Cobbwebs News & Views

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

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

Cobbwebs News & Views

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3 SUFFRAGETTES Part 3 of 3July 2021

Thirdly Aileen Preston (1889-1974) #2094.  Lady chauffeuse to Emmeline Pankhurst.

Aileen Chevallier Preston was born on 7th March 1889 in County Armagh, Ireland, the daughter of Captain John Preston (1851-1907) #2088 and Edith Isabella Maria Chevallier (1858=1940) #2085.  (In passing it is recorded that Chevalliers married Cobbolds at least 3 times all in different generations).   Aileen opened a driving school in London and later drove ambulances at the front in WWI.  

Her brother Wing Cdr. Raphael (Raph) Chevallier Preston (1892-1972) #2095 joined the Royal Engineers in 1914 and served with the cable section of the Signals in France and at Gallipoli.  He transferred to RFC and learned to fly in Heliopolis, Egypt making his first solo flight on 28th April 1917.  Subsequently he joined National Flying Services and in 1934 became personal pilot firstly to Mary, Duchess of Bedford until her death in 1937 and then to the Marquis of Londonderry.  By 1940 he had joined the Accident Investigation Branch and in 1960 was appointed Chairman of the Northern Ireland Advisory Committee for Civil Aviation.

In 1911 Aileen became the lady chauffeuse to Emmeline Pankhurst, chosen because she was the first woman to secure a necessary certificate.  Opinions vary as to who issued the certificate, the RAC or the AA, but in those days the driver needed to be a qualified mechanic who could deal with the frequent mid-journey breakdowns.  In 1962 Aileen spoke on Woman’s Hour about her struggles getting in and out of the car in a long skirt and veil let alone actually driving the car once she was at the controls.

The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) was formed in Manchester in October 1903.  In November 1919 Nancy Astor took her seat in the House of Commons as the first female MP in Britain and in July 1928, The Representation of the People Act entitles everyone over the age of 21 to vote which women over 21 did for the first time in May the following year.

3 SUFFRAGETTES, Part 2 of 3July 2021

Secondly Frances Parker – Kiwi Suffragette

Frances Mary Parker OBE (1875-1924) #5776 was in the news in 2016 because her suffragette medal came up for sale. Born in Waimate, New Zealand, Frances left home at the age of 22 to study at Newnham College, Cambridge, paid for by her uncle the future Lord Kitchener (1850-1916) #733

By 1908 she had become involved in the women's suffrage movement eventually becoming a prominent leader of the Women's Social and Political Union in Scotland. In June that year she was one of the speakers on Adela Pankhurst’s platform at the WSPU demonstration in Hyde Park on ‘Women’s Sunday’. Imprisoned several times for her role in violent protests and attempts to burn down prominent buildings, including the cottage of Robert Burns - Scotland's national poet - she went on hunger strike in 1912 and in 1914, and was subjected to force-feeding which involved acts of physical abuse and indecent assault. She sometimes used the alias of Janet Arthur and her antics caused her uncle great outrage.

Frances was awarded the medal which came on the market in February 2016. Still in its original case the medal is inscribed 'Presented to Frances Parker by the Women's Social and Political Union in Recognition of a Gallant Action whereby through Endurance to the last Extremity of Hunger and Hardship, a Great Principle of Political Justice was Vindicated.' Following her death in 1924 Frances left the medal to her friend and co-suffragette Ethel Moorhead in whose family it remained until auctioned.

The purchaser was the Te Papa Museum, Wellington, the national museum of New Zealand.


3 SUFFRAGETTES. Part 1 of 3 July 2021

June 4th, just over a month ago, being the anniversary of Emily Davison’s death from injuries sustained under the feet of the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby in 1913 caused us to look at the contribution made by three family members to women’s suffrage.

Firstly: Lady Constance Lytton (1869-1923) #3712

The following account is largely by David Stewart OBE., D.Litt.h.c., DL, a distinguished historian who has studied the Suffragette movement.  It was originally given to Dr Virginia van der Lande (#2008) in December 2018.  As she said at the time it makes shocking reading.

In January 1910 Lady Constance went to Liverpool disguised as a working-class London seamstress named Jane Warton. After rocks were thrown at an MP's car, she was arrested and imprisoned in Walton Gaol, Liverpool for 14 days 'hard labour' and force-fed 8 times.  The senior medical officer did not examine her.  He leaned on her knees, a metal gag was forced into her mouth, breaking her teeth, a tube was forced down her throat into her stomach and liquid food was poured in via a funnel in a constant torrent.

 She immediately threw up, and lay in her vomit all night, too weak to move.  This was repeated seven times.  She almost died, but was saved by her sister who had been looking for her.  She was released immediately, but her heart had been permanently damaged.

