From Richmond, Yorkshire to London and Manchester.

An early Robley family lived in Richmond, Yorkshire in the mid 1600s. It is unclear what was their occupation nor what was their social position. Suffice to say they left their native heath and migrated from the country to the cities of London and Manchester

Richmond is a market town and civil parish in North Yorkshire, England and the administrative centre of the district of Richmondshire. Historically in the North Riding of Yorkshire, it is situated on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Richmond was founded in 1071 by the Breton Alan Rufus, on lands granted to him by William the Conqueror. The prosperity of the medieval town and centre of the Swaledale wool industry greatly increased in the late 17th and 18th centuries with the burgeoning lead mining industry in nearby Arkengarthdale.

This family was not the earliest Robley reference in North Yorkshire. In !316 seventy men, described as parishoners, were declared by the Dean and Chapter of St. Peter, York, to be excommunicated for cattle stealing near Pickering Castle, North Yorkshire. Among those sentenced was one, William Robley.

Our earliest reference to this Richmond family is dated 1661 and relates to Robert Robley, one of two Churchwardens in Richmond, who are commemorated by their initials on an inscription recording their part in bringing back the font to the Church at the time of the Restoration.

The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.

Records relating to this family are sparse, we know that Robert Robley, the Churchwarden, was married with a son, Francis. Francis was married also and had two sons, both born in Richmond, Anthony and Simon.

Anthony, married Ann Tilner in Richmond around 1760. In February 1761 a son, Anthony, was born but sadly, Ann Tilner passed away in 1761 possibly from complications during childbirth. Anthony, married a second time, also in Richmond to Ann Bainbridge, the daughter of Richard Bainbridge. Ann was aged 30 at the time of marriage. Five years later in 1765 we find this family has moved to Cripplegate, London, where their first child, Noah Tilner was born. Two other children were born, Frances in 1771 in Covent Garden who died as an infant before 1775 and a second child, Frances, in 1775. Ann Bainbridge died in London in 1816.

Around 1786, Noah Tilner Robley married Sabara Buxton and two children were born, Elizabeth Buxton Robley in March 1887 and Noah Henry Robley four years later in July 1791. Both Children were born in Covent Garden. Life must have been a struggle for this family as in 1795 as Noah Tilner was imprisoned for debt leaving Elizabeth with two young children to support. At the time of his imprisonment Noah was described as a hairdresser of Bow Street, Covent Garden. He was released two years later in 1797.

Their son, Noah Henry Robley was entered at St. Paul's School in 1802 and around 1811 married Elizabeth. They had two children, Mary Elizabeth, born in Lambeth in April 1811 and Ann, born August 1813 also in Lambeth. Ann died as a child aged 14 in 1827. Elizabeth Buxton Robley married Jacob Longbottom.

Simon Robley married, but his wife's name is not recorded. They had three children, Elizabeth born in 1726, Simon, born in 1728 and Joseph. All were born in Richmond.

His daughter, Elizabeth married John Maxfield in Richmond in November 1761. Simon Junior married and a son, also Simon, was born in Covent Garden, London. It is most likely that he was living with his brother Anthony's family.

Simon junior's brother, Joseph, married Ann Reed in Richmond and the couple had a daughter, Margaret, born in Richmond in 1749.

Anthony Robley and Ann Tilner's son, Anthony, born in Richmond in February 1761, died in Manchester in 1842. In May 1787 he married Sarah Taylor in the Cathedral, Manchester. The couple settled in Lancashire where they raised a family of six children. Their daughter, Elizabeth, was born in October 1788 in Ardwick, Anthony in 1788 also in Manchester, John in 1792 in Manchester, Noah in 1793 in Ardwick, Salford, Ruth in 1798 in Ardwick, Salford and Sarah in 1806 in Higher Ardwick, Manchester.

The family were poor and father, Anthony (1761) spent his latter days in the Chorlton Union Workhouse.

Nothing further is known of Anthony and Sarah's first three children, Elizabeth, Anthony and John. However, their son, Noah, married Mary Ann Partington in Manchester in December 1816. She was the daughter of William and Ellen Partington. Noah was a tailor by trade in Whittle Street, Manchester and Mary Ann, his wife, a Fustian Cutter. Anthony died in Manchester in 1842.

Fustian, by the 1860s referred to any cut weft cotton fabric, and its manufacture was common in towns of the fringe of the Lancashire cotton region. Crucial to process of manufacture was fustian cutting. This was a laborious process using a fustian cutting knife. This tool was around 50 cm long, and looked like a long spike; about 10 cm from the tip, the top edge was sharpened into a blade. It was inserted along the fabric alongside two warp threads, and under the raised weft, and as it was guided forward the blade severed the weft. In corduroy, there were seven ridges to the inch, so along a 31in bolt, there would be about 320 cuts to be done.[6] In the 1860s, the cloth would be stretched over a 22yd long table, and the cutters would walk the length of the table as many times as was necessary, in recent times the cloth was tensioned over a 6 ft table and all the cuts made, and then the cloth would be released and the next two yards tensioned onto the table. Over a 60hr week the cutter would be expected to produce 500 yards of 7-8 ridge corduroy. Velveteen was treated the same way.

Fustian Cutters at Work.

