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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3 OVERMANTELS which once belonged to t...January 2018

Because of some strong similarities I became confused as to which was which!

Having sorted it out I thought to share it with you.  They are all now in the care of Christchurch Mansion which was given to the Borough of Ipswich by Felix Thornley Cobbold in 1895.  I give a brief description of each headed by the name of the room in the mansion in which each is housed.

In the Servants’ Hall will be found a Jacobean Overmantel from the early to mid. 17thcentury which may originally have been designed for 32 Carr St. in Ipswich.  In those days timber framed houses were as well decorated as Medieval churches and this is an exceptional example of highly skilled carving.  The figures represent allegories of Faith with the cross, Hope with the anchor, Charity caring for children and the vice of Vanity with mirror and serpent.  The house became the Half Moon Inn and when this was demolished the overmantel was taken to Holy Wells (as it was then spelled) where it was installed in the Library.  In the fireplace is a cast iron fireback bearing a Charles II Coat of Arms dated 1660.

In the Wingfield Room is some remarkable carved panelling which originated in the house of Sir Humphrey Wingfield (c1485-1552) in Tacket Street, Ipswich which later became the Tankard Inn.  It was installed in celebration of the marriage of Sir Humphrey to Anne Wiseman in 1509 and depicts ‘The Judgement of Paris’ from Greek mythology.  This too was taken with its associated panelling to Holy Wells when the house ceased to be an inn.

In the Lower Tudor Room, is installed the most interesting of the three.  It is the Eldred Overmantel from the house of Thomas Eldred (1561-1624) in Fore Street, Ipswich which became the Neptune Inn.  The overmantel celebrates Thomas Eldred’s exploits as the navigator on Lord Cavendish’s 1586-1588 voyage around the world.  The purpose of the voyage was to raid and plunder Spanish Colonies along the west coast of Central and South America.  As England was at war with Spain the men were classed as privateers, not pirates.  Thomas Cavendish took three ships on his voyage: the Desire, the Content and the Hugh Gallant, with 123 sailors and fighters.  The ships left England on 21st July 1586 and took enough provisions and ammunition for a 2-year voyage.  The ships arrived in South America in March 1587 and then spent the next eight months attacking Spanish ships, towns and settlements.  When they attacked a town in North Peru the men discovered a hidden store of 25lbs of silver.  During the eight months of privateering many crewmen and fighters died which meant there were not enough men to crew all three ships.  The smallest ship (the Hugh Gallant) was sunk and the men moved to other ships.

Thomas Cavendish had received information that a great Spanish ship, the Santa Anna was expected from the Philippines with a cargo of gold, silks, satins, damasks and other valuables.  The Desire and the Content lay in wait and when the Santa Anna arrived there was a five to six hour battle.  With his ship in danger of sinking the Spanish captain surrendered on the promise that the lives of his crew would be spared.  Thomas Cavendish transferred as much of the cargo of the Santa Anna to his own ships as was possible.  He left the Spanish crew on shore with food, sails to make tents and planks to make boats.  Just before departure he gave them arms so that they could defend themselves.

In November 1587 the Desire began the journey home to England with the Content to follow.  The Desire sailed across the Pacific to the Ladrones in 43 days where the men traded bits of iron for fresh food.  Having travelled over 5,500 miles the Desire got back to Plymouth on 9th September 1588 and Thomas Cavendish sent a report to the Lord Chamberlain saying they had “destroyed 19 enemy ships and captured a great galleon”.  The voyage had been a great financial success bringing back treasure worth about a million pounds.  The Content was never heard of again.

The Desire sailed up the Thames to Greenwich where Thomas Cavendish entertained Queen Elizabeth I “in a cabin hung with gold and silver”.  As his navigator Thomas Eldred must take much of the praise for the success of the voyage.  His overmantel comprises three panels; the first a terrestrial globe bearing the dates of his circumnavigation, the second his ship, presumably the Desire and the third his own portrait as an old man holding in his right hand an equinoxial dial having the date 1602.