When she was 39 she joined the militant wing of the Woman's Suffragette Movement.  She was imprisoned four times.  After the first two she was released as soon as the authorities realised who she was, with a brother in the House of Lords.

It was the third time, angry about the disparity in the sentences received by upper- and lower-class militants, that she disguised herself as Jane Warton as already described.  Her treatment severely affected her health so that after a series of strokes, she was permanently paralysed on her right side, and could only write her memoirs (1914) with her left hand.  She died prematurely, aged only 54.

Her writings and public appearances contributed substantially to prison reform and the eventual granting of the vote to women (limited to those over 30) in 1918.

Constance's struggle for the emancipation of women had started with her great grandmother, 

Anna Wheeler (1782-1848) (#9165) and been continued by her grandmother Rosina Wheeler (1802-1882) #3679, wife of the novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer, 1st Lord Lytton. (1803-1873) #3678.



The addition to the family tree of Jeremy Fox Eric Smith DL (1928-2021) #14322 who rowed bow in the Oxford boat in 1951, prompted us to have a closer look at the Boat Race.  He was one of at least 3 family members, to have taken part. Jeremy was at Eton and went up to New College, Oxford. The 1951 race is remembered because Oxford sank near the start.  We will return to sinkings in a minute.

Robert (Bob) Croft Bourne PC JP MP (1888-1936) #1187 also at Eton and New College, Oxford was a talented oarsman who won the University Sculls in 1910, the University Fours in 1911, went head of the river in 1911-12, won the Stewards’ Cup at Henley in 1912, 13 and 14 and stroked the New College eight to win Silver for Great Britain at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm.  He stroked the Oxford VIII in 1909, 10, 11 and 12 being President of the Oxford University Boat Club the last two years.

The Revd. Robert Henry Cobbold (1816-1893) #148 went to Shrewsbury and on to Peterhouse, Cambridge and rowed 5 in the Cambridge VIII in 1841 and 1842 becoming President of the Cambridge University Boat Club in October 1842.

Sinkings are not as frequent as one might expect considering the weather’s propensity for making Putney to Mortlake what one writer described as ‘a highway of hell.’ Cambridge sank in1895, 1912 and 1978.  Oxford beached in 1912 and sank in 1925 and 1951.  Of these the 1912 beaching is perhaps the most unusual.

 The race started in half a gale with a north westerly wind.  Cambridge shipped a lot of water and were three lengths behind when they went down off Harrods.  The umpire’s launch stopped to help.  Wells, the Oxford cox hugged the Surry shore for calmer water but had to come out so as to pass under the centre arch of Hammersmith Bridge.  They continued to take on water so Wells edged the boat on to the Surrey beach.  The crew got out, emptied their boat and set off again at which moment the umpire’s launch arrived.  The umpire shouted that he had declared “No Race” but Bob Bourne told Wells to get the boat moving whereupon the umpire gave chase shouting ‘What are you doing Oxford, where are you going – I have declared no Race?’  Bob Bourne shouted back ‘We’re going to Mortlake’ pausing ‘because our clothes are there!’ and to Mortlake they went.  The official records show that both crews sank but a great debate followed as to what constituted a sinking and had Oxford broken the rules?  Oxford won the re-row by 6 lengths.

In 1951 the Oxford boat with Jeremy Smith at bow was stroked by Christopher Davidge when they chose the Surrey station; they were waterlogged within one minute and had sunk a minute later whilst Cambridge were sheltered by the Fulham Wall.  The umpire, Gerald Ellison, by then the Bishop of Willesden, contrary to the rules, declared a re-row on the grounds that neither crew had reached the end of the Fulham Wall.  Cambridge won the re-row the following Monday.



Back in November we reported that Morwenna Lytton Cobbold #672 had announced her engagement to be married.  Morwenna is a former model and now a fashion and beauty film producer.  On 9th June this year she was featured as the frontispiece in Country Life magazine.  The caption observed that in doing so she was following in the footsteps of her aunt, Rosina Lytton Cobbold #665 who appeared on 5th April 1990; her great grandparents, Cameron Cobbold #490 and Hermione Lytton #491 whose engagement picture appeared on 25th January 1930 and her great great, grandmother, Pamela Chichele-Plowden #2299 and her son who were featured on 11th June 1904.

This last photograph includes Antony Lytton #2300 aged 1 who was tragically killed in a flying accident whilst on duty in 1933, as a result of which his younger sister Hermione inherited Knebworth.



The Trust is pleased to report the following acquisitions, some by purchase and some by gift.

The Trust is grateful to all donors including those who have provided information for the family tree and material for the archive. 


