Catherine CHAMBERS 
- Born: Cir 1732
- Marriage: Rev George DOWNING  on 17 Jul 1758 in St James Westminster London
- Died: 18 Dec 1802, Ovington ESS aged about 70
- Buried: Ovington ESS
Indenture of Lease 29 May 1758
This indenture made the twenty-ninth day of May in the thirty-first year of the reign of our sovereign Lord George II by the Grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland King defender of the faith and so forth and in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and fifty eight between Eliza Maria Chambers and Catherine Chambers both of Hackney in the County of Middlesex spinsters only daughters and co-heirs of Catherine Chambers late of Hackney aforesaid widow deceased by Nathanial Chambers Esquire her late husband also deceased of the one part and Richard Jones of Old Southampton buildings in the parish of St Andrew Holborn and said County of Middlesex gentleman of the other part Witnesseth that the said Eliza Maria Chambers and Catherine Chambers party hereto In consideration of the sum of five shillings a piece of lawful money of Great Britain to them in (illegible) by the said Richard Jones at or before the sealing and delivery of these presents the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged Have and each of them Hath bargained and sold and by these do and each of them Doth bargain and sell unto the said Richard Jones his Executors and Administrators and Assigns all that Messuages or Tenement with the Appurtenances called or known by the name of Chapmans or by what other name or names the same is or hath been called or known wherein one George Withie and since Jonathan Renose did heretofore inhabit or dwell and wherein one Simon Renose did afterward situate in Crowfield in the County of Suffolk adjoining to the Way there leading from Crowfield Green to Horsehold Way with one little piece of land being on the East or North side of the Barn belonging to the said Messuage together with certain parcels of lands with the stable Hayhouse and Reathouse and other buildings thereupon built containing by estimation 10 acres lying on the South or West side of the said Way over against the said Messuage all which Messuages and premises do lye in Crowfield aforesaid and were heretofore in the occupation of the said Simon Renose his Assignee or Assigns Undertenant or Undertenants and some part thereof was antiently (sic) holden of the Manor of Crowfield Hall in Crowfield aforesaid and also all those several Parcels of Land and pasture with the Appurtences lying in Crowfield aforesaid or elsewhere called by the several names Overtofds Nothnway Cutsland Shortland Warrens or by what name or other names the same are or have been called or known containing by estimation fforty Three Acres Situate in Crowfields aforesaid heretofore in the occupation of the said Simon Renose his Assign or Assigns Undertenant or Undertenants abutting in part up on the said Highway and adjoining in part to certain Customary and Copyhold lands heretofore ........check the original document............and others all which last mentioned premises with some part of the aforesaid parcells containing Ten Acres were sometimes holden of the said manor of Crowfields Hall by copy of Court Roll and being heretofore in the Seizure of Harbottle Wingfield Esquire Lord of the said Manor of Crowfield by lawfull Surrender to the use of him and his Heirs He the said Harbottle Wingfield did convey the same with the said Messuage and Tenement called Chapmans and part of the said Ten Acres before mentioned by ffree deed to the said Robert Higerons (sic) and his Heirs for and under a yearly rent of sixpence payable to the same Manor and all that yearly Rent Seck of Ten Shillings and sixpence formerly payable to the said Manor of Crowfield Hall which Messuage and Tenements Lands and Premises in Crowfield aforesaid Thomas Woolley Gentleman late ffather of the said Catherine Chambers the elder deceased had and purchased to him and his Heirs of and from Stevens Cole Citizen and Haberdasher of London and Sarah his wife by Indentures of Lease and Release bearing date respectively the Thirteenth and fourteenth Days of January One Thousand Six Hundred and Ninety Two by fine and other good Assurance in the Law and all other the ffreehold Messuage Hereditaments Lands Meadows Pastures ffeedings and Hereditaments of the said Eliza Maria Chambers and Catherine Chambers party hereto or either of them situate Lying and being in Crowfield or elsewhere in the said County of Suffolk and all which said premises were late in the Tenure or occupation of Robert Browne and now or late of Elizabeth Browne widow her undertenants or assigns and all Houses Outhouses Edifices Buildings Barnes Stables Yards Gardens Orchards Backsides Cutlets Ways Waters Watercourses Trees Hedges Hedgerows Wood Underwoods and the Ground and Soil of the same Commons Easements profits Commodities Advantages Emoluments Hereditaments and Appurtenances whatsoever to the said Messauge in any wise appertaining or to or with the same or any part thereof now or at any time heretofore had held reoccupyed (?) or enjoyed or accepted reputed deemed taken or known to be part parcel or member thereof or belonging thereunto and the Reversion and Reversions Remainder and remainders Rents Issues and profits thereof TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said Messuage or Tenement Lands Heredatments Rent Seck and all and singular the Premises herein