The Dowager Lady Downe (Louisa Maria Dawnay, Viscountess Downe, 5.11.1780 to 20.03 1867) came to live at Bowden Hall in Upton St Leonards in the mid-nineteenth century as a guest of the Brooke Hunts. She bought a piece of land beside the churchyard on which there was a small local school, repaired and extended the school and purchased further parcels of land nearby, setting up various small charities with the income from the land, for the benefit of the poor people of the parish. She would come to watch the children at their lessons, stabling her pony and trap in the wooden shed in the schoolyard.
The Victorian school building has now been sold and the school is located in Bondend Road where the Trustees are the freeholders and take a keen interest in its welfare.
Lady Downe was buried in the churchyard of St Leonard’s Church. In 1982 all the charities she had created were amalgamated to form the Lady Downe Charity, operating under a Scheme set up by the Charity Commission.