After a spell in the dining room at Holy Wells this fine overmantel, together with the other two were given to Christchurch by John Dupuis Cobbold (1861-1929), after whose death Holy Wells was sold and later demolished.

CHRISTMAS 2017December 2017

Once again, we wish all our family, friends and visitors a very happy Christmas and a safe and peaceful New Year.  We take this opportunity to thank all our helpers and supporters for their encouragement during 2017 and particularly those who we have accidentally failed to thank personally.  Thank you.

Our picture shows Tree Court in Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge (attended by many family members) photographed by Cheng Chen, winner of the 2016 MCR Photography Competition.

Silken StrandsNovember 2017

The Trust is pleased to have acquired the following items:

The Trust has made donations to Wikimedia and to the Ipswich Historic Churches Trust, the latter towards the cost of restoration of the carillon at St. Clement’s which was given to the Church in 1882 by Felix Thornley Cobbold (1841-1909) (#201) in memory of his father John Chevallier Cobbold (1797-1882) (#114)


Although the Tolly Cobbold estate once numbered over 300 pubs, only one can claim to have been built in the brewery yard and to have been destroyed by friendly fire!

The Trust was saddened recently to hear of the death of Alec Burwood who died last month after a short illness.  Alec had devoted enormous time and energy to discovering and recording the history of Shingle Street, a remote seaside hamlet on the east coast of Suffolk.  With Sarah Margittai he published their findings in a most comprehensive book “Cosy in the Winter”, a copy of which he kindly gave to the Trust.  He would have liked us to have been more help but the truth is we learned much more from him than he did from us.

Prior to the existence of the Lifeboat Inn the hostelry in Shingle Street was probably the “Old Beach House” patronised by Margaret Catchpole’s brother in Richard Cobbold’s eponymous Victorian best-seller, together with the teams of workmen building the Martello towers against the very real risk of a Napoleonic invasion. About 1810 the “Old Beach House”, built largely of driftwood, was replaced by a pre-fabricated two-storey structure which had been put together in the yard at the Cliff Brewery and subsequently shipped in sections by barge to Shingle Street, for re-erection.  This is perfectly possible, though no proof exists, as the shingle beach at that time was such that passing barge masters are known to have called there for refreshment.

The Inn prospered for a while in the middle of the 19th century drawing its trade from the growth of the Coprolite industry and from its fashionable position enjoyed by sea bathers and holiday makers.  Shingle Street experienced a large influx of visitors each year over the Whit Monday weekend and local shopkeepers from Alderton and Hollesley set up stalls outside the Lifeboat in order to capture some of its flourishing trade but sadly it was not to last.

The village fell from favour between the wars and not long into the second World War the beach was heavily mined for fear it would be chosen as the invasion landing site. Worse was to come. On 18th June 1940 the order to evacuate came and Shinglestreeters had only 48 hours in which to pack their possessions and leave. They were not allowed back to collect furniture much of which was vandalised. Their homes were requisitioned by the War Department and the site was chosen for experimental bombing which took place in the spring of 1943 with the Lifeboat Inn as the principal target. Barnes Wallace is said to have worked on the project. Needless to say, the Inn and most of the cottages were destroyed. The War Department thought that the area was so heavily mined that it could never be re-inhabited. Many villagers thought otherwise and some cottages have been returned to domestic use but all that remains of the Lifeboat Inn is the over-grown brick foundations on which the sectional building had been erected more than 200 years ago.

REMEMBRANCE 2017November 2017

Once again, on behalf of the family, the Trust will be remembering the 48 Cobbolds and all family members who died for our freedom in two World Wars.

Our announcement will appear on Saturday 11th November in the Daily Telegraph under the heading IN MEMORIAM – THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE.

