Cobbwebs News & Views

Here the Trust provides News & Views that are of interest to the family and to a wider audience.  They can be downloaded as PDF documents. 

Cobbwebs stay in this section for up to 6 months. Thereafter they go to the Cobbwebbs Archive.

Cobbwebs News & Views

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The Hon Mrs Charles Kitchener (1924-20...May 2020

The Trust is sad to announce the death of Ursula Hope Kitchener, née Luck #1489 on the web family tree at Stafford House, Dorset, gently, on Friday 10th April 2020 aged 96.  She had the reputation, which preceded her, of being ‘enchanting’ and indeed she was.  On death she was described as ‘Naturally beautiful, elegant, vivid and loyal, an indomitable conversationalist with a mischievous sense of humour.’

On 15th August 1959, in Canterbury Cathedral she married the Hon Charles Eaton Kitchener (1920-1982), the son of Viscount Broome and grandson of 2nd Earl Kitchener, who had been a founder member of staff at the Duke of York School in Nairobi.  Our picture shows what a beautiful person she was outside, and a day I spent with her in 2012 showed what a beautiful person she was inside and the joy of dozens of friends and cousins at her 90th birthday party showed that she was loved and admired universally.

Those who say we shall never see her like again are right. 

Anthony Cobbold



This poem by Marian Jervis née Campbell (1802-1861) #2766 on the web family tree was published in a collection titled ‘Gleanings. Poems.’ in 1840.

It seems particularly pertinent at this time of lockdown when, constrained, we all thirst for more of the natural world around us.

Marian lived during the reigns of George III, George IV, William IV and Victoria. Throughout the collection, there are many references to the traditional poetic language of plants and flowers known as Florigraphy; the coded significance of flowers in the 19th century culture which enabled ladies to express what they could not say in words. In 1853 she published the partly translated ‘Tales of the Boyhood of Great Painters’ and in 1854 ‘Painting and Celebrated Painters Ancient and Modern’ in two volumes copies of which are in the Trust library. Marian’s son, Col.Henry Jervis-White-Jervis (1825-1881) #183 married Lucy (1828-1916) #115 eldest daughter of John Chevallier Cobbold (1797-1881) #114 in 1855.

Many of the poems in ‘Gleanings’ have been illustrated by her three times great granddaughter, Victoria Parker-Jervis (born 1963) #8700. Victoria was born in Suffolk and grew up in the village of Rendham near Saxmundham. It was at Felstead School that an exceptional art teacher, Trevor Goodman really taught her to paint and at the Chelsea School of Art that she obtained her degree. She is fascinated by the Topography of Suffolk; the bleakness of its landscape in winter and the colourfulness of its coastal towns in summer. Exactly this is illustrated by her painting, shown here, of Aldeburgh Beach, oil on canvas (58 x 83cm) used on the cover of Aldeburgh, A Song of the Seas by Tim Coates, by kind permission of the artist and courtesy of The Orwell Press.

Poem: I am never alone

I am never alone - at early dawn,
When the lark pours her joyous notes on high,
When the diamond dew-drop gems the lawn,
And the daisy opens her tearful eye -
I am never alone - with fragrant hair,
The spirit of the first young Hour is there.

In one loud paean our songs arise –
“Thanks to our God for the earth and skies,
“For the early dawn, the glittering dews,
“For the heaven of song, the glow of hues,
“For the life, the light, the love we share,
“Thanks! Thanks! For the thoughts of praise and prayer.”

I am never alone - at warm noon-day,
When the breeze is drank by the scorching heat,
When the lark has hushed his thrilling lay,
And the flowers shut up their odours sweet –
I am never alone – beside me lies
The Spirit of the Wood, with deep dark eyes.

My heart is stilled with flower and bird,
My soul is with that spirit heard:

Low, soft as summer’s breath arise –
“Thanks to our God for the earth and skies,
“For the glowing noon, the cooling glade,
“For the sweets of rest, the calm of shade;
“For the life, the love, the peace we share,
“Thanks! thanks! for the thoughts of praise and prayer,”

I am never alone – at evening’s close,
When the twittering birds bid earth good night,
When the insect hums round the laurel-rose,
And the bat flies in the dim twilight –
I am never alone – on bended knee
The Spirit of the Night-wind prays with me.

COVID-19 PANDEMIC and D3May 2020

‘What is D3?’ I hear you say, and ‘what is it to do with the pandemic?’

Work done by Emeritus Professor Peter Cobbold (born 1945) #10254 on the web family tree and others shows its enormous significance in the pandemic.

Current recommendations in the UK for D3 supplementation are woefully inadequate, and are predicated on what - decades ago - was found to be the level for the prevention of rickets. D3 deficiency is widespread but often unrecognised and has great significance in many chronic diseases, which has still to be appreciated in the wider professional community, let alone the public. Most researchers into D3 regard it as making a significant contribution to ending the COVID pandemic, providing recommendations for supplementation are revised upwards several fold. Emeritus Professor Peter Cobbold has provided a lay summary of this enormously important hormone.

This note is about the potential benefits of 'vitamin' D3 against COVID-19. The note was written for a lay audience but I find most medical professionals of my acquaintance were unaware, and took action personally.

What is “D3” ? It used to be called a vitamin. But nowadays the majority of research

papers, around 5000 per year, refer to it as “The secosteroid hormone D3”. D3 acts as a super-promoter to control around 2000 genes, one in ten of our genome, and plays a defensive role. And the majority of the world's population is deficient. D3 deficiency often goes unrecognised and is common in the elderly, the population most at risk from COVID-19. When I gave a talk on D3 to local U3A (University of the Third Age) several of the audience had their blood level measured with a test bought online. Two were severely deficient, but were unaware. The talk is here and covers the basics of D3 science and supplements, and shows D3 impacting an enormous breadth of disease:

D3 for COVID-19 ?

