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 5 of 18

TAXI! TAXI?March 2019

Two family members have recently used London Taxis to help promote their businesses. Both businesses are highly successful but we are not suggesting the taxis were more than marginally responsible!

James Staughton (1959)#1358 on the web family tree joined Cornwall’s St. Austell Brewery in 1980, was appointed to the Board in 1988, became Managing Director in 2000 and Chief Executive in 2015. He is the great, great grandson of Walter Hicks who founded the business in 1851. Today it is a fine independent, diversified and growing company; the largest wholesale distributor of beers, wines, spirits, ciders and soft drinks in the South West and winner last year of the Queen’s award for enterprise.

Humphrey Cobbold (1964) #645 joined Leeds-based PureGym as CEO in 2015 when it had 84 no-frills gyms. The business had been founded by Peter Roberts in 2009. Acquired by private equity house CCMP in 2013 and sold on to Los Angeles-based Leonard Green & Partners for £600m in November 2017, it now has 240 gyms in UK all open 24 hours a day and with over 1 million members is Britain’s largest.


The Trust is pleased to have added the following to its archive and is particularly grateful to all donors

  • ‘So Far So Good’ a memoir by Christopher Haines, gift of the author.
  • ‘Bird Summons’ by Leila Aboulela, gift of the author
  • Akenfield’ a video, gift of Annie and Belinda Hasted
  • ‘Lion Hunting in Abyssinia’ 190

Family tree information from (in no particular order):

Elizabeth Seekings, David Jamieson, Sarah Houstoun, Leslie Rhodes, Nicky Hibbin, Catherine Armitage, Carolyn and Tim Cobbold, Emma Staughton, Virginia van der Lande, Caroline Smith, Rowell Bell, Mike Sparrow, Adele Mallen, Chris Dunham, Hugh Chevallier, Charlie Sharp, Gerry Lowth, Victoria Parker-Jervis, Martin and Caroline Surgey, Jane MacDonald-Styslinger, Lottie Haylor, Bill Norton, Lois Cordelia and Louise Fairs-Johnson.

Our thanks go to those who have made, and continue to make, financial donations to the Endowment Fund.  This is the fund which underwrites the future of the Trust.  Thank you.   


Perronelle Guild, [1902-2004 #709 on the web family tree] who has died aged 101, was the only woman cyder-maker in eight generations of the Chevallier family at Aspall Hall in Suffolk; a successful fruit-farmer before the Second World War, in 1946 she was a founder member of the Soil Association, as a result of which Aspall Cyder became an organic producer - a tradition it maintains to this day.

She was born Perronelle Mary Chevallier on July 31st 1902 at Aspall Hall, a moated, red-brick, largely Jacobean house in the Domesday village of Aspall in Suffolk.

Aspall Hall was bought in 1702 by Temple Chevallier of Jersey [1674-1722 #11811]; but when he died childless in 1722 the house was left to Perronelle's great-great-great grandfather, Clement Chevallier [1698-1762 #1330] of St. Helier.

Once installed at Aspall, Clement Chevallier tried to grow vines; but this venture proved unsuccessful, and he decided, in 1728, to make cider, importing apple trees from Jersey (a quarter of the island was devoted to apple orchards at the time) and a granite crushing-wheel and trough from the Ile de Chaussee in Normandy.  It proved a good investment and was in use until 1951.

Clement Chevallier's descendants were farmers, vicars and scholars.  They included the 

Rev Professor Temple Chevallier (1794-1873) [#2116], Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Durham University, who discovered a mountain on the moon; and the Rev. John "Barley" Chevallier (1774-1856) [#729],Perronelle's father, John Barrington Chevallier [1857-1940 #207 who married Isobel Amy Cobbold 1869-1931 #208], had a pedigree herd of prizewinning Red Poll cows and introduced the "y" in Aspall cyder to differentiate it from the west country variety.  He also sold Aspall apples and cyder by mail order, sending them as far north as Manchester via the local Mid Suffolk Light Railway, and exported cyder to India.

Perronelle's childhood was rural and old-fashioned; there was no electricity, mains water or bathrooms at the Hall until after the war.  The household was self-sufficient, boasting a dairy, laundry, carpenters' shop, fish ponds and bread oven.

Perronelle and her sisters were educated at home by a governess.  During the First World War, barely in her teens and with the men from the farm away fighting, she would drive herself 15 miles into Ipswich in a pony and trap for French lessons.  A keen rider, she also went hunting - even for otters, although they were never caught.

At the age of 16 Perronelle went up to Reading University to read Agriculture, but the following year she was obliged to leave when her father ran out of money; he had felt duty bound to keep on all his farmhands who had returned from the war.  The next few years were spent helping her father run Aspall, which then included arable farming as well as fruit.  She was a sharp businesswoman; the family said that the only time the farm made a profit was when her father was ill and she took charge.

In the mid-1920s she met Cyril Guild [1906-1978 #711] at a fruit-farming conference in Norfolk.  They married in 1929 and had three children.  Throughout the 1930s Cyril and Perronelle ran the fruit-farm at Aspall, growing plums, strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants which were transported round Britain.

In 1940 her father died, leaving Aspall to his eldest daughter, who decided to sell it.  Perronelle Guild offered to buy it, but even at a generous price it was difficult to raise the money; an exceptionally good fruit crop that year made all the difference, and when the war ended and the Army (which had troops billeted at the house) moved out, the Guilds took over the house and Cyder business.

In 1946, inspired by the example of their Suffolk neighbour, Lady Eve Balfour, they became founder members of the Soil Association, an organisation which now certifies all organic produce in Britain.  Since 1946, all the cyder produced at Aspall has been made from certified organic apples; and in 2002, at the age of 99, Perronelle Guild was a poster girl for Sainsbury's Organics, as one of the Soil Association's last surviving original members.

Until the 1970s, cyder production at Aspall was run by just one man, rising to two during the crushing season.  Harry Sparrow, who was in charge of the Cyder House from the 1920s to the 1960s, once produced 18,000 gallons in six weeks.  Cyder was sold to the public at the Cyder House (situated across the moat from the Hall), as it always had been.  Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears were regular customers, as was the Scottish playwright James Bridie, the Suffolk writer Adrian Bell, and the artists Margaret Mellis and Francis Davison.