Additionally, we have planted an inscribed poppy in the Flanders Field of Remembrance at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Ypres -Menin Gate – Memorial.

Closer to home we are also planting an inscribed poppy in the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey.  For those who wish to view, it will be found in the section named -British Army (c-F) – Plot 332.  This Field of Remembrance is accessible to the public from 1pm on Thursday 9th November and thereafter daily from 9am to 4pm until 19th November.

The Trust ardently believes that it has a duty to remember all family members who gave their lives and those bearing the name Cobbold are listed at KING & COUNTRY.

All the fallen of the 1st World War are remembered by the sounding of Last Post at the Menin Gate in Ypres at 8pm every night of the year, come rain or shine.  This ceremony started on 1st July 1828 and this year will be the 27,712th time that the ceremony will have been performed.  Our pictures show the Menin Gate and the 8 buglers.


On Friday 6th October the Trust gave a talk about Richard Cobbold and his parish of Wortham followed by a showing of the BBC’s 1970s film In a Country ChurchyardThe event was in aid of the Friends of Wortham Church and played to a full house.  The occasion also saw the launch of a new book Cobbold’s Tales by Sue Heaser.

In 1828 the Reverend Richard Cobbold and his wife arrived in the small north Suffolk village of Wortham.  Despondent at having to leave their cultured life in Ipswich, at first they were resented by the poverty-stricken villagers.  Cobbold turned to his painting and writing for comfort, using the village and its inhabitants as his inspiration.  As time went by he created an extraordinary record of a village and the lives of its people during the difficult times of the 19th century.  Drawing from Cobbold’s own writings, Sue Heaser has created a dramatic and moving story based on the true events of 19th century Wortham.

Priced at £10, proceeds from the sale of Cobbold’s Tales will also go to the Friends of Wortham Church for the continued restoration of the church.  The book which has 40 pages, with colour illustrations on almost every page, is available from Wortham Post Office or from 

It’s worth every penny and more!

MIRABEL COBBOLD, Thrice married advent...September 2017

Mirabel (#496 on the family tree)had talent combined with an adventurous spirit not gifted to many of us.  Despite graduating from Oxford with a BA in Music, and being an excellent swimmer and golfer, she settled on being a writer.  In marrying Fl. Lt. Campbell Mackenzie-Richards at Aldeburgh, Suffolk in 1927 she chose a man to fully match her spirit.  We wrote about him in April 2013, so will not dwell on his extraordinary bravery but the pain suffered by Mirabel when he was killed in a flying accident only three months into the marriage was unimaginable.  The crumb of compensation was her pregnancy, Gillian being born the following year.  Long days and nights while Gillian slept upstairs gave Mirabel the chance to complete her first novel, Deborah Lee, published in the autumn of 1930.  In a subsequent publication her first book was somewhat damned with faint praise when it was said it ‘established the author clearly in the front rank of those writers who put into their work not only enthusiasm and vigour, but also a subtle atmosphere of spiritual mystery, which cannot fail to hold the reader’s attention whatever his sympathy with the actual tale may be’.

Undismayed she produced her second novel, Sea-Tangle the next year to the rather more encouraging criticism that it ‘is a book that will live.  Through all time there will be those who “go down to the sea in ships” to whom it will come as a breath of the life they love’.  Also in 1931, she married Charles Robert Orr-Simpson and three children followed, Shirley, Patrick and Carole.  Her writing genes are in good shape as her granddaughter’s recently published book is dedicated to ‘my maternal grandmother, Mirabel Cobbold Rogers, whose love of writing inspired me from childhood to dream that I, too, might become that magical being: a writer’.

Although the year 1933 saw the publication of a short story, The Incredible in a collection of uneasy tales titled Quakes, it seems that her restless and adventurous spirit took hold.  Now, as a journalist, she became a prodigious traveller, lived for three years in the wilds of British Columbia, free-lanced in China and Japan and even crossed Macedonia on horseback.

