Cobb Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History


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Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, by Rembrandt

This baptismal surname means “the son of Jacob, derives from the nickname Cob or Cop, and includes the following spelling variants: Cobb, Cobbe, Cobson, and Copson. Another author claims it’s a locational surname meaning a harbor, as the Cobb of Lyme-Regis in Dorset, England. Foreign equivalents include Old Norse and Icelandic (Kobbi), Swedish (Kobbs, Cobel), Dutch (Kop), and German (Kobe, Kober, Kobitz, Kop). Another author notes it comes from the Middle English personal name Cobbe or Cobba, recorded in Cornwall in 1201 AD, from the Old Norse Kobbi, and means a “lump”, which denotes a large man. The personal name Jacob, a biblical name, is from the Hebrew name Yaakov.

In his book, Patronymica Britannica, Mark Antony Lower writes the following on the surname Cobb: “There is perhaps no monosyllable in any language that has so many distinct meanings as cob. It may he thought curious to enumerate them. As a VERB, it signifies, 1) to strike; 2) to pull the ear or hair; 3) to throw; and 4) to outdo. As a noun, it stands for—5) a seed basket; 6) the material of mud walls; 7)  a hay-stack of small dimensions; 8) clover seed; 9) an Hiberno-Spanish coin; 10)  a lump or piece; 11, a sea-gull; 12) the fish called the miller’s thumb; 13) a harbor, as the Cobb of Lyme-Regis ; 14) a young herring; 15) a leader or chief; 16) a wealthy or influential person; 17) a small horse; 18) a spider (whence cob-web); 19)  the bird called a shoveller”. He also mentions it has many compounds:  cob-castle, a prison; cobcoals, large pit-coals; cob-irons, andirons; cob-joe, a nut at the end of a string; cob-key, a bastinado used among sailors ; cobloaf, a loaf of peculiar form; cob-nut, a well-known dessert fruit—also a game played with it; cob-poke, a bag carried by gleaners ; cob-stones, large stones; cobswan, a very large swan ; cob-wall, a wall composed of clay and straw. In addition to the harbor theory discussed in the preceding paragraph, he offers three other origins: 1) from the fish or bird of the same name, 2) a chief or leader, or 3) a wealthy or influential person.

Early notables with this name include Cobbus Faber, recorded in the Pipe Roll during the reign of King Henry II, as well as Richard Cobbe (Cambridge) and Robert Cobbe (Oxford), who were recorded in the Hundred Rolls of 1273 AD. Also recorded, in the Poll Tax of Yorkshire in 1379 AD, was one Thomas Cobson.  A Leuricus Cobbe is recorded in the Domesday Book of Suffolk, likely a Saxon. Early marriages involving this last name include William Cobson to Jane Pritchett at St. James Clerkenwell in 1675 and George Cobb to Frances Letchford in St. George’s Hanover Square in 1788.

Early settlers to the New World bearing this surname include Nicholas Cobb (came to St. Christopher in from London on September 1635), Joseph Cobb (in the Treasoror 1613), Elizabeth Cobb (in the Bone Bes in 1623), Henry Cobb (Plymouth in 1623), and Henry Cobb (Massachusetts in 1644). Later immigrants oinclude Whifeild and Winnfield Cobb (Virginia in 1714), and William Cobb (Georgia in 1775). Henry Cobb, of Barnstable, was one of the first settlers of Plymouth and one of the founders of the church created there in 1635. He married Patience Hurst, and had many children: John, James, Mary, Hannah, Patience, Gershom, and Eleazer. His second wife was Sarah Hinckley and they also had several children: Mehitable, Samuel, Jonathan, Sara, Henry, Mehitable, and Experience. He was representative to the General Court. John Cobb, also of Plymouth, married Martha Nelson in 1658 and had the following children: John, Samuel, Israel, Elizabeth, Elisha, and James. A one Augustine Cobb, of Taunton, Massachusetts, had the following children: Elizabeth (1671), Morgan (1673), Samuel (1675), Bethia (1678), Mercy (1680), and Abigail (1684).

