Martin's family from yesteryear making today's headlines Down Under

Scenic of cove with train in bakground

Idyllic Saltern Cove - Credit: Tim Matthews

A family's rich history in Torbay has been attracting interest nationally and from the other side of the world.

Martin Robins first revealed to Torbay Weekly readers how his great grandfather William was, in fact, a Salvation Army hero.

He published a booklet recounting the tale of how William was jailed more than 130 years ago for marching with the Army through Torquay when such marching was banned.

He was arrested as he marched to an open-air service at the harbour.  The booklet told of William's arrest, jailing and subsequent overturning of the ban and is entitled Bound To Win.

Now Martin has revealed how his family from years gone by has attracted more interest - this time thanks to an idyllic beach chalet!

He can trace his ancestry back to 1787 when John Robins was born in Winkleigh. He and wife, Maelia, had eight children, the second of which was Martin's grandfather William Robins.

Martin says: "William was a lifelong servant of the Great Western Railway and in the early part of the twentieth century he acquired a lease on land at Saltern Cove in Torbay. Here one of William's sons built a holiday chalet, the most idyllic of places."

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This story is told in another booklet ‘Saltern Chalet’ and is also featured in the summer edition of a national magazine. Now the booklet is being distributed by the Torquay Historical Society - in Australia!

Lorraine Marshall wrote to Martin to say: "My husband and I visited back in 2016 on our way to Cornwall, where a branch of my family migrated from.  Their name was Treweek.  My great greats were blacksmiths, farmers etc.  the other side were the Dean Family from Norfolk, and were "landowners" probably farmers. Thank you for the story about Torbay.  My husband and I round the Torquay Historical Society here, and I will definitely file your story."


Martin had the last word: "Farmers near Widdecombe over 300 years ago, criminals in Torquay over 140 years ago and builders of exotic beach huts 100 years ago. Well done those men."

Copies of his booklets can be obtained from Martin Robins, Glebe Farm, Lower Stanton St Quintin, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN14 6DB; phone 01666 837747; email martinrobins@btinternet.com.