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Dickson DOWNING [510]
(Cir 1701-1745)
Bridget BALDWIN [511]
Nathaniel CHAMBERS [9397]
(Cir 1689-1755)
Catherine WOOLLEY [9398]
(Cir 1694-1758)
Rev George DOWNING [508]
(Abt 1727-1809)
Catherine CHAMBERS [509]
(Cir 1732-1802)

George DOWNING [96]


Family Links

Mary ALSTON [91]

George DOWNING [96]

  • Born: 25 Dec 1762, London
  • Baptised: 2 Feb 1763, St Andrew Holborn London
  • Marriage: Mary ALSTON [91] on 27 Jan 1795 in Nayland SFK
  • Died: 9 Oct 1800 at age 37
  • Buried: St Paul Covent Garden

bullet  General Notes:

George Downing of Lincoln's Inn was a barrister, called to the Bar 10 Oct 1794. Portrait and memoir in European Magazine Vol 39 pg 83 Feb 1801 Portrait in Gents Magazine and Freemasons Pocket Book. Provincial Grand Master for Essex (Freemasons). Senior Lieutenant Light Horse Volunteers.
There is a monument to him in St. Paul's, Covent Garden.

George Downing was born on 25 December 1762 in London, the son of Reverend George Downing, Rector of Ovington, Essex. He attended Doctor Parr's School at Stanmore, Middlesex and after finishing his education, he was articled to Mr. Alston, a solicitor at Nayland, Essex. He was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn, London in 1794. He became a Senior Lieutenant in the London Light Horse Volunteers. As a pastime he wrote Greek verse, some of which were published anonymously.

12 July 1786
I delivered to Mrs Hart of Boxford a mortgage bearing date the 29th day of May 1781 and made between Mrs Hart of the 1st part Sam Ware & E Gray of the 2nd part and Jne Hart decd of the 3rd part also bond bearing date 31 May 1781 from Mrs Ware to Mr Hart deceased also Indre of lease and release bearing date 11th and 12th instant the release being made between E Gray of the 1st part and Mrs Hart of the 2nd part an M Ware of the 3rd and E Taylor of the 4th also lease for year bearing date 11th inst from Miss Taylor to Mrs Hart and a bond from Mrs Hart to Miss Taylor for payment of 200 to Mrs Harts two daughters pursuant to Mr Wares Will.
George Downing Jr
From an entry in the Diary of the Alston Law practice Nayland, document in Pictures file.

He was initiated in Somerset House Lodge, No. 2, London (now Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge, No. 4), in 1793. In 1799 he was appointed a Grand Steward and served as President of the Board of Grand Stewards. The same year he joined Grand Stewards' Lodge, [SN. 162]. In 1796 he was appointed Provincial Grand Master of Essex, serving in this role until his death. In Royal Arch he was exalted in Chapter of St. James, No. 2, London and served as First Principal from 1796 to 1800. He was a Founder and First Principal of Hermes Chapter, No. 115 (of the Grand and Royal Chapter), Grays, Essex. However, this chapter did not survive and its Charter was returned. He died on 9 October 1800.
Library and Museum of Freemasonry - <>

The Times, around the turn of the century, reports George as a distinguished Mason, involved in various Masonic charities - see picture images

In June 1793, . . . . . George Downing was invested at The Black Boy. Here at 9:00 am. 100 brethren assembled, where a public breakfast was provided. At 10.00 am. the Lodge was opened in the presence of 160 brethren (the lodges of Essex having petitioned H.H.H. the Prince of Wales to appoint George Downing of Lincoln's Inn and Ovington) and afterwards 180 brethren proceeded to church and a collection of L12 was made; the day ended with a dinner in the Shire Hall.

Times 22 Dec 1797
This day was publifhed, elegantly printed on a fine wove writing paper, hot preffed, embellifhed with a portrait of George Downing, Esq. Provincial Grand Mafter for the County of Effex, engraved by Ridley, from a miniature by Spicer, price 2s bound in red, or 2s 6d with a tuck, pockets, &c. complete.

