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The Tathams of County Durham
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Robert Blair Roden

Robert Blair Roden

Male 1860 - 1939  (78 years)


  • Name Robert Blair Roden  [1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Birth 21 Apr 1860  Antigua Find all individuals with events at this location   [4, 5, 6
    • son of John James Roden (b Co Tyrone ~1820; d Antigua 1873) & Anne Smith Bourne Law (b Antigua 1838; d Antigua ~1926)
    Baptism 19 Aug 1860  All Saints, Antigua Find all individuals with events at this location   [1
    • Baptism performed by Thos. Howarth[?], Minister
    Residence 1866  Burkes, Antigua Find all individuals with events at this location   [7
    Education abt 1871 - 1876  Newton Stewart Find all individuals with events at this location ; Ewart Institute  [5, 8, 9
    • The Douglas Ewart High School, Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire, Scotland. There used to be two schools in Newton Stewart. One was founded by a Mr. Douglas and one by a Mr. Ewart. The school name is sometimes hyphenated as Douglas-Ewart. It is believed that that the original founders were both involved in plantations in the West Indies and that they made their money from them. This area of Scotland was involved in the slave trade and slave ships came into Whithorn in the 18th century so it is possible there may have been a link. There is a 1994 publication about the school by Mr. Jim McClay, a former headmaster who is an authority on the subject. (ISBN 0946280169) [www.ewart.org]
    • The Ewart Institute, erected in 1864 at a cost of £5000 from funds bequeathed by James and John Ewart, merchants, is a handsome edifice, with a schoolroom at either end, and the principal's house and boarding-school in the middle. Containing five class-rooms, with accommodation for 310 scholars, and rooms and dormitories for 20 boarders it is divided into a middle-class or high school, conducted by a principal, two masters, a lady superintendent, and assistants; and a free school, conducted by a master and a mistress. [written abt 1885, quoted at www.kentuckystewarts.com, accessed 06 Apr 2009].
    • School closed and buildings converted to housing at some time before 2009.
    Robert Blair Roden (1860-1939)
    Robert Blair Roden (1860-1939)
    at school at Newton Stewart
    Occupation 1880 -  West Indies Find all individuals with events at this location ; Colonial Civil Servant  [5, 8
    Robert Blair Roden (1860-1939)
    Robert Blair Roden (1860-1939)
    abt 1875-1880
    Occupation 1890  Nevis Find all individuals with events at this location ; Magistrate  [2, 8
    Residence Oct 1890  St Paul, Nevis Find all individuals with events at this location   [2
    Marriage 11 Oct 1890  Parish Church, St Philip, Antigua Find all individuals with events at this location   [2
    Rachel Thomson Harrison,   b. 09 Oct 1855, Penicuik Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 08 May 1936, Pembridge Gardens Hotel, 1-9 Pembridge Gardens, Kensington Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Occupation Nov 1891  Parham, Antigua Find all individuals with events at this location ; Magistrate  [10
    • Listed as Magistrate, resid Parham, Antigua, on dau Eileen birth certificate reg 26 Nov 1891. Parham is on NE coast of Antigua, population 1,276 [2001 census]. It is the oldest town in the country (est. 1632) and was once the capital. It is not certain that the Roden family was in fact resident there at the time; RR was the magistrate at Nevis before & after Eileen was born.
    Occupation abt 1896  West Indies Find all individuals with events at this location ; Private Secretary to Governor of Leeward Islands  [5
    Robert Blair Roden (1860=1939)
    Robert Blair Roden (1860=1939)
    abt 1895
    Residence abt 1900 - 1903  Upper St, Islington Find all individuals with events at this location   [11
    • occasional visits to meet residence requirements for call to the bar.
    • in lodgings with a Mrs Bond [11]
    Occupation Mar 1901 -  Nevis Find all individuals with events at this location ; Police Magistrate  [12
    Occupation abt 1903 - 1912  Bridgetown, Barbados Find all individuals with events at this location ; Police Magistrate  [13
    Robert Blair Roden (1860-1939)
    Robert Blair Roden (1860-1939)
    abt 1910 or earlier
    Degree/Qualif. 26 Jan 1903  Gray's Inn, Holborn Find all individuals with events at this location ; Barrister-at-Law  [14, 15
    • R B Roden: Nevis: terms preliminary to the call to the Bar. [Colonial Office records, 1900, official correspondence, TNA CO 152/260]
    Occupation 1912 - 1915  St Vincent, West Indies Find all individuals with events at this location ; Chief Justice  [13
    Occupation 1915 - 1921  British Honduras Find all individuals with events at this location ; Chief Justice  [5
    • Had an accident in Belize early 1918. [letter Apr 1918 from his mother Anne Smith Bourne Law (1838-~1926) to his daughter Bessie Eileen Roden]
    • In 1919, when black Belizean servicemen returned from fighting in Europe during World War I, they rioted to protest the unequal, racist treatment they had received while fighting a war for the British.They destroyed many businesses owned by white merchants, and demanded that "British Honduras should be a Black man's country". Again British troops were brought in to stop the riots. [http://www.belizenet.com/history/chap10.html accessed 03 Apr 2010]
