ROBINSON, Metcalfe (1629-89), of Newby, Yorks.
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Family and Education
bap. 10 Mar. 1629, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir William Robinson of Newby by Frances, da. of Sir Thomas Metcalfe of Nappa. educ. Epping; St. John’s, Camb. 1645. m. 29 Mar. 1653, Margaret, da. of Sir William Darcy of Witton, co. Dur., 3s. d.v.p. 7da. suc. fa. 1658; cr. Bt. 30 July 1660.1
Freeman, York 1659; j.p. Yorks (N. Riding) July 1660-?d., dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-Oct. 1688; commr. for assessment (N. Riding) Aug. 1660-80, York 1660-79, (W. Riding) 1661-3; capt. of militia horse (N. Riding) by 1662-at least 1679; commr. for corporations, Yorks. 1662-3, recusants (N. and W. Ridings) 1675.2
Robinson’s family was descended from William Robinson, a prominent Hamburg merchant, twice Member for and lord mayor of York under Elizabeth. His father, a ship-money sheriff, helped to defend York for the King during the first Civil War and compounded on a fine of £2,175. Robinson himself, though too young to take part in the Civil War, remained aloof from local affairs during the Interregnum. In February 1660 he signed the Yorkshire petition for a free Parliament presented to George Monck, and was returned for York a few weeks later despite the Long Parliament ordinance. In the Convention he was appointed only to the committee of elections and privileges. Though Lord Wharton marked him as a friend, he was doubtless a court supporter, being rewarded with a baronetcy in July.3
Robinson was re-elected in 1661, again with the support of the corporation. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to only 12 committees, including the elections committee in five sessions, and was twice absent from calls of the House. He also avoided the burdens of municipal office by paying £150 to fine off for alderman in 1662. In the following year he was among those instructed to inquire into the working of the Corporations Act. Together with Sir William Frankland, he led the resistance of the Yorkshire magistracy to hearth-tax. Shaftesbury marked him ‘worthy’ in 1677, and after complaining of breach of privilege he was added on 19 Feb. 1678 to the committee of inquiry into abuses in the hearth-tax. On the working-lists he was marked ‘to be fixed’, but no payments or other inducements from the Government have been traced. At the next general election, however, he was defeated by an exclusionist, and in 1682 he promoted the Yorkshire address abhorring Shaftesbury’s purported Association.4
Robinson regained his seat in 1685, though not without a contest. In James II’s Parliament he was appointed to the committee on the bill to prevent the exportation of wool on 18 June, was given leave of absence four days later, and probably never returned to the House since he was not appointed to any other committees. When the King’s questions on the repeal of the Test and Penal Laws were put to him in 1688, he replied:
When his Majesty will be pleased to let his gracious promises in his declaration pass into a law, I shall then consent to the taking away the Test and Penal Laws. I shall endeavour to choose such men for Members of Parliament, as I do really believe will faithfully serve both King and kingdom.