before mentioned and hereby Bargained and sold or intended so to be with their and every of their Appurtences unto the said Richard Jones his Executors Administrators and Assigns from the day next before the day of the date hereof for and during and unto the full End and Term of one whole year from the next ensuing and fully to be complete and ended YIELDING and paying therefore unto the said Eliza Maria Chambers and Katherine Chambers their heirs and assigns the rent of one peppercorn only upon the last day of the said Term if Demanded to the intent nevertheless that by virtue of these presents and of the statute made for transferring of Uses into possession the said Richard Jones may be in the actual possession of all and singular the said premises and be thereby enabled to accept and take a grant and release of the reversion and inheritance thereof to him and his heirs for ever in such manner as is mentioned in and by a certain Indenture of Release Tripartite intended to bear date the day next after the day of the date of these presents and to be made between the said Eliza Maria Chambers and Catherine Chambers party hereto of the first part The said Richard Jones of the second part and George Jones of Thavies Inn Holborn London gentleman of the third part
In witness whereof the said parties to these presents have hereunto interchangeably set their hands and seals this day and year first above written
Eliza Maria Chambers
Transcribed by E L Fenn from an Indenture supplied by Brian Jenkins - 2014
Parish Church Ovington
In the churchyard, a handsome stone monument, enclosed in iron palisades, contains, on the south side, the two following inscriptions, side-by-side:
"In memory of Mrs Catherine Downing, wife of the Rev George Downing, rector of this parish; the best of wives, the best of mothers, and the best of Christians, who departed this life, December 18, 1802, aged 70."
"In memory of the Rev George Downing, A.M. 48 years rector of this parish, and the adjoining parish of Tilbury, and 30 years a Prebendary of the Cathedral Church of Ely, who departed this life 24 July, 1809, aged 81 years.
His truly Christian deportment proved his meetness for the eternal inheritance purchased for all believers by that Divine Saviour who was the supreme object of his love and adoration."
Image: Liveing Family Archive
1. Catherine Chambers: Letter to her son George, Undated.
Liveing Archive 159a-b LT13 religious exhortation to her son George, in a different quill.
My Very Dear & tenderly beloved child though I do not often see you yet are you often in my thoughts. This book I have read with great pleasure & therefore wished you likewise to read it with attention. It is the good old path he teaches, & I think you will agree with me that the old is better than the new, as it exactly agrees with The Word of God which is the only True Guide, as the poet expresses The Golden Chain let down from Heaven. And every link is love, Oh My Dear Love always remember you were not made to continue in this world, you are in a state of Banishment while you are here, Heaven is your Home, to know Praise Love & Glorify God is what you were made for, & this
World is only a wilderness through which you must pass to that World where you will know even as you are known in Praise God with all your Powers be swallowed up of Love or become Love, & Glorify God to all Eternity & do his Will (as the Angels in Heaven. What is a Man profited if he gain the Whole World & lose his own soul. Oh My tenderly beloved child let me intreat (sic) you to Pause on & Consider these Works, & let them have their weight on Your Mind. Ask Yourself how it is with you? Are you in the right path if so proceed, if not stop short for your souls sake, for a Bleeding Dying Saviours sake who loved you more than His own Life. I entreat it of you as on my knees, to give these thoughts their free & full force. Oh Eternity is awful &
important. Now is the time to prepare for it. Now is the time to flee to the Saviour of Sinners. Now is the day of Salvation, he will save you but it is a Salvation from Sin, from the guilt & power of Sin. He will Baptise you with the Holy Ghost, he has said except a Man be Born again he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. Stop not short of this if you do (it almost breaks my heart the thought of it,) what will become of you. It is your Heart only the Lord wants. My son give me thy Heart, is what He is continually saying to you & if you do Happy & Blessed will you be for Ever He will guide He will keep you He will preserve you unto His Heavenly Kingdom All He wants is to make you Happy, oh Give Him or rather let Him take, what He has
Bought with Tears & Sorrow Torture Grief & Agony Shame & Blood & and who is this that has thus Suffered for & bought you The King of Kings & Lord of Lords The Mighty God The Prince of Peace The God of Love Yield then My Dear Love to this Almighty Conqueror, & resist him not, but earnestly beg His Grace to make you willing to leave all for Him who will give you abundantly More even in this life beside Eternal happiness & Glory in the world to come. Oh do not my sweet Love slight me by not attending, or slightly attending to what I say to you, I speak from experience of 50 years & I was young as well as you, but can feel all is Vanity one thing is Needful. Defer not that I again entreat & beg of you my Sweet & beloved Child. My paper won't let me give more than assure you of My tenderest love
