By way of an introduction I would
like to quote from the Borthwick research paper 102; 'Yorkshire
Surnames and the Hearth Tax returns of 1672-73' written by David
Hey and George Redmonds.
a nickname from the animal, probably had several origins in Yorkshire
and Lancashire, for the name was widely scattered in the middle
ages, it was most commonly found in and around Holmfirth, close
to where Thomas Robuck was recorded at Netherthong c. 1300. In
1672-73 18 of the 28 Roebuck households were taxed in neibouring
parts of Agbrigg & Morley wapentake (6 in Holmfirth, 3 in
Shelley, 2 in Kirkburton and 1 each in seven other places), but
9 others (including 3 in Cawood and 3 at Norton) lived further
east near the banks of the Ouse, and an isolated household was
taxed at Loversall in SouthEast Yorkshire."
This corresponds to what has been discovered in this research
project, insofar as it relates to the specific objective of discovering
the identities of the English ancestors of Robert the emigrant.
Interestingly there were no Robuck's recorded at that time (1672/73)
in Darton. By 1672 Robert Robuck senior had died, and Robert
the emigrant was probably setting off on his travels to his new
life in America. What happened to his elder brother Thomas is
still a mystery.
Many of the sources of this research
are listed on the Bibliography page.
It is impossible to put all the
evidence on this web site, but some of the more interesting 'discoveries'
such as Parish Register entries, Deeds, Wills and Admons can
be seen by way of scanned images. Many of which are referred
to and linked from the Family Tree charts.
Although the conclusions have
been drawn from the actual evidence uncovered, this research
has also been significant in what was not found. For example
Robert Robucke was not found in the West Riding Quarter Sessions
Indictment Books. This means he wasn't transported to America
as a convict, which is consistent with the theory of his transportation
in indentured servitude.
There was also no evidence that
Robert married in England prior to his emigration.
Other interesting discoveries
have been made concerning 17th Century people with the name Robert
Robucke. These discoveries were useful in that they served to
eliminate the individuals in question. Examples include the burial
of Isabell, the wife of Robert Robuck at Conisbrough on 2 January
1657/58 and then the burial of Robert Robuck himself on 20 September
1660. Also the marriage of a Robert Robucke to Elizabeth Hilton,
at Conisbrough on 1 July 1711. The Parish Registers for Conisbrough
did not contain any other reference to any other individual who
might have been 'Robert the Emigrant'.
In the course of this research
the number of Robucke
individuals, born before 1700, that have been identified,
listed and analysed is now in the region of 1000, and still growing.
In addition a further 250
individuals with the name Haige, specific to the Darton area,
born before 1650 have also been identified.
After it was established that
the Robert Robucke, born in 1653, the son of Robert Robucke and
Catherine Haige of Darton, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, was
indeed 'Robert the Emigrant', the research concentrated on this
area and the surrounding Parishes, including those of Kirkburton,
Almondbury, Penistone, Woolley, Sandal Magna, Cawthorne, Silkstone,
Felkirk and Royston.
At that time (1600 to 1675) the
population of the Darton Parish comprised about 100 different
family names, including Robucke. This has been established by
analysis of the Parish Registers and Wills. These family names
can be seen on the Darton
There is also a plan
of some fields within Darton tenanted by the families of
Robucke and Gibson circa 1625.
Robert the emigrant's father,
also called Robert married into the landed family of the Haige's
of Mapplewell. His wife Catherine was the daughter of Thomas
and Catherine Robuck and their children are referred by name
to in an Indenture dated 1659,
which was one of a series concerning rights to the Tithes of
Darton and Mapplewell purchased by Catherine's father Thomas
Haige from George Carr, a nobleman of London, in October 1625
and April 1631.
In May 1631 King Charles issued
a royal charter confirming his right to collect these tithes.
From the most recent research,
involving Wills, Admons, Deeds and Manor Court Rolls, it appears
that the Robucke's moved to Staincross within the Parish of Darton
from the nearby Parish of Felkirk during the mid 16th Century
(the time of King Henry VIII). First as tenant farmers, before
taking up permanent residence. Unfortunately none of the early
Felkirk Registers have survived.
That time was also a period of
much religious percecution and it was not uncommon for some people
to change name or move locality or both. One such example concerns
a Edward Roebucke who arrived in Dewsbury circa 1600 AD with
his brother William and then changed his name to Barnard. See
or Barnard' page for more details.
Before 1600 AD, the largest concentration of Robucke families,
not only locally, but anywhere within the County of York(shire),
appears to have been in the Parish of Kirkburton.
Between 1550 and 1600 existed at least a dozen Robucke families
in the Parish of Kirkburton centred around New Mill (including
the hamlets of Fulston, Hollinhouse and Mearhouse) and Shelley
(including the hamlet of Roydhouse) and just outside the Parish
at Netherthong, in the adjacent Parish of Almondbury. Coincidentally
the earliest Robucke's so far identified are from this very small
area. They are Elyas Robuck and his son Thomas of Netherthong
circa 1300 and Joanna Robucke the daughter of Simon Robucke,
also of Netherthong circa 1300, mentioned in an ancient charter
dated 1323 .
All the evidence points to a
single ancestor bearing the name Robucke from the time when surnames
were becoming established in the middle ages. (Could this be
Simon Robuck of Netherthong, born in the 13th century?)
Interestingly Netherthong is
only about 3 miles from Almondbury Castle. In 1130 AD King Stephen
built a castle at Almondbury (on Castle Hill), which was surrounded
by a triple fortification. Certainly Netherthong would have come
under the influence of the Castle at that time, circa 1300. From
research carried out for the above mentioned Borthwick Research
Paper 102, it was apparent that even as late as 1672, the end
of the period studied, there had not been much population movement
in this part of Yorkshire since surnames had started to be formed
during the Middle Ages. Although it might be logical to assume
that the ancestors of Simon Robucke and Elias Robuck both of
Netherthong, were probably from this same area from a time before
the Middle Ages and before any records were kept (the history
of Brigantian fortifications and habitation of Almondbury predates
the Roman occupation by many centuries and probably goes right
back to the Iron Age or even earlier) there is evidence that
the first person to bear the name Robucke actually arrived in
Netherthong from Roebuck Low, just over the Pennines to the
West. This would have been circa 1200 AD.