Having settled in South Africa in 1937 she married Dudley Rogers in 1944 and continued her demanding life as a journalist.  Her next book, The Black Sash was the story of the birth of the Black Sash movement between May 1955 and its re-dedication ceremony in May 1956.  Because of her respected position as a South African journalist; because of her early training as an impartial observer and because of her passionate devotion to the truth, Mirabel Rogers was the author of choice for this record of the founding of the white female resistance movement to the apartheid system.

Her next and last book was quite different.  Africa is a continent of great rivers.  Why not use the rivers as a waterway linking West and East coasts?  This idea was the motivating force behind the first Trans-African Waterway Expedition, and who better to record the trials and tribulations of such an ambitious project?  However, When Rivers Meet is not a factual record, though it includes an enormous amount of detail, but rather one intrepid participant’s light-hearted and lively observations personally and delightfully written.  And a very good read it is too!

Where are the poppies now?September 2017

Anthony Cobbold’s story

I’m the Keeper of The Cobbold Family History Trust,   Having marched down Whitehall with 8 family members to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph, my eldest son bought a ‘Tower of London’ poppy for the Trust.  Later I laid another wreath at the Menin Gate to commemorate the 35 Cobbolds who died in WWI and it reflected the Trust’s values to frame and preserve that poppy.

In addition to the poppy itself and its certificate, the framed tribute includes a picture of Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red and, importantly, the names, regiments and death dates of every one of those 35 fatalities.

The Trust believes that we must understand the past for the benefit of future generations.  If a family history trust is ‘for family – for ever’ then remembering family members who made the ultimate sacrifice is prime.

This poppy is doing the work of 35.

Anthony Cobbold

September 2017

Note:  Anthony Cobbold is a first cousin (twice removed) of Field Marshal Plumer GCB., GCMG., GCVO., GBE., who inaugurated the Menin Gate memorial in Ypres on Sunday 24th July 1927.  Hence his visit had special poignancy.

Silken StrandsAugust 2017

The Trust is pleased to have acquired the following items: 

  • An Election Poster for the Ipswich Constituency for the General Election on 12th January 1906 promoting Felix Cobbold (#201 on the family tree) and Daniel Ford Goddard, the successful Liberal candidates.
  • An advertising card dated c.1882 issued by the Brown Chemical Co of Baltimore promoting Brown’s Iron Bitters – The Best Tonic, featuring Lillie Langtry (#1243), The Jersey Lily.
  • Seven books by James Runcie (#3786) bringing the Trust’s collection up to date.
  • Profile Warship 16, HM Submarine UPHOLDER, published 1972, the ship captained by David Wanklyn VC DSO** RN (#9837)
  • Centenary of the First World War – Passchendale – the Third Battle of Ypres – 31st July 2017 – the gift of Vanessa Griffith (#8606) who attended the Commemoration.
  • The Golden Hour by Claire Belberg who is a family member but cannot be identified as she writes under a pseudonym.
  • Three Cobbold & Co / Cobbold & Co Ltd. Brewery ledgers – Town (1905), Country (1908) and Private (1934)

The Trust would like to thank everyone who took part in or donated or helped in any way with the most successful Cobbold History Charity Ride earlier this year.

SIR THOMAS PLUMER (1753-1824)August 2017

Sir Thomas Plumer(#855 on the family tree) came to public attention largely because of his success in two important legal cases; those of Sir Thomas Rumbold, Governor of Madras in 1783 and of Warren Hastings, whose case has the distinction of being one of the longest in British legal history between 1788 and 1795.

