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

Page 3 of 18

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)

MICHAEL COBBOLD of California, USAOctober 2019

The Trust met up with Michael Cobbold (born 1953) #1849 and his son Benson (born 1983) #3458 from California for 3 days in Ipswich recently.  Until retirement Michael was Safety Officer for the Denali National Park in Alaska following a lifetime’s work for the USDA Forestry Service.  Benson is a fully qualified Intensive Care Nurse having graduated from Sacramento State University in 2007.  In the course of his duties Michael took a photograph of Mount McKinley which was adopted by Alaskan Post Cards of Anchorage.  Mount McKinley (named after US Presidential Candidate William McKinley in 1896 but now officially known as ‘Denali’) is the highest mountain peak in North America at 20,310 feet, and the 3rd highest in the world after Mount Everest and Aconcagua.  It is the centre piece of Denali National Park.

Michael is the elder son of Jaime (James or Jim) Walter Cobbold (1925-2007) #1845 who was an avid collector of Cobbold memorabilia and became one of the Trust’s earliest and most generous donors.  Sadly, he and his lovely wife, Elsa are both dead now but after Jim died Elsa told me how relieved Jim was to have found the Trust to be the perpetual guardian of his precious collection.  Michael has continued the tradition by giving to the Trust, inter alia, a fine print of the famous Hon, John Collier portrait of Felix Thornley Cobbold which hangs in the Great Hall at Christchurch Mansion.  Readers will remember that the portrait was paid for by public subscription to show appreciation for the gift of Christchurch to the Borough of Ipswich.


The Trust is delighted to have acquired a copy of “Voyage to New Zealand Under Sail in the Early Forties” by Alfred Fell (1817-1871) #6461 on the web family tree.  Our copy was purchased in New Zealand and was previously in the Palmerston North Public Library.  The  foreword, which is by his son Sir Arthur Fell (1850-1934) #4583 who was MP for Great Yarmouth from 1906 to1922, was signed off on 12th October 1926.

The voyage in the teak-built Lord Auckland under the command of Captain Jardine left Gravesend on September 25th 1841 and arrived in Wellington, New Zealand on February 8th 1842.  Alfred was one of 15 cabin passengers who sailed with 60 married folk, 21 single men, 19 single women, 5 widows and 50 children.  The crew comprised 1 captain, 3 mates, 26 seamen, 4 boys, 1 carpenter, 1 butcher, 1 black cook, 1 surgeon with an assistant and 1 steward with 3 assistants; a total of around 220 souls.  At the start of the voyage their fresh food was provided by a number of live pigs, geese, ducks and other fouls.  The plan of the Lord Auckland (between decks) gives the layout.

Towards the end of the book Alfred gives some advice to would-be travellers.  “If you know any cabin passengers coming out a few suggestions may be useful as well.  I would by all means choose the poop cabins as more light and airy, and the larboard side in preference to the starboard; on an outward-bound voyage it is generally the weather side; you can therefore open your port and you have fresh air blowing in,  In the warmer latitudes this is a great comfort, and in the more cold ones I prefer it infinitely.  In fitting up the cabins I would advise all bed berths to be fixed fore and aft and not more than 2 ft. wide, to prevent rolling about.  These, from experience, are much better than cots or hammocks; the furniture and boxes should, before starting, be firmly lashed with cords and cleated to the ground, to prevent their knocking about.  I have had a deal of trouble with mine, through their not being fastened at first.

A quantity of good water in bottles will be found a great luxury, particularly in the tropics, when I would have given anything for a glass of pure water, and above everything I would have a small filter.  From the commencement of the voyage until off Madeira, warm clothing is required, then light trousers and jackets with straw hats are indispensable.  After you have passed the tropics warm clothing is required right away to New Zealand.  You cannot have too much linen.  A candlestick with a glass shade is requisite to suspend, with a lot of sperm candles.  A metal footbath is useful for many things, as well as a water-can or two.  By attending to a few little comforts like these, and living in harmony with each other, the voyage to New Zealand, although a long one, nevertheless to a young person may be rendered a very agreeable period of existence.”