    Robert Blair Roden (1860-1939)
    Robert Blair Roden (1860-1939)
    abt 1915
    Decoration 26 Jun 1918  KBE  [16
    Residence abt 1921 - 1928  Lexham Gardens, Kensington Find all individuals with events at this location   [17
    Residence 1929  Campden Hill Hotel, 1 Hornton St, Kensington Find all individuals with events at this location   [18
    Residence abt 1930 - 1939  Pembridge Gardens Hotel, Kensington Find all individuals with events at this location   [17, 19
    Death 05 Feb 1939  20 Pembridge Crescent, Kensington Find all individuals with events at this location   [3, 4, 19, 20
    • Another very sad death, for Eileen,was that of Sir Robert Roden, early this month. He had been ill at the time of Barbara's wedding, ? then an operation was found necessary. From this he was recovering well, but had not left the Nursing Home, when further trouble started. The saddest part of all was that Eileen was not able to be with him; she was still in bed, after the gastric ulcer, & the doctor would not let her get up, & go to London. Meaburn went, & was with Sir Robert the 3 days, till he died. He was unconscious all the time, & did not know that he was dying, or that Eileen was not there. That is a comfort to her. They were devoted to each other. [Silvia Tatham, diaries, vol xxxv, 1939-1941]
    Cremated 07 Feb 1939  Golders Green Crematorium Find all individuals with events at this location   [21
    • The funeral of Sir Robert Roden took place on Tuesday at Golders Green Crematorium. The Rev. W. I. Bulman officiated, and there were present:-- Mr. P. E. J. Pierez (nephew) [Percy Edmund James Pierez (~1894-1968), wife's nephew], Mrs. T. Parsons (niece) [Marie Louisa Roden (1886-1969)], Mr. M. T. Tatham (son-in-law) [Meaburn Tatham], Miss Allerton, Miss Evans, Mrs. Acheson Gray, Mrs. Kerr, Sir Henry Miers [Henry Alexander Miers (1858-1942), son-in-law's uncle], Miss Milne, Mr. W. D. Perrins, Miss Roden [possibly his niece Emily Laura Roden (1906-1951)], Mr. R. H. Stone, Mr. P. J. Sproule, and Miss Tatham [possibly Agnes Clara Tatham, son-in-law's sister]. [The Times, Thu 09 Feb 1939]
    Probate 20 Mar 1939  London Find all individuals with events at this location ; £22,450 0s. 4d.  [20
    • Roden sir Robert Blair knight of Pembridge Gardens Hotel Pembridge Middlesex died died 5 February 1939 at 20 Pembridge-crescent Middlesex Probate London 20 March to Meaburn Tatham company secretary and Percy Edmund James Pierez of no occupation. Effects £22450 0s. 4d. [NPC]
    • His will dated 29 January 1937 with a codicil of 5 January 1939, was proved at London 20 March 1939 by his son-in-law Meaburn Tatham and Percy Edmund James Pierez. [Kyleen C]
    • Sir Robert Blair Roden, Deceased. Pursuant to the Trustee Act, 1925 (as amended). Notice is hereby given that all creditors and other persons having any claims or demands against the estate of Sir Robert Blair Roden, Knight, late of Pembridge Gardens Hotel, Pembridge Gardens, London, W.2, late Chief Justice of the Colony of British Honduras, deceased, who died on the 5th day of February 1939 and whose Will was proved in the Principal Registry of the Probate Division of His Majesty's High Court of Justice on the 20th day of March 1939 by Meaburn Tatham and Percy Edmund James Pierez the executors therein named, are hereby required to send the particulars in writing of their claims or demands to us the undersigned as Solicitors for the said executors on or before the 25th day of May 1939 after which date the said executors will proceed to distribute the assets of the said deceased amongst the persons entitled thereto, having regard only to the debts claims and demands of which they shall then have had notice; and they will not be liable for the assets of the said deceased or any part thereof so distributed to any person or persons of whose claims or demands they shall not then have had notice. Dated this 22nd day of March, 1939. Maples Teeesdale and Co., 6, Frederick's Place, Old Jewry, E.C.2, Solicitors for the said Executors. [London Gazette 24 Mar 1939]
    Notes 
    • Sir Robert Blair Roden, formerly Chief Justice of British Honduras, died in a nursing home in London yesterday after a short illness, following an operation.
      Born in April, 1860, he was the son of Mr. J. James Roden, an estate owner in Antigua. He was educated at Newton Stewart, and after returning to the West Indies entered the Civil Service in 1880. Between then and 1896 he was Private Secretary to the Governors of the Leeward Islands. After holding magisterial posts in Nevis and Barbados he was appointed Chief Justice of St. Vincent in 1912, and on several occasions was Acting Administrator of that island. In 1915 he was transferred to British Honduras, of which colony he was Chief Justice until his retirement in 1921.
      Roden, who was called to the Bar by Gray's Inn, devoted himself to his judicial duties with a thoroughness as conscientious in trivial as in important cases. He acquired a profound understanding of the negro mentality and was trusted and respected by Europeans and natives alike. He was shrewd, kindly, courteous, and considerate ; his features beneath the hair which was snow white from early manhood proclaimed the judicial mind. His fairness and firmness did much to restore confidence and order in the serious riots which broke out in Belize shortly after the War.
