Robinson Family

Robinson Family Tree

Licensees of The Plough 1896-1956

The Patriarch

John Robinson was born at Langford, Bedfordshire in 1794 and married Barbara Reynolds at Ashwell in 1814. They settled in Ashwell and the first of their many children was William Reynolds Robinson born 3 August 1816.

William Reynolds Robinson

William married Mary Ann Huffer at Ashwell on 11 April 1841 and living in Ashwell they had Eliza born 1842 and John born 1845, before Mary Ann sadly died on 30 December 1847.

In April of the following year, in Steeple Morden, Ann Tott lost her husband John Tott, leaving her with one child, James, who had been born in 1846. Ann (Mary Ann on marriage certificate) was a Pearce, daughter of William, believed born at Steeple Morden in 1825 and baptised there 4 Sep 1825. Her age on Census and other records varies and is closest on the marriage certificate to William Robinson, when it is shown as 26.

William Robinson and Ann Tott married 25 January 1851 at the New Meeting at Royston. The certificate below is not that easy to read. Marriage solemnized at the New Meeting, Royston on 25 January 1851 William Robinson 32 widower labourer Ashwell John Robinson labourer and Ann Tott 26 widower straw plaiter Steeple Morden William Pearce labourer. William (x) Robinson Ann (x) Tott Witnesses: Jacob Chapman Kezia (x) Pearce.

The new family group, including William’s two children and Ann’s son James, were soon joined by further children: George in 1852, Charles 1854, Georgianna 1859, Mary Ann 1862, William 1864 and Thomas 1867. The family remained living in Ashwell in various houses and William worked as an agricultural labourer, until he died in 1894. In the 1901 Census Ann was living alone in Mill Street, Ashwell although eventually she was taken into the Workhouse at Royston, where she died on 3 March 1906 and on her death certificate her age is given as 86. She was described as widow of William Robinson, a farm labourer of Ashwell. Cause of death was hemiplegia and cerebral softening, which suggest she suffered some form of stroke.

Charles Robinson

Charles, born 1854 was already a farm labourer at the age of 16 and boarding with his employer Richard Bowman at Cold Harbour Farm, Guilden Morden. He married Georgiana Hollingsworth on 18 February 1875 at Ashwell and they lived at The Sinks/Cinques, Ashwell. They had Alfred William born 23 February 1877, Elizabeth Jane born 28 September 1878 and finally Ethel May born 19 January 1887.

In 1896 Charles tired of labouring for others and became the publican of The Plough, Steeple Morden, on the corner of Ashwell Road and Station Road. A number of acres of land went with pub, so Charles was also a smallholder. Fordham’s Brewery in Ashwell owned The Plough, so it is probably not surprising an Ashwell man gained the tenancy, as they needed a speedy replacement for an aged and totally deaf Eliza Gentle, whom the Justices had ruled as being no longer fit to be licensee.

Charles and Georgina ran The Plough upto 1923, when they handed over to son Alfred William (known as Alf or Rob) and his wife Sarah Ann (known as Sally). They retired to Guilden Morden and Charles died there in 1930 and was buried at Ashwell. Georgina died in 1937 and was living with her daughter Ethel May Cosson at Hemel Hempstead.

Alfred William Robinson

Alfred left home in 1893 and enlisted in the Army, giving his age as 18yr 3mos, despite being 16yrs 3mos. He joined the Royal Scots at Strensall Barracks in Yorkshire. He was described as having a fair complexion, blue eyes, brown hair and moles on the back of his neck. His height was measured at 5 ft 4⅜ ins and weight 121 lbs.

He served as a Private, with brief spells as a Lance Corporal and even passed the examination for Corporal in March 1904. After eleven years service, he re-engaged on 26 April 1904, with a view to ultimately completing twenty-one years service. From 1906 to 1908 and probably longer he served in west India, including Colaba, Mubai and Deolali and Khandala, both in Maharashtra state. Deolali is the vast barracks, where the expression going “doolally” originated.

