Chambers, John (1780-1839) (DNB00)

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CHAMBERS, JOHN (1780–1839), biographer and topographer, was born in London in March 1780. After receiving a good preliminary education he was placed in the office of an architect, where he remained for some time, but having come into possession of an ample fortune by the death of his father, he determined to devote himself to the cultivation of art and literature solely as an amateur. In 1806 he became a member of the Society of Arts, and from 1809 to 1811 acted as a chairman of the committee of polite arts. Chambers married, on 29 Sept. 1814, Mary, the daughter of Peter Le Neve Foster of Wymondham in Norfolk. The year after his marriage he quitted London for Worcester, and here planned and wrote most of his works. He remained at Worcester for nearly eight years, then removed to his wife's home at Wymondham, and, after staying there for about two years, finally fixed himself at Norwich that his sons might attend the grammar school. Chambers died in Dean's Square, Norwich, on 28 July 1839, leaving issue two sons and a daughter. The eldest son, well known as a theological writer, was vicar of St. Mary's and warden of the House of Charity, Soho, from 1856 until his death in 1874 [see Chambers, John Charles]; the youngest son, Oswald Lyttleton, also entered into orders, and became in 1863 vicar of Hook, Yorkshire, where he died in 1883. Besides occasional contributions to the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ and other periodicals, including a ‘Life’ of Inigo Jones to Arnold's ‘Magazine of the Fine Arts,’ Chambers was the author of the following useful works: 1. ‘A General History of Malvern,’ 8vo, Worcester, 1817. Another edition, 8vo, Worcester, 1820. 2. ‘A General History of Worcester,’ 8vo, Worcester, 1819. 3. ‘Biographical Illustrations of Worcestershire; including Lives of Persons, Natives or Residents, eminent either for Piety or Talent, to which is added a List of Living Authors of the County,’ 8vo, Worcester, 1820. 4. ‘A General History of the County of Norfolk, intended to convey all the information of a Norfolk Tour, with the more extended details of antiquarian, statistical, pictorial, architectural, and miscellaneous information; including biographical notices, original and selected,’ 2 vols. 8vo, Norwich, 1829. This was published anonymously, Chambers having received the assistance of contributors, resident in the county.

[Information from Miss Chambers; Gent. Mag. (1839), xii. 430.]

G. G.