      In 1890 he married Rachael, daughter of W. P. Harrison., of Edinburgh. She died in 1936. Their only child was a daughter, now Mrs. Meaburn Tatham, of King's Norton, Birmingham. [The Times, Mon 6 Feb 1939, obituary]
    • Roden, His Honour Sir Robert Blair, Kt., cr. 1918; b. 21 Apr 1860; s. of J. James Roden, sugar planter, Antigua, West Indies; m. 1890, Rachel (d. 1936), e.d. of W .P. Harrison, Edinburgh; one d. Educ: Newton Stewart, NB. Barrister-at-law, Gray's Inn; entered civil service, 1880; Magistrate of Nevis, 1890; Private Secretary to Governors of the Leeward Islands, 1883, 1890, 1895, and 1896; Member of St. Kitt's and Nevis Legislative Council, 1891; Member of Federal Legislative Council of Leeward Islands, 1898; Police Magistrate of Bridgetown, Barbados, 1903; acted on several occasions as Judge of Bridgetown Petty Debt Court and Barbados Assistant Court of Appeal; Chief Justice of St. Vincent, 1912; administered Government of St. Vincent, Oct. 1912-Feb. 1913, and for short periods in 1913, also 1914; Chief Justice of British Honduras, 1915-21; retired, 1921. Recreations: reading, travel. Address: c/o Royal Bank of Canada, E.C. 2. (Died 5 Feb 1938 [recte: 1939]) [Who was Who, 1929-1940]
    • Robert Blair Roden was admitted to Gray's Inn on 16th June 1896. His entry in the register of admissions describes him as a magistrate in the colonial service, of Nevis, West Indies; the second son of John James Roden, deceased, of Londonderry, Northern Ireland, West Indian planter.
      Prior to his admission he had been excused from the requirement to pass the Preliminary Examination usually required of applicants who did not possess a degree from a university in Britain or British overseas dominions.
      The order (of the Inn's governing body, Pension), which granted this exemption includes details of his petition, which stated that he was educated at the Ewart Institute, Newton Stuart [Wigtownshire, Scotland] and entered the colonial service in 1880; and that he had since held the post of Private Secretary to the Governor of the Leeward Islands and the Bahamas and appointments as magistrate in Antigua and Nevis, being, at the time of his petition, officer in charge of the latter island.
      His application for admission was supported by references from Wilfred Brinton, a barrister of Lincoln's Inn and Robert Younger KC, a barrister of the Inner Temple and Lincoln's Inn, having been personally introduced to both by Busick Edmonds Pemberton Esq., [a solicitor with Lee and Pemberton's] of 44 Lincoln's Inn Fields.
      Robert Roden was Called to the Bar on 26th January 1903.
      I cannot say with any certainty why such a long time elapsed between his admission to this Society and his Call to the Bar but imagine that this had to do with his other duties.
      I am also unsure as to pupillage requirements (if any) at this time but have checked the Law Lists (in which he appears from 1903 to 1938) and can tell you that no chambers are listed for him. I strongly suspect that he was not required to undertake pupillage in England (intending overseas practitioners have been exempt from this requirement within my memory). [Theresa Thom, Librarian, Gray's Inn, 06 Apr 2009]
    • Well spoken, no West India accent [MRT]
    • Passengers on RMS "Medway" arr Southampton 14 May 1896: Mr R B Roden (49 - s/be 36?), Gov't Offic al, Mrs Roden (38 - s/be 40?), Master Roden (5 months), emb Nevis. (Eileen not listed).
      Passengers on RMS "Para" dep Southampton 18 Nov 1896: Mr & Mrs Roden & child (boy age 1-12), dest. Nevis.
      ... ...
      Passengers on RMS "Para" dep Southampton 24 Jan 1900: Mr & Mrs Roden & child (girl age 1-12), dest Nevis.
      Passenger on RMS "Trent" arr Southampton 06 Nov 1901: Robert Blair Roden, b Antigua, emb Nevis, travelling alone.
      ... ...
      Passengers on RMS "Atrato" arr Southampton 13 May 1907 ex Barbados: Robert Roden (36 - s/be 47), Carrie Roden (24) [unknown - error for Rachel?, but then aged 51?]; also Charles Alleyne (33), Maude Alleyne (32), Freda Law (25); they may be relations.
      Passengers on RMS "Orinoco" dep Southampton 16 Oct 1907: Mr & Mrs R B Roden, dest Barbados,
      Passengers on RMS "Thames" arr Southampton 29 Apr 1912: Robert & Rachel Roden, emb Barbados.
      Passengers on RMS "Thames" dep Southampton 09 Oct 1912: Mr & Mrs R Roden, dest Barbados, perm res West Indies.
      Passengers on RMS "Baltic" (White Star) arr Liverpool May 1919: Robert B Roden (59), Ch. Justice; Mabel [sic] Roden (56[sic]), wife; emb New York, perm res BWI, UK address 20 Regents Park Tce, London.
      ... ...
      Passengers on SS "Motagua" (Elders & Fyffes) arr Avonmouth 23 May 1921: Sir Robert Roden (61), Minister, British Honduras, c/o Colonial House, Downing St; Lady Rachel T Roden, 58 (sic); emb Kingston. [Perhaps this was their final departure following his retirement - he had just reached age 61]
    Person ID I3870  Tatham | Meaburn branch | Parent of spouse
    Last Modified 20 Oct 2014 