The Guilds were dedicated to east Suffolk, particularly the coast, where Perronelle used to find cornelians on the beach and pick sea kale to go with her rook pie (cooked in late May, when the rooks were young and tender).  She kept chickens and ducks and, at one stage, guineafowl which, though splendid guards, always failed to recognise her in a hat on the way to church.  She controlled the moorhen population - who used to drown baby ducklings in the moat - by removing eggs from their nests with a spoon attached to a length of bamboo.

Her elder son John took over the cyder business in 1971 and enlarged and modernised it, introducing the commercial production of apple juice and cyder vinegar.  After Cyril Guild died in 1978, Perronelle began to travel extensively, and visited India, China, Russia, Egypt, Albania and Eastern Turkey in her eighties.  She continued to bake her own bread, make marmalade, garden, paint and entertain into her nineties.

She was a fund of folk lore, such as "always kill a pig during a rising moon".  Since 1993 Aspall Cyder has been run by her grandsons, Barry and Henry Chevallier Guild, who still blend the cyder from trees planted by their grandmother.  Perronelle Guild who died on February 15th, is survived by a son and a daughter.  Another son predeceased her.

Daily Telegraph obituary written by Perronelle's granddaughter Annabel Freyberg (1961-2013) #2398 Perronelle's great grandfather, who in the 1820s developed a high-yield strain of barley that, by the turn of the 20th century, was used for three-quarters of the world's barley crops.

ITFC and an Honorary DoctorateMarch 2019

Ipswich Town Football Club is having an unhappy time just now.  Perhaps we could lift our morale a little by remembering better times in the expectation that they will return before too long.  The Club’s longest serving and most dedicated employee, Pat Godbold, now the Archivist, was PA to Sir Bobby Robson for 36 years and worked for nine Ipswich managers including Scott Duncan, Sir Alf Ramsey and George Burley.  She received a medal for 50 years’ service to Football in 2004 from the FA.  Last October she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Suffolk.

Asked what was the best day of her life she replied without hesitation ‘Watching Town win the FA Cup final in 1978’.  Asked what do you want to talk about most she replied ‘I could talk for England – mostly about my 64-year fantastic career at Ipswich Town Football club’.

John Murray Cobbold (1897-1944) #448 on the web family tree, put up the money for ITFC to become professional in 1936.  The Chairmen’s Board shows that Pat worked with 4 other Cobbolds; Philip Wyndham (1875-1945) #324; Alistair Philip (1907-1971) #472; John Cavendish (1927-1983) #575 and Patrick Mark (1934-1994) #576.

As dedicated supporters of ITFC we celebrate Pat’s years of devoted service and congratulate her on her honorary doctorate in the certain knowledge that we would be joined in so doing by all former Chairmen.


The Trust is pleased to have added the following to its archive and is particularly grateful to all donors:

  • A Tolly Cobbold advertising clock
  • Miniature book of Common Prayer (A. Thursby-Pelham) from Kevin Stanley
  • 2 newspaper cuttings: Ivan Cobbold and Harriet Ann Cobbold
  • ‘The District Visitor’ (1935) by Helen M Cobbold
  • ‘House Hunt’ an article on Glemham Hall, Suffolk
  • War Diaries 1939-1945 by Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke
  • Gold Signet Ring (Jill Cobbold)
  • Adulation or Adulteration?  A paper by Dr Carolyn Cobbold
  • 11 photographic prints on related subjects
  • ‘Marlborough College and the Great War in 100 Stories’

Family tree information from (in no particular order):

Nigel Sawyer, Peter Head, Nicky Hibbin, Simon Toynbee, Emma Tristram, Susanna Graham-Jones, David Jamieson, Owen Chapman, Robin Doughty, Bev Bowry, Kevin Stanley, Simon Dickens, Peter Clarke, David Ryder Richardson, Charlotte Hayler, Sylvia Daintrey, Iain Sanders, Catherine Buchanan, Martin Riley, John Deen, Robin Minter-Kemp, Nicki Wilson, Jan Still, Bill Norton, Christine Haines, Meg Gilzean, Cor Roest, Anthony Talbot, Joe Gleeson, Anne Hasted, Chris Cobbold, Darren Martel, Barbara Lawrence, John Barr, Julie Hart, Karmagi Derek, Michael Cobbold (USA) and Vanessa Griffith.

The large number of people above, who have volunteered help and/or information in just the first 9 weeks of this year, indicates the substantial interest now being shown in the Trust’s on-line interactive family tree.  We thank them all, and any who we have accidentally omitted. 


‘Adulation or Adulteration? Representing Chemical Dyes in the Victorian Media’ is the latest paper written by Dr. Carolyn Cobbold #644 on the web family tree, who is a Research Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge.  Her research looks at the intersection of science and food production and consumption at the turn of the 19/20th centuries.

This essay describes how the Victorian media reported on the transformation of coal tar into a synthetic palette of colours in the form of aniline and azo dyes. These dyes were the first of many new chemical substances including drugs, perfumes, and flavourings, which chemists began to synthesise and produce on an industrial scale from a waste product of the coal gas industry. Although intended for use in the textile industry, the new dyes soon began to be added to food, becoming one of the first examples of laboratory–created, industrially manufactured chemicals to permeate our daily life in unexpected ways. The essay describes how the initial media portrayal of the dyes as wonders of science became more nuanced as the risks as well as the benefits of the new dyes being used in textiles, and then subsequently in food, became better understood. By examining the media representation of new chemical substances, from their creation in the laboratory to their widespread use in consumer products, sometimes in ways not intended by their creators, my research provides an intriguing case study to add to the growing historiography of how science is represented in the press.


Beaujolois Cavendish née Wodehouse born 7th February 1919 #11005 on the web family tree celebrated her 100th birthday this week. She volunteered as a Wren in the Women’s Royal Naval Service at the age of 23. She spent the war working deep beneath the ground in a huge network of tunnels at the centre of naval operations in Portsmouth.