He was born in October 1753 in Ironmonger Lane, London, son of Thomas Plumer, a London wine merchant, of Lilling Hall in Yorkshire.  He was despatched to Eton and later University College, Oxford where he was Vinerian Scholar in 1777, the same year as he entered Lincoln’s Inn being called to the Bar in 1778.  He was elected a fellow of University College in 1780 and was awarded the Bachelor of Civil Law degree in 1783

In addition to his successful defence of Sir Thomas Rumbold and Warren Hastings he also successfully defended Viscount Melville against impeachment in 1806 and assisted in the defence of the Prince of Wales the same year.  By 1807 he was Solicitor General, had been knighted and was the MP for Downton in Wiltshire.  He became Attorney General in 1812 and Vice Chancellor of England the following year.  1818 saw him appointed Master of the Rolls, a post in which he served until he died in 1824.  He was buried in the Rolls Chapel on 1st April that year.

His granddaughter, Fanny Hannah married Sir Harry Parkes (#849/50) and his great grandson became the famous WWI Field Marshal Lord Plumer (#2546).  It was the latter’s daughter, Eleanor Mary Plumer (#2555), champion of women’s education, who pioneered St Andrew’s Hall (1927-1931) and later became Principal of St. Anne’s College, Oxford from 1940 to 1953.  Amongst St. Anne’s recent graduates was Jack Cobbold (#1038)

A fine portrait of Sir Thomas (artist uncertain) came on the market recently.  The provenance was good in that the picture was identified as coming from his mother’s family, the Thompsons of Kirby Hall in Yorkshire.  It will be seen from the many connections mentioned above that The Cobbold Family History Trust would have been a most appropriate final resting place for the portrait but it was beyond the Trust’s means.  However, the story has a happy ending; the picture was purchased by a family member and its safety is assured.

Lt. Cdr. DAVID WANKLYN VC DSO** RNAugust 2017

“The ship and her company are gone, but the example and the inspiration remain.”

Thus wrote Their Lordships of The Admiralty (unusually) when reporting that H M Submarine UPHOLDER (Lieutenant-Commander M D Wanklyn VC DSO** RN) had been lost.  It was April 1942.

Under the command of David Wanklyn (#9837 on the family tree) UPHOLDER’S first war patrol was from Portsmouth to Gibraltar early in 1941.  Thereafter Mediterranean patrols typically lasted 2 to 3 weeks with 10 days between to refuel and rearm in Malta.  These supposed rest periods were frequently interrupted by air-raids upon which UPHOLDER dived to the bottom of the harbour.  In a little under 12 months Malcolm David Wanklyn and his crew were credited with sinking over 93,000 tons of enemy shipping and damaging a further 34,000 tons.

The sinking of ‘Conte Rosse.’  This attack was to earn Wanklyn the award of the Victoria Cross, the first awarded to a submariner in World War II.  Here is the citation:

On the evening of 24th May 1941, whilst on patrol off the coast of Sicily, Lieutenant-Commander Wanklyn in command of His Majesty’s Submarine UPHOLDER, sighted a southbound enemy troop convoy, strongly escorted by destroyers.  The failing light was such that observation by periscope could not be relied on, but a surface attack would have been easily seen.  UPHOLDER’S listening gear was out of action.  In spite of these handicaps, Lt. Cdr. Wanklyn decided to press hime his attack at short range.  He quickly steered his craft into a favourable position and closed in so as to make sure of his target.  By this time the whereabouts of the escorting destroyers could not be made out.  Lt. Cdr. Wanklyn, while fully aware of the risk of being rammed by one of the escort, continued to press on towards the enemy troopships.  As he was about to fire, one of the enemy destroyers suddenly appeared out of the darkness at high speed and he only just avoided being rammed.  As soon as he was clear he brought his periscope sights on and fired torpedoes, which sank a large troopship.  The enemy destroyers at once made a strong counter-attack and during the next 20 minutes dropped 37 depth charges near UPHOLDER.  The failure of his listening device made it much harder for him to get away, but with the greatest courage, coolness and skill hr brought UPHOLDER clear of the enemy and safe back to harbour.

David Wanklyn was the Royal Navy’s top submarine ace, the most successful submariner in the Western Allied navies and the most highly decorated Royal Navy hero of the second World War. 