  • A Radical Practice in Liverpool:  the rise, fall and rise of Princes Park Health Centre (2021) by Katy Gardner and Susanna Graham-Jones (#8535)
  • A Boxer Memoir, The Descendants of Daniel Boxer of Dover, 1750-2012 (2012) by Maggie Boxer, Christine Roberts, Charles Boxer and John Harvey.
  • Animal Magic, A Brother’s Story (2011) by Andrew Barrow (3848)
  • The Missing Baluster (2021) by Patrice Saiman (14954)
  • One Day in the Life of a Stag (1847) by Mrs David Hanbury née Cobbold (#123) with bookplate for Robert Cobbold Cain (#1869)

The Trust’s Christmas card for 2020 included advice of the move to Knebworth House which pointed out the costs involved and invited contributions.  The Trustee body which now includes the Hon. Henry Lytton Cobbold (born 1962) #662 would like to thank all those who generously responded.


The Trust is pleased to report the following acquisitions, some by purchase and some by gift.

The Trust is grateful to all donors including those who have provided information for the family tree and material for the archive.


  • The Story of Anne Candler by Sheila Hardy (1988)
  • Cinema-by-Sea, Film and cinema in Brighton & Hove since 1896, edited by David Fisher, published by Terra Media (2012)
  • Fifty Years of Sport, edited by Ernest A Bland, published by Daily Mail Publications (1946)
  • Essex Brewers by Ian P Peaty, published by the Brewery History Society (1992)

Triple CD   

CD1 Act 1; CD2 Act 2; CD 3 Acts 3-4 and booklet of Stephen Dodgson’s MARGARET CATCHPOLE Two Worlds Apart, a Chamber Opera performed on Friday 5th July 2019 in the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings, Suffolk.  The generous gift of Mrs Jane Dodgson. 

Post Card

Being an invitation signed by Felix T Cobbold #201 , President, on behalf of the East Suffolk & Ipswich Hospital to be present in the Grounds of the Institution on Thursday 29th of September 1904 at 3 pm when Dr Bartlet #2884 of “Birkfield,” Ipswich will hand over to the Governors the building for the accommodation of the Out-Patients’ Department which he has caused to be erected.;

The Trust’s Christmas card for 2020 included advice of the move to Knebworth House which pointed out the costs involved and invited contributions.  The Trustee body which now includes the Hon. Henry Lytton Cobbold (born 1962) #662 would like to thank all those who generously responded.


The Trust is pleased to report the following acquisitions, some by purchase and some by gift. 

The Trust is grateful to all donors including those who have provided information for the family tree and material for the archive. 

Ceremonial Dress

Worn by John Dupuis Cobbold (1861-1929) #307 when Deputy Lieutenant of Suffolk.


The Land-Locked Lake by Lt. Col. A. A.Hanbury-Sparrow DSO* MC first published 1932, this edition published privately in 1977 (this is copy no. 52/500 signed by the author) #9615.  A rare and valuable book. 

Documents and Pictures 

  • An early 20th C. watercolour of Holywells by Ernest Smythe viewed from across the lake in the park.
  • Front cover picture from Country Life dated August 9th 1962 of Alison Geddes #8045
  • 3 Victorian cartes de visites of Fanny Georgina Eden (1812-1889) #3550; Florence Tatton Brown (1869-1933) #3560 and Elfrida Tatton Brown (1879-1951) #3562.
  • A 2-page entire addressed to Joseph Bensusan Esq., Cadiz, Spain via France from H A Preeston & Co (Henry Augustus Preeston (1807-1884 #3981) of 34 Fenchurch Street, London E C, dated 26th April 1866.
  • 3 pages from The East Anglian Magazine dated October 1947 written by the Editor, Mr R A N Dixon regarding the discovery of Richard Cobbold’s Manuscript (R C #106) describing the people of Wortham which includes particular reference to Tom Goddard.
  • 7 pages from The Windsor Magazine titled The Sirdar and the Seer describing a consultation between Lord Kitchener of Khartoum (1850-1916) #733 and a Seer, Cheiro, by Maud Churton.
  • 6 pages from a Parish Magazine titled The Rebus by Arthur Watson describing the history and structure of the Rebus of interest because of the Rebus cut by Elizabeth Cobbold (1765-1824) #58
  • A 3-page article from MotorCyclist Illustrated, July 1960 titled The Sunbeam Man by C E Deane describing his encounter with a 500cc Sunbeam and its rider, Gordon Chevallier Cobbold (1903-2004) #337 who held no less than 16 Brooklands records.
  • A Cambridge Arts Theatre Programme dated 1959 for a comedy, Joy of Living in which the part of Vicky was played by Gillian Cobbold (born 1936) #1683 – Daughter of Gordon Chevallier Cobbold above.
  • 2 very small silver fobs issued by John Cobbold’s Gymnasium in Hove. One (Senior) dated 1936 awarded to J A Rolf, the other dated 1937 awarded to J Rolfe. Very similar in all respects.
  • Booklet titled Wimbledon 1885-1965 by Winifred Whithead (1883-1978) #8512. Winifred was the daughter of Sir Arthur Fell MP (1850-1934) #4583 who bought Lauriston House in Wimbledon from William Wilberforce MP, the great reformer who had frequently entertained William Pitt there. The Pitt tree stood in the garden throughout the Fell family’s ownership.
  • 2 very favourable reviews (Times Literary Supplement and Nature Reviews) of A Rainbow Palate published by Chicago University Press written by Dr Carolyn Cobbold (born 1962) #644
  • The Trust’s Christmas card for 2020 included advice of the move to Knebworth House which pointed out the costs involved and invited contributions. The Trustee body which now includes the Hon. Henry Lytton Cobbold (born 1962) #662 would like to thank all those who generously responded.



