The Cobbs of Kent, 1260-1910

Robert Stanley Cobb

 

Introduction

 

 

In 2000, I was fortunate to be contacted by Alexander Robert Cobb; a fellow then in his 30’s and who was born and lives in England.  Alec had accidentally stumbled across my “Cobb and Cobbs” website, and felt we should get acquainted and exchange information.  Alec is the grandson of Robert Stanley Cobb (1890-1959).

 

Alec contacted me to advise that he was in the process of placing online a transcription of a family history that his grandfather had researched and printed in the late 1950’s; and he thought I might find it interesting.

 

Interesting indeed!  It was a virtual revelation!  After an exchange of correspondence and some new research, much has been revealed.  

 

Not really being a genealogical researcher himself, Alec simply felt that others might benefit by having access to his grandfather’s work.  He had not completed the project when Yahoo (in England) unexpectedly and without warning did something that made it impossible to connect to a British website.  However, enough was there to bring their family tree up to the early 1900’s. 

 

One of the smartest things I’ve ever done was to “cut and paste” Alec’s website before I lost access to it.  I have re-formatted it, and it can be found in its entirety by clicking on the links at the bottom.

 

Foreword

 

The following compiled biographical information was mostly furnished by the Royal Institute of British Architects; London, which is in my personal possession.

 

Robert (aka Robin) Stanley Cobb was born March 11, 1890; the son of Arthur S. Cobb and Margaret Ritchie Cassels.  Arthur was a banker and published author of two books on British economics. 

 

Robert began studying Architecture as early as 1907 as an apprentice in London.  Following graduation from Dulwich College, he immigrated to Argentina.  There he worked as an architectural assistant in Buenos Aires from 1911-1914, when he returned to England for military service.

 

During the First World War he served as a Captain in the Royal West Kent Regiment, and participated in the Gallipoli and Palestine campaigns before being sent to France.  During service he was severely wounded, and was awarded the Military Cross for his actions on the Somme in 1917.

 

Following the war he obtained a position in the Colonial Office and posted to Kiambu in the Central Province of Kenya.  In 1924, he was made an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects.  In 1930, he was made a full member.

 

During the Second World War he attained the rank of Major while serving with the Occupied Territories Administration in Asmara.  The end of the war found him in England; but he returned to Kenya with his family in 1945 to continue his professional career in architecture.  He designed a number of the larger post-war buildings in East Africa.

 

Partly for health reasons and to continue the education of his children, he returned to England in 1951; and retired the following year.  The last seven years of his life were spent in or near Oxford.  He became a member of the Parish Council of Kidlington and was elected to the Urban District Council.  He died April 3, 1959.

 

            Obituary; The Builder; April 10, 1959

“The death has occurred of Mr. Robert Stanley Cobb, MC, FRIBA, founder of the firm of Cobb, Archer, and Scammell, architects, of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kampala, Aden, and Dar-es-Salaam.  Among the buildings he designed in East Africa are Government House, Mombasa, and the Town Hall and Barclays Bank in Nairobi.  Mr. Cobb served with the British Administration in Eritrea as Director of Transport and Assistant Director of Public Works.  He returned to this country in 1951 and made his home in Oxford, moving later to Kidlington.  He is survived by a widow and two children.”

 

Robert Stanley Cobb was a 9th generation descendant of Henry Cobb and Pleasance Redwood; and thus a direct descendant of John Cobb of Kent (c1324).  His line of ascent is shown below. 

 

9. Robert S. Cobb (1890-1959).          Son of Arthur S. Cobb and Margaret R. Cassels.

8. Arthur S. Cobb (1857-1902).          Son of Thomas Cobb and Sarah Hutchinson.

7. Thomas Cobb (1827-1912).            Son of Capt. Thomas Cobb and Elizabeth Newbold.

6. Capt. Thomas Cobb (1796-1892).   Son of Benjamin Cobb Jr. and Jane Smith.

5. Benjamin Cobb Jr. (1753-1835).      Son of Benjamin Cobb Sr. and Catherine Grebell.

4. Benjamin Cobb Sr. (1709-1757).     Son of Robert Cobb Jr. and Katherine Curteis.

3. Robert Cobb Jr. (1672-1727).         Son of Robert Cobb Sr. and Mary Hunt.

2. Robert Cobb Sr. (1634-1676).        Son of Benjamin Cobb and Alice Knowler.

1. Benjamin Cobb (1584-1642).          Son of Henry Cobb and Pleasance Redwood.

 

From a genealogical standpoint, the great beauty of it was the fact that Robert was an educated Englishman; and professionally trained to be thorough and meticulous.  He was researching the records of his home country ... in his home country ... therefore his access to pertinent documents was unlimited.  He knew where the applicable records were and how to use them.  This was before the advent of computers and the internet, which meant that he had to personally locate and examine original prime source documents.  It is only logical that the accuracy of his research could be expected to be imminently more reliable than that of an amateur American researcher. 

 

And I am compelled to add something further.  Robert Cobb was not corrupted by the desire to earn money by selling his work.  Nor was he seeking “bragging rights” for having been the first to make his discoveries.  His only motive was to leave a legacy for his children and grandchildren.

 

I have borrowed heavily from Robert’s work, and from “The Cobbs of Tennessee” (Cully A. Cobb, Ruralist Press, Atlanta, 1968) for the information on the English generations of this Cobb family.  I have added several maps to help the reader orient himself geographically. 

 

 

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