PROMINENT EARLY CAT FANCIERS - MRS CAREW COX
Constance Carew Cox was a noted breeder of Russian Blues (Foreign Blues) and Abyssinians. Without her breeding efforts, the Abyssinian might have been lost. She was an early "catty" contributor to "Fur and Feather" magazine. She was another lady who suffered a reversal of fortune.
There was a bit of notoriety in Mrs Carew Cox’s life when her husband ran into debt, committed fraud, and fled from justice. Constance was born to the second son of a Baronet. Her father was Captain Robert Peel Floyd (born 24 March 1828). His older brother was the 3rd Baronet of a Baronetcy created in 1810. Robert’s first marriage was to Mary Jane Carew in December 1852 (daughter of Henry Carew of Ayshford, Sidmouth). Mary died in October 1853. There were no children and, looking at the dates, I wonder if she died in childbirth. His second marriage was to Jane Caroline Montgomery (nee Rennards – a widow) in January 1855, resulting in 3 children of which Constance was the youngest. His third marriage to Caroline Augita in 1896 resulted in no further children.
Robert and Jane’s first son was Sir Henry Robert Peel Floyd, born in November 1855; he became 3rd baronet when his uncle died without issue. Their first daughter was Sarah Beatrice Montgomery Floyd (who never married) and their second daughter was Constance Caroline Montgomery Floyd, who married Henry Carew Cox, a solicitor, of Saffron Walden, in October 1882. Presumably Henry was somehow related to Robert’s first wife, Mary Jane Carew. The Carew Coxes resided at Linden Lodge (now No. 3 London Road), a large property with plenty of land, right in the heart of genteel Saffron Walden. Mrs. Carew Cox became a noted fancier, especially of Abyssinians and Russian Blues. Her husband ran into debt in 1893, and was declared bankrupt in 1897. After being charged with forgery, he absconded to Wales for 2 years and only returned because Constance became very ill. Henry was tried in 1899 at Chelmsford and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for forgery and obtaining money by deception. His assets were seized, except for some furniture claimed by Constance. In 1900 he was struck off the rolls, meaning he could no longer practice law as a profession. After that date, Constance Carew Cox is listed at different addresses in cat fancy literature including 71, Clyde Road, East Croydon. She died in August 1937 at age 76. Henry died in 1929. I can’t find any record of children.
Yorkshire Evening Post, 5th March, 1909: A death notice in “Fur and Feather.” – February 22, 1909. Sing Sing (blue Russian neuter), the beloved friend and close companion of Constance Carew-Cox, aged 10 years. “A sorrow’s crown of sorrow is remembering happier days.”
Part of her obituary in Cats & Kittens Oct 1937 (the preceding page was missing):
“One can visualise her now-handsome, tall and stately, leading her pet to victory. In the Croydon district where she lived, Mrs. Carew Cox did all in her power to alleviate the sufferings of that great body of unwanted strays, and many has she taken home to feed and keep, or painlessly to put out of their misery. To the live-stock near her she would pay daily visits, and it speaks for itself when one adds that her visits were never resented. To the present day Cat Fancy Mrs. Carew Cox was not much known, failing health prevented her attendance at any but the Croydon Cat Show, the Society of which she was an original member, for she was of a retiring and almost shy nature. But those who knew her, as did the writer of these poor lines, knew her as a kind and thoughtful friend, one who spoke no malice, and one, too, who suffered much. “- Christine M. Morton.