John Martin Robinson

John Robinson in the procession to the annual service of the Order of the Garter

John Martin Robinson FSA (born 1948) is a British architectural historian and officer of arms.

He was born in Preston, Lancashire, and educated at Fort Augustus Abbey, a Benedictine school in Scotland, the University of St Andrews (graduating MA and awarded D.LITT in 2002) and then in 1970 arrived at Oriel College, Oxford, to prepare for a DPhil. He worked for the Greater London Council's Historic Buildings Division from 1974.[1] to 1986, where he worked inter alia as architectural editor of the Survey of London, and Historic Buildings Inspector for Westminster, and also revised the Statutory Lists of Historic Buildings for 2 east London boroughs. As an independent consultant since 1988 he has advised on the restoration of numerous country houses churches and other listed buildings. His contribution to the Conservation Plan for 7 Dials and Covent Garden in London won the 1998 Camden Environmental Award. He also wrote the Conservation Plan for the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, in association with Rick Mather Architects.

He has been an Architectural Writer for Country Life for over 40 years contributing nearly 400 articles and reviews. As chairman of the Art and Architecture Committee of Westminster Cathedral he has overseen the completion of the mosaics in St George's and St Joseph's chapels, the Vaughan Chantrey and several individual panels

Robinson was Fitzalan Pursuivant Extraordinary at the College of Arms from 1982 and is now Maltravers Herald Extraordinary. In 1978 he was appointed Librarian to the Duke of Norfolk Earl Marshal.[2] [3]

Robinson is also a Knight of Magistral Grace of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. He lives at Beckside House, Cumbria, and is an active member of the Georgian Group of which he was a trustee and vice-chairman for 20 years, acquiring their HQ Adam townhouse in Fitzroy Square, setting up the Casework committee, and instituting the Young Georgians, and founding and presiding over the Annual conservation Awards for 10 years from 2003-2013. He served on the North West Regional Committee of the National Trust for 10 Years and is Heraldic Adviser to the National Trust. He was a trustee of the Lakeland Arts Trust for 25 years, and served on the Council of the Society of Antiquaries, the council of the National Records Association, and is a trustee of Arundel Castle , Burghley House and Wilton House. He was a founder member of the Friends of Christ Church Spitalfields and helped establish the music Festival there. His scholarly book on James Wyatt is the definitive treatment of the subject. His witty New Georgian Handbook, co-authored with Alexandra Artley of Harpers Magazine , was the architectural face of the "Young Fogey Movement" in the 1980s and remains a cult book with young enthusiasts.


Magazine articles:


  1. Merle Rubin (February 27, 1985). "Tradition updated: Britain's grand new country houses; The Latest Country Houses, by John Martin Robinson, London: The Bodley Head (distributed by Merrimack Publisher's Cirlcle, Salem, N.H.). 256 pp. $19.95". Christian Science Monitor.
  2. John Ezard (June 26, 2002). "Obituary: The Duke of Norfolk: As Britain's premier peer and senior Catholic layman, he led a spirited but quiet life". The Guardian.
  3. "Nothing second-rate or suburban about this man's book". Derby Evening Telegraph. January 18, 2007.
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