The Move to Northumberland

(A Condensed History)

In 2001 Marian Robley compiled the life of William. At the time there was little documentation, looked at, to follow his descendants on his move to Northumberland. With the connection to the east now in place,a short history may help.


Born in 1686 to JOHN & ANN ROBLEY at High Blackhall, Burnthwaite, Cumberland, he was one of ten children. His christening took place on 5th September, 1686 at St. Cuthbert's Church, Carlisle.


On 17th February 1708/09 in Wetheral, Cumberland, he married Margaret Nevinson. (It is now thought that Margaret was the daughter of Caleb Nevinson of Allen Wood, Wetheral, Cumberland.)


On 23 November 1703, at the age of 17 years, William came to St. Mary's Church Cumwhitton as a reader/schoolmaster (From Dean and Chapter Order Book, Carlisle). His ordination as Deacon, by Bishop Nicholson, William/Carlisle (1702-1718), was on 19th May 1706. On the following day, 20th May, 1706 he had the official status of Schoolmaster/Curate. He carried on his work in Cumwhitton parish until 1709.

In 1710, the couple's first child was born in Haltwhistle, Northumberland, and a second was born in 1712. In this parish, William continued his vocation at "The Church of the Holy Cross". This is the oldest building in the town, built in the 13th century. The first reference to a church was in 1178 A.D., but it is believed to date from the 9th Century.

William's move to Simonburn came in 1715. Four more children were born in Simonburn, although one died as an infant. St. Mungo's was another 13th century church with roots going back to the 6th century. At one period St. Mungo's was the largest parish in England, and after William's time, in the 18th and 19th centuries, restoration was carried out. During his time at St. Mungo's, William was ordained on 18 August 1723 by Talbot, William/Durham (1721-1730). "Qualification lit. The common abbreviation for 'literate' or 'literatus'. It's use indicates that a clergyman did not possess a degree, but he was judged by a bishop to possess sufficient learning to qualify for ordination".

William's next and last move, on 16th September 1728, was to St. Peter's Church at Falstone, Northumberland. The church in which he served no longer stands, and may have gone under a different name. The present St. Peter's was constructed in 1892, after the old church, dating back to the 16th century, burnt down at Christmas 1890.


William & Margaret had the following children:


William died in 1740 & was buried in Falstone Churchyard:

Photograph contributed by Marian Mackenzie

A monumental inscription at Falstone Church reads:




AGE 55

Margaret, who was born about 1690, died in Simonburn in 1762. She was buried in Simonburn on 25th August 1762.

K. Andrews, Yorkshire. March, 2009.