The Story of Cliff Quay BreweryMarch 2021

As told by the Ipswich Maritime Trust last year.

“Over the last 60 years the brewery that ran nearly every pub in Ipswich was Tolly Cobbold, conveniently locating a brewery on the banks of the River Orwell at Cliff Quay. The current brewery building (built in 1896), now stands empty after closing in 2002, on its site was the hugely popular Brewery Tap pub, housed in the Victorian brewery offices and possibly in the eighteenth-century brothel. It now faces regeneration, becoming an area of intense use by other inhabitants of the waterfront as possible residential housing, restaurants or potential use by the university.

Cliff Quay Brewery was built in 1746 when Thomas Cobbold moved his operations to Ipswich from Harwich.  The early eighteenth-century operations of Cobbold’s business and the reason he moved towns have been a debating point for local historians over the last century and due to limited documentation on either side, the actual reason for the move is still up for debate. The traditional viewpoint is that Thomas moved operations from Harwich to Ipswich due to issues with the water supply, forcing them to ship water to Harwich from springs in and around Ipswich. This viewpoint has become entrenched and lost in Suffolk folklore, though there is little to no evidence for this reason. A more tenable view is that the ability to be closer to the water spring in what is now Holywell’s Park (a Cobbold estate) made it cost effective and closer to the emerging markets for Cobbold beers and ales. Whichever view you agree with nonetheless the business flourished in Ipswich following the move to Cliff Quay building on the Cobbold’s existing Malthouse.

The success of the brewery and the importance of the Cobbold family in every aspect of Victorian Ipswich society and business, including banking, shipbuilding and the railways, pushed the growth of the town. The Cobbold’s were a driving force in the creation of a railway that established a line from Ipswich to Colchester and London. The railway helped expand the breweries markets inland and helped the port of Ipswich develop and grow, helping the town thrive. The result of this was seen in the popularity and demand for Cobbold pubs in Ipswich, with around 300 pubs in Suffolk, many in Ipswich surrounding the docks and serving its workers. During the 1890s, Cliff Quay Brewery became the site you see today, a modern tower brewery bringing Ipswich and the Cobbold’s into the 20th Century. The Cobbold name is synonymous with Ipswich and the development of the town owes largely to their businesses and philanthropy.

For more information on the Cobbold’s then visit the Cobbold Family History Trust website.”


Our publication Elizabeth Cobbold – Georgian Polymath by Adele Mallen in 2019 has been followed by a hugely interesting article titled Elizabeth Knipe Cobbold – Georgian Geologist by Caroline & Bob Markham in the 2020 volume of Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists’ Society.  It is a long and quite technical article but it throws so much light on Elizabeth Cobbold’s early contribution to Suffolk’s Geology that we could not let it pass without even this brief little commentary.

It tells us that Elizabeth (1765-1824) #58 on the web family tree collected and identified fossils from Suffolk Crag deposits (for the most part from what is now known as Red Crag) in the early nineteenth century.  Her specimens were first published by James Sowerby of London in his Mineral Conchology from 1813.  This is more than 200 years ago, 8 years before the first paper on Mary Anning’s specimens was published by the Geological Society of London and 46 years before Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species was published.  She was a contemporary of pioneering palaeontologists Gideon Mantell and Georges Cuvier.  Such early scientific endeavour deserves to be recorded and celebrated.

In 1791 she married, as his second wife, ‘Big’ John Cobbold (1746-1835), a prominent Ipswich brewer, which gave her the money and the contacts to progress her scientific ambitions.  She was introduced to James Edward Smith of Norwich, a founder and first president of the Linnaean Society in London in 1788.  In 1793 James Smith arranged for her to receive the first part of his Flora Anglica to which she had contributed summer snowflake and meadow-saffron.

In 1810 Elizabeth’s paper ‘On the Fasciola Hepatica’ (concerning a liver fluke) was read (not by her, as women were not allowed) to the Linnaean Society.  Story has it that it was received with some scepticism but later found to be entirely accurate.  From 1814 until her death 10 years later Elizabeth exchanged discoveries and specimens with all the pioneering palaeontologists of the day most of her specimens coming from the Holywells estate to which the family had moved in 1814. 

