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 17


The first unusual things about St. Bart’s (as it is affectionately known) is its size and its setting.  A substantial red brick building, it stands dominant in the midst of Victorian terraced housing, just 100 metres from Derby Road railway station, on Newton Road, in a district known as Rose Hill.  This name is a corruption of Roe’s Hill; Mr Owen Roe (1770-1825) (#2878 on the web family tree) being a wealthy land owner whose daughter Ann (1795-1851) (#103) married Charles Cobbold (1793-1859) (#102) at St. Clement’s in 1815.  Prior to that, legend has it, Ann danced four times with the Prince Regent during a Ball held at Prigg’s Assembly Rooms in Ipswich; the Prince rating his 17-year old partner ‘a very good dancer’.  Owen Roe disliked his son-in-law and tried, unsuccessfully, to prevent Charles from inheriting.  The estate (still some 238 acres in 1864) finally passed to Charles’ son Alan Brooksby Cobbold (1830-1901) (#166) whose 3 older siblings all died, rather extraordinarily, in 1837.  But, I have digressed, sorry!

The second unusual thing is the huge light internal space.  It seems almost too large for the area it serves.  St. Bart’s was built with funds provided by Mrs. Spooner nèe Ann (Anna) Frances Cobbold (1830-1906) (#184) as a memorial to her father, John Chevallier Cobbold (1797-1882) (#114), his wife and their five sons.  The foundation stone of this thorough-going Anglo-Catholic church was laid on 25th April 1895 by Lord Henniker with full Masonic rights and the church was consecrated the following year by the Bishop of Norwich, though it was not completed until 1907.The first incumbent was Anna’s cousin,Rev. George Augustus Cobbold (1857-1915) (#2867) and the architect was Mr. Charles Spooner, a nephew of Anna’s husband, The Very Reverend Dean Edward Spooner (1821-1899) (#185) who was Rector of Hadleigh and Co-Dean of Bocking.  It all sounds a bit nepotistic but I suppose the old adage applies: ‘he (or in this case, she) who pays the piper….’

Our illustrations show (1) the exterior, (2) the interior looking east, (3) plaque to Anna Frances, (4) plaque to Edward Spooner, (5) the vicars and (6) plaque to Rev George Augustus.  The inscription around the base of the font explains that it was given to the Glory of God and in memory of parents and husband by Constance Green nèe Cobbold (1845-1932) (#203) and Caroline Alice Cobbold (1850-1922) (#198).  Constance was Anna’s sister and Alice her sister-in-law.

 Alice’s maiden name was Kinder and she was the daughter of Thomas Kinder (1813-1881) (#1732), Mayor of St. Albans, and Frances Caroline Chevallier (1814-1882) (#2022), and she married Nathanael Fromanteel Cobbold (1839-1886) (#195) so she represents the coming together of the three great families of Kinder, Chevallier and Cobbold.

BIG FISHApril 2018

We always knew that Alfred Townshend Cobbold (1852-1934) (#253 on the web family tree) was a keen fisherman and we knew that he passed on his skills to his godson Rowland Hope Cobbold (1905-1986) (#407) whose fly rod sold for an astonishing £1200 a few years back.

We didn’t know that he had been President of the Gipping Angling Preservation Society or that he had caught an unusually handsome trout which was stuffed and presented to the Society.  Recently the Trust was able to buy this fish cased by J Cooper and Sons in London and it now forms part of our archive.  The caption reads:

Presented to the G.A.P.S. by the president of the Society A. Townshend Cobbold Esq. O.B.E. Trout weight 12 Lbs length 2’ 7” caught by A. Townshend Cobbold Esq 7th June 1909 in Loch Corrib.

The fish in question is an Irish Trout.  It appears somewhat less than 2’ 7”now but fishermen are well known for their generous measurements!  Renowned world-wide, Loch Corrib is the jewel in the crown of Irish trout angling.

