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Mr Robinson - The Myth, The Murder

Updated: Feb 7

While researching the Family Tree of Matt Robinson, I discovered his Great-Great-Grandfather had died on the same day as his eldest son. My curiosity piqued.....Here's the story I uncovered....


Mr Thomas Robinson Snr was the Head Gardener at a Stately Home in North Yorkshire, England. He was in his 40s and had a wife and 6 children between the ages of 2 and 18. They all lived in a small stone home on the grounds. Among Thomas' staff was his eldest teenage son - 18 year old Thomas Robinson Jnr.


One summer morning in 1841 Thomas Robinson Snr gathered his Staff and assigned them all duties at the opposite end of the estate - all but one, his son Thomas.


Instead, Thomas Jnr was sent to set about work in the Greenhouse. Having happily began his tasks, Thomas Jnr had been in there only minutes when his father entered the Greenhouse behind him. Thomas Snr approached his innocent eldest son from behind and without warning wrapped a wire around his son's neck and strangled him. The wire was sharp and dug into young Thomas' neck drawing blood and he fell to the floor. Not content he had caused sufficient harm, his father then took a blunt metal object and bludgeoned his son's skull numerous times.


Now in a state of frenzy, he made his way out of the Greenhouse, across the estate and towards home. Such was his state, a young local boy saw Mr Robinson and ran to fetch the local Priest, telling him Mr Robinson was in a crazed state covered in blood and fast approaching his home. The 2 of them made haste towards the small stone house.


At home was Mrs Robinson with 5 of their children, going about their usual daily business. When suddenly, Mr Robinson burst in - blood-covered and crazed he reached for the iron fire poker and began swinging it around. Instinct kicked in and Mrs Robinson gathered her children and with her back to them, attempted to stop the wild swings of the fire poker her husband was trying to land on them.


By the time the Priest & the boy arrived, the scene had changed. Mrs Robinson told them what had happened. After his frenzied attempts to kill more members of his family he had retrieved a revolver and - infront of his young family - shot himself in the head.


There was a court case which made headlines across Britain, Mr Robinson was charged with murder and suicide by means of insanity. His diary entries and personal papers later revealed he had deep anxieties about finances which was believed to be the cause of his mental breakdown. It was also revealed he had violently attacked a female colleague some years earlier and claimed his reason was he 'thought he was being embarrassed'.


The spooky bit...


After uncovering this story I posted it on a local Facebook group as a point of interest. Within minutes I had a message from a lady who believed she lived in the house where the murder took place.


Margaret had lived in a small stone house near the site of the Stately Home all her life, she and her siblings had been told by her parents as children that the house was haunted because of a murder that took place there many years ago. It was also the subject of local legend although nobody had managed to find out exactly what had happened or indeed if there was any truth in the myth.


We set about reading carefully through the old newspaper reports of the murder which described the movements of Mr Robinson, the Priest and the boy. It included the detailed account from the Priest of where he'd approached the house and where Mr Robinson lay when he arrived. Sure enough, it was more than enough to prove Margaret was living in the same stone house where Mr Robinson had shot himself in the head in front of his family some 170 years ago!


It was then that Margaret told me there had always been a patch of dark stone on the floor of one room which they had always suspected might have been blood. Sure enough, the newspaper reports were enough to confirm this was indeed the room where Mr Robinson had shot himself. Margaret also told me there had been a lot of spooky goings-on in the house over the years and the description of Mr Robinson matched exactly the image her family and locals had reportedly seen over the years.....


Pictured: The small stone house where events took place.


If you think this was interesting, wait until you read this! - https://www.familytreesbyhannah.co.uk/gef-the-talking-mongoose


To read more fascinating stories that I uncover, follow www.facebook.com/familytreesbyhannah - New stories added weekly!




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Bradford, West Yorkshire, England