Newbridge House

Bernard Burke’s book. The Landed, Gentry, mentions one branch of this family: Cobbe of Newbridge House. The first notable mentioned is Charrles Cobbe of Newbridge House in county Dublin, who was High Sheriff of the city. He was born in 1811 and married Louisa Caroline, the daughter of George Frederick Burke. The lineage traces back to William Cobbe, or Steventon and Hants, who was estimated to have been born in 1450 AD. He married Amy Barnes and had a son named Thomas Cobbe (born 1510). Thomas married Agnes Hunt and had Richard Cobbe (who was Fellow and Vice-President of Corpus Christi College) and also two other shildren. He also had issue with his first wife, Margaret Beronshaw. They had Michael Cobbe (born 1547) or Swaraton, who married Elizabeth Welborne and had a son named Thomas Cobbe (born 1574), who was captain of a foot company in 1634. Thomas married Catherine Owen, and had a son named Michael, as well as a son named Richard Cobbe (born in 1607). Richard married Honor Norton of Rotherfield, and with her had Thomas Cobbe, who was Governor of the Isle of Man, and he married Veriana Chaloner.

The family motto is in sanguine vita, meaning “life in the blood”.

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Charles Cobbe
Charles Cobbe (1686–1765)

1) (Bedfordshire). Gu. a chev. wavy betw. three fishes naiant ar. on a chief of the last two shovellers sa. beaked and legged or.
2) Same Arms, with three shovellers in chief. Crest—A shoveller sa. beaked and legged or.
3) (Cobb’s Court, co. Kent, temp. Edward II. and Aldington, same county). (New Romney; descended from Benjamin Cobb, Esq., of that place, who was second son of Robert Cobb, son of Robert Cobb, of Reculver). (Reculver, co. Kent). Ar. a chev. betw. three cocks gu. combs and wattles or. Crest—Out of a ducal coronet or, a demi leopard ramp. ppr.
4) (Snettisham). Per chev. sa. and ar. in chief two seacobs respecting each other, and in base a herring naiant or.
5) (Adderbury, co. Oxford; William Cobb, of Sandringham, co. Norfolk, living 17 Richard II., 1393, his descendant. Sir William Cobb, Knt., was of Adderbury, 1634. Visit. Oxon). Sa. a chev. betw. three fishes naiant. ar. a chief or. Crest—An elephant pass. or. Motto—Virtutis stemmata.
6) (Oxfordshire). Per chev. gu. and sa. in chief two shovellers, and in base a fish naiant ar. Crest—An elephant pass. or.
7) (monument of Susan, wife of Edmund Cobb, of Snettisham, ob. 1733. Visit. Oxon). Sa. two swans in chief ppr. respecting each other, and in base a herring naiant or.
8) (Yarmouth). Per chev. gu. and sa. in chief two ducks respectant and in base a herring naiant ar. Crest—A duck’s head erased or, holding in its beak a herring cob ar.
9) (Peterbridge, Burnham-Norton, co. Norfolk). Per chev. gu. and sa. two swans in chief and in base a fish or. Crest—A swan’s head or, holding in the beak a fish ar.
10) (or Cobbis). (Norfolk). Per chev. gu. and sa. in chief two teals ar. in base a fish or.
11) (Adderbury, co. Oxford, and Sandringham, co. Norfolk, bart., extinct 1762). Sa. a chev. betw. three dolphins embowed naiant ar. a chief or. Crest—An elephant or.
12) (Wisbeach). Gu. a chev. sa. in chief two ducks respectant, in base a fish naiant ar.
13) (Ulster’s Office). Per chev. gu. and ar. in chief two teal respecting each other and in base a salmon naiant all counterchanged.
14) (Swaraton, Hants, confirmed by Cooke, Clarenceux, to Thomas Cobbe, Esq., of Swaraton, as “the armes of his auncestors.” Visit. Hants, 1575). Gu. a fess or, in chief two swans close ar. Crest—Out of a ducal coronet or, a pelican’s head ar. vulning herself gu.
15) (confirmed to Charles Cobbe, Esq., Newbridge, co. Dublin, great grandson of Charles Cobbe, Archbishop of Dublin, a younger son of Thomas Cobbe, Esq., of Northington, Hants, of the Swaraton line). Gu. a fesse ar. in chief two swans of the last. Crest—Out of a ducal coronet gu. a pelican’s head and neck vulning itself ppr. Mottoes— Moriens cano; (above the crest) in sanguine vita.
16) (quartered by Prowz, of Chagford, co. Devon. Visit. 1520). Per chev. gu. and sa. two shovellers in chief ar. and a fish naiant in base or.
17) (Bury, co. Suffolk). Ar. a chev. betw. three cocks gu.

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