Thomas Dowding was born in Melksham in 1809. His father was a freeholder in the village of Lacock as he explains in a letter to William Henry Fox Talbot in 1832 whilst he was a baker, recently moved to Chippenham.

    On 5th Nov. 1835 Thomas Dowding, baker of Chippenham, married by license Maria Ashe, eldest daughter of William Ashe, a draper of the town. They had at least 3 children: Sarah Dowding (b. 1836), William Ashe Dowding (b. 1837); Samuel Robert Dowding (b. 1838) and a daughter, Julia Hannam Dowding (b. 1840), son Sidney Dowding (b. 1841). Maria, Thomas's first wife, died on 7th April 1843 leaving her infant family. 

    On 24th Jan. 1844, by license, at "The Old Meeting", Westbury, Wilts. by the Rev. Richard Harris, Mr. Thomas Dowding, brewer of Chippenham, married Elizabeth Dowding (b. 15th Oct. 1815), youngest daughter of   Samuel Dowding & Elizabeth Daniel, woollen cloth manufacturer of Westbury churchyard. (Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette - Thursday 01 February 1844).

    Thomas Dowding was announced bankrupt in the London Gazette, Friday 15th Nov. 1844. He was to appear 29th Nov. & 27th Dec. at the Court of Bankruptcy, Bristol. Att. Leman.

    In the Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette - Thursday 19 December 1844, was advertised to be sold by private contract, the brewery stock etc. of Thomas Dowding, of Chippenham, a bankrupt. For particulars one was to to apply to Alfred John Acraman Esq., official assignee, 19 St. Augustine's Place, Bristol. In the Bristol Mercury - Saturday 28 December 1844, his court appearance was adjourned to make inquiries as to the validity of a marriage settlement.

    The sale of the brewery and stock actually took place on 19th Feb. 1845 at 11 am. by auctioneer F. Alexander on the premises. Comprising 60 iron bound casks, from 9 to 50 gallons each; 5 store pieces, from 1000 to 4000 gallons each; 3 large coolers, 2 ditto having tubs, 8 pockets and a half of prime hops, the growth of 1843; about 3000 gallons of capital beer, scales and weights, 4-wheel truck, hop strainer, barrel horses, benches and tools, buckets, tubs, wheel-barrow, cucumber-frame and lights, child's carriage, shower bath, lamp, bee-house, waggon-rope, 6 canary birds, dog and house, 2 oak flower stands, sundry roots, sign board, sundry slabs and oak timber, brown ware, oak table, fruit trees and produce of the garden, with numerous other useful articles, the whole of which will be described in catalogues now preparing, and may be obtained, 4 days prior to the sale, at the Auctioneer's Cabinet & Upholstery Warehouse, Chippenham. The household furniture was sold in the early part of the following March. The following year Thomas Dowding was renting a house in Kington St. Michael adjoining James Bond's carpentry shop.

    Thomas Dowding later became a landscape painter, and in 1871 he was living in Brighton with his wife Elizabeth. He died likely 1880.

    Daughter Julia married George Rowden of Wishford, Wilts., in St. Nicholas, Brighton on 5th July 1862. She later became a boarding house keeper in Hampstead. She died in Muswell Hill, Middx. 10th Jan. 1923.

    William Ashe Dowding married Mary Jane Witten at St. Nicholas, Brighton on 27th Feb. 1869.

    Samuel Robert Dowding became a cheesemonger of Charlton Kings Road, St. Pancras, Middx. and married Mary Anne Dawes at St. Pancras on 12th March 1865.

    Sidney was a porter at 5 Queen's Row, Hackney in 1861.

Henry Brinkworth Edgecumbe was born in Chippenham on 15th Dec. 1817, son of George Edgecumbe & Sarah Sloper, and younger brother of George Edgecumbe, grocer. In the 1841 census Henry was a chandler, living with his parents at Lansdowne Buildings not far from the brewery. He married Martha Eyles on 8th Nov. 1842, in Melksham, Wilts. and likely took on the brewery when it came up for sale in 1845. By 1849 he is the resident brewer at what is now known as the "Albion Brewery" and is there in the 1851 and 61 census. Martha, his wife died on 9th Jan. 1856, aged 33, after a short illness leaving him with a large family of children: Fanny Thompson (b. 1844), George (b. 1845), Lucy (b. 1846), Francis Henry (b. 1848), John Sloper (b. 1850), Annie (b. 1851) and Marian (b. 1853).

In the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 16 April 1863, p.4, the "Chippenham Brewery" was advertised for sale, by private contract. Henry emigrated to Auckland, New Zealand from Gravesend on 11th Oct. 1863, arriving 23rd jan. 1864. He died in Frankton, New Zealand on Friday 20th June 1885, and is buried in Waikato cemetary with children John, Francis and Fanny.

