Skip to main content

Joseph Armitage Robinson

Joseph Armitage Robinson K.C.V.O. was Dean of Westminster from 1902-1911 but he has no memorial in Westminster Abbey. There is however a bronze bust and portrait of him in the Deanery. He was appointed Dean of Wells cathedral in 1911 and is buried in the cloisters there. 

Joseph was one of 13 children of the Revd. George Robinson and his wife Henrietta (Forbes) and was born at Keynsham in Somerset. He was educated in Liverpool and at Cambridge university, as were his brothers Forbes (died 1904), Arthur, John Alfred, Charles, Edward and Frederick. His sister Cecilia also died while he was at Westminster. After serving as domestic chaplain to the Bishop of Durham, he took various posts including prebendary of Wells from 1894-99. He was then made a Canon at Westminster and was Rector of St Margaret's Westminster for a short time from 1899-1900. In 1902 he was promoted to Dean, and was a chaplain to the King and Lord High Almoner. He was an eminent New Testament scholar, prolific author and preacher. A contemporary described his voice as the "cawing of rooks". He did much to improve services at the Abbey and was keenly interested in many aspects of its history and the monastic period. While at Westminster he had several theology and other students staying with him called his "Young Gentlemen". He resigned in 1911 and in 1914 married Amy Faithfull but they had no children. In 1932 he was knighted but clergymen do not take the title of "Sir".

Several photos of him are kept in the Abbey archives as well as the day to day journal kept by his secretary the Revd.R.B.Rackham (called Anecdota Westmonasteriensia) and family letters and papers.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

"Joseph Armitage Robinson - eccentric, scholar and churchman" by T.F.Taylor, 1991

See the National Register of Archives website for a list of his papers in the Abbey collection.

Joseph Armitage Robinson
Joseph Armitage Robinson

© The Dean and Chapter of Westminster

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Related Commemorations

westminster-abbey-olaudah-equiano-gustavus-vassa-portrait

Olaudah Equiano (Gustavus Vassa)

d.1797
Writer and Abolitionist
westminster-abbey-janani-luwum-martyr

Janani Luwum

d.1977
Priest
westminster-abbey-william-benson-grave

William Benson

Abbot and Dean
westminster-abbey-st-john-the-baptist-chapel

Mary Trevor

Writer and Poet
westminster-abbey-alured-clarke

Alured Clarke

d.1742
Writer and Priest

At different times of the day, or in different seasons, the light falling in the Abbey will light up something that you have walked past a million times and never seen before.

spacer

Vanessa, Head of Conservation

Twitter logo Tweet this