If I have tracked my family back correctly, they came from the Deal, Kent, area of England to the United States.  But, reportedly they were originally from Scotland.  I have been trying to find the reason why they moved.  I found the following post from a John Roberts who is originally from Scotland but migrated to the Kent area in recent years.  It’s at http://www.clansandnames.org/forum/read.php?1,103.

“The Roberts family originated in the highlands of Scotland. During the Reign of Malcolm a member of the Roberts family caused offence to a member of Malcolm’s family which resulted in that part of the Roberts family leaving Scotland and settling in Kent, Southern England. They flourished there for several years around the existing town of Robertsbridge.  The Roberts family split 3 ways. One part stayed in the Kent area, a second part moved to East Anglia and the 3rd part moved to Wales. When the problem with King Malcolm occurred, half the family remained in Scotland. So it becomes difficult to determine your true lineage. At the time of Culloden, many Scots went to America and Canada, while others went to the far East. An example of the Roberts in East Anglia is the former Prime Minister of the UK, Margaret Thatcher, whose maiden name was Roberts. I am Scottish, born in Glasgow, moved to London when 13, married with 3 children who now live in Kent.  So I took Scottish Roberts to live alongside their ancient family.”

John Roberts
January 12, 2013 06:33AM

**Update 04/30/2018

Thanks to a distant cousin, Clarence Roberts, I have receive more detail on this.  Here is the posting at http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-kent/vol7/pp90-113.  Apparently, the Roberts are descendants of the Bruce line and share a common ancestor with Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland.  When William De Bruce moved to Kent, he changed his surname to “Rookehust” (Rook’s Hill) in honor of the first Robert “The Rook” De Bruce, who came to England/Scotland with William The Conqueror.  Then he or his son Stephen changed their surname to Roberts in honor of that same ancestor.

“THE MANOR OF GLASSENBURY is of considerable note, the mansion of which is situated near three miles north-west from the church. This seat was for many generations the residence of the antient family of Rokehurst, the first of whom, who settled in this county, was William Rookehurst, alias Roberts, a gentleman of Scotland, of the shire of Anandale, who, leaving his native country, came to the adjoining parish of Goudhurst in the 3d year of king Henry I. and then purchased lands at Winchett hill there, where he built a mansion for his residence; which lands were afterwards named from him, the lands and denne of Rookeburst, which name it still retains, and there is a tablet put up over a tomb in the south chancel of this church, giving an account of him and his posterity, who bore for their arms, Azure, on a chevron, argent, three miles, sable. This family continued at Goudhurst for 274 years, till, in the reign of king Richard II. Stephen Roberts, alias Rookehurst, marrying Joane, daughter and heir of William Tilley, esq. of Glassenbury, whose ancestors had resided here, as appeared by private evidences, from the time of king Edward I.”


Rookhurst originated in the eleventh century, shortly after the Battle of Hastings, when William, son of Robert “The Rook”, moved from the Annandale region on the England/Scotland border to Kent. He built a manor on Winchett Hill which he called Rookhurst. His son began using the surname Roberts.

About 250 years later, in the thirteenth century, Stephen Roberts married Joan Tyllye, the heiress of Glassenbury, which was a short distance from Rookhurst. They built a new moated manor which they also called Glassenbury just down the valley from her childhood home.

My ancestors remained at Glassenbury for another 250 years. In 1623, Thomas Roberts arrived in America with William Hilton. He settled in what is now the Dover area of New Hampshire.

My family remained within 50 miles of this area for another 250 years, until my great-grandfather went first to Iowa, then his son to Oklahoma.

When we retired to Arkansas, we decided to call our farm Rookhurst.”


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21 Responses to “Why did the Roberts move from Scotland to England?”

  1. Johm Roberts says:

    eastReferring to the above,your tamily is probably part of the Roberts family who remained in what is now the couties of Kent and East Sussex. To this day there are many,many Roberts´still living there and it is possible you could find family links. Tou could be very lucky xince this is part of the original family which remained settlrd- The part which moved to Wales along with Scotish Roberts´are 2 sectors are the ones who took our name throughout the world.

  2. Sue Weller says:

    Researching my Robert conections to Sharpeigh and Weller from Cranbrook kent england , thank you for sharing , Crankbook is only 8 miles away from where i lived

  3. John M Roberts says:


    I independently came up with the exact same information. My Roberts line goes through John Edward Roberts, a brother of Thomas (Gov) Roberts. John Lloyd Roberts 1585-1651, their father, left Wales, boarded a Winthrop fleet Ship with his wife Elizabeth Biggs, 90 year old mother Lady Margery Henley Lady, seven daughters, and two of his three sons. They went to Roxbury, Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1636. One son died in the Indian wars. They are mentioned by the Preacher John Elliot as the first Welsh family in Roxbury. They became puritans, so that may explain why they migrated from Kent to Wales, and then to America.

  4. Cora Roberts says:

    I’ve been looking into my ancestors and they were at Glassenbury and my branch of Roberts ended up in Tennessee. 🙂

  5. Melanie Callen says:

    I have researched my ancestry and have come to believe this is a direct ancestor of mine and I am in Maryland.