He was discharged on 19 June 1914 and on 30 June 1914 he was at Steeple Morden Church, where he married Sarah Ann Sharpe daughter of James. William was described as bachelor and bank watchman of Walworth, London, and his father Charles farmer. Witnesses were Ruth Sharpe and Noah (x) Philpott.

After the wedding the couple returned to London to live initially at 128 Portland Street, Walworth SE and then, probably in 1916, moved to Chatham House, George Street, Hanover Square. Alfred decided to re-enlist or might have been required to as the recruitment rules were extended to embrace a growing range of men.

He enlisted at Southwark 2 June 1916 and his height was now measured at 5 ft 6½ ins – he must have grown since 1893. He was a private in the Army Ordnance Corp, becoming a lance-corporal in June 1917.  He spent his war at the Woolwich Barracks, until he was discharged as medically unfit for war service on 6 March 1918, with his disability described as myocardial weakness and debility. His character was “very good”.

Upon discharge Alfred’s civilian address was given as Chatham House, George Street, London W1, the same as when he enlisted and presumably it had been home to Sarah Ann in the meantime? When they left Chatham House is not known, although in 1923 Alfred succeeded his father as tenant of The Plough, which he ran until Fordhams closed it in 1956. On 1 January 1957 Alfred bought the house and remaining land from the Brewery. He lived there until he died in 1959 and his widow Sarah Anne (Sally) remained there until her own death in 1966.

Elizabeth Jane Robinson

Elizabeth Jane married Noah Philpott on 7 July 1900 at Ashwell and initially they lived in Hitchin, until moving to Steeple Morden around 1905-10?

Ethel May Robinson

Ethel May married William Cosson in 1919 at Hitchin and in 1937 they were living High Street, Hemel Hempstead.


Will of Sarah Ann (Sally) Robinson died 2 February 1966

Copy of registered will



Sarah Ann Robinson of The Corner House, Steeple Morden, in the county of Cambridge

I HEREBY revoke all Wills and Codicils by me, at any time heretofore made, and declare this to be my last Will and Testament. I appoint Geoffrey Barringer Moss of Valley Farm, Arrington, Cambs to be Executor and Trustee of this my Will

I give my house and furniture and linen to my sister Mrs Mary Jane Horsman

My blue and brass clock to Mrs Mary Denys

One hundred pounds to Mrs Doris Wedd

My land to Mr Edward Frank Huffer

All the money at the National Provincial Bank, 291B Oxford Street, London W1 and at Barclays Bank, Royston, Herts to be divided equally between my nephews and nieces Mrs June Chamberlain, Mrs Hilda Mead, Mrs Joyce Lee, Miss Joan Cossens, John Horsman and James Horsman

My two brass jugs to Mrs Doris Wedd

My brass flower pot container without legs to Mrs Muriel Huffer

My brass flower vase container with legs to Mrs Aubrey Wright

Should any of my nephews or nieces pre-decease me their share shall then be divided between those nephews and nieces surviving

My Singer sewing machine to Mrs Hilda Mead

Should there not be sufficient money to pay funeral expenses from the insurance that I hold I instruct that the remainder be paid from my bank account before the aforesaid legacies are paid

I direct that the interest on my Defence Bonds go to my sister Mrs Mary Jane Horsman during her lifetime and afterwards the aforesaid Bonds to go unreservedly to my great niece Miss Christine Chamberlain, Apple Tree Row, Kneesworth

The residue of my real and personal property I give to Mrs June Chamberlain of Kneesworth

Dated this twenty-seventh day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and sixty-two

Signed S A Robinson

Signed by the said Testatrix as and for her last Will, in the presence of us, both present at the same time, who, at her request, in her presence, and in the presence of each other, have hereunto subscribed our names as Witnesses

Audrey Constance Hunt  Homecroft, Station Road, Steeple Morden, Royston, Herts

Arthur Lawrence Peer  Wyndmere, Steeple Morden, Royston, Herts

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Last Updated on April 11, 2021