Alfred who was educated at Felsted, and who became a lawyer with numerous civic responsibilities, had a twin brother Arthur Westhorp Cobbold AMIMechE (1852-1929) (#252), also educated at Felsted, who worked at the Royal Mint from 1880 until 1900.  Arthur was recalled as a large cuddly teddy bear of a man dedicated to his pipe and known to his nephews and nieces as ‘Uncle Baccy’.

Silken StrandsApril 2018

The Trust is pleased to have acquired the following items:

Papers presented by Dr T. Spencer Cobbold MD FRS FLS (1828-1886) (#174)


  • Inaugural Address of the President to the Quekett Microscopial Club.  26/9/1879
  • Is the Giraffe Provided with more than Two Horns?
  • Notes on the Embryology of Achimenes Picta 28/11/1879
  • The Sunfish as a Host
  • Parasite Larvæ
  • On Flukes
  • The Common Liver Entozoon of Cattle
  • The Eye of the Cod-Fish



Harwich from the Sea – gift of Peter Kent


Kieron Dyer – My Story.

“HARWICH from the SEA"March 2018

Harwich was an important place to the early Cobbolds.  Thomas Cobbold (1708-1767) (#44 on the web family tree) brewed there and his sons, Rev.Thomas (1742-1831) (#51) and ‘Big’ John (1746-1835) (#56) were born there.  Harwich is in Essex and lies on the south side of the estuary formed by the confluence of the Stour and the Orwell.  It is the only safe natural harbour between the Thames and the Humber.  It is also where the Cobbolds first went into banking in partnership with Anthony Cox to form Cox Cobbold & Company trading as Harwich Bank.  From 1857 to 1880 Col. Henry Jervis-White-Jervis RA (1825-1881) (#183) was their MP.

The Trust is very grateful to Peter Kent for the recent gift of a print titled Harwich from the Sea.  This is important because the picture shows, to the right of the church, the Cobbold brewery.  This illustration appears in the Souvenir of the Bi-centenary of the Cliff Brewery in Ipswich, 1723-1923 and also on page 114 of ‘Lewis Agassiz of Stour Lodge’ published by John Barker in 2013.  John attributes the drawing to W Bartlett and the engraving to J Rogers and dates it 1831.

100 YEARS AGO…..March 2018

A hundred years ago last month, after a bitter struggle the ‘Representation of the People Act’ gave some British women the vote for the first time.  Ten years later all women got it.

Lady Constance Lytton (1869-1923) (#3712 on the web family tree) was the most unlikely of suffragettes.  One of the elite, she was the daughter of a Viceroy of India and a lady in waiting to the Queen.  She grew up in the family home of Knebworth and in embassies around the world.  For forty years, she did nothing but devote herself to her family, denying herself the love of her life and possible careers as a musician or a reviewer.  Then came a chance encounter with a suffragette.  Constance was intrigued; witnessing Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst on trial convinced her of the urgent necessity of votes for women and she went to prison for the cause as gleefully as any child going on a school trip.

But once jailed, Constance soon found that her name and her connections singled her out for unwelcome special treatment.  By now, 1909, the suffragettes were hunger striking and the government had retaliated with force-feeding.  The stories that began to leak out – of bungled operations, of dirty tubes, of screams half-heard through brick walls, of straightjackets and handcuffs – outraged the suffragettes.

Constance decided on her most radical step yet: to go to prison in disguise.  Taking the name Jane Warton, she cut her hair, put on glasses and ugly clothes and got herself arrested in Liverpool.  Once in prison, she was force-fed eight times before her identity was discovered and she was released.  Her case became a cause célèbre, with debate raging in The Times and questions being asked in the House of Commons.  Lady Constance Lytton became an inspiration and, in the end, a martyr.  In this extraordinary new biography, Lyndsey Jenkins reveals for the first time the fascinating story of the woman who abandoned a life of privilege to fight for women’s rights.

Lady Constance Lytton by Lyndsey Jenkins, with a foreword by Helen Pankhurst, published by Biteback Publishing of London SE1 7SP.  First published 2015.


