The family brewery was founded in Harwich in 1723 by John's grandfather Thomas Cobbold (1680-1752).
Thomas soon discovered that the water in Harwich was too brackish so in 1727 he started shipping clear spring water down the Orwell by barge from the 'Holy Wells'. The business prospered to the extent that in 1746 he decided to move his family and the brewery to a site on the Cliff above the Orwell at Holy Wells. There has been a Cliff Brewery in Ipswich ever since.
The founder died shortly afterwards and his son another Thomas Cobbold (1708-1767) took over. The business still flourished but 'young' Thomas died only 15 years after his father and John, the 3rd generation found himself at the helm when only 22 years old. He had been educated at Greenwich and he turned out to be a natural businessman. His granddaughter, Emily Caroline remembers him having fair hair and blue eyes. Contemporary portraits suggest he was a well-built man. He had inherited property in Harwich and Dovercourt and the prosperity of the business provided him with an enviable lifestyle.
He married Elizabeth Wilkinson (1753-1790) in 1773 and she bore him 15 children in 17 years before, unsurprisingly dying. Another Elizabeth, this time Clarke nee Knipe (1764-1824) was his second wife who gave him another 7 children in 8 years. With his large philoprogenitive capacity satisfied he turned his attention to banking. Bacon,Cobbold,Rodwell,Dunningham,Cobbold & Co. received a substantial injection of cash from the brewery business which allowed it to survive the 1825 banking crisis and build a profitable banking business which was to trade for another 80 years.
His big family raised, his new house built, his duties as a Magistrate completed and his businesses prosperous he died in 1835 at the age of 90. He was certainly entitled to feel that his life was a job well done.
Anthony Cobbold 2006
Recently we have taken to calling him 'Big John' (which is a pretty accurate description) to distinguish him from his 6 John Cobbold descendants.
|1767||Death of father Thomas COBBOLD|
|1773||Married Elizabeth WILKINSON|
|1774||Birth of son John Wilkinson COBBOLD JP DL|
|1775||Birth of son Captain James COBBOLD|
|1776||Birth of daughter Elizabeth COBBOLD|
|1777||Death of mother Sarah COBBOLL|
|1778||Birth of daughter Sarah COBBOLD|
|1779||Birth of daughter Maria COBBOLD|
|1780||Birth of son Thomas COBBOLD|
|1781||Birth of daughter Mary COBBOLD|
|1781||Death of daughter Mary COBBOLD|
|1783||Birth of daughter Mary COBBOLD|
|1784||Birth of son William COBBOLD|
|1784||Birth of daughter Anne COBBOLD|
|1785||Birth of daughter Harriet COBBOLD|
|1786||Birth of son George COBBOLD|
|1787||Birth of daughter Sophia COBBOLD|
|1788||Birth of son Henry Gallant COBBOLD|
|1789||Birth of son Frederick COBBOLD|
|1790||Death of wife Elizabeth WILKINSON|
|1791||Married Elizabeth KNIPE in St Clements, Ipswich|
|1792||Birth of son Robert Knipe COBBOLD|
|1793||Birth of son Charles COBBOLD|
|1794||Birth of son Rowland COBBOLD|
|1796||Birth of son Francis COBBOLD|
|1797||Birth of son Rev. Richard COBBOLD|
|1798||Birth of son Reverend Edward COBBOLD|
|1799||Death of son Henry Gallant COBBOLD|
|1800||Birth of daughter Frances Catherine COBBOLD|
|1802||Death of daughter Maria COBBOLD|
|1802||Death of son Francis COBBOLD|
|1804||Death of son Rowland COBBOLD|
|1806||Death of daughter Anne COBBOLD|
|1806||Death of daughter Frances Catherine COBBOLD|
|1824||Death of wife Elizabeth KNIPE|
|1826||Death of son William COBBOLD|
|1832||Death of daughter Sophia COBBOLD|