The Trust

What is the Cobbold Family History Trust?

The Cobbold Family History Trust is a registered charity (no. 1144757) and a company limited by guarantee (registered in England and Wales no. 7783492) which promotes and encourages the public study of, and research into, family and local history, heraldry and demography with particular reference to the Cobbold and related families and also promotes the collection, preservation, display and dissemination of archival material and artefacts associated with these families.

It was founded in 2004 and became a charity in 2011. Although it started with the Cobbold family it now includes literally hundreds of other families, national and international, but most have historical ties with East Anglia. The Cobbold connection is simply the link which brings these families together.

Why is it important?

“In the final analysis family is all you’ve got!” When times are good it is with family that we want to celebrate. In the daily round it is to family that we return in the evening. If times are bad it is the support of family that we crave. At the end it is family we want at our bedside. Virtually all that we are, and all that we do stems from our ancestors and that is why we instinctively turn to family. We are made that way.

Why is conservation so urgent?

Conservation of family history is not a luxury – it is an essential! The letters, diaries, scrapbooks and photographs of the past will be gone for ever if we don’t protect them now.

In the 1950s magnificent family homes were being bulldozed to make way for something newer and cheaper. By the 1970s it was realised that they should have been rescued. The Cobbold Family History Trust is the focus for the rescue of that part of our families’ heritage that is at risk.

Is it only history?

No. We all use the history of yesterday to make sense of our today. Family history helps us make sense of today’s family life in an increasingly complex world.

What does the Trust do?

1. We research families, record the findings and maintain a web-based interactive family tree. The tree is the skeleton on which we hang our families' fortunes and misfortunes.

2. We acquire, maintain and preserve historical data and artefacts relating to family members and their lives. Most data is given to the Trust by family members and friends. Many artefacts (including books, papers and photographs) are given to the Trust by donors who are pleased to have found a safe home for treasured relics. Some items are purchased. The Trust is non-aggressive; it never seeks anything that the owner does not wish to give. However, if an item of importance is at risk of being lost, destroyed or fragmented the Trust will seek to secure it.

3. We communicate the progress of the project by means of our website and mount exhibitions from time to time whilst making access available to all students of the subject.

What’s on the Interactive Family Tree?

The software, designed exclusively for us, allows you to move around the tree at will. Instructions and FAQs are located on the family tree drop down menu. Over 9000 names are to be found touching literally hundreds of families.

118 of those families have 10 or more members shown and 40 have in excess of 20. The interactive tree includes a Surname Index which makes finding family members and kinsmen easy.

How has it been financed in the past?

Hitherto, the running expenses have been provided almost entirely by the Keeper. Every penny of the money received (and much appreciated) from donors has been applied either to the fund which successfully saved the 33 original Richard Cobbold watercolours or to the trust’s savings fund. This latter fund, as it stood just in excess of £5000, the Charity Commission’s qualifying threshold, turned out to be crucial. However, as the family member concerned is not getting any younger the question of future, long term funding has to be addressed.

Long Term Funding

The Keeper intends to continue to provide funds sufficient to meet at least the bulk of the day to day running costs for as long as he is able.  The endowment fund has been grown to around £20,000 by means of the ‘Friends’ campaign.  We thank all who have subscribed most sincerely.

However this is still not sufficient for the Keeper to stand down so family and friends must expect more fund raising activities in the future.  The Trust participates in the Gift Aid Scheme and adheres to the standards required by the Fund Raising Standards Board and is always open to suggestions as to how funding could be improved.

Who is the Trust for?

The quick answer is ‘anyone’. The Trust’s website is deliberately not pass-word protected and the Trust is committed to helping any serious student of the topic progress his or her research. Indeed, the Trust has already contributed to a number of publications. By arrangement, and free of charge, access will be given to records held by the Trust but which do not appear on the website.

What lies in the Future?

The Trust is still young but in its 11 year life it has made good research progress. The tree now has over 9000 entries and some notable acquisitions for the archive have been made. Aided by its charitable status it should be possible to make further progress towards its aim of a permanent location incorporating exhibition space and a study facility.

Inevitably the Trust’s future depends upon the support of family and friends. We ask that you please join the ‘Friends’ organisation. Thank you.

Gifts in kind

The generosity of Jaime W Cobbold (1925-2007) of California is a good example of the important role which can be played by the Trust. Jaime was an ardent collector of Cobboldiana all his life. He contacted the Trust, but initially with low expectations. In the event, at the conclusion of a visit by the Trust and after enthusiastic discussions, he made an immediate gift of all his Cobbold books and papers. At the same time he drew up a list of items which, subject to the agreement of his wife and 2 sons, should come to the Trust after his death.

At that time his wife, Elsa told the Trust that Jaime had been hugely relieved to have found a safe home for his treasured collection which would avoid it being broken up.

Sadly, Jaime left us a couple of years later and the Trust was contacted by his family to arrange shipping of the listed items. All are now safely in the Trust’s possession and our work is enthusiastically supported by Jaime’s generous family.

Gifts in kind, of appropriate items, are particularly appreciated.


  • Felix Thornley Cobbold (1841-1909)
  • Clement John Fromanteel Cobbold (1882-1961)

The Trust acknowledges with gratitude the contribution of these two family members. Without the benefit of computers they loyally recorded much of our earlier history and their work was invaluable as the basis on which our present much enlarged tree has been developed.


The Cobbold Family History Trust

14 Moorfields
PL21 0XQ 

Keeper: Anthony Cobbold

Phone: 01752 894498



Names and addresses of Trustees are available on request.

The Cobbold Family History Trust is a registered charity having no. 1144757 and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales under no. 7783492.

Registered Charity No.1144757.|A company limited by guarantee, registered in England & Wales No. 7783492|All content is Copyright to The Cobbold Family History Trust © 2021