J. Armitage Robinson was one of the most remarkable and controversial figures of his day. A brilliant scholar, his studies at Cambridge took him from prize-winning classical translation to penetrating analysis of the early gospel traditions and the first sub-apostolic writings. As Dean of Westminster, his combative personality stirred tempers, leading him to move from Westminster to Wells just months before the coronation of Edward VII.
Yet this man, haughty, energetic and highly intelligent, had a gift for popular expositions and was capable of great beneficence. He showed a deep sympathy and understanding towards Roman Catholics, and would pay frequent visits to the monks of Downside. His involvement in the Malines Conversations, which brought to an end centuries of silence and mistrust, demonstrates his prophetic vision of the modern Church.
Robinson was also a meticulous historian of his surroundings, delving into both the architecture and coronation traditions of Westminster, the myths and legends of Glastonbury and the monastic and political life of Somerset. T.F. Taylor’s biography chronicles each aspect of this long and fruitful career with care and enthusiasm.