Hannah was born in County Galway, Ireland, to William BLAKE and Helen BURKE. There was an elder sister, Mary BLAKE, and two brothers. Hannah's mother died when she was young, and then William BLAKE also died. Hannah was sent to a convent in England, in order to be educated. According to the stories, the priests "diddled Hannah out of her inheritance", and Hannah was instead treated as a servant in the convent. Hannah's two brothers split with the church when they discovered how she had been treated.
When Hannah was 18 or so, she went home with a friend, whose mother owned an inn (on the King's Road). Hannah remained and worked in the inn, where she met Henry DE LORNE, alias Henry ROBINSON. Within two weeks, the pair were married. (Although nary a certificate has been found).
Henry ROBINSON also had a story. He was an albino, but a very handsome man (although a photo of him tells a different story!). He was educated, and spoke a number of languages, in a time when few people could. One story relates that he was forced out of France, sent off in a boat to cross the Channel with only the family jewels, by his butler. His family was apparently caught up in the French Revolution. As far as proving the story about Henry goes, however, it appears that he was not educated (signed registers with an X), and actually born in England. Possibly his father was the one to be evicted from France!
Well, Henry and Hannah had eight children, and spent the next few years living in various parts of England. There is a wonderful story about how Hannah met up with her sister Mary, again.
Henry was a baker, and one day into the shop came a man named William BLAKE. This man had married Hannah's sister Mary. Someone recognised someone, and before you could say "Jack Robinson" (sorry I had to), Helen and Hannah were reunited. There were many tears, especially when it was discovered that Mary was dying. Mary died there, and is buried in the cemetery (we have proof!) She left three young children. Hannah was prepared to take the children in, but William BLAKE returned to Ireland with the children, and the families once again lost touch.
By all accounts Henry was a bit of a scoundrel, and there is a tale of when he worked on a toll gate. There were three men in the team, and one day Henry overheard his partners aiming to rob him of his share of the profits. Henry being Henry he got in first and disappeared with it all!
Henry also had a habit of disappearing for a month or so at a time, and then returning home as if nothing had happened. The two eldest boys had already gone to New Zealand for a new life, and while Henry was off on one of his jaunts, the rest of the family packed up and came out to New Zealand. It was 1882. We do not know what happened to Henry after that.
Hannah was in her 50's when she arrived in New Zealand and she lived in Taylorville on the West Coast, with her son. Although she could craft fantastic needlework, she never learned to read or write. She died in 1898 and is buried in an unmarked grave in Stillwater on the Coast.
Read an extract from a letter written by Tommy ROBINSON
Read more about Hannah's children here
My Genealogy Gateway