Professor Stephen Hawking, world renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist died in Cambridge on March 14th.  Born on 8th January 1942 he had been a fellow of Gonville and Caius College for 52 years.  His funeral will take place at the University Church of Great St. Mary on 31st March, and his ashes will be interred near those of Sir Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey at a thanksgiving service later this year.

Regular visitors to this site will know of the Cobbold family’s long association with Caius being alma mater to some 22 family members.  Humphrey (#645 on the web tree) and Nicola (#910) Cobbold who are both members of the Stephen Hawking circle posted this picture together with their valedictory message:

Farewell to an extraordinary human being – an inspiration in pretty much every way one can imagine.

Rest in peace


Through a generous donation from Australian residents, Charles and Kate Cobbold (#640/1 on the web family tree), the Trust has acquired and restored these excellent images.  The watercolours were badly damaged by silverfish and both silhouettes were broken.  Restoration was skilfully carried out by Amanda Yale who has worked for the Trust many times previously.

The silhouettes are of Richard Moseley Westhorp (#1973) and his wife Anne Clayton (#1974) and the watercolours are of their granddaughter Sarah Frances Westhorp (1817-1891) (#151) and her husband Dr Rowland Townshend Cobbold (1821-1895) (#150).  The child on Sara’s knee is their first daughter Fanny Mary Cobbold (1847-1941) (#248).

Rowland and Sarah had four homes following their marriage on 17th September 1846.  They were in St. Albans from 1846 until 1853 and this is where Fanny, (#248) Bessie, (#249) Edgar(#250) and the twins Arthur (#252) and Alfred (#253) were born.  Bessie died of Scarlet Fever aged 9.  They moved to Bredfield for a year (1853-1854) where Thomas (#256) was born but he died aged only 2 from enteritis.  Their third home was in Trimley where they remained for six years up to 1860 and where Edith (#257) and Rowland (#258) joined the family.  Their last home which they built on the site of a previous house was Dedham Lodge (now Milsom’s Dedham Hotel) is where their last two children, Paul (#260) and Bessie (#1193) were born.  Of their ten children eight lived to maturity.

Their meeting.

Sarah recounts that two schoolboys sat, as boys are sometimes wont to do, side by side on a gate by the roadside in a village on the Stour.  There passed by on the same road two maidens returning home from some errand or their customary walk.  With becoming modesty, they passed looking neither to the right nor the left.  The boys, as was natural, looked straight before them and admired.  Said one to the other, indicating the elder girl, “That’s the girl I would like to make my wife.”  He was 18 years of age and she was 22.  History is silent for 3 years when they became betrothed and 4 years later his wish was fulfilled (1846).

CHEVALLIER BARLEY makes a come-backFebruary 2018

Greene King, Brewers of Bury St Edmunds, who were the final owners of the Tolly Cobbold brands  has introduced two Heritage Ales as part of their ‘New Heritage Range created from rediscovered Suffolk Malt.’  So the publicity material states; it goes on to say ‘Replicating real ale from the 1800s, two limited edition premium beers, Heritage Suffolk Pale Ale (5%) and Heritage Vintage Fine Ale (6.5%), have been lovingly created using East Anglian Chevallier malted barley.  Reintroduced two years ago by local maltster, Crisp Malt, five preserved Chevallier seeds were re-sown and crops harvested to create the volume required to replicate a traditional Greene King real ale from the 1800s.’  You might be forgiven for thinking that Crisp Malt had sown the 5 seeds quite recently.

Here’s what actually happened.  Dr John Chevallier (1774-1846) (#729 on the web family tree) and his brother Charles Chevallier (1772-1844) (#2050) were working the land at Aspall, Suffolk undertaking experiments to improve yields.  Chevallier barley would come to dominate world barley markets for nearly 60 years and this is the story according to the History of Debenham (1845).