It is clear from correspondence held in the Suffolk Record Office that her contribution was much appreciated, evidenced by her being termed ‘a kind friend of science’ by James Sowerby who named her fossil bivalve shell from Holywells Nucula cobboldiae in volume 2 of Mineral Conchology in 1817.  It was placed in the genus nucula because of the tooth and socket arrangement of its hingeline.  Later palaeontologists placed these nuculas with a zig-zag pattern on the surface of the shell in a new genus, Acila.  Although Elizabeth’s shell is now placed in a different genus it retains James Sowerby’s name cobboldiae and it is the same shell.  James Sowerby died in 1822 but his son, James de Carle Sowerby continued his father’s publication in which he lamented Palaeontology’s loss when Elizabeth died in 1824


LT. PIERS RICHARD EDGCUMBE (1914-1940) March 2021

Lieutenant Piers Edgcumbe #2378 on the web family tree served with the 12th Royal Lancers in the British Expeditionary Force in France in 1940.  In May that year he and Lance Corporal Webber were tasked with reporting the Nazis’ position so as to protect our retreating troops.  Both were killed when their armoured car was blown up by a German 88mm shell in Esquelbecq, northern France a few miles from Dunkirk.  Lance Corporal Webber was identified and given a marked grave but Piers’ body was hastily buried in a roadside grave before being exhumed and reburied beside his compatriot in the town’s cemetery some 18 months later, under a headstone which simply said A SOLDIER OF THE 1939-1945 WAR AN OFFICER and recorded his date of death as 27th May 1940

Recently, following 17 years of investigation by Andrew Newson and others it has been established to the satisfaction of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission that the occupant of that grave is indeed Lt. Piers Edgcumbe so he is now to be given a headstone which accurately marks his final resting place.

Piers was the only son and heir of Kenelm William Edward Edgcumbe the 6th Earl of Mount Edgcumbe (1873-1965) #793 and Lady Mount Edgcumbe, Lilian Arkwright (1875-1964), #794, great great granddaughter of Sir Richard Arkwright (1732-1792) #14476 the famous textile innovator and industrialist.  The family home was Mount Edgcumbe on the Rame peninsular but Cotehele, built between 1385 and 1565 and largely unaltered since, also in Cornwall, belonged to the family and was given to the National Trust through the National Heritage Memorial Fund in 1947 by Kenelm and Lilian as a war memorial to their son.  Piers’ sword and a memorial plaque are on the wall in the chapel at Cotehele.

FOOTNOTE   Piers’ older sister, Lady Hilaria Gibbs (1908-2009) #792 was my second mother-in-law, and a very fine person she was too.  

Anthony Cobbold


RAF AVRO LANCASTER LL 701 K0-FFebruary 2021

Lost over Germany 24th/25th February 1944

77 years ago this month, Lancaster LL 701 KO-F disappeared without trace on a mission to destroy a ball bearing factory in Germany. The aircraft was piloted by Flight Lieutenant John Clement HORNBY (1912-1944) #8843 on the web family tree who perished along with his 6 crew members.

A Facebook page has been set up by Chris THOMPSON, great nephew of Francis Leonard Kennedy, from Montreal, Canada to help find family members and friends of those lost. Please get in touch if you have any connection or information.

FB page, RAF Avro Lancaster Mk.II LL701 KO-F

The other six were:

  • Arthur Frederick (Arty) CHALLINOR aged 20
  • Leonard Charles (Cyril) CASPER aged 22
  • Kenneth MORLEY aged 22
  • Anthony Paul COLTHURST DSO aged 41
  • Francis Leonard KENNEDY aged 27 Royal Canadian Air Force
  • Gordon Lewis WARD aged 19 Royal Canadian Air Force


SMALLPOX and the Suffolk ConnectionFebruary 2021

In a recent ‘Ipswich Icon’ in the East Anglian Daily Times, John Norman the prolific and very knowledgeable Chairman of Ipswich’s leading civic body, The Ipswich Society, told of the early days of vaccination.

By the beginning of the eighteenth century smallpox was so common that few people escaped the infection. The search for a suitable method of prevention or cure became paramount. Following the lines of some well used Chinese treatment Doctor Robert Sutton whose practice was in Kenton near Debenham treated patients by making a small insertion in the skin with a lancet and introducing the virus into the wound as a result of which his patient would experience a less severe form of the pox and would then build antibodies and become immune. He termed this the Suttonian System of Variolation. At seven guineas a time it became a profitable business. In 1763 his son Daniel left his father’s practice keen to set up inoculation centres nearer to centres of population but civic leaders in Ipswich were sceptical and advised against immunisation so he set up in Ingatestone in Essex. It was a success but he was still keen to have a centre near Ipswich so he hired Freston Tower overlooking the Orwell and appointed Dr Buckle of Holbrook to run it.