There is a possibility that D3 can help protect us against a serious, possibly fatal, bout of COVID-19. In the absence of vaccine or drug, D3 deserves serious consideration, especially as amelioration for the elderly who are most at risk of dying.

D3 will improve immune defence against the virus causing COVID-19, but the dosage is uncertain. Why? There is a long-standing disagreement between clinicians with a historical bias and scientists and clinician-scientists who take a more science-based approach. The key difference is whether D3 is a vitamin whose dose is to be determined as if it were a drug, ie minimal effective dose, or is D3 a hormone with a blood level determined by physiology. The late Dr Robert Heaney MD was a clinician-scientist with a life-long record in D3 research. In his talk he lays out the evidence that the physiological serum concentration of 25(OH)D3 (the routine measurement) is 100 to 125 nmol/L. The Vitamin D Receptor has evolved over 500 million years along with D3 so defining the physiological blood level should be a fundamental quantity in determining therapy, but is not...yet.

Heaney then defines the D3 supplements needed to get to physiological level in winter as 2000 International Units per day rising to 4000 IU pd in the elderly. His parting comment tells us his scientist team average 5,000 IU pd.

Physiological criteria point to a higher serum level than will be achieved by the more

cautious “D3 as a drug” clinicians' opinions. Most clinical trials of cautious supplements of D3 for flu have delivered uncertain results with a hint of protection only. However, when the physiologically-defined serum level is used to define 'adequate', the effectiveness of D3 jumps off the page. This Yale study compared the progression of infection in a population with 100 nmol/L or above, and below 100nmol/L (multiply their ng/ml by 2.5 to get nmol/L).

How does D3 combat viruses?

D3 is a hormone that controls expression of around 2000 genes, 10% of our genome. It has broadly defensive role and is important in modulating a host of chronic diseases. D3 protects from microbes by activating our innate immune system, the first line of defence before the adaptive immune system kicks in to generate neutralising antibodies. D3 promotes expression of genes for cathelicidin and defensins, which are antimicrobial peptides that destroy fungi, bacteria and enveloped viruses such as 'flu. Corona viruses are also enveloped and unlikely to escape destruction. Additional anti-microbial peptide actions in lung epithelia, induced by D3, are here (for experts):

Finally, how much D3 supplement do I and my family and friends take? It ranges between 2000 and 4000 IU pd. Our response to supplements will vary, but 2000 gave me 100nmol/L and 4000, 160 nmol/L, nicely physiological. It requires ca 2 to 3 months to reach a new stable 25(OH)D3 after starting supplements. However faster equilibration is possible, as in this talk:

Finally, this talk emphasises the enormous gulf between scientific knowledge of D3 and the failure of medical authorities to act:

For any Cobbolds willing to embrace the jargon, here is our latest attempt to raise awareness of D3 in protecting us all from COVID-19:

Dr David Grimes has plotted the Philippines data


- most UK elderly will be in the orange group.

Prof Em. Peter H Cobbold, PhD

(Univ. Liverpool, cell biology)




Arthur SyrettApril 2020

My grandfather, Arthur Syrett, was a lifelong, dedicated ‘Cobbold’ man.

Born at The Case is Altered on Woodbridge Road in Ipswich – his father was the landlord – it was beer instead of milk that Arthur first supped on.

Leaving school at fourteen he trained as an apprentice draughtsman, making detailed plans and designs, but the tuition fees were costly, forcing him to give up.

In 1926, and most likely with the encouragement of his father, Arthur approached Cobbold’s for a job and was subsequently offered the job of a drayman – this was in the time of horse-drawn drays. But it wasn’t long before the drays became mechanised and Arthur moved onto lorries. The hours were long and the work hard, but the country was in the midst of the Great Depression, so there was little to complain about.

Like many young men football was the sport, and it wasn’t long before he joined Cobbold’s football team. Unfortunately, a broken ankle finished his playing days. But he wasn’t finished with football. ‘Ivan’ had bought into Ipswich Town and turned the club professional in 1936 with Arthur sinking money into the club’s shares and so began a life-long commitment to the club.

During that period, he was offered the chance to train as a landlord. Accepting, Arthur began his ‘education’ at the old Mulberry Tree in Ipswich. It was about this time he met and married Agnes. But whilst at the Mulberry Tree, Arthur had the shocking experience of encountering a ghost! He’d been upstairs collecting a stock of cigarettes when a grey apparition of a woman floated towards and then through him! He came downstairs faster than he went up!

Having completed his training, and seeing no more ghosts, Arthur and Agnes took on the Half Moon at Walton, near Felixstowe, and soon began enjoying the life of a landlord in a popular country pub. Probably following the death of his father, ‘Ivan’ tasked his Surveyor, Cleere Cutting, to devise a plan to move the family silverware from Holywells to Glemham Hall.

Cleere approached Arthur and asked if he would do the job. It was agreed it would have to be in the dead of night and without a word to anyone else. Also, there’d be no pay and no entry into the lorry’s logbook. Pleased he had the right man, Cleere asked Arthur what he’d like for the deed. The answer was short. An original ‘The Cliff Brewery 1723 – 1923’ book. Cleere said he’d see what he could do but could make no promises.

A few nights later Arthur eased his lorry to a halt outside Holywells Mansion. Thankfully, no one was around as he carefully loaded the dray before hauling the valuable and much prized haul on to Glemham. A month or so passed before a small brown package fell through the letterbox. The much-cherished book had arrived.