SILKEN STRANDSSeptember 2019

The Trust is very sad to report the deaths of four family:

  • Michael Cobbold (1940-2019) #520 who died on 17th July. Michael was an enormous help, and accompanied  Anthony Cobbold when visiting Cobbold Gorge in Queensland, Australia in 2011.
  • Owen Duffy (1932-2019) #3264 who died on 29th July. Owen was an enthusiastic supporter of the Trust and always visited us when he was in this country from New Zealand.
  • Mike Cavanagh (1945-2019) #9184 who died 18th August. Mike was a much loved ‘forever-partner to Prim Cobbold #522 who always visited and donated photographs to the Trust when they were here from Brisbane, Australia.
  • Anna Lou Little (1938-2019) #769 who died on 11th August. Anna Lou owner the cottage on Kirkland Lake, Ontario which once belonged to C C Farr (1851-1914) #266

The Trust sends heart felt condolences to their families and friends.

The Trust is pleased to have acquired:

  • The Roughshooter’s Dog by Michael Brander (1924-2011) #9148.  Michael served with the 10th Hussars in WWII, in North Africa and Italy.  He was a prolific author and much of his work is in the Scottish Archives.
  • A Photograph of the wedding of Lady Hermione Lytton (1905-2004) #491 and Cameron Cobbold – later Baron Cobbold (1904-1987) at St. Mary’s, Knebworth on 3rd April 1930
  • A letter signed by Gordon Chevallier Cobbold (1903-2004) #337 who raced motor cycles at Brooklands from 1923 to 1930, holding no less than 16 records and was awarded the Gold Star in 1926.

The Trust would like to warmly thank the following Donors:

  • Caroline Taylor for funds which allowed it to buy a fine oil on canvas portrait of Lt. Hill-Lowe (see Cobbweb for August 2019);
  • Virginia van der Lande for a copy of ‘The life and Times of John Cumming Anderson (1825-1870) and his Family’ – a most comprehensive volume of 255 pages plus a further 150 pages of appendices; and for the July 2007 copy of The Linnean Newsletter containing an article by John Marsden on Parasitology based largely on the work of Thomas Spencer Cobbold and his grandmother, Elizabeth Cobbold;
  • Caroline Markham for the August edition of ‘Down to Earth’ the journal of Geology containing her letter about Elizabeth Cobbold;
  • David Taylor for a fine Victorian Photograph Album and numerous papers and photos of the family of Rev. Edward Davy Cobbold;
  • Kenya Tatton-Brown for sundry papers and photographs of the Kitchener family;

And many others for help and family information (in no particular order) including Chris and Jeannie Cobbold, Rosemary Barry, David Mitchell, Laurie Forth, Stuart Hayward, Jordan Cassidy, Simon Wrigley, Rowell Bell, Edward Lipscombe, Suzanne Milne, Christiana Hambro, Gareth Scott, Alison Mildon, Bryan Cobbold, Monica Bell, Teresa Crompton, Peter Howard, Charlotte Appleby, Belinda McPherson and Giles Ingham.

Thank you all.


It is widely known that Francis Edward Cobbold (1853-1935) #233, (generally known as ‘FE’), after providing for his wife Beatrice (Bea) Sarah Child (1869-1951) #225, left a legacy of life-changing proportions to what was then the Royal United Kingdom Beneficent Association (RUKBA), now Independent Age.  The charity invested the money wisely abiding by FE’s stipulation that only the interest should be used and then for helping old folk stay in their homes.  ‘The effect of this magnificent legacy on the development of the activities of the Association can hardly be over-emphasised,’ wrote Sir John Maude.

What is not so widely known, and the Trust has only just discovered, is that FE, one of Australia’s great pioneering pastoralists, also endowed two cottages for the Old Colonists Association of Victoria.  OCAV is a leading not-for-profit provider of independent living, and assisted living & aged care in Victoria founded in 1869 by a crop of prominent Melbourne leaders which included George Selth Coppin.  Celebrating their 150th anniversary this year the Association has 4 villages: Lieth Park in St. Helena, Braeside Park in Berwick , Rushall Park in North Fitzroy, and Currie Park in Euroa.

The Trust is grateful to Ruth Richardson for a photograph of Nos. 6 and 7 Henty Avenue, Rushall Park, which are the two ‘Cobbold’ cottages built in 1930 of grey limestone brick with tiled roof with a little spire atop, endowed by FE and his wife in memory of his sister, Sarah Jane Cobbold (1841-1918) #227.

