William Robley, 1797-1866, of Scarrowmanwick, Cumberland & Pictou, Nova Scotia.

A view of Scarrowmanwick Farm where William spent his later childhood and youth.


William Robley, eldest son of Thomas Robley and Elizabeth Dixon, was born in 1897. William's parents had married in 1796 St. Mary's Carlisle.

[Thomas] Robley of Woodhouse in the Parish of St. Mary Carlisle Batchelor aged 26 years & Elizabeth Dixon of Wreay Hall in the Parish of Hesket, Spinster aged 21 years were married in this Church by License this twentieth day of November in the year One Thousand seven hundred & ninety-six, by me Wm. Kirkbride Minr.

This Marriage was solemnized between us Thos. Robley, Elizabeth Dixon, in the presence of Jos. Robley, John Thompson.

The Wreay Hall mentioned in the marriage entry is not the present Wreay Hall. Major Anthony Harrison of Wreay Hall writes, "Dixons are recorded as having lived here is the eighteenth century. They would have been in Wreay Hall Farmhouse as this house was not built until the early nineteenth century. In those days they would be tenants of the Devonshire estates." Elizabeth and Thomas went on to have 6 other sons and 3 daughters. His brother Joseph's and John's lives are also in the "Short Biographies".


William Robley was baptised on 1 January 1798 in Wreay Church, Cumberland.


William spent his early childhood at Castle Sowerby before moving to Scarrowmanwick. Three more brothers were born at Castle Sowerby before the move to Scarrowmanwick. This photograph shows some of the farm buildings where he must have played with his brothers and sisters. The boys were very fond of wrestling (Cumberland & Westmorland style).


Although it has not been possible to procure a passenger list, it seems likely that William and his brother John were on the ship the Mary Ann, which sailed out of Whitehaven in 1822. It took 52 days to reach the port of Pictou, and there were 39 English passengers on board.


William married Catherine Fraser daughter of Jane Fraser. Catherine was born in 1794 in McLellan's Brook, N.S.


William Robley & Catherine Fraser had the following children:


William worked as a farmer on Cornhill Farm, Head of Pictou Harbour.



NamePlace of BirthAgeMy Comments
Catherine RobleyNova Scotia76[William's widow}
Elizabeth RobleyNova Scotia41[Spinster]
Thomas RobleyNS40Ship Carpenter [& Adventurer].
Georgina RobleyUS29Seamstress, [Wife of Thomas].
Catherine F RobleyUS2[Daughter of Thomas & Georgina]
Martha B. RobleyUS11/12 months{Daughter of Thomas & Georgina


William had died by the time of the 1871 census.

Mattie B. Robley & Kate F. Robley were students in attendance at Pictou Academy 1882/1883. (Intermediates).


William died on 8th December 1866. His death was due to apoplexy. Catherine (Fraser) Robley died on 22nd January 1882. William & Catherine were buried St. James - Haliburton, Pitou, Nova Scotia.

Colonial Standard Dec. 11th, 1866.

Suddenly, on the 8th inst., at his residence Cornhill Farm, Head of Pictou Harbor, William Robley, in the 70th year of his age, much and deservedly regretted.

Deceased was a native of the County of Cumberland, England, but for the last 44 years a respectable inhabitant of this county. He leaves a widow, two sons, three daughters, and several grandchildren to mourn their loss.

Colonial Standard: Tuesday 24 January, 1882

Death Robley. At Pictou, on the 22nd. inst., Catherine Fraser, widow of the late William Robley, in the 88th year of her age. Funeral this Tuesday 24th inst. at 3.00pm from her residence, High Street to the New episcopal Cemetry. Friends and acquaintances are respectfully requested to attend.

Research by Al Robertson & Marian Foster.