    Family Rachel Thomson Harrison,   b. 09 Oct 1855, Penicuik Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 08 May 1936, Pembridge Gardens Hotel, 1-9 Pembridge Gardens, Kensington Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years) 
    Marriage 11 Oct 1890  Parish Church, St Philip, Antigua Find all individuals with events at this location   [2
    Notes 
    • It appears that there was also a son, born about Dec 1895. The only evidence is the Royal Mail Lines passenger lists of 1896: RMS Medway arr Southampton 14 May 1896 Master Roden (5 months) emb Nevis; RMS Para dep Southampton 18 Nov 1896 Child Roden (boy age 1-12) dest Nevis. Eileen's son Roden Tatham never heard her speak of a younger brother; not did any of her grandchildren.
    Children 
     1. Bessie Eileen Roden,   b. 19 Nov 1891, Parham, Antigua Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Apr 1975, Brambles, Arkley Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years)
    Last Modified 20 Oct 2014 
    Family ID F1129  Family Group Sheet

  • Event Map Click to display
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 21 Apr 1860 - Antigua Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBaptism - 19 Aug 1860 - All Saints, Antigua Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1866 - Burkes, Antigua Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsEducation - Ewart Institute - abt 1871 - 1876 - Newton Stewart Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Colonial Civil Servant - 1880 - - West Indies Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Magistrate - 1890 - Nevis Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - Oct 1890 - St Paul, Nevis Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarriage - < - 11 Oct 1890 - Parish Church, St Philip, Antigua Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarriage - 11 Oct 1890 - Parish Church, St Philip, Antigua Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Magistrate - Nov 1891 - Parham, Antigua Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Private Secretary to Governor of Leeward Islands - abt 1896 - West Indies Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - abt 1900 - 1903 - Upper St, Islington Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Police Magistrate - Mar 1901 - - Nevis Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Police Magistrate - abt 1903 - 1912 - Bridgetown, Barbados Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDegree/Qualif. - Barrister-at-Law - 26 Jan 1903 - Gray's Inn, Holborn Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Chief Justice - 1912 - 1915 - St Vincent, West Indies Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Chief Justice - 1915 - 1921 - British Honduras Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - abt 1921 - 1928 - Lexham Gardens, Kensington Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1929 - Campden Hill Hotel, 1 Hornton St, Kensington Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - abt 1930 - 1939 - Pembridge Gardens Hotel, Kensington Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 05 Feb 1939 - 20 Pembridge Crescent, Kensington Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCremated - 07 Feb 1939 - Golders Green Crematorium Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsProbate - £22,450 0s. 4d. - 20 Mar 1939 - London Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
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  • Sources 
    1. [S06] Parish Registers, baptisms, All Saints, Antigua, 19 Aug 1860.
      photocopy of register from Antigua public records office, Aug 2009