HOLYWELLSAugust 2017

Brewery Display and a ‘new’ picture

As part of our ongoing commitment to, and support for, Holywells Park the Trust is happy to have loaned, free of charge, a display of Tolly Cobbold and earlier brewery items which is housed in the old stables.  The items are a part of the collection built up by the Trust over the past few years.

Earlier this month The Ipswich Society was host to members of the Suffolk Preservation Society for an afternoon visit to Holywells park.  Guests enjoyed a walk in the park led by Adrian Howlett whose knowledge of the park far exceeds that of anybody else before returning to the Stables Café for tea.  Thereafter the Trust gave an illustrated talk about the 5 generations of the Cobbold family who occupied Holywells Mansion between 1814 and 1929.

The Trust recently acquired four sepia prints from the 1840s, three of Holywells and one of Cliff House, Felixstowe.  As these have not been seen before we show below one of Holywells dated 1845 which indicates little change since 1820 but is prior to the major changes made in the 1860s.


Glemham Hall, built around 1560 is a fine Elizabethan house bought by the Cobbold family in 1923 for Col. John Murray (Ivan) Cobbold (1897-1944) (#448 on the family tree) and now owned by his grandson Maj. Philip Hope-Cobbold ;(#577), is home to a wonderful range of events this summer, listed in the programme shown below.


April 1848. Europe in the flames of Revolution. The 19-year-old daughter of England’s greatest living author lies dying alone in a boarding house in Brompton. All the dreams of her short life shattered, a clandestine visit by the mother she has not seen in 10 years leaves her dead – her story forgotten, her mystery unsolved.

Henry Lytton Cobbold breaks into the mausoleum at Knebworth House – literally – to uncover the life and death of the first of his ancestor Edward Bulwer Lytton’s forgotten children…and finds a remarkable girl whose story is more dramatic and gothic than the most sensational of her father’s bestsellers.

A bittersweet exploration into real-life Victorian melodrama, blending original letters and manuscripts, modern detective work, humour and a deftness of touch with the dark truths of a heartbreaking family tragedy

This is a huge book in every sense. It comes in two volumes and has 992 pages and 465 images but much more importantly it is a hugely rewarding read which has appeal to at least three quite separate audiences. It is a ‘must’ for the literary historian who cannot forego the behind-the-scenes look at England’s greatest living author. For the family history man and woman, withdrawal symptoms are inevitable when it is put down and for the general reader there is the sheer fascination of the detective story as it ebbs and flows on its way to the known conclusion.

That the content is addictive is as nothing compared with the way the reader is gently led from page to page, as if by the hand, in a style of writing that never speaks at you but is always beside and encouraging you.

On all levels this is an outstandingly good book.

Anthony Cobbold. June 2017

CANADA: ALIVE, WELL and still WRITING!...May 2017

Peg, now in her 98th year lives in a seniors’ apartment in Waterloo and stars as a 'bright young thing' in their advertising, enticing viewers to “Come join the FUN.” But, that is not all; she has just completed her second book Travelling to Music which beautifully describes her adventurous trip to Europe as a chaperone to 67 teenaged band students for 7 weeks in 1962. With their first venue the Albert Hall this book is 150 pages of compelling narrative with hundreds of pictures and the Trust is delighted to have a signed copy in its library.

What happened after Jack chopped down the beanstalk and defeated the giant? You can’t expect there to be no consequences can you? Jack and the Beanstalk Continued is Shirley Fowley’s answer. It’s a small book but great fun and has a happy ending when Jack retires to a condo in the Carib-bean, and lives happily and bean-free ever after. Again the Trust is pleased to have a signed copy in its library along with about another 500 books by or about family members.

To buy either of these books email Shirley:


(#539 on the family tree)

Due in part to a new computer following an unpleasant scam your Keeper is behind with his work. His temper is not improved by the new machine having an upgraded Windows operating system.