  6. David W Roberts says:

    I recently searched my family’s and I found out I’m kin to William Dr Rookehurst

  7. David W Roberts says:

    William De Rookehurst

  8. Edward Humphry Roberts says:

    Currently involved with my family’s History.
    They came to America in 16oo’s and again in 1870.
    I am directly related to the 1870 wave of immigration to Upstate Pennsylvania —- Shenandoah —Coal region
    I am named after my Grandfather .
    While we have been successful in researching the Roberts Name
    Having difficult in researching my grandmother Harriet Miller
    Wife of my grandfather Edward HumphreyRoberts
    Your research is interesting however we are aware of a Roberts
    Scottish plaid and name in Scotland. How does that relate to Rockhust

    • Jeff Roberts says:

      Hi Edward. I spoke with a John Roberts who is originally from Scotland and who recently relocated to Kent, England. He said that there is a family history that a Roberts left Scotland for Kent after doing or saying something to upset King Malcolm. I have never seen the Roberts Tartan. If you don’t mind sharing that info, my email is jeffmrob@hotmail.com.

      My Roberts line came to Virginia from Kent, England in the mid 1700s. The Rookhurste line reportedly came from the De Bruce line. This is family history and I haven’t been able to find documentation for it. William Rookhurste came to Kent, England from Annandale, Scotland in 1103 and later changes his surname to Roberts. Rookhurste was the name of his estate and was reportedly named in honor of his father, Robert “The Rook” Bruce I, who came to England with William the Conqueror and settled on lands in Annandale awarded to him.

      There is a large line or Roberts from Wales that I have encountered in my research. They came over in the 1600s, I believe. Many Roberts in the US are from this line.

  9. Traci Roberts Thomas says:

    Very cool. These are all my relatives too. They came in to Virginia in the late 1600’s. A few went to PA but most to Kentucky where they all remain to this day. My parents are the first of many to come to GA from Ky.

  10. Amber Roberts Frerichs says:

    I have been researching my family line, and my grandfather Lloyd Roberts grew up in Ramona, OK. It looks like we are part of the line that stayed in Kent after the split (William de Rookehust I) at the Manor of Glassenbury. Very interesting stuff. My family tree information I got from the Mormon church on the Family Search app (not Mormon, but I have some friends who are and suggested that app).

  11. Roy Roberts says:

    Does anyone have any Y-DNA Results to confirm or disprove their Roberts Connection. We have 13 male Roberts and other associated surnames that have taken the FamilyTreeDNA Y-700 test. Would be glad to discuss the results.

  12. Christine says:

    Hi Jeff, Thank-you for this. I just found out these are my ancestors as well, a direct paternal line no less. Chris

  13. Megan V Roberts says:

    My Name is Megan Virginia Roberts I’m 24 and live in Crawford County, Arkansas. I’ve been researching our Ancestry stuff lately and I want to thank everyone of y’all for commenting on here! I never would have known about any of this! If it wasn’t for the few of us who care to keep up with our Family Tree I wouldn’t have known I have such a big and outstanding family!
    I’m on Facebook if anyone wants to connect I’d love to hear from all of y’all!

  14. Alexander says:

    I’m Alexander Sutcliffe-Roberts of Glassenbury, Kent, UK. Sounds like it broadly matches what I know of our history. Some of the detail in new though. Sadly I suspect a lot of useful material was lost when Glassenbury House was sold and it’s contents carved up in the seventies. However a book on the Roberts of Glassenbury was researched and created about 15 years ago and put together a lot of the family history. Genetic connection might be interesting as the Duchess of St. Alban’s Jane Roberts of the 18th Century is believed to have mistakenly chosen the wrong heirs (although it may have simply been a deliberate choice as she disliked the obvious ones), however if there’s some truth to the origin story then we may well have still been related just far more distantly than supposed at the time.

  15. Mercedes Roberts says:

    Hi, my dad just shared this with me as we are the Roberts still living in and owning Glassenbury land (not the moat house anymore) and this is so interesting! I’m fascinated that so many moved out to the US. We’ve known our Glassenbury history but not what happened prior to that.

  16. Maxine jones says:

    Does anyone have a connection to the Roberts family from govan kinning park area of Glasgow.? I have boston Roberts born circa 1789 died circa 1834? I have hit a brick wall as I cannot find a definite birth date he married Margery Robertson . Any help would be appreciated. Thank you in advance

  17. James Godfrey says:

    Comment I have been doing my family tree and discovered that I am descended from the Roberts family of Glassenbury through my paternal great great grandmother Caroline Chacksfield who was born in Sandhurst kent. I love history and tracing my family tree and was happy to see I had Scottish ancestors on this line of my family tree too especially descending from Robert De Bruise line! Ans I still love Lin kent about 9 miles from cranbrook/Goudhurst. Interesting reading thanks all!

  18. Russell says:

    Russell Roberts, of the Iowa Roberts’

    Grand Father: Ralph (hap)
    Great Grandfather: Henry
    Great-Great Grandfather: Claude Melvin Roberts. Born circa 1855 in Canada. Unfortunately I can’t find anything about where in Canada or who his father might have been. There’s evidence he emigrated around age 10. His mother appears as living with him around the turn of the 20th century. It appears that he was married twice, out living both. Census records show a number of children and step siblings living around Rockford Iowa. My father Gerald shows about 75% Scottish ancestry and I am around 40% Scottish.

    Looking to find out more about the Roberts’ that made their way to the US via Canada by the mid 19th Century….

  19. Ian Roberts says:

    Comment Ian Roberts
    Hi, In tracing my family tree back I have come to a complete holt at Henry Roberts, born at
    Ticehurst in Sussex, England in 1787, who was a butcher by trade. I cannot find his father or mothers name but haven’t looked at all the adjacent parish records. The boundary between Kent and Sussex has changed about five times over the centuries. For information, Ticehurst church’s nave [under the carpets] has many Roberts / Robart slabs with knights helms and coats of arms on, well worth a look if in England. I would be grateful for any help going back further from Henry Roberts,
    Glad I found this interesting site

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