This is an English surname much associated with the north of the country, and sometimes Scotland. Recorded in the spellings of Robson, Robeson and Robison, they were, according to Black's "Surnames of Scotland", one of the famous four English clans of North Tyneside (Northumberland) in the 16th century. In origin the name is a short derivative of the pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon personal name "Hrodbert" the modern Robert, composed of three elements; hrod meaning renown, berht bright or famous, and the patronymic son. In an early register of the late medieval period known as the "Dialogue" they were (quote) "good honest men and true, saving a little shifting for their living." The surname first appears in the Poll Tax rolls of the county of Yorkshire in the year 1379, when Richard Robson and Thomas Robyson are so recorded. Later examples include: John Robson, who was appointed clerk of the market of Bridgetown, in the island of Barbados in 1679, whilst the artist George Robson (1788 - 1833) exhibited as a water - colour painter at the Royal Academy from 1807. The name is strongly associated with the theatre through such luminaries as the late Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), who was the grandson of a slave, and Dame Flora Robson (1902 - 1986), whilst in sport and particularly soccer through various nameholders such as the former England manager, Bobby Robson.
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