Eventually, Arthur received his call-up for war service, though leave saw him return on the odd occasion. In 1941 Agnes gave birth to a daughter at the Half Moon, naming her Carol, but the excitement was short-lived. The temporary landlord had almost bankrupted the business and the pub closed. Being away at war there was little else he could do, and Agnes and Carol had no option but to go and live with relatives in Peterborough.

In July 1943, a son was born, and Arthur named him Ivan after ‘Ivan’. Sadly, he contracted meningitis and died just two months later. Knowing he was close to a nervous breakdown, ‘Ivan’ asked Arthur if he would consider being his batman. However, for reasons unknown, Arthur decided against. Tragically, ‘Ivan’ was one of many killed at Guards Chapel in June 1944 when it was struck by a V1 ‘flying bomb’.

The war ended and Arthur returned home to Ipswich to seek work. Cobbolds offered the pub back again but Arthur said no, and he returned to be a drayman again. Cobbolds generously offered Arthur a tied cottage (built at the same time as the Mansion) almost inside Holywells by the Nacton Road entrance. It was a gesture he was forever thankful for and perhaps reflects the mutual respect between him and the Cobbold family. Settled once more, four years later a second daughter, Sandra, was born completing the family.

Retiring from the drays in 1971 after 45 years’ service, Arthur remained at Pound Cottages. Agnes passed away in 1982 and Arthur in 1995, thus ending the story.

Finally, Cobbolds and Holywells have played a deep and central part in our family’s lives and continue to do so, though restricted these days to visits to the park. Sadly, the brewery is no more. However, the Cobbold name still resonates in the town having enriched many lives across the years. It’s an integral part of our local history, and one Ipswichians are proud and protective of.

Bob Pearson

April 2020

Photograph of Half Moon Inn (late 1920s or early 1930s) by courtesy of John Michael Smith.

VICTORY IN EUROPE DAY 8th May 1945April 2020

As we approach the 75th anniversary of VE Day the Trust has made a donation to the Royal British Legion in remembrance of the 13 Cobbolds who lost their lives in WWII.

“Let us remember those who will not come back: their constancy and courage in battle, their sacrifice and endurance in the face of a merciless enemy…”   King George VI’s speech broadcast on May 8th 1945

Corporal Albert George J Cobbold, The Queen’s Royal Regiment, 9th September 1943

Barbara Elizabeth Cobbold, Civilian War Dead, 8th December 1940

Private Christian Alston Cobbold, Royal Norfolk Regiment, 6th January 1941

Private Eric Donald Cobbold, The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment), 24th June 1944

Ernest Percival Cobbold, Civilian War Dead, 17th August 1940

Lieutenant Frederick Hardy Cobbold, Pioneer Corps, 9th August 1946

Trooper Frederick William Cobbold, Royal Tank Regiment, RAC, 22nd July 1942

Private George Albert Cobbold, Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Regiment, 16th July 1943

Lieutenant Colonel John Murray Cobbold, Scots Guards, 18th June 1944

Peter Charles Victor Cobbold, Civilian War Dead, 1st September 1942

Lance Corporal Percy Leonard Cobbold, Corps of Military Police, 6th June 1944

Reginald Arthur Cobbold, Civilian War Dead, 10th October 1940

Major Robert Nevill Cobbold, Welsh Guards, 27th May 1944

For the Fallen

Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943) published in The Times 21st September 1943

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,

Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

To the end, to the end, they remain.


Putting lockdown time to good use I came across my Concorde Flight Certificate from 1992 plus my photograph of the flight deck.  I was working on an American project for the Evode Group (of Evo-stik fame) and was booked to fly out there when, a couple of days before, I was phoned by BA and asked if I would like a free upgrade on Concorde to Washington.  Being sensitive to others’ views I obtained my boss’s permission before accepting.

On boarding, and being familiar with wide-bodied planes, my first impression was claustrophobic but this soon left me when I found that my seat was in the front row and on the aisle with only one seat outside me.  This was occupied by a lady doctor who worked for Glaxo Smith Kline and she proved a most interesting travelling companion.  I recall that she had only one initial in front of her surname and it happened to be the same as her husband’s which meant they gained some advantage from combining their Air Miles accounts.  The seats were leather, very comfortable and the lunch excellent.

Taxiing, I thought the ride lumpy and I felt unsure of the strength of those spindly undercarriages but when we got to V1 that all disappeared and my anxiety was solely that the tail of the craft might scrape along the ground.  The rate of climb was astonishing.  I would have had no idea of our speed had it not been for the illuminated sign on the bulkhead in front of me.  We were not permitted to go supersonic until out over the Atlantic but it was not long before Mach 1 was exceeded.

I didn’t know it at the time but I was actually on board ‘Alpha Charlie’ the flagship of the Concorde fleet and only the second to be built, having been delivered to British Airways on 13th February 1976. Initially she was used by the manufacturers, BAC, to obtain the Certificate of airworthiness and for proving duties around the world.  By the time she was refurbished for passenger service she had completed 141 flights.  On 1st. September 1975 G-BOAC became the first aircraft to make four Atlantic crossings in one day and on 19th December 1985 she travelled at 1,488 mph, the highest recorded ground speed for a commercial airliner.

