|Birth: ||Mar. 12, 1943|
Greater London, England
|Death: ||Jun. 22, 2010, England|
He was an archivist, historian & pioneer in making local history accessible to a wide audience. He combined the extrovert gifts of a born showman with the quieter skills of an outstandingly able historical researcher, & became an essential contributor to the first nine series of Channel 4's Time Team (UK). Robin was the larger-than-life character, generally wearing a bow tie & a panama hat, who would set the archaeological findings of his friend Mick Aston in the context of the documentary evidence. This was sometimes an infuriating process for others, as when, in a programme filmed at Templecombe in Somerset, he proved from a 19th-century map that they were digging in the wrong place.
Robin was born in Hayes, Middlesex. His father was a schoolteacher, although Robin claimed that his ancestors were "wall-to-wall illiterate farm labourers". By the age of 13 he had obtained his first reader's ticket to the Public Record Office in London and must have cut a remarkably youthful figure in the search rooms at Chancery Lane. Such places were soon his natural territory allowing him to develop what seemed, to those who later worked with him, an almost uncanny instinct for historical discovery.
He was educated at Exeter school in Devon & went to Exeter College, Oxford, graduating in modern history in 1965. He could at this point have chosen one of several paths. He was a stage actor of natural authority & was prominent in student productions at Oxford. He was also an operatic bass of great ability whose later performances in Boris Godunov & Don Giovanni were memorable by any standards.
But history & its sources had captured him & in 1965 he took up his first professional post as an archivist in Surrey. Two years later he moved to the Somerset Record Office in Taunton, & although at first he regarded Somerset as no more than a staging post on the road back to Devon, he remained in the county for the rest of his life.
For eight years, from 1970, he was assistant editor of the Victoria County History of Somerset, part of the great national project to record England's local history from earliest times to the present day. He also wrote & published widely in his own right, & in 1994, after three years' research, produced "Somerset: The Complete Guide" with the photographer Julian Comrie. The title almost invited contradiction, but the book, which runs to a quarter of a million words, remains indispensable.
Robin was appointed Somerset's deputy county archivist in 1978, & during the next decade became one of the best-known personalities in the west of England. He made hundreds of radio broadcasts about West Country history & reached thousands of other people through talks & lectures. A historical talk in some remote village hall was sure to draw a large audience & would quite likely be rounded off, by popular demand, with a resonant song. He also lectured abroad, undertaking six speaking tours in the United States.
After his early retirement in 1993, he was invited by Aston to become part of a new archaeology-based television series called Time Team (UK). He appeared in 39 episodes (1994-2003) & was the presenter of eight episodes of Time Team Extra in 1998. Time Team gave Robin a much wider audience for his mixture of ebullience & expertise. He particularly enjoyed taking the tiller of a reconstructed 17th-century sailing ship in Maryland, & in another episode sang a Gregorian chant in Down Cathedral in Downpatrick. He returned for a special 100th edition of the programme from King Alfred's stronghold at Athelney in Somerset. He was in his element once more & took the opportunity to provide a memorably gruesome description of the supposed Viking "blood eagle" punishment.
Survivors include his wife, Hilary Marshall, whom he married in 1993 & by Catherine & Alexander, his children by his first marriage to Iris Reed.
See ~ Robin James Edwin Bush on Wikipedia
St Nicholas's Churchyard
Taunton Deane Borough
Created by: JohnRobert Mauney
Record added: Feb 16, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 65708223