John Robley

1775 - 1822

Slave-owner and antecedent of claimant or beneficiary


  1. Merchant and slave-owner in Tobago and St Vincent, who left his family in London c. 1808 and moved to the Caribbean, where he had a number of children of colour. Died c. 1822. Husband of Caroline Robley (q.v.), father of Henry Robley (q.v.), and business partner with Charles Brooke (q.v.). John Robley's account of his ancestor gives details of a Codicil to Robley's will which details the provisions made for his 'second family' in Tobago.

  2. In 1797 the Fleetwood House estate in Stoke Newington was sold to John Robley reportedly 'in trust for his father John', the beneficial owner, although we believe that John Robley senior (q.v.) died c. 1792. By 1813 the elder John's widow Ann was in possession, the estate having been left in trust for the elder John's nine children. In 1827 George Robley as trustee sold the house and some of the land to James William Freshfield.

  3. John Robley's eldest son John Horatio, formerly of Southampton but late of 17 Waterloo Place Cork, Ireland left £12,000 on his death in 1870.


  1. John Robley, 'John Robley of Bloomsbury and Tobago (1775-1822)' 2002 [accessed 16/05/2011].

  2. 'Stoke Newington: Other estates', A History of the County of Middlesex: Vol. 8: Islington and Stoke Newington Parishes (1985), pp. 178-184, accessed 24/07/2013.

  3. National Probate Calendar 1870.

Further Information

Caroline Robley
John Horatio; Fanny Anne; Adelaide; Henry

Associated Claims (4)

£1,260 11s 10d
Other association
£7,016 8s 8d
Other association
£624 5s 4d
Other association
£2,574 4s 5d
Other association

Associated Estates (12)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1804 [SY] - 1808 [EY] → Mortgage Holder

In 1804 John Robley and Charles Brooke agreed to pay Alexander Donaldson £69,511 1s 6d for mortgage debt of £94,511 1s 6d secured on the estates (and the enslaved people) of Sir William Young bart. The estates were identified as Old Road in Antigua and Calliaqua and Pembroke in St Vincent. No cash appears to have changed hands upfront: instead John Robley & co. issued to Alexander Donaldson bills drawn on themselves. On 10 & 11 September 1804 Betsey's Hope on Tobago and the enslaved people on it were added to the security package underpinning the £94,511 1s 6d mortgage debt and any further advances Robley might make (up to £10,000 was envisaged for Betsey's Hope, it appears). In 1808 John Robley agreed to buy Betsey's Hope from Sir William Young for £45,000, subject to a pre-existing mortgage for £4000 to 'James Cuthbert Ramsay' [in fact, James Ramsay Cuthbert, MP and merchant (q.v.)]: the estate was conveyed to him 22/12/1808. In 1809 he bought the equity of redemption of Calliaqua and Pembroke under a sale by the Provost Marshall. In 1814 in a deed establishing an annuity of £200 p.a. for Portia Young, one of Sir William Young's sisters, Betsey's Hope was described as having since the death of Sir William Young become vested in John Robley 'in trust for himself and the said Charles Brooke, as tenants in common in fee simple.'

1808 [SY] - 1821 [EY] → Joint owner
1809 [EA] - 1817 [LA] → Joint owner
1822 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Previous owner
1804 [EA] - 1809 [LA] → Mortgage Holder
1806 [SY] - 1819 [LA] → Owner
1806 [SY] - 1819 [LA] → Owner
1806 [SY] - 1819 [LA] → Owner
1819 [EA] - 1819 [LA] → Owner
1804 [SY] - 1809 [EY] → Mortgage Holder
1809 [SY] - 1821 [EY] → Joint owner
- 1822 [EY] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

Name partner
Robley & Brooke
Plantations - Caribbean  

Historical (1)

A permanent and effective remedy suggested to the Evils under which the British West Indies now labour... 1808 
notes →
His stated objective was to sketch out the system which alone 'can place the income derived from property in the West Indies upon a permanent security at all resembling a revenue derived from a...

Relationships (6)

Uncle → Nephew
Notes →
William John Blake was the son of William Blake (q.v.), the brother-in-law of John...
Nephew → Uncle
Son → Father
Husband → Wife
Business associates

Addresses (1)

Russell Square, London, Middlesex, London, England