In her memoirs published in 2012 she described the moment she found out she was to be put in charge of one of the plotting teams. “By the spring of 1944, I had been on the staff of Commander Tim Taylor for 18 months or more and he had seen a good deal of my work. I was thrilled to be trusted with the secret blueprint of the D-Day invasion plans”. “It was only after the war that I learnt that I was one of only nine people in the fort who knew these invasion plans”.

Mrs Cavendish’s family, including two children, six grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren gathered at her care home to hold a ‘low-key’ celebration to mark her milestone. Her daughter, Kate Tyrell said: “It is a remarkable achievement and definitely a cause for celebration. We are all very proud of her.”

The Cobbold Family History Trust agrees wholeheartedly and knowing that she is the last surviving D-Day plotter adds its congratulations and sends very best wishes. Our thanks to Peter Mead and to Metro Newspaper, 7th February 2019.


By common consent Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke is the greatest Chief of the Imperial General Staff in the history of the British army. As Winston Churchill’s principal military adviser (and, as is well known, Churchill was not easy to work for) he must share some of the glory for victory in 1945.

His diaries reveal his close friendship with John Murray (Ivan) Cobbold (1897-1944) #448 on the web family tree. Ivan (a nick-name coined by his nanny who declared him ‘terrible’) was injured in WWI and found himself at the War Office in WWII, a member of Bernard Montgomery’s team planning the D Day invasion of Europe with Dwight D Eisenhower’s staff.

Back in August 1941 they had much enjoyed 3 days together on Ivan’s shoot at Milden in Scotland and on several occasions over the next 3 years Alanbrooke’s name appears in the visitors’ book at Glemham. In April 1943 he was booked for a week’s fishing with Ivan on the River Dee but it was cancelled at the last minute. Not so, however, the following year when he wrote: On the 22nd of April I flew up to Dundee in the morning, early, taking Ronnie Weeks with me. We spent the day visiting the 52nd Division (mountain warfare) and finally finished up at Cairnton where I found Ivan Cobbold. I had a heavenly week there fishing all day, leaving the house at 9.30 in the morning and not returning till after 11pm except for about an hour at lunch and at dinner. I caught 12 salmon, but lost 9 and was fishing badly. I feel infinitely better.

On 30th he flew back from Dyce to Hendon and lunched with Ivan at White’s. Less than 2 months later Ivan was dead. He had gone to the Guards Chapel for Sunday morning service just 12 days after the Normandy landings; a doodle-bug had hit the chapel and 120 were killed. It was the chapel where Ivan had married Lady Blanche Cavendish (1898-1987) #449 some 25 years previously and where they had celebrated their Silver Wedding just a few days earlier.

Alanbrooke wrote: The death of Ivan Cobbold was a ghastly blow to me. I had grown to know him very well in those weeks alone with him at Cairnton, and I had grown very fond of him. Both he and Blanche had been kindness itself to me. The blow was, I think, made all the worse by the fact that when Brian Boyle was telling me of his death, I was actually picking up Ivan’s letter off my blotting pad. His invitation to lunch with him that week made a very large lump rise in my throat.


Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury, Suffolk merits top slot on every tourist’s bucket list and rightly so.  There was never a better time to visit than right now but you will have to be quick because their magnificent exhibition Early Gainsborough: From the obscurity of a Country Town closes on 17th February this year.  There remains much to see thereafter.

Gainsborough House has just been awarded £4.5m by the Heritage Lottery Fund which will see the Labour Exchange building next door demolished and replaced with a three-storey gallery to house a permanent collection of the world famous 18th century artist’s work and provide much needed space for temporary exhibitions.

The Cobbold Family History Trust is a ‘friend’ of Gainsborough House where hangs the painting of Mrs. Mary Cobbold with her daughter Anne in a Landscape with a Lamb and Ewe which used to be at Holywells and later Glemham Hall.  It was accepted by H M Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax in 1998.

The catalogue for the ‘Early Gainsborough’ exhibition yields another interesting connection with the family.  Mark Bills, the Director of Gainsborough’s House identifies A Sketch of the Life and Paintings of Thomas Gainsborough Esq by Philip Thicknesse (1719-1792), published in London in 1788, as one of the earliest biographies of Gainsborough.  Thicknesse, desirous of identifying himself with Gainsborough, claimed “I can with truth boast, that I was the first man who perceived; though through clouds of bad colouring, what an accurate eye he possessed”.

This is the same Philip Thickness who, despite his eccentric reputation, had become a Captain-Lieutenant in a Marine Regiment in 1740 and held the post of Lieutenant Governor of Landguard Fort in Suffolk from 1753 to 1766.  At that time his summer residence was Felixstow Cottage, later bought by the Cobbold family and much enlarged by 

John Chevallier Cobbold (1797-1882) (#114 on the web family tree) and Felix Thornley Cobbold (1841-1909) (#201) to become The Lodge, Felixstowe.  It stands on what is now known as Cobbold Point.

The Trust has long wondered why a little print of Felixstow Cottage by J Swaine published by J Nichols & Co in 1816 should be described as copied from one of the earliest Productions of GAINSBOROUGHNow we know


The Trust has been sent the following piece by Lucy London who runs the Inspirational Women of World War One Facebook and weblog, passed to us by David Douglas Cobbold #9809 on the web family tree who lives in Belstead.  Thank you David.

“I write to ask if it would be possible, please to say prayers for a lady who worked tirelessly during WWI and died on 2nd December 1918 – Stella Willoughby Savile Cameron Cobbold (1882-1918), (#348 on the web family tree – ED), who was buried in the Churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, Belstead?