Mr Alston
Dr Geo
I return you the warrant of Attorney signed; we go very well on the whole, both mother and child being in good health - Mary came down into the drawing room yesterday - Everyone here assures your mother that you are on the point of marriage, and she requests me to ask you whether it is so, and if so whether you wish to have the house at Nayland, as she has no objection to quit it. She and all of us unite in kind love and believe me Dr George
your faithful friend and brother
George Downing
Lincoln's Inn
23 April 1798
P. S. you do quite right with respect to James, and your mother is much obliged to you for your caution
Copy of a letter, the original being in the position of Julia Redman 1999, postmarked 98 with a note by Alston Fenn "George Downing to George Alston refers to the birth of his daughter Catherine Mary Brackett (A9) also to their rumours of of George Alston's impending marriage to Mary Creek (A2)" also note by George Alston? "23 April Downing". on file 2007.
Written untidily with corrections on the back of the letter appears the following:
Sir By desire of Mr Jones I called upon you yesterday to settle the two-year . . . . . Lady Day cash which he expects you to pay to me immediately.
To Mr Lean

Sir Mr Dawson has fixed Monday next five o'clock in the afternoon to be at Hadleigh for . . . . . admit to the copyhold field of Rigatts Hall Manor
Nayland 25 April 98
Mr . . . . .
These appear to be drafts of letters emanating from George Alston's law office.

Essex Record Office D/DE/T115/3
Dates of Creation 1792
Scope and Content Abstract of title of the Trustees under the Will of William Prior Johnson, esq., decd., to Leigh Heath and Leigh Park farms, reciting 30 deeds, 1658-1791 The asbstract includes summaries of D/DK T211 (1717) and D/DE T115/2, with the opinion of George Downing, Lincoln's Inn, 10 Aug. 1792
Acquisition Date From 1658
Acquisition Date To 1792

Essex Record Office D/DQ 84/41
Level: Series Deeds of Manor of Foxearth
Dates of Creation 30 September 1783
Scope and Content:
Attested copy of Mortgage (Demise for 500 years), 29 Sept. 1783, to secure an annuity for life of L200 Sadler Whitmore of Wiston [Wissington] (co.Suff.), gent. to John Hadley of West Bergholt, esq. Manor of Foxearth alias Foxyeard Hall and appurtenances; messuage called Foxearth Hall with lands, meadows, pastures, . . . . . in occupation of Richard Aldham Recites: D/DQ 84/39,40 Witnesses: Samuel Alston, Geo. Downing, jun.

Essex Record Office D/DNe T39/32
Dates of Creation 16,26 October 1799
Scope and Content:
Opinions of Counsel (Lancelot Shadwell of Lincolns Inn and Geo. Downing) whether Sir Richard Neave may pay Mr [Tho.] Charles L415 in part discharge of his Judgment debt . . . . .

European Magazine February 1801 gives notice of George Downing's death 9 October 1800.

Feb 1801 European Magazine gives an account of George Downing including an image. See pictures.
Ref: Liveing Archive folder Downing George

Gentleman's Magazine July-Dec 1800 gives an account of George Downing's funeral with military honours as senior Lieutenant of the Light Horse Volunteers. Noting he was buried at St Paul's Covent Garden and that Spencer Percival led his horse in the funeral procession. (Spencer Percival was chancellor of the exchequer in 1807 and later Prime Minister he was assassinated in the House of Commons 11 May 1812)
Ref: Red Book.

The following is an ode to George written by an Alston (possibly by George or Samuel his Brothers in Law)?.

To the Memory of George Downing Esq:
We who departed excellence revere
Approach with silent step this hallowed bier
That bears to mingle with its native dust
A man supremely kind and truly just
Whose powers convivial made e'en sorrow gay
And gave to mirth a more enlivning ray
Such Downing was, Oh, much lamented shade
Accept our homage to thy memory paid
Yet what avail to thee the pomp of state
Or all the honours of the good or great
No wealth no grandeur can thy life restore
No titles charm thy clay cold bosom more
Still shall affection oft with downcast eye
Be'dew the spot where thy bless'd relics lie
Remembrance dwell on scenes of past delight
And mourn thy talents set in endless night
Friendships with generous sympathy combine
And deck with fadeless flowers thy sacred shrine.
Morning Herald X X
the 23 Oct 1800