    Charles James Dowding was born in Badminton, Gloucs. in 1809, the son of Matthew & Sarah. He was baptised in Badminton on 16th October 1809. he married Rebecca Dan in Great Badminton on the 8th Dec. 1834. He was a farmer of 200 acres, and also was listed in the papers as a brewer of Marshfield, Gloucs. in 1863 & 64. The couple had children: Clementina Rebecca (b. 1835 Marshfield), Matthew James (b. 1837 Marshfield), Charles Henry (b. 1839 Marshfield), Frederick William (b. 1841 Marshfield) and Francis Edwin (b. 1846 Great Badminton). Charles initially went into partnership with his son Frederick, but also taught Francis the trade too.

Frederick went on to have a brewing company partnership in Bristol as Jones & Dowding, with Richard Jones of Clifton, who had married Frederick's elder sister Clementina Rebecca.

    Charles died in office as mayor and alderman on the 31st Jan. 1884. The report of his death in the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 07 February 1884 is as follows:

    "The report circulated in Chippenham on Thursday morning that the Mayor , Alderman Dowding, was dead, was at first scarcely credited, but, unfortunately, proved to be only too true. Less than a fortnight ago he was about conducting his business as usual, and the first symptoms of his illness was a cold, which gradually developed into conjestion, which was followed by inflammation of the lungs, from the effects of which he got weaker and weaker, and died at an early hour in the morning.

    He always took a great interest in the town, and has for some years been a member of the Corporation, and in the year 1867-8 served the office of Mayor with such satisfaction that in the following year he was re-elected. He was senior partner in the firm Dowding & Sons, brewers. His age was 74 years, and his death will be mourned not only by his family, but by a large circle of friends. A special meeting of the Town Council was held at Chippenham on Friday. Alderman Keary was voted to the chair, and he was supported by nearly all the members. After a short discussion, during which one and all expressed their deep regret at the loss they had sustained, it was unanimously resolved, on the proposition of Alderman Goldney, seconded by Councillor Lewis, 'That the deep regret of the members of the Corporation at the death of the Mayor, Alderman C. J. Dowding, be recorded on the minutes, together with an expression of their appreciation of the many years of valuable services rendered by him to the Corporation and town, and that  the condolence of the Corporation be conveyed to his son, Councillor Dowding, on behalf of himself and other members of his family.'"

Dowding6 Dowding7

Dowding & Son, Brewers, Maltsters. etc., Chippenham Brewery. - Eight strengths or qualities of fine ales, as well as stout of a superior character, are produced at the well-known "Chippenham Brewery," of which Messrs. Dowding & Son are the enter- prising proprietors. The concern in question is of an old-established character, and the present proprietors have been at its head for upwards of thirty years; hence the ales, etc., here brewed are well known, and are in general consumption both in the town itself and throughout a widespread area. Messrs. Dowding & Son manufacture their own malt from selected grain, and this, together with choice Kent or Farnham hops, are the only ingredients which enter into the composition of their ales. The products of this famous old brewery are held in deservedly high repute, and the trade now done is of a very important character. The maltings are situated in the vicinity of the railway station, and the brewery in the Causeway. The latter lies well back from the road, and is very complete in all its appointments. The plant is of a good capacity, and is also of a modern type, while the various mashing, brewing, cool- ing, and racking houses are arranged on a convenient plan, and there are also extensive stores for ales, etc. The work is prosecuted with much vigour and enterprise, and the principals, who are well known in all local circles, are among Chippenham`s most deservedly esteemed men of business.

From Ports of the Bristol Channel, 1893.
Charles Dowding was indeed a prominent member of the community,
eventually becoming Mayor, but unfortunately he died in office in 1884.

Half Pint Beer Bottle Dowding1.jpgDowding5.jpg
Embossed: DOWDING & SON / (Chippenham Coat of Arms) / CHIPPENHAM BREWERY
Internal Screw Stopper-

C. S. & CO LTD, 7324 Height 8.75".

1 Pint Beer Bottle Dowding2a.jpg
Embossed: DOWDING & SON / (Chippenham Coat of Arms) / CHIPPENHAM BREWERY
Internal Screw Stopper-

C. S. & CO LTD, 3351 Height 9.75".

Half Pint Beer Bottles Dowding6.jpgDowding3.jpg
Embossed: DOWDING & SON / (Chippenham Coat of Arms) / CHIPPENHAM BREWERY
Cork (left) & Internal Screw Stopper (right)

C. S. & CO LTD, 7643 & 7325 Height 7.75" & 8".

One & Half Gallon Stone Jars Dowding4.jpg

Potter: Price H Bristol.

2 Gallon Stone Jar Dowding7.jpg

Potter: Price H Bristol.


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