Julia Barrett writes: Throughout Mabel Pretty’s work with the Red Cross and as the wife of the Commanding Officer of the 6th Battalion Suffolk Regiment, one of her closest friends and colleagues was Stella Cobbold.  Married to Barrister Clement John Fromanteel Cobbold (1882-1961) (#347 – ED), of the famous Ipswich brewing family.  Stella was also the great niece of Lord Gwydyr (1810-1909) (#10552 – ED) of Stoke Park, Belstead.  Her father was one of the doctors who pioneered blood transfusion during the war, as treatment for massive haemorrhage and Stella was involved with Red Cross from its inception.  Educated at Roedean, Stella was in the same year group as Mabel’s sister-in-law Mildred Pretty and Edith Dempster (later Mrs Edith Pretty of Sutton Hoo).  Mabel and Stella were founder members of the Suffolk Branch of the British Red Cross and their husbands were Commanding Officers of the 1/6th Battalion and 2/6th Battalion Suffolk Regiment respectively.

Mabel and Stella were at the head of the group of ladies who so successfully established the Hospital Supplies Depot and the country-wide network of depots which completely supplied all the Red Cross hospitals across the country, as well as sending supplies and medicines directly to the conflict fronts.  Both women experienced personal loss during WWI but they worked tirelessly for the entire duration of the conflict, with no let-up even when the Armistice came.  Moving their work into caring for those recovering from Injuries and the onslaught of the Spanish Flu, Stella herself, worn out by the war and personal loss, finally succumbed. The 2nd December 2018 marked 100 years since an incredible woman gave her life for her country. She was just 36.

A Day in the Trenches in WWIJanuary 2019

Although the centenary year of the ending of WWI has now closed the Trust is pleased to reproduce A Day in the Trenches recorded by Clement Theodore Chevallier (1893-1969) #5781 on the web family tree, kindly provided by his grandson Hugh Chevallier #9062.

C T Chevallier was a scholar at Worcester College, Oxford and as a Captain in the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry was mentioned in despatches, gazetted on 15th June 1916.  Inter alia, his piece illustrates the importance of a sense of humour to survival.



In attempting to describe a day’s life in the trenches it may be as well to begin the day with nature and not with the clock. There is no midnight in the trenches, because there is no night. There is only Day – and one portion of Day is by the accident of darkness and invisibility a peculiarly convenient season for work.

In the dog-days we are blessed with a comparatively short period of darkness (and therefore of high-pressure work) as about two o’clock dawn is ushered in not only by increasing light, but by continued salvoes of German rifles. At this period of the Day, our friends the enemy, wishing to convince themselves, if no one else, of their superiority in producing rifle ammunition in Germany and in firing it in Flanders, and also, it may be, instil courage into their simple hearts, and fear into ours, by the childlike device of noise, do give vent to a tremendous rattle. In neither object are they successful. The newborn courage wastes its sweetness on our parapets, and so far from being inspired with fear, we are heartened for another day’s watch by the knowledge that the enemy’s local supply of rifle ammunition has [2] been slightly diminished without any result.

Meanwhile, however, we have stood to arms, as is the custom for an hour after dawn in case the enemy should have taken advantage of the darkness to creep out and wait outside our lines with a view to attacking as soon as he could see what he was about. This relic of ancient warfare as we learnt it from Mr Oliver’s lips four years ago in Certificate A class still survives in our modern era. Devised when hostile forces bivouacked several miles apart, it is still a wise precaution for all the flashlights that illuminate the gulf fixed between us and them.

At three a.m., an end to ‘stand to’. It is now light, and men may therefore sleep – unless one is a sentry, the unlucky one in each section whose hour of duty has come round, or the doubly unlucky officer whose rest is postponed for two hours that he may walk to and fro the whole length of the company. Then may be heard strange noises issuing from dug-outs, as of men snoring (as indeed they are).

Meanwhile, the artillery play a little, not on each other’s [3] firing lines, but on each other’s batteries; not very seriously, but very zealously, each side wishing to show his enemy that he is a particularly early riser and very shrewd in observing even before it is fully light. After this demonstration, the artillery retires, not to sleep, for gunners it is (falsely) rumoured sleep between sheets every night, but to breakfast; a German breakfast lasts three hours, apparently, and we have caught the habit.

Now it is the turn of the aircraft. The best time for observing is undoubtedly six p.m. in the summer when the enemy is in the east in the late afternoon as the sun lights up the country opposite the sunset without blaring the aviators’ eyes. Conversely, the German lines being east of ours, the early morning is the best time from the Germans’ point of view. Also, our own aircraft having taken advantage of the darkness to journey in, and the very early dawn to bombard, it may be, the railway station at Ghent, the munitions’ depot at Bruges, or his Highness of Bavaria’s headquarters near Lille, are returning about the same time. In either case, the heavens abound in aircraft between four and six, each one surrounded by the little white puffs of the [4] exploding shrapnel that the anti-aircraft guns send up with a noise of a chronic cough. It is very seldom that a direct hit is recorded; sometimes, though rarely, an airman has to turn his course, or even go back home, but as a rule he continues on his way, rejoicing in spite of the little puffs of smoke and (if he is English) the thud thud thud of the German machine guns. To the credit of these last rests, it is said, the bringing down of a French aeroplane early in the war, an achievement which was surely a blessing to us in disguise for after this freak of fortune the German machine guns have never ceased to waste a prodigious number of cartridges in this fruitless task. While talking of machine guns described from the Dardanelles by Sir Ian Hamilton (with small compliment to that gallant knight Sir Hiram Maxim) as the invention of the devil, it is comforting to realise that the English machine gun says ratatatat while the German only answers thud thud thud. It may be that possibly this slower rate of fire makes the German copy quicker to manufacture. Otherwise one is led to suppose that it is only in present numbers that the enemy have the advantage over us in machine guns – a fact which bodes well for the future.

But to return to our trench. At five o’clock, the officer on watch, having spent two hours walking up and down cursing the luck that made his tour of duty begin immediately after ‘stand to’ instead of including it, retires to his rest. At this season all is quiet, [5] and men go by devious routes, flitting through communication trenches in quest of victuals and water from mysterious hidden stores. In errant bands they go about, full of oaths to boot at their lost slumbers. But our officer recks not of these things: they are for Company-Quartermaster Sergeants all-watchful among men. At these times too rise officers’ servants, who alone sleep at night. The particular officer who has just come off watch is provided by his particular henchman with strength of twenty stout oxen, extracted and condensed into essence under the name of ?Bovremcoxois? in the wilds of Patagonia or Chicago; and to assimilate this and to sleep he retires to his lordly dugout.

