Show ContentsCobham History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the name Cobham date back to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from their residence in Cobham Kent, a village and civil parish in the Gravesham District that dates back to before the Norman Conquest. The first record of the village was in 939 where it was listed as Cobba hammes mearce.

Cobham, Surrey was established later as the first record of the village in the Borough of Elmbridge was in the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was listed as Covenham. Both places have the same origin as in "enclosure or homestead of a man called Cobba," having derived from the Old English personal name + hamm or ham. [1]

Early Origins of the Cobham family

The surname Cobham was first found in Kent where Henry de Cobham, 1st Baron Cobham (c. 1260-1339) was the oldest Baron of Cobham created in 1313. His father John de Cobham of Cobham, Kent, and of Cowling or Cooling, Kent (died c. 1300) was Sheriff of Kent, Constable of Rochester and Chief Baron of the Exchequer. This line would carry on until 1951 when Robert Disney Leith Alexander, 16th Baron Cobham died. However, there were three other creations of the Barons of Cobham at similar times located in Runham, Sterborough and again in Kent. About the same time, Thomas Cobham was Archbishop of Canterbury-elect in 1313 and later Bishop of Worcester.

Further south and west in Cornwall, "the manor of Whitstone, to the house of which, according to Mr. Whitaker, the parish is indebted for its name, belonged at the time when Doomsday Survey was taken, to the Earl of Moreton, and was one of the 288 manors which he enjoyed from the bounty of the Conqueror. At a subsequent period it belonged to the family of Cobham." [2]

Early History of the Cobham family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cobham research. Another 89 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1313, 1260, 1339, 1307, 1408, 1381, 1332, 1398, 1700 and 1760 are included under the topic Early Cobham History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cobham Spelling Variations

Cobham has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Many variations of the name Cobham have been found, including Cobham, Cobbam, Cobban and others.

Early Notables of the Cobham family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Henry de Cobham, 1st Baron Cobham, (1260-1339), Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports in 1307, He also held the titles of Sheriff of Kent, Constable of Canterbury, Tonbridge, Dover and Rochester Castles, all in Kent; and John de Cobham, 3rd Baron Cobham (d. 1408), son of John de Cobham, 2nd Baron Cobham and Joan de Beauchamp, given a licence to crenellate by Richard II in 1381 and built...
Another 75 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cobham Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Cobham migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Cobhams to arrive on North American shores:

Cobham Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Cobham, who arrived in Maryland in 1662 [3]
  • Ellijah Cobham, who landed in Maryland in 1682 [3]
Cobham Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Cobham, who settled in New Hampshire in 1718
  • Robert Cobham, who settled in Philadelphia in 1774
Cobham Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Ashworth Cobham, who arrived in New York, NY in 1835 [3]

West Indies Cobham migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [4]
Cobham Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Nathaniell Cobham, (b. 1617), aged 17, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Hopewell" arriving in Barbados on 17th February 1634 [3]
  • Mary Cobham who settled in Barbados with servants in 1680
  • Walter Cobham, aged 29, who landed in Barbados in 1683 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Cobham (post 1700) +

  • Billy Cobham (b. 1944), Panama-born, American jazz musician, former trumpeter Miles Davis
  • Captain Eric Cobham, English pirate in the early 18th century from Poole, England who with his wife Maria Lindsay from Plymouth emigrated to Sandy Point, Newfoundland around 1740 to establish a base for their criminal efforts; they were so successful that they later moved to LeHavre, France as wealthy landowners
  • Sir Alan John Cobham KBE, AFC (1894-1973), English aviation pioneer, founder of Cobham plc, a British manufacturing company in 1934
  • David Cobham (1930-2018), British International Emmy and BAFTA Award winning film and TV producer and director
  • Ven. John Cobham, Archdeacon of Durham
  • Ebenezer Cobham Brewer (1810-1897), English author, lexicographer, and scholar, best known as the compiler of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

The Cobham Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Concordia
Motto Translation: Concord.

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  3. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
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