CHAMBERS, John, of Norwich
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Family and Education
Chambers’ identity has not been established. It is possible that he was the ‘John Chambers esquire’ buried in 1720 at St. James’s church, Norwich, aged 71, whose wife Susan had predeceased him by seven years, having borne him a son (also John) and three daughters, and who in his will declared himself to be ‘of Norwich’. This man may be the John Chambers, son of Adam Chambers and Elizabeth Swan, baptised at Marsham, twelve miles from Norwich, on 12 Feb. 1649, who married Susan Bucke at St. Giles, Norwich on 17 Oct. 1671. The Member was at any rate a local man. He stood in 1705 on the Whig interest and with the backing of Charles, Lord Townshend, and he and his partner Waller Bacon* defeated two Tories. Although Chambers was classed in an analysis of the new Parliament as a ‘Churchman’, his election was marked by Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) as a gain for the Whigs. Townshend reported at the beginning of October that Bacon and ‘Captain Chambers’ had promised him ‘they would be sure to be in town before the meeting of the Parliament’ and that the two men were concerting parliamentary tactics with other Norfolk Whigs. Chambers had to wait to take his seat, however, for there was a double return, and only on 6 Dec. were he and Bacon declared elected. The inclusion of his name in a list of those who had voted for the Court candidate in the division on the Speaker on 25 Oct. 1705 was thus an error.1
An undistinguished back-bench Whig, Chambers probably went along with Lord Townshend’s friend Robert Walpole II and his followers in the Commons. He voted on the Court side on 18 Feb. 1706 over the ‘place clause’ in the regency bill. In two lists of 1708 he was classed as a Whig. In 1709 he supported the naturalization of the Palatines, and the following year was listed as having voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell (even though on 9 Mar. 1710 he had been given leave of absence for three weeks). In June Townshend and some supporters agreed that Chambers should be ‘promised something for an encouragement’ to stand again for Norwich, but he evidently could not be persuaded. A John Chambers subsequently served as treasurer of the county between 1710 and 1714 and again in 1715.2
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. Complete Hist. Norwich (1728), 62; Blomefield, Norf. iv. 424; Norf. RO, NCC 348 Blomfield; Norwich Cathedral Mar. Reg. 1697–1754, p. 58; IGI, Norf.; Camb. Univ. Lib. Cholmondeley (Houghton) mss, (Sir) Charles Turner* to [Robert Walpole II], 19 Sept. 1705, Ld. Townshend to same, 8 Oct. 1705.
- 2. G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 231; Norf. RO, Bradfer-Lawrence mss, Ashe Windham* to [Ld. Townshend], 8 June 1710; Norf. Rec. Soc. xxx. 3.