Meanwhile the men either through obstinacy or by reason of the rays of the sun unable to sleep during the time set apart for that purpose are already beginning to ?drum? up, which being interpreted (though why I know not) means to kindle fire and fry bacon or brew tea thereon. Hapless the man who in a trench too near the enemy allows the column of his smoke to ascend too high! For he is assailed with a rifle grenade, directed at his smoke. This apart, he has a very pleasant breakfast, bacon, bread and butter, jam.

As for our officer, he breaks his fast at nine o’clock or later in proportion as each one’s more or less exalted social position has accustomed him to have it more or less late at home. The morning or what is left of it is to be spent according to the amount of work done and of consequent fatigue incurred the evening before.

[6] It may be that men have only to clean their rifles: it may be they have to build a new footrest for their firing points, lay the foundation of a new traverse, begin to fill up part of the parados that a trench mortar blew away while all but the sentries slept, or any other such lowdown work as is invisible to the enemy. Such tasks are set in the morning and it rests with the NCOs and men to complete it before it is dark.

About ten o’clock in the morning Cannonade arrives. No, this is not a newspaper. Today’s paper will not come until tomorrow evening. Usually the guns begin by playing on the trenches until the attentions of the enemy become so insistent that they must be checked when the struggle degenerates into an artillery duel. Watching, eating, sleeping, digging – so the day goes on. The sentries keep watch through a periscope for an hour at a time, officers on duty in the company, NCO in the platoon walks up, his beak sees that this dug out is being properly dug, that the footrest is not being built too high, that the sentry is keeping a keen watch and that the figure appearing occasionally above the German parapet is only a dummy, noting the whistle of a distant train beyond La Bassée or the appearance of a heap of earth that may be either a sap head or a mole heap, and with a view to a nocturnal visit counting the number of trees it is along the road so carefully and regularly provided with trees by the third Napoleon. These little tasks fill up the day.

[7] Not that the officer on watch, the NCO on duty or the sentry at his post are the only people at work. When they come off these tasks that go by roster, they help in the general digging. From platoon to platoon the captain goes suggesting improvements and adaptations to make the trench more serviceable; or he sits in his office and receives instructions from the battalion headquarters as to the work of the next night. Or he accompanies the colonel or brigadier round his daily inspection pointing out the need of a machine gun here or a trench mortar there. Meanwhile the sergeant major is his right-hand man, issuing sandbags, storing boxes of spare ammunition, superintending the signallers and doing a thousand and one odd jobs. With him too is the quartermaster sergeant, controlling the domestic economy of the place, the water party, the ration fatigue, the issue of the very latest type of respirator which is always said to be as useful as the one before it was useless. The dividing line between his duties and those of the sergeant major is clear. The quartermaster is a domestic economist, the sergeant major a tactician. Thus the sergeant major before an action superintends the steeping of respirators in a certain fluid: both the respirators and the fluid have been secured by the quartermaster.

The functions of both these specialists are combined in a lesser degree by the sergeant as far as his own platoon is concerned. He is the right-hand man of the platoon commander, and at times it must be confessed makes that officer appear superfluous. [8] As a rule, however, the platoon sergeant is an interpreter who translates into military language and puts into practical effect the grandiose schemes of the subaltern who from his upbringing is a thinker and a theorist and can only learn the practice from seeing the thing done. It is when there is no subaltern and the sergeant has to do the thinking that the advantage of a subaltern is realised.

So each one carries on his allotted task – sleep has no place in the timetable except in the early morning: it is assumed that everyone who is not watching is working unless he be cooking or feeding.

Three o’clock in the afternoon brings the War Special. Once more not a newspaper (after your previous mistake) and you suppose not a train. You are wrong, this time. It is a train, or at least so the rumour of the ages has it. Quite like a continental special, it runs not every day, but every other, or thereabouts. At any rate it comes somewhere up the line, to a different spot presumably every time, for our gunners never hit it, and shells you from a distance. There are those called Jack Johnsons, though the more erudite authorities differentiate between Johnsons proper, Black Marias and coalboxes. After a score of shells have blown in a dugout and wounded two men, the armoured train retires, and two thousand pounds have been spent.

On other days, when the train is not in evidence, the field guns shell more heavily of an afternoon. Their bag if they are active may be a man killed and four wounded – never more. For one thing the trajectory is so low that unless the shells are pitched exactly, they go right over – often they bury themselves without exploding, and when they do explode and do damage, the bite is far less than the [9] bark. For instance one of these shells destroyed a dugout in the doorway of which a man sat smoking. His pipe was broken into nineteen pieces, but he was not hurt.

After tea the aircraft come out again, this being the English airman’s hour of daily reconnaissance. The night’s work is drawn up, barbed wire stakes and tools fetched up. The sentries, one in nine by day, are tripled in the evening. When it is dark, the regular work of the day begins. Diggers can throw up earth from the bottom of the trench without drawing a shower of rifle grenades and trench mortars, whose deliberate though erratic course traced in light in the darkness makes them fairly easy to avoid if the sentry is alert. Has the regiment that day come into the trenches in relief of a notoriously untidy battalion? Now is the time to walk along the back of the parapets and pick up his refuse of fly-breeding jam pots and meat tins, for flies are prolific of disease as well as baneful pests in themselves. Has the enemy begun a fresh sap (at spot A x f 3 II b.45) on the map as the artillery observer thought? Now is the time for the scouts to find out. Is there reason to believe that the third willow from the left of the roofless barn holds the sniper that shot Private Hobbs at dusk? Now is the time to send out a patrol and round him up. Does the brigadier consider the front between Cannon Street and Queen Victoria Street (two of our saps) particularly liable to attack? Now is the time to increase the wire entanglements. Is a new sap to be dug by Number Two platoon? Now is the time.

