Robinson, John (1617-1681) (DNB00)

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ROBINSON, JOHN (1617–1681), royalist, son of William Robinson of Gwersyllt, Denbighshire, and grandson of Nicholas Robinson (d. 1585) [q. v.], bishop of Bangor, was born in 1617, matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, 26 Sept. 1634, at the age of seventeen (Foster, Alumni Oxon.), and became a student of Gray's Inn, 23 Dec. 1637 (Foster, Gray's Inn Register). He appears to have resided for some time in Dublin previous to the outbreak of the civil war in 1642. He exerted himself with great zeal on behalf of the royal cause in North Wales and the adjoining counties. Although only twenty-six years of age, he held the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and was made governor of Holt Castle in Denbighshire in November 1643. In the following year he commanded a company at the battle of Rowton Heath in Cheshire; on 1 Feb. 1646 he was selected by the royalist commander, Lord Byron, as one of his commissioners to negotiate the surrender of Chester, and acted in a similar capacity when Colonel Richard Bulkeley surrendered Beaumaris, 14 June following.

On the triumph of the parliamentary cause, Robinson, who was marked out for special vengeance, fled from Gwersyllt in the disguise of a labourer, first to the Isle of Man, and then into France. His estates were confiscated. His name appears in the bill for the sale of delinquents' estates (26 Sept. 1650). At the Restoration in 1660 he recovered his estates and received other marks of royal favour. He was nominated a knight of the Royal Oak for Anglesea. He was colonel of the company of foot militia or trained bands in Denbighshire, when that regiment was called out on the apprehension of a rising in July 1666 (Cal. State Papers). Having succeeded Sir Heneage Finch as member for Beaumaris at a by-election in July 1661, he retained his seat until the dissolution of the ‘pensionary’ parliament in January 1679; he is said to have been in receipt of a pension of 400l. a year (‘A Seasonable Argument for a New Parliament,’ 1677, reprinted in Cobbett's Parliamentary History). Robinson succeeded Sir John Owen of Clennennau in the post of vice-admiral of North Wales in 1666, and held the office till his death in March 1681. He was buried in Gresford church. He left two sons, John and William. His grandson, William Robinson, M.P. for Denbigh from 1705 to 1708, assumed the surname of Lytton on inheriting from his cousin in 1710 the estate of Knebworth in Hertfordshire, and was ancestor of Earl Lytton.

[Burke's Landed Gentry; Wood's Athenæ, ed. Bliss; Phillips's Civil War in Wales and the Marches; Parliamentary Returns; Williams's Parliamentary History of Wales.]

W. R. W.