G-BOAC’s retirement flight was from Heathrow to Manchester on 31st. October 2003 where she is now preserved on public view in a purpose-built hanger.  During 27 years in service she had flown 22,260 hours and made 6,761 supersonic flights

Anthony Cobbold

April 2020 


If ‘The History of Margaret Catchpole, A Suffolk Girl’ by Richard Cobbold (1797-1877) #106 on the web family tree had been a play Thomas Colson’s part would have been barely more than that of an extra, but his single act of disclosure changed her life irreversibly.  Many will know that having been reprieved from her death sentence Margaret escaped from prison and was within a whisker of a new life in Europe with her ne’er-do-good lover when she was spotted by Thomas at the Sutton Ferry.

Readers will also know that Richard’s Victorian best seller was a novel based on a true story which has led to an apparently eternal debate as to what is fact and what is fiction.  Well, our research has shown that Thomas was 100% fact unlike Margaret’s lover, Will Laud, who was 100% fiction.  Indeed, as Elizabeth Cobbold (1765-1824) #58 said in The Suffolk Garland (1818) “The Ancient Fisherman whose character is portrayed in these stanzas, is not a mere creature of the imagination, but an eccentric being, once resident in the parish of St. Clement, Ipswich, by name Thomas Colson, but better known by the appellation of Robinson Crusoe…” We will come to the stanzas in a minute but first let us look at a book, published in 2017 entitled “The Fisherman’s Family” by Robin Colson.

Thomas seems to have had a reasonable education coming from a family which included his great, great grandfather, Rev. Thomas Colson (c1595-1679) Minister of Badley, Suffolk, who graduated from Jesus College, Cambridge.  Young Thomas was nothing if not creative and ingenious; he learnt to become a woolcomber and later a weaver but when the wool trade moved away from Suffolk he entered the Suffolk Militia and, while quartered  in Leicester, displaying his usual ingenuity, he learned the trade of stocking-weaving which he bought back to the county of his birth.  When this too failed, he became a fisherman on the River Orwell.  Needless to say, in poverty, he made his own boat from whatever materials he was able to salvage and Elizabeth Cobbold at the Cliff was one of his loyal customers.

A local newspaper reported him to have been attacked by a nervous fever as a younger man  which caused him to labour under the power of witchcraft, and so as to guard himself against its effects he constantly wore around his person a multitude of old horses’ bones, perforated stones and old iron.  Having some years previously drifted out to sea on a simple timber raft and survived Thomas was convinced of his maritime immortality so when on 3rd October 1811 his ramshackle boat went aground near Levington Creek he refused all offers of help.  Sadly, the boat was later found, but with no signs of its occupant whose body was washed up near Harwich Harbour on 12th October.  Thomas was buried the following day in a pauper’s grave in the churchyard of St. Nicholas. 

Elizabeth’s stanzas provided an apt description:

With squalid garments round him flung,

And o’er his bending shoulders hung

A string of perforated stones,

With knots of elm and horses’ bones.

He dreams that wizards, leagued with hell,

Have o’er him cast their deadly spell;

Though pincing pains his limbs endure,

He holds his life by charms secure,

And while he feels the torturing ban,

No wave can drown the spell-bound man.

Had he lived, Thomas would have been well pleased with his only son, also Thomas (1783-1845).  ‘Robinson Crusoe’ had married Elizabeth Goode and their only child, Thomas (junior), although born out of wedlock, was legitimised by his parent’s marriage when he was 12 years old and went on to become the Engineer for the Croydon Canal which opened in 1809.  One of his descendants, many generations later, is Robin Colson, author of ‘The Fisherman’s Family’ which tells the story of this successful and high-achieving family.  He lists 50 major civil engineering and construction projects, world-wide, in which they have been involved.

Thomas’ headstone reads:

‘Praises on Tombs are Idlely Spent

A Good Name is a Monument’


Simon James Staughton, always known as James, (born 1959) #1358 on the web family tree has survived a climactic final year prior to his retirement as CEO of St. Austell Brewery in January this year.  His tenure at the famous West Country family brewery founded in 1851 by his great, great grandfather,Walter Hicks (1829-1916) #14335 on the tree, started as an apprentice in 1980 at the age of 21.  Moving around the brewery and doing as many different jobs as possible, including brewing at 5am, he became the Wines and Spirits director in 1990 and was appointed CEO in 2000.

Since he joined the Board the estate and the employee count has grown hugely and the turnover rose from £10 million to just under £200 million in the last financial year. For British Airways St. Austell’s ‘Tribute’, an amber-hued Cornish Pale Ale is its beer of choice. James has often expressed his pride in his team which has won some 290 awards.  Most of this growth was organic, with expansion up country from its loyal Cornish base and into Europe and beyond, but it did include the acquisition of Bath Ales in July 2016 with its own brewery, some strong local brands and 11 pubs.  As James said at the time “Bath Ales is a company I have admired and this acquisition provides the coming together of two like-minded businesses.”

You might think that with this much business responsibility he would not have time for anything else but you would be utterly wrong.  He has been active in promoting Cornish tourism and for six years was a director of the Cornwall Development Company; he is currently Chairman of the St. Austell Bay Economic Forum which is busily pursuing 11 major development projects in the bay area.

During his final year James received two well-earned lifetime achievement awards, one from the Western Morning News at the end of 2019 and the second from The Publican in early 2020 to widespread acclaim.  Its citation read “As the fifth generation of a family business, at a time when traditional brewers faced some of their toughest challenges, Staughton has embodied a spirit that embraces change while holding true to original values.”  He has retired to become President of the company.

In the New Year Honours James was created OBE for services to brewing and to Cornwall and was warmly congratulated in his role as Renter Warden of The Worshipful Company of Brewers, of which he will become Master in 2022.  Back in 2012 he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Cornwall by the Lord-Lieutenant for Cornwall Col. Edward Bolitho (born 1955) #8963 on the family tree.  Our congratulations on a distinguished career are not out of place.