The best birthday card this year pretty much sums up the current situation!


(#1492 on the family tree)

We are pleased to report a new website put up by potter, Margaret Tatton-Brown (#1492) in London. Our photograph shows Margaret at work in her studio. Every piece is handmade and fired to 1,260°C which means that they are not only strong but oven and dishwasher safe also.

Margaret’s pots celebrate the happiness generated by the sharing of food with friends and much of her inspiration is drawn from the natural world, particularly that found in her garden.

A few examples of her work are shown here but for many more please go to her website You will not be disappointed.


(#644 on the family tree)

Meeting Carolyn at home or with her family gives you absolutely no idea of the enormity of what she has achieved, all of it without any song and dance and all whilst bringing up three children, the youngest of whom is now over 21.

Following a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College, London, where she met her husband, and several moves dictated by his job, Carolyn found herself living just inland from the south coast at Birdham in Sussex. Since University she had been freelance writing for an American insurance journal with a particular interest in climate change and corporate liability and environmental risk.

Hence it is not surprising in the late 1990s to find her campaigning for more integrated spatial, water and coastal planning on the low-lying Manhood peninsula, south of Chichester. Carolyn and another local resident persuaded the Dutch Institute of Spatial Planning to hold their annual workshop – a five day conference – on the Manhood in March 2001. The workshop led to a range of new ideas about more sustainable coastal management and spatial planning for the area, described in Going Dutch, a publication Carolyn co-authored. As a result of the Going Dutch initiative, Carolyn founded the Manhood Peninsula Partnership, a multi-agency and community partnership. Since 2001, the MPP has been instrumental in raising substantial funds and encouraging more integrated working between local and government authorities and the public to improve the area’s environment, habitat, drainage, flood issues and coastal defence.

In 2011 the MPP published one of the first Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plans in the UK and in 2013 Medmerry, the largest coastal realignment project in Europe, was completed to protect the peninsula from rising sea levels. The site contains 300 hectares of important biodiversity habitat including mudflats, reed beds, saline lagoons and grassland, creating new intertidal habitat important to wildlife on an international level. In 2014 the Medmerry scheme won many major national awards for engineering, ecology and public engagement, including the prestigious Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award.

But even before Medmerry was completed we find Carolyn developing her interest in the History of Science with the publication in September 2010 of her dissertation (for an MSc), Yeast, A Problem – The rise of alternative bread leavening technologies in the 19th century. The following year she is a post graduate speaker at Swansea University on Baking Soda in the 19th century and later at Imperial College, London on The silent introduction of synthetic dyestuffs into 19th century food, later published as a chapter in The Silences of Science.

Her pioneering involvement on the Manhood is not forgotten when she is invited to speak to the Climate Change Conference in London in December 2014 but her interest in foodstuffs persists with the publication in early 2017 by Cambridge University of an article warning of the dangers of abandoning EU regulations after Brexit. There is much that the Science Historian can contribute to today’s food environment.

Finally, at a ceremony in the Senate House in Cambridge on 29th April 2017 Carolyn was awarded a PhD for her dissertation An investigation into the introduction and use of coal-tar derived dyes to colour food, 1856-1914.

Carolyn now has been awarded a Research Fellowship at Clare Hall, Cambridge to pursue her studies of food history. She is a Council Member of the Society of the History of Alchemy and Chemistry, and spoke at one of their conferences recently at the Royal Institution, London. She is also speaking at the British Society for the History of Science annual conference in York in July 2017.

Carolyn was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) in 2016 for her work on coastal management, integrated planning and community engagement. She is a Governor of the Matthew Arnold Secondary School in Staines and worked part-time as a volunteer for a homeless refuge 2015-2017.


The Trust is pleased to record the following recent acquisitions:

‘The Sprain’d Ankle’, an original watercolour signed by Richard Cobbold (1797-1877) measuring about 260mm x 210mm in a heavy wooden frame painted 1850.