[In his historical novel called ‘Freston Tower’ Richard Cobbold (1797-1877) #106 on the web family tree, claims it to have been built by Lord de Freston for his daughter Ellen so that she could study a different subject each day. The first floor was given over to Reception, the second to Tapestry, the third to Music, the fourth to Painting, the fifth to Literature and the sixth to Astronomy, but being a novel this may be more imagination than fact.]

Despite Daniel’s success in inoculating 500 people in Maldon without a single re-infection hundreds of quacks brought the process into disfavour and variolation was made illegal by the Vaccination Act of 1840 which was largely based on Dr Edward Jenner’s ‘Method of Vaccination’ published in 1798.

The next major out break of smallpox hit Ipswich in around 1872 and at the forefront of the campaign against the virus was Adela Harriette Cobbold (1837-1917), daughter of the Provost of Eton and wife of John Patteson Cobbold (1831-1875) who had been Mayor of Ipswich in 1867/68, the year which saw the opening of the new Town Hall. From about this time, but the date and the author are unknown, the family archive has yielded the following advice on vaccination which seeing it is about 150 years old is strikingly familiar.

Sanitary Precautions during an epidemic of Smallpox.

This disease, once so deadly as to be the worst scourge that ever decimated the human race has been remarkably modified in modern times by the introduction of vaccination. As an instance of the severity of the disease in the unvaccinated it may be mentioned that at the end of the last century almost the entire population of the Canadian Indians were carried off by this fever in six months.

Vaccination is not a protection for the whole of life, neither is a previous attack of Small Pox a protection against a second attack but by vaccination in adult life an almost absolute protection is insured. So great a preventative of the disease is it that in an experience of nearly 40 years no single nurse at the Small Pox Hospital has contracted the disease. Parents should therefore insist that every child be vaccinated at the age of 15. When it breaks out parents should remember they owe a duty to the community as well as themselves. Let no people go from an infected house to school or any other confined place.

As a general guide for nursing cases of Small Pox it must however be stated that clean linen is of the greatest importance. A fire should when possible be kept in the room (more for ventilation than warmth). It is a great mistake to keep the room too hot; it is far better to keep it moderately cool. The air of the room should be changed as much as possible by opening the windows at intervals for a few minutes.

The patient should be kept indoors until the crusts are all detached. Warm baths and carbolic acid soap lessen the fear of carrying the disease to others. The linen of the bed and body linen should, as soon as removed from the body, be immediately soaked in water and before being washed should be further steeped in a pail of water with a wineglassful of Chloralum in it for 24 hours and carbolic acid soap should be used for washing the linen. The best method of disinfecting a room in which Small Pox has been is to close the doors and fumigate it with Sulphur. Great care must be taken in this process, other fullest directions should be obtained before using it.

Anthony Cobbold

(During the Covid 19 Pandemic of 2020/2021)

“He was THE expert of his day… “February 2021

So wrote Dr Virginia van der Lande MA Ph.D FLS FZS #2008 on the web family tree, when sending to the Trust an item from The Linnean Society’s latest newsletter. It was titled “Thomas Spencer Cobbold’s drawings of the hidden lives of parasites,” and explained that the Society’s Collections Team is cataloguing the Society’s papers, a collection of lecture notes, letters and illustrations which were read to the Society’s meetings. Whilst the collection is a treasure in its own right, many of the drawings are worthy of their own story as one of our Treasures of the Month.

These drawings were made by Dr Thomas Spencer Cobbold (1828-1886) #174, the year before he died, He joined the Society as a Fellow in 1857, and was the foremost authority on animal parasites in England. His research into the anatomy, development and life history of Entozoa was considered ‘a worthy memorial of patient and accurate labour’ and set a ‘standard of reference for all students of Helminthology.’ Cobbold exhibited 85 drawings of Entozoa in his ”Observations on Entozoa, with notices of several new species” and a further 33 in “On some new forms of Entozoa.”

The details in these drawings are striking, not only in their depiction of the internal organs, but also the locations of the parasites in the organs, and the expression of the different stages in the parasite lifecycle. It is both fascinating, and a bit unnerving, to see the sheer length of these organisms in these organs at the height of their prosperity!

It is as well to remember that until Thomas Spencer Cobbold’s work, we the human race were amongst parasites’ principal hosts.

Our thanks to Luke Thorne, Assistant Archivist of the Linnean Society and, of course, Virginia van der Lande, a long-standing fellow of the Society.