“The practice which some owners have of putting their cars into ‘cold storage’ for the winter is sheer foolishness”. So thought Dr Philip Thomas Amys (1835-1911) # 10369 on the web family tree.  Dr Philip lived in Peterborough, Ontario and had ready access to the Kennebecasis River, a tributary of the St. John River in southern New Brunswick.  “Not only is it an exceedingly popular pastime just now” says the Ford Times “, but it offers a brand new thrill and combines all the best features of the other ice sports with none of the hazards”.

 The physical exertions of skating limit that diversion to a small area; ice boating is a dangerous sport, and no sport at all when the wind dies down, especially if the crew has to push the boat back to port.  Skiing is pretty rough travelling and is very apt to result in some hard tumbles; and tobogganing always means a long hard climb after each brief slide.  But the lovers of ice motoring declare that it is all pleasure and no discomfort.  There is nothing slow about the sport either.  With a smooth open stretch ahead, and nothing to steer round, the Ford cars in every case speed away from the fastest skaters and glide along independent of wind or anything else.

How times change!


The derelict Tolly Cobbold Cliff Brewery was ravished by flames on Sunday 23rd February.  Some 15 fire crews from Suffolk and Essex were called to get the fire under control.  The building, re-developed in 1896, was one of the best-known and much-loved structures in Ipswich.  Built in 1746, when Thomas Cobbold (1708-1767) #44 on the web family tree moved his business from Harwich, it was listed Grade II in 1989 and in 2015 it was included in The Victorian Society’s list as one of the most endangered buildings in the country.

After brewing ceased in 2002 the building came into the ownership of Pigeon Developments of Bury St. Edmunds.  Two or three redevelopment schemes were proposed but even those which secured a planning consent were never carried out.  It is understood that the building was sold by Pigeon in the summer of 2019 to an undisclosed buyer for an undisclosed sum.  Even enquiries at the Land Registry have failed to reveal the present owner.  Reports claim that three men have been taken into Police Custody in connection with the fire so clearly arson is suspected and one source thought that an insurance scam was a real possibility.

The Trust has received a number of messages of sympathy and condolence and shares the deep regret that a viable alternative use for the building has not been found.

ELIZABETH COBBOLD an astronomer too?February 2020

The Trust received a most interesting email earlier this month.  Here it is; do please read it.

Having just read Adele Mallen’s biography of Elizabeth Cobbold may I add ‘astronomer’ to the list of Elizabeth’s scientific disciplines?

My claim is based on a single observing report, that of a shooting star (or meteor) and one of her poems.

Elizabeth observed a meteor at around twenty to nine in the evening of 27 July 1806 while she was walking by the river Orwell with two of her daughters-in-law. Elizabeth wrote a letter to the ‘Monthly Magazine or British Register’ about it dated 12 August and this was duly published on pages 143-4 of volume 22 (September 1806, see scans below).

I think we can learn several things from studying the contents of her letter:-

  1. Elizabeth was sufficiently knowledgeable about the night sky to know a point of light in the gathering gloom of that evening was, in fact, the planet Jupiter. She was also aware when this planet becomes visible in the sky related to the time of sunset.
  2. She realised she was seeing a meteor.
  3. She was well enough versed in the observing of meteors to know what relevant facts to take note of.
  4. She noted the details of the meteor’s physical appearance.
  5. She noted that this meteors movement as being ‘extremely slow’ suggesting some previous experience in this field of observation.
  6. She has prior knowledge of the contents of this magazine, suggesting that she, or someone she knew, was a subscriber to it. This suggests an interest in the Registers content of ‘miscellaneous communications from correspondents on all subjects of literature and science’.
  7. She sought out John Bransby, a land surveyor, mathematics teacher and astronomer also of Ipswich, to discuss what she had seen. Also, by some means, she found out that the meteor had also been observed by somebody else in the town, namely a Mr. Stebbing.
  8. She claimed a high degree of accuracy in her timing of the duration of the meteors flight as she was, apparently, ‘accustomed to the use of a stop watch’.
  9. She re-enacted the event to check her estimate of the duration against three different stop watches.

In 1811 & 12 a bright comet [technically referred to as C/1811 F1] was visible in the night sky. It’s brightness peaked in October 1811, when the astronomer William Herschel noted it had a tail 25° long. One of Elizabeth’s poems was dedicated to ‘The Comet’ and is dated September 6 1811 as it was becoming noticeable to the naked eye. I’d suggest that it was this precise night sky object that Elizabeth dedicated her poem to.

I find the references to the stop watches most interesting because, as far as I am aware, none of her other interests (entomology, botany, mineralogy or conchology) or, indeed the family business of brewing are done ‘against the clock’.

Bill Barton, FRAS

Deputy Director, British Astronomical Association Historical Section.

The text of Elizabeth’s letter is preserved in the Trust’s archive.  Bill Barton’s view arrived at a very opportune moment; having an instinctive dislike of exaggeration in advertising and promotion we had been apprehensive about our use of the word Polymath in the title to Adelle’s book.  This revelation dispels those misgivings absolutely.

Adele’s book is available on this website    BUY BOOK


We reproduce here a one-and-a-half-page item from the East Anglian Daily Times of 4th January 2020, by Steve Russell. We hasten to point out that the headline is his wording not ours! He was prompted to write it by the Trust’s 15th birthday which, like us, he felt was an achievement of which we could be proud.

Hard copy of this article is available on request to


Here is the first review of Elizabeth Cobbold Georgian Polymath written by Adele Mallen and reviewed by Jane Dismore.