About the year 1820, John Andrews, a labourer of Mr Edward Dove of Ulverstone Hall, Debenham had been threshing barley, and on his return home at night complained of his feet being uneasy, and on taking off his shoes, he discovered in one of them part of a very fine ear of barley – it struck him as being particularly so – and he was careful to have it preserved.  He afterwards planted a few grains from it in his garden, and the following year Dr and Mrs John Chevallier, coming to Andrew’s dwelling to inspect some repairs, saw three or four ears of barley growing.  Dr. John requested it might be left for him when ripe.  The Doctor sowed a small ridge with the produce so obtained, and from the increase thence arising, he began to dispose of it, and from that time it has been gradually getting into repute.  It is now well-known in most of the corn markets of the Kingdom, and also on many parts of the Continent, America etc., and is called Chevallier Barley.

It grew in popularity until at its peak perhaps 80 to 90 per cent of British barley was Chevallier and the variety was grown and demanded widely round the world.   Little wonder that Dr John became known as Dr John (Barley) Chevallier.


Pioneering Physician is the title of an excellent book recording the Life of Professor Charles Montague Fletcher CBE, MD, FRCP, FFCM, (1911-1995) (#12079 on the web family tree).

The author is Max Blythe who interviewed Charles Fletcher so frequently that the book is virtually an autobiography.  Charles went up to Trinity College, Cambridge as a scholar from Eton and rowed in the winning Cambridge crew in the 1933 Boat Race.

“Charles Fletcher had exceptional influence on healthcare and health education in Britain.  He wrote the original report of the Royal College of Physicians on smoking and health, the first report by any national body in the world.  As the nation’s popular first TV doctor he led the medical enlightenment of millions.

Early in his career, he took on the challenge of developing research into Pneumoconiosis, the dust disease disabling tens of thousands of British coal miners.  From this came major advances in its prevention.  Later his research attention turned to chronic bronchitis, a disease then afflicting hundreds of thousands in Britain and accounting for 30,000 of their deaths annually.  Major prevention guidelines resulted

In addition to anti-smoking campaigning, the later years of his career were distinguished by initiatives that improved the care and welfare of Asthma and diabetes patients, and ensured that doctors were trained to communicate better.  Pioneering Physician is the complete story of a remarkable contributor to a nation’s health and its international influence.”

Published 2016,  Words by Design.

JOHN PATTESON COBBOLD 6th generation b...February 2018

The ‘new’ Town Hall in Ipswich was opened 150 years ago last month.  The building was open to visitors all day on January 28th this year and a celebration dinner, in conjunction with Robbie Burns Night was held in the evening, at which Philip Hope-Cobbold (#577 on the web family tree) was the guest speaker.  He was invited because his great, great grandfather, John Patteson Cobbold (1831-1875), (#186) was Mayor of Ipswich at the time of the opening.

One can’t help feeling very sad for JPC who died of Scarlet Fever at the age of only 44.  He left a widow with 8 children aged between 14 years and 11 months.  Despite his early departure he seems to have packed a good deal into his short life.  He trained as a Solicitor and quickly became involved in the family brewing and banking businesses.  Civic duty called and he became an Alderman and later Mayor of Ipswich in 1867/68.  He was elected a Conservative MP with James Redfoord Bulwer (1820-1899) and served until his death, being replaced by his younger brother, Thomas Clement (1833-1883) (#191) who also served until his death.

John Patteson’s father, John Chevallier (1797-1882) (#114) was 78 when his son died and worried about succession for the businesses.  His solution was to call Felix Thornley Cobbold (1841-1909) (#201) back from his academic career at King’s, Cambridge to help run them.  This was probably an unpopular decision as far as Felix was concerned – he enjoyed the college’s excellent cellar and the convivial atmosphere at high table – but was good for Ipswich as he became a generous benefactor.

Major John Patteson Cobbold, inter alia, was Commanding Officer of the First Suffolk Rifle Volunteers from 28th November 1860 to 10th December 1875 and it seems his death was greatly lamented as his portrait and a presentation prayer and hymn book were distributed in his memory.  His wife, Adela Harriette Dupuis (1837-1917) (#187), daughter of the Vice-Provost of Eton College – where they were married in 1858 – was a leading force in the fight against the dreadful Smallpox epidemic in Ipswich in 1872.

