CFHS code : AG178

Parish : St Andrew the Great

Inscription : Sacred to the Memory of WILLIAM GOODBURN ROBINSON d Feb 5th 1871 aged 34 late organist of St Andrew the Great and of REBECCA his wife d Jan 16th 1895 aged 56 also of ARTHUR ERNEST their son d Apr 23rd 1894 aged 25 late organist of St Mary the Less and of ADE MARY their infant daughter d November 21 1864

Monument : not described

Above information amended from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202787, 0.13649934 – click here for location

Robinson monument 2019


A fallen headstone that lies under the silver birch tree on the east of the west path.


Sacred to the Memory of WILLIAM GOODBURN ROBINSON Who died February 5th 1871 aged 34 years.
Late organist of St Andrew the Great

And of REBECCA his wife who died January 16th 1895 aged 56 years

Also of ARTHUR ERNEST their son who died April 23rd 1894 aged 25 years
Late organist of St Mary the Less

And of ADA MARY their infant daughter died November 21 1864

Relationships: Parents, one baby girl and one adult son.

William Goodburn Robinson (3 July 1835 – 5 February 1871)

William was born in Cambridge and was the son of Thomas and Mary (née Goodburn) Robinson.  He was baptised at the Wesleyan Chapel in Barnwell on 19 October 1835. Thomas was a tailor and the  William grew up at 28 Burleigh Street.  In 1851 aged 15 he was still living at home and working as a pupil teacher. He was still living at home with his parents in 1861, but by then was working as an organist at St Andrew the Great  Church and teacher of music.

William married Rebecca Briggs on October 21st 1863 in the parish of St Andrew the Less. They had at least three children: Ada Mary (1864-1864), Emily Florence (1865-1922) and Arthur Ernest (1869-1894). In June 1870 there was a concert to celebrate the new organ at the Wesleyan Chapel.  It was a grand affair and the choir ‘numbered some forty or fifty voices, selected from the principal colleges and other choirs of the town’ and conducted by William Robinson.  The  Cambridge Independent Press reported ‘Mr Robinson conducted the choir which did credit to his admirable training and showed to great advantage in Handel’s inimitable ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ which was loudly applauded and re-demanded’.

William died at the family home, 14 Clarendon Street aged 34 years old.

Rebecca Robinson  (née Briggs) (1838 – 16 January 1895)

Rebecca was born in Cambridge and was the daughter of David and Sarah Briggs. Her father was a carpenter and she grew up on Victoria Road.  Her mother died when she was 10 years old, and she later lived with her sister Mary Challice and her family on Victoria Road (1861).  She worked as a milliner before her marriage to William Robinson.

After the death of her husband William she lost no time in setting herself up as a milliner using a room in the family home in Clarendon Street as her showroom. In March 1871, six weeks after becoming a widow she took out advertisements in the local newspapers which annouced ‘that she has commenced business as a milliner, and that her show room at 14 Clarendon Street, Cambridge is ready for inspection.  Mrs Robinson has long experience as a milliner and hopes to receive a share of public support. She respectfully invites attention to her fashionable assortment of goods, which she has just selected in London’.  By 1881 she had moved to 3 Malcolm Street and was living there with her children and a general servant, with her occupation on the census of that year marked as a milliner.  Perhaps the business didn’t work out as she had wished, for by 1891 she was running 3 Malcolm Street as a Lodging House.  She died in 1895 at her home.

Arthur Ernest Robinson (1868 – 23 April  1894)

Arthur was 3 years old when his father died, so he was largely raised by his mother at Clarendon Street and later at Malcolm Street.  In April  1891 he was 22 years old and working as a library assistant. He was also the Organist of St. Mary the Less Church, having followed in his father’s musical footsteps.  He died aged  25 years old as a result of having caught a chill at a concert after which  ‘inflammation of the lungs ensued, and although he played as usual at the church on Sunday week, he died on the following Monday’. The reports of his funeral noted he ‘was very popular in the town, and an energetic member of the Town Rowing Club, stroking the first eight in the races of two years ago.  In earlier years he was a member of the Trinity College Choir’.  The newspapers also commented on the large number of attendants at the funeral ‘testifying to the respect with which the deceased was held, and a number of beautiful wreaths were sent’.

Ada Mary Robinson (19 May 1864 – 21 May 1864)

Ada died at an address in East Road aged 2 days



Newspaper archives

Parish Records

by Claire Martinsen with additional information by Mary Naylor

Ada Mary Robinson; Arthur Ernest Robinson; Rebecca Robinson; William Goodburn Robinson