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Reverend Robert Wyndham Guinness was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on 6 Oct 1837, to Captain John Grattan Guinness and Jane Mary Lucretia Cramer. His brother Frederick was born two years later, followed by his sister Lucy, who died as a baby. He grew up in Edinburgh, a mining town. He was a child when the Mine Acts of 1842 were sweeping the country, which would have been a hot topic at the time.

Robert's family were wealthy Protestants with many important links. He lived a luxurious childhood and had an excellent education. He had a large number of elder half siblings by his father's first wife, Susan Hutton. As a much younger son, he had no hope of being the main beneficiary to his father's estate and money.

Robert's father died when he was twelve years old. When he reached adulthood, like his brother Henry, he went into the church. He entered St John's in Cambridge University in 1860. He was ordained circa 1863.

Robert went to St James in Bristol in 1863 and stayed there as a curate and as the Chaplain of the Bristol Penitentiary for  a year. He then moved on to Cheltenham where he remained for another year. He also became curate of Guiting, Glouchester ( 1867-1868), curate of St Pauls, Paddington, London (1868-1870)  and Vicar of St James, Hartlepool, Durham (1870-1871).

His mother Jane died in 1868.

Robert was sent to Ireland in 1871 and was a curate in Clontarf in Dublin. On 2 Oct 1872, he married Sarah Dora Victoria Boxwell of Abbeyleix, County Laois.


Children of Robert and Sarah

Wyndham Malan Grattan  B. 24 July 1873

Percy Wyndham  B. 18 May 1875

Flora Lucretia Henriette  B. 11 Aug 1877

Robert and Sarah lived in Dublin for three years of their marraige, where their son Wyndham was born. In 1874, Robert moved to the rectory in Rathdrum, a small village in County Wicklow. He remained here for the rest of his life, vast compared to his other short spanned posts. His son Percy and daughter Flora were born here.

In 1901, Robert was living at House 1 in Rathdrum. It was a nineteen room house with seven front windows, a slated roof and stone walls. He also owned two stables, a coach house, a cow and calf house, a dairy, a piggery, a fowl house, a shed and a storehouse. His family had two servants, a cook, E Manning and a Catholic housemaid F McCarthy. The Guinnesses were likely the most powerful and influnetial family in Rathdrum, with their impressive property and stock. He held an important place on the Rathdrum Local Board.


In 1911, his widowed sister in law, Grace Alexander Guinness was living with him along with her sons John Christopher and Paul Ambrose, and their governess Ruth Angusta Paxman. The Guinnesses had acquired two new servants- Elizabeth Symes, a widowed Protestant cook, and Bessy Evelyn Swift, a housemaid and parlour maid of the "Plymouth Brethren" faith. Both were English born.


In December of 1918, Rev Guinness received a terrible injury while out driving in a "phaeton" (light horse drawn carraige), with Sarah. When they were passing through "Stump Road" in Rathdrum, their horse started at a log of timber and nearly hit the carraige against the fence. Robert attempted to leap from the carraige and fell into the ditch, dislocating his hip. The Catholic priest, Rev O'Callaghan, was passing and stopped to assist the Guinnesses. He sent for Dr Marable and had Robert returned to the rectory. Dr Marable described the injury as quite serious but newspapers reports state friends of the rector hoped for a quick recovery. 

 He died on 18 Feb 1919 in Rathdrum Rectory, aged eighty one, after being the Vicar in the parish for forty five years. His cause of death is given as "hemiplegia" of two days. After his death, his family moved on from Wicklow and returned to Britain.

Additional Information
Date of Birth 1st Oct 1837  
Date of Death 18th Feb 1919 VIEW SOURCE
Father (First Name/s and Surname) Captain John Grattan Guinness  
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Jane Mary Lucretia Cramer  
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) Sarah Dora Victoria Boxwell  
Occupation Church of Ireland Rector  
Names of Children Wyndham Malan Grattan, Percy Wyndham and Flora Lucretia Henriette Guinness  
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Rathdrum Census 1901 Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Northern Ireland. Great Britain.