To suffer a severe head injury, and then turn the experience into a humorous poem, suggests rare qualities. In 1810, Elizabeth Cobbold, aged 45, second wife of John Cobbold, the Suffolk brewer, fell through an open cellar door in an Ipswich street, causing her family to fear for her life.  Details of the operation to ascertain her injuries, carried out without anaesthetic in her parlour at Cliff House by the Orwell, were relayed to her concerned friend and protégé, the artist John Constable, while another artist hoped she would not die because ‘there are few like her, she is an original.’

Indeed she was, as this fascinating and well-researched book makes entertainingly clear. After telling a friend in verse that ‘the wound in my cranium has opened a way/For the muses bright phantoms poetic to stray’, Elizabeth Cobbold picked up once more the many creative and social strands of her life that justify her description in the book’s title, A Georgian Polymath.

The energy, talent and determination of this woman, born Elizabeth Knipe in 1765, were remarkable and saw her succeed in areas generally reserved for men. A contemporary of Jane Austen, she was a poet, playwright, scientist and artist, celebrated for the art of paper cutting. Her ‘fierce intelligence and self-confidence’ saw her question attitudes to her sex and led her to correspond with influential and ‘perceptive men who allowed women more equality with themselves’. Elizabeth also excelled as a social hostess but, lest she be considered too clever for her sex and thus become alienated from her peers, she remained mindful of her maternal duties. With her wealthy and much older first husband, William Clarke, who died after just three months of marriage, Elizabeth had no children but she acquired fifteen on marrying widower John Cobbold, twenty years her senior, with whom she had seven more of her own.

Fortunate in having a wealthy and tolerant husband who gave her the freedom to pursue her interests, Elizabeth used her energy and talents well. Here are her enlightened scientific contributions and her devotion to writing in its diverse forms, whether Petrachan sonnets, plays or columns for ladies’ magazines. Among her best-known poems were lighter ones to accompany her exquisite hand-cut Valentines. In 1806 she began holding Valentine balls which became one of the highlights of the Ipswich social calendar, where unmarried ladies and gentlemen could look forward to picking from a basket one of her delicate papercuts with a verse inside that gave them hope in love.

Her charity work for infants and her kindness were part of her Christian life. A servant who famously benefited was Margaret Catchpole, whom Elizabeth treated with compassion even after she had stolen from her employers; Margaret’s story was recorded for posterity by Elizabeth’s son, Rev. Richard Cobbold. 

Elizabeth Cobbold died in 1824 but such was her reputation that Charles Dickens, visiting Ipswich in 1835, used her as the model for Mrs Leo Hunter in The Pickwick Papers, who ‘dotes on poetry’. Adele Mallen’s book brings to life this extraordinary woman who deserves recognition.

Jane Dismore


Jane Dismore is a biographer and freelance writer of history and heritage.  She became acquainted with the Cobbold dynasty when writing her first book, The Voice From the Garden: Pamela Hambro and the Tale of Two Families Before and After the Great War, which focuses on Pamela Cobbold (born 1900 at Holy Wells, Ipswich) and her husband Charles Hambro. The book was nominated for the New Angle Prize for Literature 2013. Jane’s latest book is Princess: The Early Life of Queen Elizabeth II(pub. 2018 Lyons Press USA & Thistle UK), nominated for the People’s Book Prize 2018.

Jane’s website is at 

Note:  If, like the Keeper, you are unfamiliar with ‘Petrachan’ and resort to your dictionary you will find that it means ‘pertaining to, imitating the Italian poet Francesco Petraca or Petrach (1304-1374)

ANDREW HUGHES HALLETT (1947-2019)January 2020

With deep regret the Trust has to announce the death of Andrew Hughes Hallett #417 on the web family tree.  Andy was a keen supporter of the Trust and its work and met up with us in Ipswich in June 2018 when he donated his mother’s scrapbook. 

Here is the family’s tribute to Andy:

Andrew Jonathan Hughes Hallett passed away at home on 31 December 2019, surrounded by family after a long and stubborn fight with cancer. Never one to give in easily, he spent the last seven years since diagnosis lulling family, friends, and the medical community into believing he was invincible. It would have amused him to think that he went out with a bang – literally, as he timed his exit to coincide with the start of the new year celebrations.

Andy dedicated his life to his family, economics, and Ph.D. students. He was born on 1 November 1947 in London to Vice Admiral Sir Charles and Lady Joyce Hughes Hallett. Following in his father’s footsteps, Andy enjoyed a brief foray in the Navy. Perhaps ‘enjoyed’ is not quite the right word, as he quickly discovered that being told what to do was not for him. Instead, he settled into a life of learning and academia; graduating with a BA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Warwick in 1969, an MSc (Econ) from the London School of Economics in 1971, and was awarded a DPhil in Economics by the University of Oxford in 1976. 

Andy made his name professionally as an economist with interests in international economics and policy, and in fiscal governance and monetary affairs. Andy began his academic career at the University of Bristol (1973-1977) before moving to Erasmus University (1977-1985) and Newcastle University (1985-1989). In 1989, he was appointed Jean Monnet Professor of Economics at the University of Strathclyde, a post he held until 2002 when he became Professor of Economics at Vanderbilt University. Andy returned to Scotland in 2007, taking a position at the University of St Andrews, and was simultaneously appointed as a professor at the Schar School of Public Policy at George Mason University the same year. Despite a full workload, Andy apparently considered himself underutilized, so he added positions at Kings College, London, and the Copenhagen Business School to his portfolio in 2016. Throughout his career, he also held visiting positions at Princeton University, Harvard University, Cardiff University, Free University of Berlin, and the Universities of Rome, Paris, and Milan. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a longtime consultant to the European Commission, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the European and Scottish Parliaments.

