The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

James Roberts


James Roberts was baptised in July 1857, son of Thomas Roberts and Isabella Marris. Isabella was from Lincolnshire and they married in the district of Glanford Brigg in 1854 and immediately moved to Thomas’s home in Farnmore, Strokestown, County Roscommon. There Thomas farmed one hundred and ten acres, according to Griffith’s Valuation. James was the eldest of the six children born there, three boys and three girls.

James RobertsJames received his B.A. at Trinity College, Dublin and was admitted to the Inner Temple (Law) in November 1882. He entered Cambridge University in January 1884 and was called to the Bar in January 1887 and worked on the South Eastern Circuit. He has not been found in early censuses, but in 1911 he was living in Ilchester Mansions in Paddington as a Boarder. Based on letters that he wrote to newspapers he was living in 3 Temple Gardens, London from at least 1913, having never married.

By 1901 his parents and sisters had moved from Roscommon and were living in Donnybrook in Dublin. Thomas was then an Assistant Land Commissioner. Their eldest daughter Isabella, then aged forty-five was living with them, and their second son, Nisbet, had moved to South Africa. When Thomas died in 1905 aged eighty-four, the newspaper notice requested that South African papers would copy the details.

His widow Isabella died in 1908, aged eighty-five, and the three unmarried daughters, Isabella, Leonora and Frances continued to live in the house in Marlborough Road until their deaths at advanced ages. The youngest son, John Marris, became an engineer, married and lived in Cork, Athlone and finally Dublin.

James Roberts was returning to England in October 1918, possibly after a period of convalescence. He did not survive the sinking of RMS Leinster on the 10thbut his body was recovered and he was buried in the family grave in Mount Jerome cemetery. Archbishop Bernard, speaking to the Dublin Diocesan Synod on the 14th, remembered his “old college class fellow and brother scholar”.




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