, John Broadfoot and Richard Clague of Crosby. - John Broadfoot was noted as miller at Nunnery Mill 19 April 1806

James Robinson and Robert Hastings had by September 1808 a very public row in the advertisement columns of the Manx Advertiser:

Nunnery Mills

To be let, from the 12th of November next, the Nunnery Mills, Land and Houses therewith belonging; now in the Occupation of Robert Hastings. Any person wishing to take same may apply to John Clague at the Nunnery, Sept 22 1808


The subscriber begs leave to inform the public that he will not be accountable to any person for any debts contracted by Jas. Robinson on his account. The subscriber requests that those who are indebted to him for Grinding, Drying, Flour &c &c done at the Nunnery Mill will be so good as to send the amount of their respective accounts as soon as possible.

Robert Hastings Nunnery Mill 23rd Sept 1808


To Mr Alex M'Clure

Sir - An advertisement appeared in the Manks paper of the 23d ultimo by Robt Hastings my partner in the Nunnery Mill Concern, cautioning the public not to credit me on his account ; which has hurt my feelings as an honest man and I fear may have injured my character in the public estimation. I beg you will have the goodness to relate the particulars of the transactions that took place in the Nunnery Mill in your presence, the 10th of August 1808 - your compliance will oblige.

Your obdnt hble servant

Jas Robinson ,Telegraph Place, near Nunnery Mill 14 Oct 1808

Mr James Robinson

Sir - In reply to your's of this date. I was present at the Nunnery Mill, I think sometime in August last, when you paid Mr Robert Hastings a sum of money ; he said it was in full of all Demands he had against you, respecting Nunnery Mill concern. He also declared that you were equal to him in said Mill concern ; and that you never offended him in Word or Act ; and that he believed you had never wronged him, or the public, since your Copartnership in said Nunnery Mill concern - I am truly
your hble servany
Alex M'Clure Kewage, near Douglas, 14 October 1808

Mr James Robinson

Kewage, 19th October 1808
Sir - on the 14th Instant when I signed a paper for you, I did not expect to see it published in the Manks Advertiser ; I thought you meant only to shew it to a few of your friends ; but since you have taken the advantage of me, I have to insist you will cause the advertisement to be withdrawn for the future. Because since your conversation and mine, I have had an opportunity of seeing the Bond of arbitration, and the different awards thereupon ; whereby I can see one award is for injury done Mr Hastings, the other is for cash you took out of stock. Besides, I find you made a tool of me, or what you may call the last shift, as yoy had applied to all your supposed friends to sign such a production as you gave to me, all of whom refused to sign it. I acknowledge I was in the Mill when you paid Mr Hastings a sum of money, some time in August last; but as to what conversation was between you and Mr H. I declare I do not recollect; I took it for granted that what you said to me was true and therefore signed your paper without hesitation; but this will make me more cautious in time to come, and I hope you will never more spread your net to catch the unwary
I am your .. Alex M'Clure

Ellinor Robinson, wife of Mr James Robinson, brewer, was reported as having died in Ireland in 1810.

James had moved by 1810 for in February 1810 in the Manx Advertister (17 Feb 1810) is:

That hansome dwelling house adjoining Mr Senhouse Wilson's in Douglas, built and furnished in a most perfect and elegant style with the sundry conveniences, at present occuipied by Mr James Robinson - half of one of chancel pews in Douglas Chapel belongs to the said house

The brewery in Prince's street/Hanover Street was advertised for sale in 1812 but still known as Robinson's Brewery in 1824 when it was sold by the coroner.


 Manx Note Book  Immigrant families


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2001