All these works go on together. In theory, men get an hour’s sleep in three; in practice they are lucky [10] if they get any rest by night at all. No matches, no cigarette lights are allowed to give away the secret that men are at work. But there is no delay caused by not being able to see one’s work. There is not a minute but when the Germans kindly provide the necessary light. Indeed their flares are very useful, and would do credit to any maker of fireworks, and one has plenty of time to lie down before they increase their brilliance. The Kaiser also kindly provides searchlights, and one is forcibly reminded of the Crystal Palace en fête. Sometimes he shows us a target, a working party of Germans putting up a fence themselves; or he catches us: in either case the work is carried on until a burst of shells a few minutes later compels the party to fall back to its own trench in haste.

So the night goes on until dawn and the prospect of a rest; and at last each man falls asleep with the knowledge that Lloyd George has had another twenty-four hours in which to produce shells.


CHRISTMAS 2018December 2018

December gives the Trust an opportunity to wish family, friends and all visitors to our site a peaceful, restful and joyous Christmas and a safe and success- filled New Year.

It also provides a chance to thank, most sincerely, all our donors, supporters and helpers without whom the Trust simply would not survive.

Our photograph by Professor Sir Alan Fersht is of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, founded 1348, and much favoured by family members.  The college has three iconic gates through which undergraduates pass.  First is the Gate of Humility by which they enter the college, the second, at the centre of the college, is the Gate of Virtue through which they pass daily and the third is the Gate of Honour through which they file only once to reach the Senate House to receive their degrees.

Our picture is the Gate of Honour (c.1557) from Caius Court with the Senate House beyond.



Sir Roger Gibbs, #7647 on the family tree, was the scion of a City dynasty who transformed the fortunes of the Wellcome Trust, the UK's biggest medical research charity. Roger Gibbs made his name in the Square Mile as a popular, astute and forward-looking chairman of the Lombard Street discount house Gerrard & National. After an encounter with cancer in 1974, he devoted a significant portion of his energies to medical charities in gratitude for his survival, and was appointed a governor (trustee) of Wellcome in 1983. He and Sir David Steel were the only trustees from the business world - the board otherwise was comprised of scientists - and they oversaw the flotation of the Wellcome Foundation in 1986. A second sale of shares went ahead in July 1992.

The end result of Gibbs's strategy was that the Wellcome Trust became for a time (until the advent of the Gates Foundation in the US) the richest charity in the world; it was able to increase its annual funding for medical research such as the human genome project from £50 million in 1989 to £400 million by the time he stood down in 1999. At his retirement his deputy chairman addressed him as "The Wizard of Wellcome"

He was born into a family whose business was merchant bank Antony Gibbs & Co, founded in 1808 and originally concerned with selling English cloth to Spain and importing guano from Latin America; the founder's son Hucks Gibbs, 1st Lord Aldenham, #7511 was a friend of Brunel who helped finance the Great Western Railway. Roger's father Sir Geoffrey Gibbs #7634 was chairman of Antony Gibbs (now part of HSBC) and of the Australia & New Zealand Bank. His uncle Walter, 4th Lord Aldenham, #7632 was chairman of the Westminster Bank. Another uncle Sir Humphrey Gibbs #7636 was governor of Southern Rhodesia at the time of UDI; and his mother Helen #7635 was the daughter of the cricketer CFH Leslie, who played in the English team that regained the Ashes in Australia in 1883. Among Roger's five siblings was Christopher Gibbs, #7648 the antiques dealer and style guru of the "Chelsea Set".

At 17 he was moved from Eton to Millfield on what he called "a free transfer" in the hope he might flourish under a different teaching Regime; a gangly youth he was ruled out for National Service by a weak knee. In 1954 his father fixed him a job in the City discount house of Jessel Toynbee, where for six months he was a messenger before beginning to make his mark - not least for a facility in mental arithmetic fuelled by familiarity with betting odds. He became a director of Jessel Toynbee in his mid-twenties and moved to stockbrokers de Zoete & Gorton (later de Zoete & Bevan) in 1964 and again to Gerrard & National in 1971, later becoming chairman.

He was knighted in 1994 and the headquarters of the Wellcome Trust was later named the Gibbs building in tribute to him. Sport was another important aspect of Gibbs's life. For more than 25 years he was a director of Arsenal football club at the invitation of his sometime flatmate Peter Hill-Wood #6725 whose family were major shareholders there. His introduction to the high-speed toboggan track came through his Eton friend John Bingham, later Lord Lucan - with whom he shared a youthful enthusiasm for greyhound racing. In 1959, Lucan told Gibbs "We're going out to St Moritz to ride the Cresta. Why don't you come?" Despite a bad crash in 1965 Gibbs was a regular Cresta runner for many years and a celebrated president of its parent, the St. Moritz Toboganning Club, whose finances he also rebuilt.

In 2005 at the age of 70 he married his long-time companion Jane Harris.


The trust is pleased to have added the following to its archive and is particularly grateful for those items that have been donated.

  • Rev. John Patteson’s Silver Chest c. 1870 and genealogical information
  • Two A4 size colour prints of F T and J P Cobbold
  • A description of Botany bay dated 1819
  • My Village Stonham Aspal, parts 1 & 2, by G D Spall, 1988
  • Papers and information on the brewery donated by Peter Kent
  • Papers and history of the Bath Road Boys Club, Felixstowe donated by Michael Thomas
  • Papers and information on the brewery donated by John Moorby
  • A signed copy of Christchurch Park & Ipswich Arboretum donated by David Miller (Author)
  • A Cobbold’s pub ashtray donated by Delia Golding

Financial donations from Shirley Fowley, partly in memory of her mother, Peg Keeler

  • Marjorie Roberts,
  • Bill Humphreys
  • Rowell Bell

All very much appreciated.

The Trust made its usual annual donation to the Royal British legion for a cross in the Garden of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey. 

REMEMBRANCE DAY 2018November 2018

On Sunday 11th November, exactly 100 years since the Armistice, we gratefully remember the 37 Cobbolds and their kinsmen who died in World War 1. It is entirely appropriate that we also remember the 11 Cobbolds and their kinsmen who gave their lives in World War 2

The Trust has a commemorative announcement in both the Daily and the Sunday Telegraph which can be seen (from Monday 12th), along with the Role of Honour at King & Country.