His death just before Christmas 1875 led to the publication of a typically Victorian piece of verse

We mourn him now, the husband, son and sire,

A voice was wanted for the Heavenly Choir,

To sing good tidings of a Saviour’s birth,

In purer strains than could be sung on earth.

Our pictures show (1) The Town Hall on the Welcome to Ipswich sign, (2) JPC himself, (3) JPC was the first to where the new Mayoral Robe in 1868, (4) Andrew Beal, dedicated Town Sgt. beside the old and new Mayoral Robes, (5) Mayoral chain with new Town Hall Badge and (6) silver Loving Cup given by Felix Thornley Cobbold when he was Mayor in 1897, the year of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

RKC (by Constable) IS COMING HOME!February 2018

A fine drawing, almost certainly of Robert Knipe Cobbold (1792-1859) #100 on the web family tree, by John Constable (1776-1837) executed in 1806 when he was visiting Elizabeth Cobbold (1765-1824) #58 at the Cliff Brewery in Ipswich, has been purchased by a family member at auction in New York and is on its way back home.  For many years the drawing was at Holywells. 

The Trust knows of 9 drawings/sketches of family members by Constable but the one of Robert Knipe Cobbold is by far the most important.  He is the first born and eldest son of Elizabeth, 2nd wife of John Cobbold (1746-1835) #56.  The others are of Harriet (1785-1877) #91 and her sister Sophia (1787-1833) #96 both Elizabeth’s step daughters.  Four of the drawings are in the Musée du Louvre and two in the British Museum and two in a private collection.

Our knowledge of Robert’s life is somewhat fragmentary.  He was born in Woodbridge the year after his parents’ marriage and he learned his trade at his father’s brewery in Colchester before becoming a brewer himself in Eye where all his nine children were born.  Their mother was Emily Mary Smith (1791-1860) #101, 5th daughter of John Paul Smith (1747-1804) #779, a London Tea Merchant, this being the time, of course, when tea was very expensive.  By 1841 the family was living at Carlton Rookery, Saxmundham and by about 1851 they were at Bredfield White House where he is remembered as an active, alert, upright figure, often in a frilled shirt and a black stock.

At about this time he acquired an estate at Sutton on the banks of the River Deben close to Sutton Hoo. This is probably to do with his known involvement with the mining of Coprolite but he is also known to have speculated in Clover seed, Chicory and Flax. The Trust has his snuff box, pictured, with its rather engaging inscription presented to him the month of his 64th birthday. The local paper records that he also took delivery of a barge load of surplus stores from Crimea so perhaps it was the unloading of the barge which prompted the gift.

We also have detail of the crest used on his bookplate; the left half being Cobbold (Holly leaves) quartered with Knipe and the righthand half being his wife’s Smith crest. The bookplate has another interesting feature; the motto ‘REPUNGO’. Strictly this means ‘I prick back’ or less literally ‘my prickles are my defence’ – clearly a reference to the Holly leaves.  Later versions of the arms have the letters ‘n’ and ‘g’ reversed to read ‘REPUGNO’ which is translated as ‘I fight back’. We are left not knowing whether the change was deliberate or accidental.

Robert died at Bredfield in 1859 having caught a chill. He and his wife are commemorated by stained glass windows at Sutton (a handsome east window by Warrington) and at Bredfield Church where they are both buried.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHRISTMAS 2017December 2017

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

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

Silken StrandsNovember 2017

The Trust is pleased to have acquired the following items:

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


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

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

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

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

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

REMEMBRANCE 2017November 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

It’s worth every penny and more!

MIRABEL COBBOLD, Thrice married advent...September 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Where are the poppies now?September 2017

Anthony Cobbold’s story

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

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

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

This poppy is doing the work of 35.

Anthony Cobbold

September 2017

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

Silken StrandsAugust 2017

The Trust is pleased to have acquired the following items: 

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

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

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