A letter to George Alston by a friend and business associate in London Edward Blair dated 24 Nov 1800 refers to George Downing's death as "I was much shocked to hear by a brother soldier of his, the death of poor Mr Downing: that he died like a soldier thro excessive fatigue in the cause he had undertaken. Whether that cause be a good one or a bad one, is another question and will bear debate. I Have not yet called to pay my respects to your sister as I conceived that visits on such an occasion would be rather a troublesome intrusion, than a complement worth the accepting. I hope his time was not to much curtailed , to leave a suitable provision for his family. His business I am told was very considerable, but his expenses were also large. His private character and reputation highly respectable. His funeral according to the papers, a la militaire. It is thus the King rewards his martyrs, at a cheap rate to himself: with honours, and titles, and military trophys; or, in extraordinary cases, with pensions and preferments - which the country pays for.
With complements to all your family,
I am,
Yours etc.,
E Blair.

George Downing's Funeral
from "An Historical Record of the Light Horse Volunteers of London & Westminster" Published by Wright Co. Pall Mall
Through the duty in September just described the regiment sustained a severe lofs in the death of Lieutenant Downing, a very zealous officer whose services were most valuable in the field & in the committee.
His constitution naturally delicate was not improved by the sedentary habits of a barrister rising to the first rank of the profession; the fatigue, together with exposure to the inclement weather during these nights of duty, produced a violent inflammatory cold which in have few days terminated fatally. It was so strongly felt throughout the regiment, that he is valuable life had been decidedly lost on service, that an urgent application was made to his family that his comrades might be allowed the melancholy satisfaction of honouring his remains with a military funeral. The family who naturally courted privacy in their affliction, having reluctantly acceded to the application, the regiment was afsembled in parade order on the 16th day of October & having received the body of their late comrade at his house in Hatton Garden, attended it to the place of internment, the vaults under St Paul's Covent Garden - The charger of the deceased, was led by the Honourable Spencer Percival, one of the earliest and most intimate friends of its late master. Three volleys were fire over the mouth of the fault by a division of the Dismounted, & the Regiment separated, with sincere regret for the lofs of a highly valued officer & an exemplary & accomplished member of Society.

Liveing Archive: Image Letter 21b
17 Oct 1800
Copy letter from th Executors of G. D. Snr to Col Herries"
Dear Sir,
In the names of the afflicted family of our much lamented friend Lieutenant Downing, and of ourselves as his Executors, we beg leave to return you, and trust you will have the goodnefs to communicate to the Corps at large, our sincere thanks for the very distinguish'd mark of Honour & Respect testified by their attendance on the melancholy occasion of yesterday.
The striking Propriety & Solemnity with which the whole was conducted, & for which we are so entirely indebted to your exertions could not fail of being highly gratifying & consolatory to ourselves and his numerous Friends, at the same time that it was so honourable to the Feelings of the Gentlemen under your command
We are Dear Sir etc etc
Hatton G 17 Oct 1800
To Col Herries etc etc etc

Oval aquatint miniature by Spicer in possession of E L Fenn Auckland NZ 1998.
An Engraving of George Downing in contemporary dress, was done by William Ridley from an origional enamelled minature, in the possession of Mrs Downing, by Henry Spicer Esq. and printed by Vernor and Hood, 32 Poultry, London on 20 October 1797. Dimensions: Print: 53 mm x 67 mm
It was published February 1801 in The European Magazine, whose editor James Asperne was an ardent Freemason. Reproductions of the image of Downing were offered, Asperne described him as "a Man who was fo UNIVERSALLY BELOVED".

bullet  Research Notes:


bullet  Other Records

1. European Magazine: Masonic Lodge Obituary & Reflection on life of Geo Downing, Feb 1801, London.


George married Mary ALSTON [91] [MRIN: 64], daughter of Samuel ALSTON [85] and Mary VANDERZEE [86], on 27 Jan 1795 in Nayland SFK. (Mary ALSTON [91] was born on 6 Jun 1761, baptised on 22 Jun 1761 in Nayland SFK and died on 5 Mar 1842.)

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