In parallel, Andy was heavily involved in the development of macro-economic policy, with a particular focus on Scotland. He served as a member of the Scottish Council of Economic Advisers from its inauguration in 2007 until after the 2014 Independence Referendum. He was a Commissioner of the Scottish Fiscal Commission (2014-2016) and sat on the Scottish Growth Commission (2016-2019), which was charged with designing an economic framework and supporting policies for an independent or financially autonomous Scotland. 

Marrying in July 1982, Andy is survived by his wife Claudia, his three children, David and his wife Kate, Jim and his partner Vanessa, and Nicola and her partner Mark, as well as his sister Deborah. As an economist, Andy often declared that his children had not yet shown a positive return on investment, but past performance is not an indicator of future success. Despite his extensive and successful career, he always ensured he took time to spend with his family. He instilled his love of travel in his children from a young age, often bringing them along on work trips. Starting at the age of eight, David was introduced on the conference stage as the co-author of a paper, Nicky provided entertainment during a recruitment event in the form of cartwheels in the conference room, and Jim received an official pass at the Reserve Bank of Australia as a research assistant. He also established a tradition of taking each of his children on trips around the world with the intent of exposing them to new cultures, educating them on world history, and giving them an opportunity to meet his other family members, his Ph.D. family. 

Despite an initial prognosis of 22 months, in his typical stubborn fashion, Andy refused to accept this and continued to live life to the full for an additional seven years. During this time, he set himself the task of visiting as many islands as he could. This included braving the winter cold in Iceland, a trip to Tonga where he almost got stranded on a volcanic beach, exploring a potential move to Australia, and an expedition to the botanical gardens in Hawaii. Due to a misunderstanding about closing times, escape from the botanical gardens with Claudia required scaling a 6-foot fence. Perilous escapes seem to be a reoccurring theme having honed his skills in the ’90s when he and David got lost in the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, requiring an adventurous escape in the dark. 

After family, his three greatest loves were travel, music, and history, which he managed to combine in a journey to find Robert Johnson’s famous crossroads, the spiritual home of the blues.

While he might have seemed intimidating on first meeting, many of his former students and colleagues noted how open and welcoming Andy was. For many years there was a quotation pinned to his office door: “A mathematician is a machine for converting coffee into theorems”. Although in Andy’s case, perhaps the coffee could easily have been swapped for a good beer (Belgian, for preference) or a nice single malt. He also maintained that all his best ideas came to him in the pub, or in the shower.

Andy often commented that his extensive family of Ph.D. students was his greatest legacy in economics. His students have gone on to many and varied roles, influencing economic research, academic advancement, political and government policy, and business. Whilst chosen for their academic strengths, his students also had to show a strong aptitude for selecting suitable pubs or slices of cake, and a working understanding of the perils of the Comfy Chair! In the spirit of the above, one of his final Ph.D. students defends her work early in 2020, and Andy spent his last weeks supporting her academic progress.

It was Andy’s wish to see Post Graduate work in economics continue, and so in honoring his life work and combining Scotland, economics, and Post Graduate study, he and his family have endowed the Hughes Hallett Scholarship for Research in Applied Economics in conjunction with the St Andrew’s Society of Washington. D.C. 

The family will be holding a private service to remember Andy. A celebration of his life will be held in Scotland and another in Virginia. Both are planned for April 2020. Further details will be provided in due course. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers or other contributions, donations to the Scholarship Fund would be gratefully received via the following link:


As No. 2 in the Cobbold & Kin series the Trust has published Elizabeth Cobbold, Georgian Polymath a biography of one of the most famous Cobbolds of all time, by Adele Mallen.  For those who are new to the family Elizabeth Cobbold (1765-1824) #58 on the web family tree was the second wife of ‘Big’ John Cobbold, 3rd generation brewer at The Cliff, Ipswich.    John is well nicknamed ‘Big’ not only for his astute growing of the family business for some 60 years but also for his procreation of 15 children with his first wife.  His second Elizabeth gave him another 7 making 22 in total!  Apart from taking on 15 stepchildren and adding another 7 herself Elizabeth was a remarkable lady as readers of the biography will discover.

Dr Kate Kennedy, Writer and Broadcaster, Associate Director of the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing says:

This is a sensitively written and meticulously researched biography.  Its great affinity with its subject shines through, bringing to life a woman who should be remembered as one of those who set the precedent for women taking an active part in the arts and sciences.  Elizabeth Cobbold, contemporary of Jane Austen, proved that women could take the stage in public life, be creative and respected for it.  Novelist, poet, artist and scientist, she was also known for her philanthropy.  This faithful account of her story helps to place her alongside the scant female contemporaries of whom we have heard, and nuance the general assumption that only a very few women could make their mark in the 1700s.

Adele Mallen has an interest in eighteenth century literature and has published articles on this period.  She has been particularly drawn to the life of Elizabeth Cobbold who she regards as a highly talented lady, who like so many other women of the time appears to have been disregarded in history.  Adele feels that a re-examination of Elizabeth’s contribution to the feminist position at this time is long overdue.


