There was a large Naval base in Stoke Damerel and Charles had joined the Navy. He served on the HMS Sans Pareil which was a two-decker steam ship built in 1851 (400HP, 70 guns, 2339 tons, 9.3 knots) and originally stationed in Devonport. In 1860 and 1861 the Sans Pareil was stationed in Queenstown, Co. Cork, Ireland which is where his son, Charles Richard Robins, was born in 1861. Charles and his family were transferred from HMS Sans Pareil to Bullsmouth coastguard station on the north-east tip of Achill Island in County Mayo on 5 July 1861, and then transferred again from Bullsmouth to Achillbeg coastguard station on the southern tip of Achill Island in 1864.
Up until the early 1860's the Achillbeg coastguard station had been situated on the eastern side of Achillbeg island, County Mayo. However, about 1864, a new Achillbeg coastguard station was opened on the Achill mainland in Cloughmore, on the other side of the channel separating Achillbeg Island from Achill Island. The new location avoided the frequent hazards of crossing the dangerous channel to Achillbeg Island. It is not known if Charles ever served in the original coastguard station on Achillbeg island.
The original coastguard station (arrowed) on Achillbeg Island marked on the 1838 ordnance survey map
The ruins of the original coastguard station (arrowed) on Achillbeg Island on Google maps (Click map to enlarge)
Royal Naval records show that before his retirement, Charles Robins served on the same ship, HMS Valiant (in service 1868-1885 as the First Reserve guard ship for Southern Ireland), as fellow coastguard John Lewis. So perhaps it is no coincidence that John Lewis' daughter (Sarah Elizabeth Lewis) eventually married Charles' son (Charles Richard Robins) in Ballina in 1888.
The Naval records indicate that Charles was pensioned on 27 July 1876. After his retirement, Charles and his wife, Jane, lived with their son George Robins, who was postmaster in Achill Sound. The Achill Sound (Church of Ireland) Register of Vestrymen list Charles as one of the Vestrymen of the parish from 1870 until at least 1891. Charles died in 1898 at the age of 70 and is buried in a family grave adjacent to the side of the Holy Trinity Church in Achill Sound. His wife, Jane, is recorded in the 1901 and 1911 censuses as still living with her son George. Jane died in 1920 at the age of 92.
Charles Robins was born in Mevagissey, Cornwall in 1827 to William Robins (1800-1872) and Ann Rundle (1801-1880). His date of birth is recorded as 29th September 1827 in his grand-daughter's (Florence Jane Robins, 1892-1975) surviving "little red book of memorable dates", which is consistent with his baptism date two weeks later on 14th October, according to the parish records. During the 1841 census, the family were living in Mevagissey and his father William was a 'Roper' by profession. Charles' trade was also recorded as a 'Ropemaker' on his Naval records. He is described as 5' 7" tall with brown hair, blue eyes and fresh complexion on his naval records, but unfortunately, there are no known photographs of him.
In 1849 there was a serious cholera epidemic in Mevagissey and most of the village was evacuated to tented accommodation at Portmellon. However, Charles and his family were living in Stoke Damerel (near Plymouth) during the 1851 census. Later that same year he married Jane Jago, also from Mevagissey.
Above: Bullsmouth Coastguard Station, Achill Island
Left: Charles' birthday in his grand-daughter's book
of memorable dates.
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