Lady Evelyn Murray Cobbold (1867-1963), Holywells Mansion, Holywells Park
Following her marriage to John Dupuis Cobbold in 1891, Lady Evelyn lived at Holywells Mansion. They were the last of the Cobbold family to own the mansion. Lady Evelyn was an early convert to Islam, having spent much of her childhood in Algiers and Cairo. She spoke Arabic and at some point took the name of Zainab. In 1933 at the age of 66, she was the first British woman to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. She told of her experience in a book ‘Pilgrimage to Mecca', published in 1934.
She was a fearless traveller and two other travel journals ‘Wayfarers in the Libyan Desert' (1912) and ‘Kenya: Land of Illusion' (1935) have also been published.
Lady Evelyn separated from her husband and went to live in Scotland, where she lived an outdoors life. She remained a Muslim and following her death, she was buried according to Islamic tradition, her face turned towards Mecca and her funeral prayer said in Arabic.
Sources: The Cobbold Family History Trust