Robinson, Richard

, archbishop of Armagh, a-nd lord Rokeby, was the immediate descendant of the Robinsons of Rokeby, in the north riding of the county of York, and was born in 1709. He was educated at Westminsterschool, whence he was elected to Christ church, Oxford, in 1726. After continuing his studies there for some years, and taking his master’s degree in 1733, Dr. Blackburn, archbishop of York, appointed him his chaplain, and collated him first to the rectory of Elton, in the east riding of Yorkshire, and next to the prebend of Grindal, in the cathedral of York. In 1751 he attended the duke of Dorset, lord lieutenant of Ireland, to that kingdom, as his first chaplain, and the same year was promoted to the bishopric of Kiilala. A family connexion with the earl of Holdernesse, who was secretary of state that year, with the earl of Sandwich and other noblemen related to him, opened the f.iirest prospects of attaining to the first dignity in the Irish church. Accordingly, in 1759, he was translated to the united sees of Leighlin and Ferns, and in 1761 to Kildare. The duke of Northumberland being appointed to the lieutenancy of Ireland in 1765, Dr. Robinson was advanced to the primacy of Armagh, and made lord almoner and vicechancellor of the university of Dublin. When lord Harcourt was- lord-lieutenant of Ireland in 1777, the king was pleased, by privy- seal at St. James’s, Feb. 6, and by patent at Dublin the 26th of the same month, to create him baron Rokeby of Armagh, with remainder to Matthew Robinson of West Lay ton, esq. and in 1783 he was appointed prelate to the order of St. Patrick. On the death of the duke of Rutland, lord-lieutenant of Ireland, in 1787, he was nominated one of the lords justices of that kingdom. Sir William Robiuson, his brother, dying in 1785, the primate succeeded to the title of baronet, and was the survivor in the direct male line of the Robinsons of Rokeby, being the eighth in descent from William of Kendal. His grace died at 1 Clifton, near Bristol, in the end of October, 1794.

No primate ever sat in the see of Armagh, who | watchedmore carefully over the legal rights of the church of Ireland, as the statute-book evinces. The act of the 11th and 12th of his present majesty, which secures to bishops and eccle^­siastical persons repayment by their successors of expenditures in purchasing glebes and houses, or building new houses, originated from him, and must ever endear his name to the clergy. The other acts for repairing churches, and facilitating the recovery of ecclesiastical dues, were among the many happy exertions of this primate.

But it was at Armagh, the ancient seat of the primacy, that he displayed a princely munificence. A very elegant palace, 90 feet by 60, and 40 high, adorns that town; it is light and pleasing, without the addition of wings or lesser parts; which too frequently, wanting a sufficient uniformity with the body of the edifice, are unconnected with it in effect, and divide the attention. Large and ample offices are conveniently placed behrnd a plantation at a small distance. Around the palace is a large lawn, which spreads on every side over the hills, skirted by young plantations, in one of which is a terrace, which commands a most beautiful view of cultivated hill and dale. This view from the palace is much improved by the barracks, the school,, and a new church at a distance all which are so placed as to be exceedingly ornamental to the whole country. The barracks were erected under the primate’s direction, and form a large and handsome edifice. The school is a building of considerable extent, and admirably adapted for the purpose; a more beautiful, or one better contrived, is no where to be seen; there are apartments for a master; a schoolroom 56 feet by 28, a large dining-room and spacious airy dormitories, with every other necessary, and a spacious play-ground, walled in; the whole forming a handsome front: and attention being paid to the residence of the master (the salary is 400l. a year) the school flourishes, and must prove one of the greatest advantages to the country. This edifice was built entirely at the primate’s expence. The church is erected of white stone, and having a tall spire, makes a very agreeable object, in a country where churches and spires do not abound. The primate built three other churches, and made considerable reparations in the cathedral: he was also the means of erecting a public infirmary, contributing amply to it himself. He likewise constructed a public library at his own cost, endowed it, and gave it a large collection of books. The roorh is | 45 feet by 25, and 20 high, with a gallery; and apartments for the librarian. The town he ornamented with a markethouse and shambles, and was the direct means, by giving leases upon that condition, of almost new building the whole place He found it a nest of mud-cabins, and he left it a well-built city of stone and slate. Nor was he forgetful of the place of his education. On the new gate, built by Wyat, for Christ-church, Oxford, the primate is commemorated as one of the principal contributors to the expence of building that gate and repairing Canterbury quadrangle. In these noble and spirited works, the primate expended upwards of 30,000l. The celebrated Mrs. Montagu was cousin to this prelate; and her brother, the late eccentric lord Rokeby, his successor in that title, on which, however, he set no value. 1

1 Encyclopaedia Biitannica.