2. Catherine Chambers: Letter to her son George, 21 Jan 1777, Ovington.
Liveing Archive 160a-b LT13 (Image 158a is an envelope from a later date which says "Mrs Downings letters, religious exhortation dated 21 Jan 1777") This letter noted G2
Jan 21 1777
We received both your letters My Dear George duly & are very thankful to our Gracious God for His Preservation of our Dear Child, May His Merciful Eye be ever toward you & may His Favour preserve you from all Evil, when I think of you I tremble for you, you are coming into a world full of wickedness, where you will meet with a Snare in everything that surrounds you & what is worst you carry an enemy within which is ready on every occasion to Destroy [?] you, you will know I mean your own heart as it is deceitful & desperate & wicked, therefore My Dear Child, you must early commence warrior & fight against ye world the flesh & ye Devil as you know was solemnly promised for you in your baptism & of which you now are at an age soon publicly to Acknowledge yourself bound to perform. Believe me My Dear Child it is not a trifling or indifferent matter, wether you choose the Straight & Narrow path, or whether you walk in ye Broad path which leadeth to destruction where ye multitudinous go but it is of ye greatest importance both for your present as well as future Happiness. For it is truth That, that ye Ways of
Wisdom our ways of Heasantness [?] & all Her Paths are Peace I woud (sic) wish you My Dear Child to allow yourself a little time frequently at least once a week if not oftner to look back on your Self & your Conduct & thoughts your last week but be sure first to ask the Blessing & presence of your Gracious Saviour to be with you in it, & I am preforwaded [?] upon trial you will find this method very useful to you & be sure always to remember that you have an Almighty Saviour who is always ready & able to save you & Loves you more than you can conceive, In this Love My Dear George is my confidence for you & on it I depend & trust as I feel the tenderness of my own Heart for you & know how Exquisite it is, & that He has more Love to a poor soul than all the Mothers joined in one, therefore never wrong or grieve that Love by doubting of it or mistrusting it My Dear Love I did not think of writing so much on this subject but take my thoughts as they . . . . . & are dictated from ye ardent wishes of my soul for your welfare we were at Hedingham on Friday & found both your aunt and (sister?) Better but I think it is likely Fanny [?] may add a line Master Stuart went you know to school on Monday Sam went with him they got to Bury by two o'clock & found there was a mistake that ye school did not begin till the next Monday, Master Charlie begged of Sam to let him return, but he could not prevail so poor thing he was forced to be content, Mrs Piper is excessively angry with Sam & I believe Mr Stuart not best pleased, however he did not send ye next day for him which he might have done. Kitty desires much love to you Master Briant is gone to Witham School today there's news for you, Master Petits are there it was Mrs Moss & Mr & Mrs English prevailed. I have only now room to assure My Dear Boy I am his most affectionate Mother C. D.
3. Catherine Chambers: Letter to her son George, 22 Aug 1795, Ovington.
Liveing Archive 162a-b LT13 (Image 158a is an envelope from a later date which says "Mrs D to her son George 22 Aug 1795")
I take up my pen with great Pleasure to thank My Very Dear Son & Daughter, for all then Love & affectionate attentions to me while under their roof, indeed I feel very thankful for the great mercy of our Gracious Lord for settling them in the Manner he has & most earnestly beseech our Gracious Lord to Bless them in their basket [?] & in their Store, to Bless them in their Bodies & especially in the Souls may the Blessing of God rest on them & their House & all belonging to them that they may Fear & Love God, & each other, to His Care Guidance & protection I trust & commit them.
I hope My Dear Girls received their Sisters letter safe on Saturday I know it will give all My Dear Children pleasure to hear that both their Father Mother & Sister are purely & feel much Love to therefore absent Darlings, the Post man is unexpectedly come, so you must excuse my sending more White Paper than I wish or intend it, but you must accept ye will for ye deed, we had a smart Thunder storm yesterday evening
all here as Dear Maria left them much Love & every tender wish attends Dear C & M: accept my two Dear Loves much tender affection yourselves, in which unites Your Dearest Father & Sister Frances, pray give our kind regards to Miss A & and believe me very truly
Your most tenderly
Ovington Aug ye 22d 1795.
4. Catherine Chambers & Frances Elizabeth Downing (her daughter): Letter to her daughter (and sister) Catherine re baptism of Catherine Mary Downing, 13 May 1798, Hatton Garden London.
Liveing Archive 161a-b LT13
Image 158a is an envelope from a later date which says "Mrs D & FED to Catherine describing christening of C M Downing Hatton Garden May 13 1798" This leter defaced with part disconnected paragraphs. Interesting description of the food at a Christening dinner.