We have also made our customary donation to the Royal British Legion who place our dedicated cross in the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey

I’d like to tell you the story of one of our family members, Sgt. Sydney George Cobbold #9999 on the family tree. He was born in the little Suffolk village of Woolpit, with which the Cobbold family had a long clerical connection many years previously, on 12th September 1887. He was the 7th child and 2nd son of Maurice and Anna Cobbold. From early days he showed an interest in gardening and was employed by the local GP from the age of just 13 before going on to work at Sudbrooke Holme in Lincolnshire in 1805. Three years later he secured a job at Kew on the strength of glowing references from his previous employers who described him as ‘a most respectable young man’. From here, having passed all his exams at the leading botanical institution in the country he went on to Worsley Hall Gardens, Moorfield and finally Capesthorne Hall in Cheshire.

Moved by his highly developed sense of duty Sydney enlisted in June 1915, was in France by December and had been promoted Acting Sergeant by August the following year. How he survived September with the 8th Rifle Brigade, through hails of bullets, ‘friendly’ gas and horrendous casualties all around him, is a mystery. His luck did not hold. The dreaded letter from his CO claimed him as one of his very best soldiers who knew no fear and was liked by all. His death had been instantaneous and he had no pain. He and fellow riflemen Farr, Kittle and Gordon died together with Sgt. Aspden MM on 3rd October 1916. Sydney lies among comrades at Le Fermont Cemetery beneath a headstone engraved at his father’s request ‘His Country called – He Answered’.

CANON JOHN PATTESON of NorwichOctober 2018

The Reverend John Patteson #5736 on the family tree, Canon of Norwich Cathedral died suddenly on September 6th 1902 whilst addressing his guests at a garden party.

He was a Mawson Scholar of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, taking his degree in Mathematics in 1836 as twenty-fifth Wrangler. The following year he was ordained deacon and two years later priest. He was curate of Stalbridge, Dorset from 1837 to 1844 before being appointed to St. Jude’s Chelsea as perpetual curate. He married Elizabeth daughter of Sir Samuel Hoare in Edmonton on 23rd June 1846 and over the next 13 years they were to have 2 boys, James Carlos and Frank Eugene, and 3 girls, AliceCaroline and Catherine. In 1855 he was presented with the rectory of Christ Church, Spitalfields where he stayed for some 12 years. His longest incumbency was next as rector of Thorpe, Norfolk from 1867 to 1896; whilst there he became Rural Dean of Blofield in 1870 and honorary canon of Norwich in 1882

In the course of his 22 years in London he had to work through 3 outbreaks of Cholera in 1848, 1849 and 1856. He was publicly thanked for his self-denying sacrifices on behalf of the sufferers by the Lord Mayor. On leaving Spitalfields he was presented with a silver salver inscribed “Presented to the Rev. John Patteson, MA., by persons of all shades of opinion upon his resigning the rectorship of the parish, as a token of the great respect felt towards him personally, as well as an expression of the high sense they entertain of the indefatigable exertions he has made, and the valuable services he has rendered to the inhabitants generally and especially to poor children in the district during the eleven years he filled the office of rector of the parish.”

At some stage in his life, possibly upon marriage, he acquired a comprehensive and fully fitted silver chest. Though the silver is long since gone the Trust recently obtained the chest which is here illustrated. It makes a very handsome addition to our archive and helps to represent the many instances where the Suffolk Cobbolds have lived and worked alongside the revered and historic family of Patteson of Norfolk.

KEVIN BEATTIE (1953-2018)October 2018

Kevin Beattie, the former Ipswich Town and England footballer who has died aged 64, was described by his manager Bobby Robson as being, with the exception of George Best, the finest British player he had seen. He was seemingly destined for greatness, but his career was ravaged and then abruptly ended by injury, plunging him into personal crisis – which he ultimately surmounted with the same strength he had shown on the pitch. Beattie joined Ipswich at 18, having come down from his native Cumbria by train with no idea where East Anglia was and carrying just his boots in a brown parcel. The Portman Road faithful rapidly took him to their hearts after he made his debut at centre-half in a victory over Manchester United in 1972.

Remarkably quick over 10 yards, he could out-leap most strikers (despite standing less than 6ft) and was blessed with both an eye for raking passes and a ferocious shot in his left foot. Openly discussed as the heir to Bobby Moore, even Duncan Edwards, he was called up at 18 by Alf Ramsey to train with the England squad. In 1974 he was voted the first PFA Young Player of the Year.

A certain amount of glory with unheralded Ipswich duly followed. Playing with the likes of Mick Mills, Paul Mariner, John Wark and Frans Thijssen, he forged a notably potent partnership in central defence with Allan Hunter. The team challenged for the league title on several occasions, and Robson believed they only lost it in 1977 when Beattie missed their final six games after setting fire to himself while burning leaves in his garden. The next year, as underdogs, the team won the FA Cup by defeating Arsenal – Beattie admitted he spent the match desperate for a smoke – but by then his right knee was already failing. Five operations in four years followed, and as many as three cortisone injections during every match. Beattie was forced to withdraw numerous times from England squads and, having made his international debut in 1975, won only 9 caps.

In 1981 he broke his arm in the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City. He accordingly missed the team’s Uefa Cup final triumph against AZ Alkmaar, watching both legs from the stands, and having made 296 appearances never played for Ipswich again. At 27, his career was effectively over, but his struggles just beginning.

Thomas Kevin Beattie was born in Carlisle on December 18th 1953. One of nine children, he grew up in difficult circumstances, and later recalled times when there was no food on the table for two or three days unless his father, who drank too much, had won at dominoes.

Although notionally enrolled at St. Cuthbert’s High School, Carlisle, there were occasions when Kevin failed to go to school as he had no shoes. A teacher bought him his first pair of football boots. At 15 he was invited for a trial by Liverpool, but no one met him at Lime Street Station so he took the next train home. Years later, Bill Shankly admitted at his benefit match, in which Beattie played, that not signing him had been one of his greatest mistakes.

