COBBOLD, Felix Thornley

1841 - 1909

Felix Thornley Cobbold

Felix Thornley Cobbold was born at Holywells Mansion, Ipswich on 8 September 1841, the eleventh child and youngest son of John Chevallier Cobbold (24 August 1797–6 October 1882), brewer, and his wife, Lucy Patteson (17 September 1800-1 May 1879), youngest daughter of the late Revd Henry Patteson of Drinkstone, Suffolk, who married at Wortham, Suffolk on 14 May 1827. Felix was a King’s Scholar at Eton, matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford, took a B.A. and M.A. at King’s College, Cambridge where he was sometime second bursar and a Senior Fellow, a position he retained for life. He was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn but practised only briefly, before returning to King’s College in 1871 as bursar. In 1876, following the untimely death of his elder brother John Patteson Cobbold (1831-1875), Felix was persuaded by his father to return to Suffolk to take up his interest in the family businesses, including Cobbold & Co., brewers and merchants, and when another brother, Nathaniel Fromanteel Cobbold (1839-1886) died, Felix Thornley assumed his interests in Bacon, Cobbold & Co., bankers (now Lloyds Bank plc) on Cornhill, Ipswich. Felix became extremely wealthy, and in common with his forbears, used his wealth generously to benefit the community. He donated land for St Clement’s Baths; a clock and carillon for St Clement’s Church and forty-five acres of Gippeswyk Park plus cash for fencing the park. In 1891, he was living at The Lodge, Maybush Lane, Felixstowe, now known as Cobbold's Point. In 1894 he purchased Christ Church Mansion from the Ipswich Building Company, which it had proposed to demolish it for further redevelopment and presented it to the Borough of Ipswich to establish a Museum and Art Gallery, and in his will left a further £20,000 in Ipswich Stock, the interest of £600 per year accruing therefrom to be used for the purchase of artworks. In 1885, he was returned as Liberal Member of Parliament for Stowmarket with a substantial majority but disagreed with Gladstone over Home Rule and did not stand for re-election the following year, and in 1900 contested Woodbridge as an opponent of the Boer war but lost. However, five years later he was again returned to Parliament as Member for Ipswich with a huge majority and continued his parliamentary work right up until his death at Whitehall Court, London, on 6 December 1909, he was unmarried. President and listed as a member of the Ipswich Fine Art Club in 1909 but did not exhibit.