LT. A. N. O. P. HILL-LOWEAugust 2019

Due to the generosity of Caroline Taylor #638 on the web family tree, the Trust has been able to acquire a fine oil on canvas portrait of Lt. Arthur Norman Ommanney Peter Hill-Lowe 1920-1943 #14050.  Dated 1949 the artist, who used the monogram GR or CR is, as yet, unidentified.  The Trust is most grateful to Caroline.

Lt. Hill-Lowe was born in Tenbury, Worcestershire in 1920 and enlisted in the Royal Armoured Corps on 25th August, 1939.  He was appointed to an Emergency Commission as a 2nd. Lt. in the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards on 27th July 1940 and was posted to the 57th Training Regiment on 19th July 1842.  He embarked for the Middle East to join 3rd Hussars later that month and arrived in Egypt on 21st September.  He was killed in a train crash near Aleppo, Syria on 3rd February 1943.

He came from a distinguished military family.  His father was Captain Arthur Noel Vernon Hill-Lowe (1892-1964) #14048, North Irish Horse and Shropshire Yeomanry, who was the son of Commander Arthur Hill Ommanney Peter Hill-Lowe RN 1849-1910 #14046 who was in turn the son of Admiral Arthur Lowe (1814-1882) #1016.  Admiral Lowe’s father-in-law was Sir John Acworth Ommanney (1773-1855).

On Wednesday 3rd February the Aleppo to Pererat train had a head-on collision 80 km out.  27 soldiers including 3 officers were killed.  The following Sunday saw a big military funeral, each coffin on a 15cwt truck travelling through the town.  Beside the graves a firing party of 21 men fired a volley and the ‘Last Post’ was played in what was a very moving ceremony.  He is buried in the British War Cemetery in Aleppo, Syria in plot 2 at C3 which is cared for by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


Hitherto the Trust has thought that four large albums of Elizabeth Cobbold (1765-1824) #58 paper-cut Valentines were prepared, one for each of Elizabeth’s four boys, Robert Knipe (1792-1859) #100Charles (1793-1859) #102Richard (1797-1877) #106 and Edward (1798-1860) #108; each containing Valentines produced from 1816 onwards.  Of these, Richard’s album is in the Trust and Charles’ album is in safe family hands but on loan to the Trust for research purposes.  The other two were broken up by an antique dealer and sold off as framed pictures.  Over the years the Trust has acquired two more small and rather crude albums containing Valentines for 1810 and 1813.

Recently two more mid-sized albums have come to light dedicated to Robert Knipe, her eldest son; one bearing the date 1812 and the other 1813.  They are in safe family hands but have satisfactorily broadened our knowledge.  Volume two tells us that Valentines for 1809-10-11 were owned by the Rushbrooke family.  We know that Elizabeth stopped cutting Valentines in 1822 but we did not know she had produced any before 1810.

We do not know exactly how the Valentines were distributed at the time, but this much we do know: there were Ladies Valentines and Gentlemen’s Valentines; up to eighty were cut in a single year; normally a verse was composed for each; they were placed in separate baskets and brought into the party when it was well under way.  Every unmarried guest was invited to come and pick a Valentine from the appropriate basket.  The verses were read out to the assembled company and often much mirth ensued.  There was undoubtedly some match-making going on and we know of one case where romance and marriage resulted.

Prior to 1814 when the family moved into Holywells the Valentine parties were held at the Cliff and at that time the event was known as a Lottery, a term confirmed in the earlier albums.  The Valentines preserved in these albums were duplicates of those distributed.  One account says that they were cut from multiple sheets of paper but this would not have been as easy as it sounds.  They were cut with scissors using a technique, Scherenschnitte, learned from Germany.


The Trust is very sad to report the death of two family members both of whom were keen supporters of the Trust and its work.

  • Jan Talbot #670 died aged 90 and Martin Riley died aged 75, both on 24th June 2019.  We send our condolences to their families and friends.

The Trust is pleased to have been given two interesting items for the Archive:

  • Mrs Delia Golding donated a leather-bound, gilt-edged subscription book “St. Clement’s Church” which was presented by the parishioners to Churchwarden William Harvey Orvis on 25th January 1909 expressing their sympathy for his illness and wishing him a speedy recovery.
  • Mr Steven Painton donated a panel of ceramic tiles from the hall floor of Brownhill House, near Southampton together with a number of photographs prior to it being demolished for housing.  Brownhill House, built in 1867, was the home of Augustus Hills Cobbold from 1896 until his death in 1931.  Five of his grandchildren were born in the house.