May 13, 1798
A very acceptable & welcome Letter is this moment come to hand from my precious Sisters & our Dear Father and Mother desire me to tell them it came in the exact time oh what mercies are bestowed upon us! indeed my dear Catherine the ..hospect [?] of the two past years calls forth gratitude & praise to our gracious God, & I am able to conform the same good account the two last letters have transmitted. I must not let this letter go without one line to my Sweet Children to thank them for their truly welcome letters & to tell them I love them very tenderly. Your dear sister will tell you all particulars I will only tell you that your niece is a sweet babe; & that ye Dear Father Mrs Alston Mrs G & myself went on Friday to Kensington to see Mrs Johnson, & appointed ye to dine here next Tuesday Pray remember us properly & kindly to all our Friends by Name. I trust my sweet Loves think of me, & obey my desires in the injunctions I gave them. May my much Loved Catherine & Marie be ever preserved & Blessed abundantly so earnestly wishes & praise their ever affectionate Mother C. D.
Most gladly did I give the pen into the hands of our precious Mother knowing well how pleasant it would be to see her writing, I seem to have so much to say I know not where to begin but as Saturday last was the most interesting day to us all, that shall have the first place
at two o'clock came Mr B as he said he would, to drink chocolate with the ladies, at three Grand Mama D & Mr B in his chariot - Grand Papa, with Mrs Alston & the two aunts in a Hackney Coach proceeded to church Papa walking on foot, we all sat in the pew next to that which belongs to Mr Barton.
+My pretty Dears, I cannot forbear snatching this out of your dear sisters hands, just to say, how heartily I love you, how sincerely I pray for your welfare, temporal and spiritual, and how earnestly I long to see you. God bless & preserve you both, now & ever.+
if you recollect it, we arrived a little before prayers, which were read by Mr Watkins, nearly in the middle of which the precious infant arrived in a Sedan Chair with the Nurse but we did not see her pretty face till we went down the middle aisle to the Font & all entering within the Rails my dearest Father taking the book began the Baptismal Service & went through much better than we all expected though it affected him greatly but indeed my loves my eyes never beheld so interesting a spectacle as that of our dear Father with his Infant Grand child in his arms I was forced to muster up all my resolution, while he was thus presenting the unconscious Babe in the Temple smiling in his face [?] your own minds will anticipate the thoughts which occupied my mind, & your heartfelt prayers I know joined ours for this new member of that Dear Family which may God ever bless, she seems so much a part of us that I sometimes think I can't not feel more if I had had a child of my own, but as you have
not yet seen the dear love, you will perhaps call me a doting aunt & so I will quit the subject tell you do, she is a Downing all over indeed she is, but to return - after the service was ended (& a very solemn one it appeared to me) we all returned in the order as before observed, I should hear mentioned that little Miss was attended by two footman [?] as soon as we came in we had the pleasure of passing her in the dining room for a short time & of hearing the praises of her beauty from two of the Company who by this time were arrived. Mr Broughton Mr Noyle who with Mr Baldwin were the only company every body seemed in good humour & pleasant, dinner between four and five at top Haddocks bottom leg of lamb boiled & loyn fryed, Harrico [?] mutton, fryed kidneys, patties, little puddings, garden stuff & with sweetmeats in brittle with the Epergne [?] second course Boiled pidgeon at top roast turkey at bottom, asparagus, brocoli, jelly, blancmange, cheescakes & puffs.
(In a different quill & hand?) Just here the Lady called me off to dress her [?] to go with .... page cut off.
(Top page 1)
To Mr Andrews yesterday morning, evening to Long Acre Mr Cecil preached. Sis I believe I did not say can't not go [?] either Sat or yesterday because of weather [?] The James Shlos in Town and are to be today in St James Square
5. Catherine Chambers: Letter to her son George and daughter-in-law Mary Alston in London, 14 Aug 1799, Aldborough (Probably Norfolk).
