Charles Herbert Cobb moved from Grimston to Crimplesham to continue working for Frank Birch as his gardener when Birch moved there with his family.


The Birch family were quite illustrious. Francis Mildred Birch, known as Frank, was born in Hanover Square in London. His father was John William Birch who was governor of the Bank of England from 1879 until 1881. Frank married his first cousin Constance Julia Birch in 1907 thereby transforming his [deceased] uncle into his father in law! This gentleman was Henry Mildred Birch who at one time was the canon of Manchester. Frank and Constance married in the borough of Westminster in 1907 and two or three years later moved to The Paddocks in Grimston. This was a fifteen room property, which was just as well as the couple employed a nurse, a cook, a housemaid, a ladies maid and a nursery maid – all of whom lived on the premises – in order to look after themselves and their young daughter Ruby, who was born in 1909.  Next door was Charles Cobb’s son Charles Herbert who was their gardener. Frank, who was a justice of the peace, was the parish clerk at Grimston for several years.

Before her marriage Constance and her mother and brother lived at Watlington Hall and shortly after her marriage she and her husband moved from Grimston to nearby Crimplesham Hall.

Constance died in 1952 and the estate was left to her daughter Ruby and her husband Stephen John Pope.

Charles Cobb became Head Gardener at Crimplesham Hall.



Miss Ruby Birch and Charles Cobb by the lake



Charles Cobb eventually bought 40 acres of Crimplesham Hall Estate. This is the impression he gave to his immediate family, but his cousins were under the impression that the property had been bequeathed to him. Rumours at the time suggest that he won some money on the Football Pools and was able to acquire part of the property at an attractive price, at the wish of the surviving Ruby Birch. He gradually sold parts of it off, retaining his cottage which had originally been two cottages. He later sold another strip of land from the edge of the estate which had council houses built on it a few years later.

The Taylor family from Wisbech bought the main house and 5 acres of grounds from Charles Cobb. He was in the process of selling off its fixtures and fittings. That was 1953.