    2. [S36] Marriage Certificate, 11 Oct 1890.
      photocopy from Antigua public records office, Aug 2009

    3. [S41] Death Certificate.

    4. [S02] BMD Index, death reg Kensington, 1Q1939.
      age 78

    5. [S05] The Times, obituary, 06 Feb 1939.

    6. [S33] Family Letters, Anne Roden née Law.
      21 Apr

    7. [S33] Family Letters, from his father John James Roden, 08 Feb 1866.

    8. [S18] Who's Who / Who was Who.

    9. [S07] Other Sources, Gray's Inn librarian.

    10. [S32] Birth Certificate.
      dau Eileen

    11. [S03] Family Members, BER.

    12. [S35] London Gazette, 15 Mar 1901.

    13. [S35] London Gazette, 03 Sep 1912.

    14. [S07] Other Sources, Council of Legal Education, certificate, 01 Nov 1899.

    15. [S07] Other Sources, Gray's Inn librarian, 06 Apr 2009.

    16. [S35] London Gazette, 02 Aug 1918.

    17. [S03] Family Members, MRT.

    18. [S12] Passenger Lists, Aurania, 06 Oct 1929.
      dau Eileen

    19. [S35] London Gazette, 24 Mar 1939.

    20. [S14] National Probate Calendar.

    21. [S05] The Times, death notice, 07 Feb 1939.