The Trust is grateful for help given, often with family tree information, by (in no particular order):

Gareth Scott, Brian Graham, Ruth Richardson, Clare, Rosalyn Davies, Rob & Cheryl Phare, Carolyn Anthony, Sally Patrick, Michael Gibbs, William Oswald, Malcolm Puttick, Annemarie Josey, Ian Welch, Paul O’Brien, Simon Toynbee, Charles Marment, Nick Moger, Simon Bentley and Tim Riley.


The generous gift of Delia Golding, the Trust has acquired a lovely leather-bound, gilt-edged subscription book which was presented by the parishioners to Churchwarden William Harvey Orvis on 25th January 1909 expressing their sympathy for his illness and wishing him a speedy recovery.  The dedication was endorsed by the Rector, the Curate, the other Churchwarden and over 200 parishioners

A personal message is added by a signatory “H.L. Ipswich (designate of Stepney)”.  This entry is not understood and if anyone can explain, we would love to hear from them.

There are 5 Cobbold signatories:

Adela Harriette Cobbold (1837-1917) #187.  John Patteson’s widow.

Evelyn Anna Cobbold (1873-1959). #322.  Adela’s daughter and wife of Herbert St. George Cobbold

John Dupuis Cobbold (1861-1925) #307.  Adela’s eldest son.

Winifred Evelyn Cobbold (1892-1965) #450.  John Dupuis’s daughter aged 17.

John Murray Cobbold (1897-1944)

 #448.  John Dupuis’s only son aged 12.


Without question the Trust’s most important acquisition this month is a silver Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service Reserve badge (No. 211) worn by Sister Theodosia Agnes Cobbold during service in the Boer War.  She is #1893 on the web family tree.

Other acquisitions include:

  • The Complete George Cross by Kevin Brazier
  • Swefling Rebecca Cobbold, a novel by Barbara Grantham Hicks
  • Twenty-Five Shades of Graves by Jeremy Cobbold
  • An article from the Intellectual Observer 1863 on The Portuguese Man-of-War by H Noel Humphreys
  • Three articles from the Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science 1862 & 1865 on Gyrodactylus Elegans, Entozoa and Coenurus by T Spencer Cobbold (#174).
  • A large package of miscellaneous Tolly Cobbold ephemera including an album of advertisements.

The Trust is grateful for help given, often with family tree information, by (in no particular order):


Geoffrey Elborn, Hamish Thoms, Derek Wilson, Ruth Richardson, Geoffrey Buchler, Clare O’Keefe, Carolyn Anthony, Simon Watson and Brian Graham.  Please accept apologies for anyone omitted inadvertently.

6. John Sedgwick Gregson GC (1924-2...June 2019

“John Gregson won the George Cross for saving the life of a shipmate during a torpedo attack in the Mediterranean in 1942. Gregson was serving as an apprentice on the 'Deucalion', a merchant vessel of 7,500 tons. The ship was one of a convoy of 14 that left Gibraltar an August 10th 1942 with the object of breaking through to the beleaguered island fortress of Malta with much needed food and fuel supplies.

 But after being attacked by two Heinkel torpedo bombers, the Deucalion was hit on the starboard quarter; one of the holds burst into flames and the order was given to abandon ship. Lifeboats were being lowered and the blaze was spreading rapidly when one of the AA gunners was found pinned down under a raft. Gregson helped to get the gunner free but the man had sustained severe injuries and when it proved impossible to get him into a boat or on to a raft there was no alternative but to drop him overboard. Gregson dived into the sea after him but, in the darkness, he could not find a life boat so he towed him a distance of about 600 yards to a ship which picked them up. The citation stated:

 "But for Apprentice Gregson's gallant action undertaken with complete disregard of his own safety, the injured man would have had little chance of survival".

Gregson was invested with the Albert Medal by King George VI at Buckingham Palace on March 30th 1943. In 1971 when the Albert Medal was revoked by Royal Warrant Gregson elected to keep the original medal he received from the King, rather than exchange it for the George Cross. Amongst his other medals, he also held the Lloyds War Medal for Bravery in Saving Life at Sea. This medal was instituted by Lloyds of London in 1940 to be awarded to officers and men of the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets for exceptional gallantry at sea in wartime.

John Sedgwick Gregson GC (1924-2016) #10872 on the web family tree

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