Beattie subsequently became a publican, but began to drink too many of his wares and had to be given the last rights after collapsing with pancreatitis. Unable to walk more than half a mile, drawing benefits and latterly caring for his wife Maggie, who has multiple sclerosis, he also attempted suicide.

In recent years, though convicted of benefit fraud in 2012 after not declaring his radio commentary work, Beattie was proud of having faced up to his demons and was open about his problems in the biography he collaborated on, The Greatest Footballer England Never Had: The Kevin Beattie Story. Its ghostwriter, Rob Finch, successfully petitioned Michel Platini – who had been in the St. Etienne team beaten by Ipswich in the 1981 Uefa Cup quarter-final – belatedly to award Beattie a winner’s medal. He was also regularly voted by fans as Ipswich’s greatest player and had long planned to have his ashes scattered at Portman Road. He is survived by his wife, whom he married in 1974, and three daughters.

Abridged from the Daily Telegraph, 18th September 2018

Picture courtesy Colorsport/Rex/Shutterstock


Very few people have any idea of the quite extraordinary contribution to medical science made by T Spencer Cobbold (1828-1886) #174 on the family tree. To rectify this in some small way I make no apology for quoting his obituary from The British Medical Journal of march 27th 1886.

Dr. Spencer Cobbold had so thoroughly established his reputation both as an observer and as a writer on Helminthology, that his death will be felt as a distinct loss to English science. The special department in which he worked is one which touches on the general field of biology; and it was doubtless for this reason that it had so great an attraction to Dr. Cobbold, who belonged to the old school of naturalists, though his mind was open to the wider philosophic views which find favour with modern biologists.

Dr. Cobbold gave early signs, not only of general ability, as evidenced by the high academical honours he obtained at the conclusion of his curriculum in the University of Edinburgh, but of a special bent towards the study of natural History. He was appointed Curator of the Anatomical Museum of the University of Edinburgh, a post which he held until 1856, when he established himself in London. He quickly became known as a student of the habits and nature of parasitic beings, and his reputation was consolidated by the publication of his well-known work on Entozoa in 1864. In the same year, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society, and he received from other sources numerous other gratifying recognitions of the position he had achieved.

He became Vice-President of the Edinburgh University Club, honorary Vice-President of the Birmingham natural History and Microscopical Society, honorary corresponding member of the Academy of Science at Philadelphia, a foreign corresponding member of the Royal Agricultural Academy at Turin, an Emeritus Swiney Professor of Geology in connection with the British Museum. Dr. Cobbold was also for some time Examiner in Comparative Anatomy, Zoology, and Botany for the Natural Science Scholarship in St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School, Lecturer on Parasitic Disease, Botany, Zoology, and Comparative Anatomy to the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, Senior President of the Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh, Vice-President of the Physiological Society of Edinburgh, and President of the Quekett Microscopical Club.

He was elected Professor of Botany and Helminthology at the Royal Veterinary College in 1872, and discharged the duties of the latter chair until last session. Of the success of his teaching in this capacity it is not for us to speak; and we are glad to be able to quote the words of Professor Robertson, the Principal of the Royal Veterinary College, who says, “To him belongs the credit of having introduced the study of helminthology into the curriculum of the college. To his teaching in this department of science the veterinary profession, both in this country and throughout our colonies, is largely indebted.”

Dr. Cobbold retired from active practice of his profession in 1877, but he did not cease to work diligently at his favourite subject. In 1879, he published a shorter work on Parasites; and very shortly before his death he was engaged on a paper on two species of “Strongylus”, which was read at the meeting of the Linnean Society on 4th March. His health had, however, been rapidly failing during the past eighteen months, and he had recently suffered from frequent attacks of angina. In one of these he passed away, after a few hours’ illness, on March 20th, in his 57th year of his age.


The Trust is pleased to have acquired the following items to add to the archive and our thanks and appreciation is extended to all donors:


  • Information and pictures from Bill Norton
  • Information and pictures from Tracey Anne Reid (Australia)
  • Information and pictures from Shirley Fowley (Canada)
  • Information and pictures from Derek Karmagi (Uganda)
  • Information from Ann Andersen (Canada)
  • Information and pictures from Andrew Larpent OBE
  • Information and pictures from David Talbot
  • Information and pictures from Rob Henley
  • Information from Nigel Baughan (South Africa)
  • Information and pictures from Robin Atter
  • Dad’s MP4 from Anne & Belinda Hasted
  • Information from Emma Tristram
  • Books – ‘Rogue Male’ and ‘Parker Pasha’


  • Books – ‘Gallipoli’ and ‘Kitchener’s New Army’
  • 2 photographs – Lowe, Son & Cobbold and 1 of The Ferry Boat Inn, Felixstowe

The trust donated £11 to the Wikimedia Foundation.  The Trust makes a small donation every year.


The Trust is pleased to have acquired the following items to add to the archive.


A scrapbook album covering the period 1928 to 1986 kept by Joyce Hughes-Hallett née Cobbold (#414 on the family tree) and copies of ‘Five Homes during Half a Century’ compiled by Rev. Rowland F. Cobbold (#258) and of ‘Higher Water – The Song of a Barge Picnic’ by the same author were given to the Trust by Joyce’s son Professor Andrew Hughes-Hallett.  The scrapbook is particularly helpful with dates and locations of events and the Trust is enthusiastically grateful to Andrew (and his mother for compiling it in the first place).

The new Guide to the Church of St Clement (not infrequently referred to as ‘the Cobbold Church’) prepared, with a little help from the Trust, by the Ipswich Society and donated by the Society.

A photograph of a stained-glass window depicting ‘Cobbold’s Fine Ales’ taken from ‘The Mitre’ at the junction of St. Helen’s Street and Waterworks Street kindly donated by Ken Wilson for which the Trust is most grateful.


THE BOTTLE; or CRUIKSHANK ILLUSTRATED by the Rev. Richard Cobbold AM RD, Rector of Wortham.  This is a rare and unusual item and will be the subject of a Cobbweb as soon as time permits.

Page 5 of 18

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