The Trust is pleased to have acquired the following:

  • ‘The Furniture of Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich’ by Paul Brice, 2019 published by Gresham Publications in association with the Friends of Ipswich Museums,
  • Six contract notes dated 1946/47 in the name of T G Witt Esq. totalling about £1700 issued by A. H. Cobbold & Co of Southampton.  This stockbroker was founded in 1892 by Augustus Hills Cobbold (1854-1931) #281 on the web family tree and the firm was joined by Charles Eden Tatton Brown (1910-1990) #1925 in 1930.  Although Augustus died in 1931, Charles’ name was still on the letterhead in 1946/47

The Trust would like to thank very warmly all those who have generously donated, to mark its 15th birthday.  About 5% of the ‘Friends’ have responded so far.  To be honest this needs to be 10% if we are to meet our target so if anyone is considering donating, please would they do so as soon as possible?  Thank you.

The Trust would also like to thank the following, in no particular order, who have rendered help in one form or another:

Charles Cahan, Sharon Sawyer, Chris Heath, Shirley Fowley, Anne Hasted, Belinda Hasted, Tony Robson, Michael Gibbs, Anthony Johnson, Christine Lee and Rowell Bell.  

CHRISTMAS 2019December 2019

The Trust wishes you, your family and all our friends a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a fulfilling 2020

Whilst writing we would like to introduce the latest ‘Cobbold’ book: Cobbold’s Wortham – The Portrait of a Victorian Village.

The Reverend Richard Cobbold was Rector of Wortham, a small rural village in Suffolk for 50 years during the 19th century. In 1860, he decided to create an original book as a gift for his wife Mary Ann. Features of Wortham was the result – a small, beautifully bound volume of original watercolours and writings. Cobbold was a competent amateur artist and spent the late spring and early summer of 1860 painting views of every corner of his parish. To accompany the delicate paintings, he wrote charming descriptions of the inhabitants of the cottages, pubs, mansions, farmhouses, workshops and other buildings.

This book contains all 111 watercolours from the original book in full colour. Each painting is accompanied by a transcription of Cobbold’s records and a description. The whole gives a fascinating insight into life in Victorian rural England and is a treasure trove of interest for those who love the English countryside and the history of its past and its people.

Cover image: Old Judy Fullers Cot and Tinker Jolly’s Shop.

RUGBY WORLD CUP 2019 ...1st November 2019

A party of Cobbolds (nameless in case anyone left work to bury a grandmother who just happened to die during the World Cup!) were enthusiastic fans helping England get to the final.  Many have stayed on for the final tomorrow having sent their older generation beautiful post cards including one of Mount Fuji.

This reminded the older generation of the story of the first ascent of Mount Fusiyama (as it was then spelled) by a lady.  Lilian Hope Cobbold (1872-1946) #259 on the web family tree wrote to The Times in 1932 following the ascent of the Eiger from the Mittellegi Hut to say that her mother Lady Parkes nee Plumer (1832-1897) #850 was the first lady to ascend Mount Fusiyama on the 7th and 8th of October 1867.  She received a gold bracelet “Presented to Lady Parkes by Capt. W Shaw 73rd Regiment and others as a slight remembrance of a very pleasant trip across Fusiyama, and also to commemorate the first ascent of the mountain by a lady” to the amazement of the Japanese in their pre-westernised days.

So, from an ascent 152 years ago to the present day we wish England World Cup success tomorrow. 


The Trust is pleased to have acquired the following:

  • A signed black & white print (483mm x 350mm) of the Hon John Collier’s portrait of Felix Thornley Cobbold which hangs in Christchurch Mansion.  This, together with a number of other items was the gift of Michael Cobbold (#1849) of California during his recent visit.
  • ‘The Road to Grantchester’ by James Runcie #3786, the gift of the Keeper

The Trust is grateful for the above gifts and to those listed below (in no particular order) who have helped the Trust or provided valuable information:

Lady Kenya Tatton-Brown and Charlotte Appleby, R & J Bell, Caroline Philp, Charlotte Paterson, Nicky Hibbin, Phil Mansell, Vanessa Griffith, Christine Lee, Robin Doughty, Debra Cartwright, Jane Dismore, Peter Le Marchand, Stephen Hottinger, John Newell, Leslie Rhodes, Philip Hill, Neville Cobbold, Anne Mott, Kim Cobbold, Andrew Bassett-Smith, Libby Glover and Frazer Simpson.


Cobbold Gorge in Queensland is one of Australia’s hot tourist attractions.  It just got a lot hotter by the building of a glass bridge which spans the gorge.  Readers will remember that the gorge is named after F E COBBOLD (1853-1935) #223 on the web tree.  He left home in Suffolk at 14 and went to sea despite the opportunity to work in the family brewing business.  He escaped the cannibals’ cook pot in Fiji and survived one of the worst hurricanes in living memory to settle in Australia, initially as a surveyor and later as a station manager.  Despite problems that would have defeated less resolute men he became a trusted station manager and later one of Australia’s great pioneering pastoralists.  Amongst others, one of the stations he managed was Robin Hood Station beside which the gorge lies and this probably accounts for its name.   Admired by fellow bushmen, trusted by bankers, his gritty determination earned him a small fortune which he gave away.  After provision for his wife his fortune went to the Royal United Kingdom Beneficent  Association, now called Independent Age.  It was their biggest ever legacy and has been carefully nurtured ever since.

The glass bridge is the first ever constructed with an entirely glass surface, 9.5 metres long with a bottom deck that is 4.5 centimetres thick and provides visitors with a whole new 360-degree view of the whole gorge and the surrounding outback.  The gorge is Australia’s youngest gorge being formed only 1700 million years ago from compacted Hampstead Sandstone.  The opening of the glass bridge this month further enhances this multi-award winning outback experience.  A visit was highly recommended before the bridge arrived – now it is an absolute ‘must’.

(Pictures 2 & 3 courtesy Tourism Events Queensland)

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