COBBOLD SHIPSFebruary 2021

We have known for a long while that the Cobbold family was involved in ships and shipping largely from the Bi-centenary Souvenir of the Cliff Brewery issued in 1923 which listed 18 vessels but also because the Trust has over 50 original Bills of Exchange which confirm a number of destinations some as far away as mainland China.  Clarke’s History of Ipswich published in 1836 describes the Cliff Brewery as ‘A large pile of building erected for the purpose of a brewery and malting offices with granaries and warehouses and a commodious wharf for the shipping of corn directly off the premises.’  ‘A strip of land on the Ooze, [presumably he meant the Orwell – Ed.] extending from the Gas works to the Cliff has lately been purchased by John Cobbold jun., of the Corporation for £300 with a landing place or right of boatway to be preserved for the burgesses and inhabitants of Ipswich.’  Thus, John Wilkinson Cobbold (1774-1860) #77 on the web family tree and his successors had their own wharf and their own shipbuilding yard from which to trade.

This slender knowledge was sufficient to prompt the Trust into commissioning an investigation into the ships built, owned or operated by the family, via the very lively Ipswich Maritime Trust who gave the task to their Vice Chairman Des Pawson.

Although he says that there are other areas for investigation his excellent report found no less than 55 ships with connections, many of which were owned or part owned by members of the family.  It was normal in the 19th century for ships to be owned in 64ths as in the case of the Agnes built in Woodbridge in 1823 for John Cobbold 32/64s and Henry Aldrich (born 1785) #11464 a merchant in Ipswich also 32/64s which ended a hazardous life being lost off the coast of Jutland.  We can only find two ships the Adela and the Cliff which are confirmed to have been built in the Cobbold boatyard but there are others where it is likely.  We find that a William James Curtis had a boatyard on Cliff Quay so perhaps he acquired it from the family.

The move into and booming interest in shipping came from John Wilkinson Cobbold (along with his investment in banking) as he is shown to have had stakes in 45 of the ships identified, mostly being passed, on his death in 1860, to his son, John Chevallier Cobbold (1797-1882) #114 and thence to five of his grandchildren, Arthur Thomas (1815-1895) #138Walter Temple (1801-1898) #118Alfred (1813-1882) #136Felix Thornley (1841-1909) #201 and John Patteson (1831-1875) #186.  Alfred’s share in at least one ship was passed on to his own son Francis Alfred (1852-1915) #209.  Some readers will know that John Wilkinson had a half-brother, Robert Knipe Cobbold (1792-1859) #100, the eldest son of ‘Big’ John’s second marriage.  Robert also had shares in a number of these ships and it is by no means the only example of commercial collaboration between the two sides of the family.

Our first picture shows John Cobbold (1774-1860) who effectively started the family interest in shipping and our second picture shows a builder’s model of the full rigged merchant ship Adela built for John Chevallier Cobbold in the Cobbold yard, armed for the China trade.  A number of such ships were specially built in Ipswich for the Chinese trade.  It is said that the model was built in Woodbridge at a cost of £90.  The model was carried around the town by the Ipswich Shipwrecked Seamen’s Society once a year on the 30th June.  After fundraising the members met for lunch at the White Elm Inn, St. Clement’s before attending a church service.  The model belongs to the Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service and is currently on display at Old Custom House on the Ipswich Waterfront.

There is a wonderful story about the life and adventures of the John Cobbold which we will tell another time.  Something to look forward to!

‘Oh, come and be my Valentine…’February 2021

St. Valentine’s Day has become a global money spinner and it’s a bit of fun we all enjoy, but what are its origins? Many agree that Valentine was a real person recognised by the Christian Church; a priest or even a bishop in the third century Roman Empire. Emperor Claudius believed that married men made reluctant soldiers due to their attachments. Valentine thought this was rather unfair and defied Claudius by secretly performing marriages for lovers. A livid Claudius had Valentine arrested and sentenced him to death. On 14th February 270 Valentine met his end. On the day of his execution Valentine wrote a touching note to his young lady signed simply “From your Valentine.” A good many years later Valentine became the patron saint of lovers across Europe.

Traditionally, valentine’s Day has been more significant for women than for men. This was certainly the case for Suffolk’s own Elizabeth Cobbold (1765-1824) #58 on the web family tree described by Maggie Aggiss in Suffolk magazine February 2021 as a talented multi-tasking lady, wife of John Cobbold the Ipswich brewer. At a time when women were expected to quell their own interests in favour of raising children, Elizabeth was doing it all. (If you haven’t read the Trust’s book ‘Elizabeth Cobbold Georgian Polymath’ it is available from this website). In addition to being an accomplished writer and poet she was well read in Conchology, Mineralogy and Zoology. Her husband already had 14 children to which she added another 7. Their house, the Cliff and later Holywells were places bustling with activity but Elizabeth was also a party girl and every year threw an extravagant Valentine’s Ball. It was the place to be and became the social event of the year. Using just scissors she would cut as many as 80 paper-cut Valentines for her guests each with a verse of her own writing. Unquestionably there was a little match-making going on – but if you can’t do it on Valentine’s Day when can you? – and we know of one couple who met at one of her balls and went on to be married. Mission accomplished!


