Dr Edgar Sterling COBBOLD D.Sc FGS

Born1851 St Albans
Died1936 Church Stretton, Shropshire
FatherDr Rowland Townshend COBBOLD MRCS (1821 – 1895)
MotherSarah Frances WESTHORP (1817 – 1891)
OccupationExpert Amateur Shropshire Geologist

Biography and Notes

Edgar's mother's diary records his birth at 25 minutes to 10 on the evening of 7th.April 1851 in St. Albans. He was the eldest son of Rowland Townshend Cobbold a surgeon who was at great pains to interest his children in the love and knowledge of birds, beasts and flowers and probably of stones and fossils.

Though Geology was to become his all consuming interest, his professional education was that of an engineer at Owen's College where he won a scholarship in 1871 and gained his certificate in 1872 following schooling at Brentwood, Uppingham and Tonbridge. Owens later became part of University of Manchester and to recognise Edgar's distinguished work it conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Science in 1930 as part of it's jubilee celebrations.

Edgar Sterling Cobbold arrived in Church Stretton in 1886 and for the next 50 years he immersed himself in the rock formations of Shropshire with particular emphasis on the Cambrian rocks of the Wrekin and Caradoc areas and the fossils preserved therein. He found himself well equipped for the work as he had a good knowledge of foreign languages for comparison purposes and he was a good photographer and artist for recording purposes.

His discoveries lead to frequent publications and to huge collections of specimens which went to the British Museum, the Sedgwick in Cambridge and the Geological Survey in Kensington. His home, with his dining room lined entirely with specimen cabinets became a home away from home for Geology students from all over the world. His related interests included Archaeology, especially pre Roman and Saxon antiquities which he recorded in Volume III of "Church Stretton" in addition to his contribution to Volume I on Geology.

He was keenly interested in his town and edited all nine editions of "Church Stretton Illustrated" between 1891 and 1933 which included many of his own photographs. He married his first cousin Alice Shorting in 1873 and despite her being an invalid for many years they travelled widely in Europe. Edgar recovered only slowly from her death in 1925 after 50 years together but he had always been a vigorous and energetic person. He celebrated his 80th.birthday with the London Geologists' Association and was out collecting samples a week before he died on 20th. November 1936.

Note: The Cobbold FHT has copies of most of his published work.

Anthony Cobbold 2006

Life Events

1873Married Alice Frances SHORTING
1891Death of mother Sarah Frances WESTHORP
1895Death of father Dr Rowland Townshend COBBOLD MRCS

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