Matilda Robley

Matilda the 'precious treasure' of London, beautiful, sophisticated and laden with slave-wealth, seems an unlikely muse for a fervently religious Scottish liberal reformer, but that was what, in her short life, she became. Her marriage with James Grahame which brought together Anglican and Puritan, Scotland and London, wealth and aspiration, enlightenment ideology and reality, might be regarded as capturing the essence of the rich intellectual world of Charlotte Chapel.

1787 - 28 June 1818
Fleetwood House, Church Street, Stoke Newington.
John Robley, d.1807. His family came from St John's in the Vale, Cumbria. His uncle and brother owned rich plantations in the West Indies while he ran the British end of the business. One of their several properties, Golden Grove Estate in Tobago, covered 500 acres and possessed around 1000 slaves, and was valued by her brother as being worth a hundred thousand pounds Sterling. (3)
Mary Lodington of Lothbury, a street in the City of London which adjoins the Bank of England.
29 Northumberland Street
Matilda Robley was a pupil of a Mrs Barbauld, who wrote on her engagement,
She is by far one of the most charming women I have ever known. Young, beautiful, amiable and accomplished; with a fine fortune. She is going to be married to a Mr Grahame, a young Scotch barrister. I have the greatest reluctance to part with this precious treasure, and can only hope that Mr Grahame is worthy of so much happiness. (4)
She died at Stoke Newington, and the announcement of her death said she was 'much lamented' (5)
Chapel connection
1814, baptism
October 1813
James Grahame
Anne (1814-1817), Robert, Matilda

Fleetwood House is in the top
right (no.2) in this illustration of
'Views in Stoke Newington' (6)


  1. Registers of Charlotte Chapel (NAS CH12/3)
  2. Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1818
  3. John Robley, 'John Robley of Bloomsbury and Tobago (1775 - 1822)' in Robley Genealogy Website accessed 18 November 2011
  4. Joseph Quincey, 'Memoir of James Grahame' in Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, series 3 vol.9 (Boston: Little and Brown 1846) p.5
  5. Caledonian Mercury 9 July 1818
  6. 'Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill' in British History on-line accessed 18 November 2011

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