A natural born leader of men

David Cobbold (1919-1994) #557 on the web family tree is deservedly one of the most revered members of our family.  His considerable successes as a lawyer and a politician are well summarised in his obituary from The Times which we reproduce below, but that is not the reason for this piece.

The Trust has just received, literally hot off the press, a copy of his “Memoirs of an Infantry Officer”.  Through his letters to family members, we now have a fascinating account of the prime of his life between the ages of 23 and 26 and an insight into the war as it was waged in Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Italy, India and Burma.  Cobbold family historians will love it for its frank expressions of a young man’s mind and historians will love it for his humble involvement in some highly significant events.

The letters were transcribed by David’s grandmother, Hester (1865-1957) #290, edited by his son Chris #654 and typeset and published by his granddaughter, Sarah #4073. A few copies have been reserved for family and friends and are available by emailing Chris’s wife, Jeannie #655 on  They cost £10 including postage and the cheque should be payable to Chris & Jeannie Cobbold and sent to 42D Eastern Avenue, Reading, Berks RG1 5RY

A gap in our record of his life has been handsomely filled.

OBITUARY   THE TIMES  25th March 1994

DAVID COBBOLD combined his career as a solicitor with 37 years' service on Westminster City Council, including eight years as leader before handing over in 1983 to Dame Shirley Porter. He was closely involved in the amalgamation in 1964 of the boroughs of Westminster, St Marylebone and Paddington in order to create the present City of Westminster.

Among other ground-breaking achievements, he was responsible for the introduction in the 1950s of the first parking meters and traffic wardens to combat the growing problems of car parking in central London.

Michael David Nevill Cobbold, a descendant of the Suffolk brewing family, was educated at Charterhouse, where he followed five previous generations of his family. He was a grandson of W.N.Cobbold, one of the pioneers of The Football Association, who captained the England soccer XI in the 1880s. He himself was a keen games player and qualified for Junior Wimbledon.

In 1938 he went up to New College, Oxford, but on the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the 2nd Battalion The Buffs (East Kent) and served in North Africa and the Middle East. His interest in politics may have been whetted during the 1943 Tehran Conference, where he was involved in the security for Churchill's visit and dealt with senior representatives of the other Allies. He subsequently served in Burma, where in 1945 he was severely wounded in a mortar attack which left him with a permanent leg injury.

On his return to this country he joined his godfather's Holborn firm of Stileman Neate & Topping and was admitted a solicitor in 1949. In the same year his long association with the City of Westminster began when he was elected councillor for the Victoria Ward. He went on to hold virtually every available office - alderman, Deputy High Steward, Mayor of Westminster, Lord Mayor of the City of Westminster and leader of the council twice, 1964-65 and 1976-83.

He played a leading part in the London Borough Grants Committee, following the abolition of the GLC, and sat on a host of other committees, including the London Boroughs' Association, the Advisory Committee on Local Government Audit and the Royal Parks Constabulary Committee. He was a trustee of the St Mary-le-Strand Charity and, at the request of the Bishop of London, he chaired the London Area Social Responsibility Committee.

At the same time he carried on with his professional calling as an energetic solicitor - with the result that for many years he followed two full-time occupations. In 1983 he arranged the amalgamation of Stileman Neate & Topping with the city firm of Beachcrofts (subsequently Beachcroft Stanleys), becoming a consultant, although his workload continued unabated for many years. 

He was appointed CBE in 1983. He married in 1949 Ann Rosemary Trevor, who survives him along with two of his three sons and a daughter.



A GENEROUS DONATION at ChristmasJanuary 2021

The Trust is delighted to announce that it has received a most generous donation from a close family member to enable the collection to be catalogued before it goes to Knebworth.

Cataloguing will take place in the first half of 2021 and will be hugely helpful to the new custodians.

It should be noted that the cataloguing process will take up a lot of the Keepers’ time and consequently queries and correspondence may not be answered as quickly as in the past. 

Initially cataloguing will be on Excel which is compatible with CALM into which it will be transposed on arrival.  A number of test entries will be submitted at the start to ensure that the results are as required.

The Trustees wish to express their profound and heartfelt thanks to the donor.


AMAZON SMILEDecember 2020

The Trust has announced that as a charity in good standing with the Charity Commission, The Cobbold Family History Trust is registered with AMAZON SMILE as a beneficiary of 0.5% of purchases made on AMAZON SMILE at absolutely no cost to the purchaser.


We need our archive to survive and flourish for future generations and this is a good way to help.  Thank you.  Here are the necessary instructions:

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