Noah and Mary Ann had seven children. The eldest, Sarah, was born in Manchester about 1818, married in 1844 and was a velvet cotton cutter. Daughter, Ellen Partington, was born in Manchester in May 1820 and died as a child before 1826. Daughter, Harriot, was born in Manchester in September 1822. Daughter, Ann, was born in Manchester in December 1823 and died in Chorlton upon Medlock in 1887. She married Samuel Bardsley in October 1855 in the Cathedral, Manchester. In the 1851 census she is shown as being a, Fustian Cutter.

Son, Anthony, was born in Manchester in August 1824 and died in Manchester in 1873. He started out as an errand boy and ended up as a Fustian Cutter on Boundary Street Manchester. He was a signiatory to a petition in support of the slave trade in the West Indies.

Daughter, Ellen, was born in Manchester in November 1826 and died in Manchester in 1885.

Their last child, Frederick, was born in Manchester in November 1836 and died in 1895 in Prestwich, Lancashire.

Anthony Robley (1824) married Ellen Flint in Manchester in September 1848. She was born in Manchester in 1826. Ellen was yet another Fustian Cutter! The couple had seven children. The first three while living in Manchester and th last four following a move to Newtown Lancashire. Their first child, a daughter, Mary Ellen, was born in 1849 and followed the family tradition becoming a Fustian Cutter. Son, John, was born in 1851 and died in Prestwich in 1880. Daughter, Harriot was born 1854. Daughter, Hannah, was born July 1855 and died in 1884 in Chorlton upon Medlock. She married George Cocks.

Daughter, Sarah was born in 1860 and was a Fustian Cutter in Ancoats, Lancs. Daughter, Harriet, was born in 1865 and Ruth in 1867. The latter married John Flint.

Frederick Robley the son of Noah and Mary Ann, was born in Manchester in November 1836 and died in Prestwich, Lancs. in 1895. He married twice, his first marriage being to Elizabeth Derbyshire in May 1856 in the Cathedral, Manchester. Elizabeth was born in Manchester in 1833. She died before 1871 the year that Frederick married an Irish girl, Mary Winkworth, who was occupied as a Fustian Cutter in Oldham.

In the census records Frederick gives his dates of birth variously as 1836, 1840 and 1850. It is more than likely that he had no idea when he was born! Frederick's occupation was a Fustian Cutter in Bengal Street, Manchester.

Frederick and Elizabeth had a total of ten children, all born in Manchester or the Manchester area. The first, Frederick Robley, was born in 1859 and died before 1871. Daughter, Elizabeth was born in 1861 and daughter, Ann in August 1863. She died before 1871.

Frederick William Robley, was born in 1866 and turned out to be somthing of a genius! In 1881 he was apprenticed to a Glassblower in Chorlton upon Medlock. However he became an inventor and in 1888 patented a device for marketing oilcloth. Eleven years later he patented a device connected to the operation of waterwheels. His occupation at the time is described as 'ironmonger'.

From 1889 he was living with Jane Brown although the two never married. At the time of his death he was a dealer in antiques.

Son, George Robley, was born in 1867 in Chorlton Upon Medlock and from 1891 to 1911 is described as a Servant/Waiter.

Son, Edwin Garabaldi Robley was born in 1867 and died an infant in the same year. The name Garabaldi relates to the Italian patriot who was much admired throught Europe at that time.

Giuseppe Garibaldi 4 July 1807 2 June 1882) was an Italian general and politician who played a large role in the history of Italy He is considered, with Camillo Cavour, Victor Emmanuel II and Giuseppe Mazzini, as one of Italy's "fathers of the fatherland". Garibaldi was a central figure in the Italian Risorgimento, since he personally commanded and fought in many military campaigns that led eventually to the formation of a unified Italy. He was appointed general by the provisional government of Milan in 1848, General of the Roman Republic in 1849 by the Minister of War, and led the Expedition of the Thousand on behalf and with the consent of Victor Emmanuel II. He has been called the "Hero of Two Worlds" because of his military enterprises in Brazil, Uruguay and Europe. These earned him a considerable reputation in Italy and abroad, aided by exceptional international media coverage at the time. Many of the greatest intellectuals of his time, such as Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, and George Sand showered him with admiration. The United Kingdom and the United States helped him a great deal, offering him financial and military support in difficult circumstances.

Daughter, Emma Robley, was born in 1869 and Frederick and Elizabeth's last child, Anthony Garibaldi, was born in Prestwich in 1871 and died as a child in 1876, also in Prestwich.

John Robley the son of Anthony Robley and Ellen Flint was born in Manchester in 1851 and died in Prestwich in 1880. He married Sarah Derbyshire the daughter of John and Ann Derbyshire who was born in Manchester in September 1847. The 1871 census shows John as a mechanical draughtsman of Boundary Street, Manchester and, in 1881, Sarah as a provision dealer in Oldham, Lancs.

John and Sarah had three children, all bearing a second christian name of Smith. I can find no explanation for this! Their son, John Smith, was born in Manchester in 1875 and his brother, Thomas Smith in the same year. Thomas died as a child before 1881. The third son, Arthur Smith, was born in Bradford, Lancs. in 1879 and died, as a child, in Prestwich in 1883.

John Smith Robley married Annie in Chorlton upon Medlock in 1902. She was born in Manchester in 1876. In 1891 John Smith was apprenticed to an iron turner in Ardwick. John and Annie had three children, all born in Manchester. Ada born 1896, Lily born 1898 and Arthur born 1903.

Harriot Robley, the daughter of Anthony and Ellen (Flint) Robley, married James Roscoe and their daughter, Harriet Roscoe, married Michael Welch.

Written by John Robley. Researched by John Robley & Marian Foster.