Liveing Archive 158 b-c LT13
Image 158a is an envelope from a later date which says "Mrs D to GD & wife dated Aldborough Aug 1799"
Letter defaced. G5
Once more I take up my pen to thank My Very Dear & much loved Children for all their tenderness & Letters, & for their kindness & affection towards My Dear Catherine while under their Hospitable roof. I have great reason for thankfulness to Our Good & Gracious God for his great mercies towards me, join me My Dear Loves in Praising the Lord for His Goodness towards me & all his great goodness oh that we might Love & Praise Him with our whole Hearts. Your Dear Father is thank God much benefited by the journey & Air, he rode on horseback last Saturday for the first time since October last, & yesterday he rode between 14 & 15 miles without being fatigued, everybody says he looks vastly well & excepting infirmities which must be expected. He is thank God purely. You are very good my Dear Loves in your very kind invitation & we purpose please God to accept it, as I must say we long much to see Our Sweet Kate papa & mama are not you are sure without attractions. Your Dear Father purposes staying a month longer hear, & then we shall go altogether to Ipswich, from Which Pl, Francis & Catherine attended by Thomas, will go to Ovington, while my Dear Mr D Maria & self shall pursue the London Road, I pray God send us a good journey & happy meeting with our beloved children & now I have a favour to ask of you My Dear Daughter which is occasion by a letter my dear Frances received from Mrs Bridges Yesterday recommending a cook to us it is to beg
...................... 14 years, & gives her a high Character as Cook & servant you know we only keep two women servants & the Household work lies wholly on the cook ye other Maid, sweeps & dusts ye Chambers & helps make ye beds we put our washing out. She must understand making Bread. I take for granted she has had the Small Pox. Now for wages hours is 6 pounds but we always pay in guineas & what Vails [?] there is they have but no kitchen stuff now where she a very extraordinary person we might advance a little but you will be so kind to enquire what her terms are & every particular that occurs to you & favour me with the Account, I make no Apology as I know my Dear Daughter Mary is always willing to assist her old Mother we shall not want her till about Michaelmas. Kiss Dear Little Catherine Mary on both sides of her face for me may every Blessing attend the Sweet Love, but do not make an Idol of her, neither of you I charge you but remember she is God's gift to You, & reason will tell you that you should love the Giver more than the Gift. Your Dearest Father unites in hearty Love to you all, your sisters likewise send a very affectionate Love, except from me all you can wish for
Your truly Affectionate Mother
Yesterday was the day fixed for the Dear Amiable Lydia Downing Bowles to give her hand to Mr James Fripp, I am sure you will join us in wishing them all happiness
6. Catherine Chambers: Letter to a friend, Jan 1801.
Liveing Archive 149a-b LT13
A copy transcribed by her daughter Maria Knottesford nee Downing
Transcribed from a letter written by my excellent mother to a friend in January 1801 two or three months after the departure of her only son my brother George Downing.
. . . . . Sure I was that you would feel for us under the late trying dispensation of Providence „ sharp indeed it is, but blessed be our God who supported us under it and made us submissive to his holy will, giving us a deep sense that it was his hand who is only wise and merciful and to whom it becomes us to submit with silent resignation.
Our very tenderly beloved George was the joy of our eyes and the pride of our hearts but as his heavenly Father saw fit to remove him from this veil of sorrow and sin, our grief
is only selfish on his account as we have just reason to trust, he is now unspeakably happy What could my most tender maternal feelings wish for him more than what he is now enjoying He is not lost but shall be raised in a more perfect and glorified Body. Why then should I murmur under the anguish my heart sometimes feels for the loss of such a Son?
No, I will bless my God for all his goodness to such an unworthy creature as I am and more truly desire to praise him more in love him better . . . . .
7. Gentleman's Magazine: Transcription of an article on death of Catherine, 18 Dec 1802.
Liveing Archive 150a-b LT13
At the College at Ely, died, the wife of the Rev George Downing, Prebendary of that Cathedral.
This most excellent woman was, both in life and death, a bright example of the blessed effects of true Christianity, and will be long and deeply lamented by her affectionate and afflicted family and friends.
Catherine the deeply lamented wife of the Rev George Downing, Prebendary of Ely, and the tender and pious mother of five children, two of whom only have the misfortune to survive her, died at his prebendal home.
Her constitution habitually frail, sunk under the pressure of severe domestic trials; but to adopt the language of a late able writer, Mrs Downing "with the weakness of a woman had all the fortitude of a man, I mean a Christian".
After having mourned the dissolution of some of the nearest ties which can bind the human heart to earth, Mrs Downing's maternal tenderness was powerfully awakened by the almost sudden death of her beloved and only son, who fell a sacrifice to his active exertions, towards quelling the scandalous riots of September 1800; and this heavy affliction was followed by another equally so, the loss of an amiable and beloved daughter, whom grief for the death of her brother, brought to an early grave in July 1802, at Clifton near Bristol, where she had been sent for the recovery of her health.
Catherine married Rev George DOWNING  [MRIN: 78], son of Dickson DOWNING  and Bridget BALDWIN , on 17 Jul 1758 in St James Westminster London. (Rev George DOWNING  was born about 1727, died on 24 Jul 1809 and was buried in Ovington ESS.)