A Marriage Register for St Mary Key, Ipswich for 1813 to 1837.

An original watercolour of The Lodge, Felixstowe dated about 1840, artist unknown.

An original watercolour by M. Bellamy of the Boat Inn, Woodbridge which closed in 1957 and is now a private dwelling.

In the Bosom of her Father, the Life & Death of Emily Bulwer Lytton by Henry Lytton Cobbold and Mary Letitia Greene.  Published by the 39 Production Company in 2 volumes having 992 pages and 465 images.

Photograph by Stearn of Cambridge of W. N. Cobbold, Corinthian and England footballer.

Tolly Cobbold Decimal Currency Calculator – “Thank goodness a pint is still a pint!”

Photograph of a Cobbold pub in Kersey, Suffolk with cyclists.  


We wrote a Cobbweb in August 2012 under the title An Olympic Centenary which highlighted the almost unbelievable talent of three generations of the Bournes; Gilbert (1861-1933) #4912 on the family tree; his son Robert (Bob) (1888-1938) and his son Robert (1918-1995).  In addition to being one of only 2 families who have provided three generations of oarsmen in the same boat (Oxford) they all had careers of exceptional merit.  Recent research has shown a gaping void in the story thus far.  Third generation, Robert had a younger brother, John Wilfrid (1922-1999) who possessed a talent every bit as formidable as that of his siblings and forebears.  Here is his story as entered on the family tree.

From his childhood, it was clear that Wilfrid had a remarkably powerful intellect.  While only 10 or 11, he would exchange Greek iambics with his elder brother during their pillow fights, and he never lost his gift for pointed quotation from the Classics.  But it is as a pillar of the Lord Chancellor's Department from 1956 to 1982 that he will be remembered.

The second son of Robert Bourne, MP for Oxford City, (#1187 on the family tree) and Lady Hester Bourne, eldest daughter of the fourth Earl Cairns and granddaughter of Lord Chancellor Cairns, he went, like his father and grandfather before him, to Eton, entering as a King's Scholar and becoming Newcastle Scholar and, in 1940, Captain of the School.  He obtained the Ella Stephens Greek Scholarship to New College, Oxford, and took a First in Mods in 1941 before joining up.

Commissioned in the Rifle Brigade, he served as signal officer with the 1st Battalion from November 1942 to May 1945, being demobilised in December 1945, and returning to Oxford to read Jurisprudence, in which he obtained another First.

He was called to the Bar in 1948, obtaining the Harmsworth and Eldon scholarships; was offered a seat in Stevenson's chambers, and joined the Oxford circuit.

In 1956, after eight years in chambers he entered the Lord Chancellor's Office at the age of 34 as one of the small group of lawyers working close to the Lord Chancellor.

He served for many years as secretary to the Law Reform Committee, where his speed and clarity of thought, deep knowledge of the law, and sound grasp of practicalities contributed much to reports such as the review of the law of evidence in civil cases, on which the Civil Evidence Act 1968 was based.

In 1977 he was appointed to the paired offices of Clerk of the Crown in Chancery and Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor.  This involved him in a good deal of administration, and brought him into contact with the Bar and the judiciary in his capacity as adviser on judicial and other appointments.  He took a lot of trouble over this, but was never a popular figure with that constituency, perhaps because he was a shy man and no extrovert.  Yet beneath his shyness Wilfrid Bourne was a very kind and generous person, taking great pleasure in his family and in teaching his grandchildren Pelmanism and racing demon.

John Wilfrid Bourne, barrister: called to the Bar, Middle Temple 1948; staff, Lord Chancellor's Office 1956-82; Principal Assistant Solicitor 1970-72; Deputy Secretary 1972-77; Clerk of the Crown in Chancery & Permanent Secretary 1977-82.  CB 1975, KCB 1979, QC 1981.

Abridged from The Independent 15th November 1999.

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