John FitzCornelius Townsend (122)

Date of Birth: ante 1696
Date of Death: 1736
Generation: 3rd
Residence: Clogheen, Cashall & Bridgemount, Co Cork
Father: Cornelius Townsend [108]
Mother: Swete, Jane
  1. Bowdler, Margaret
  2. Murphy, Joanna
See Also: Table I ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for John FitzCornelius Townsend JP

Margaret Bowdler (1) was the daughter of John Bowdler of Condor and Cashall, a Captain in Cromwell's Irish Army. Joanna Hancock was the daughter of Mr Hancock and widow of Thomas Murphy of Bantry. A Chancery suit dated 7 December 1724 shows that she had a fortune of £2000.

'An Officer of the Long Parliament' Table VIII shows John as being 'of Clogheen, Bridgemount and Cashall' (the estate of his first wife).

John, who was mentioned in his grandfather's will, bought the estate of Bridgemount (Cahirkegan) situated in rugged country between Macroom and Millstreet. (2) This property passed to his son Horatio Townsend [130] who, in turn, left it to his son Cornelius Townsend [129]. Cornelius' efforts to improve the land were a disaster and the property passed to his kinsman, the Rev Edward Synge Townsend [601].

In 1896 Dorothea Townshend, the wife of Richard Baxter Townshend [5D15], wrote six articles entitled ‘Notes on the Council Book of Clonakilty’ for inclusion in the ‘Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society’ that year. (3) Thirteen members of the family were elected to serve on the council between 1686, when Colonel Richard Towensend [100] was elected Sovereign (Portreeve) and 1802 when the Rev Horatio Townsend [5D00] was the last Sovereign; of these, seven served as Sovereign. The Council met on average about four times each year with St James’ Day on 25 July and St Luke’s Day on 28 October as regular fixtures. There is a gap in the records between February 1730 and 1802 though it is recorded that Philip Townsend [500] was Sovereign in 1764 and 1765.

Since 1896, when Dorothea Townsend tried to identify the many entries for “John Townsend” in the Council Book, fresh evidence has come to light that makes identification of him more plausible. She interpreted the first reference to him, when he was elected a Freeman of the borough on 17 October 1715, as John Townsend [300] of Skirtagh. This is most probably wrong as this ‘John Townsend’ was studying law at the time and did not qualify until 1720 according to the Middle Temple Register 1661-1781 Vol I. This leaves just two further possibilities – John Townsend, the subject of this record, or his son John Townsend [129], about whom nothing is known and is henceforth discounted.

Along with his cousin Richard Townsend [201], John was elected a Freeman on 17 October 1715 (4), sworn a ‘Free Burgess’ on 7 November 1716 (5) and elected Sovereign for one year on 18 October 1719, (5) following which he attended several meetings each year until 1729. His sons Cornelius Townsend [128] & Horatio Townsend [130], his nephews Francis Townsend [125], Butler Townsend [126] and his cousins John Townsend [300], Samuel Townsend [400] & Philip Townsend [500] were all freemen of the Borough.

John is buried in St Fachtna's Cathedral, Ross. The Clogheen and Cashall estates passed to his eldest surviving son, Cornelius Townsend [128] and Bridgemount passed to his third surviving son, Horatio Townsend [130].

All the children were by Margaret.

(1) She is shown as Mary in the 1976 Edn of Burke's Irish Family Records and died ante 1706.

(2) Bridgemount (Caherkeegane) is situated some 7km north-west of Macroom, Co Cork. Close by 'Townsend's Cross Roads' can be found at grid reference 293762 on map sheet 79 of the Irish Ordnance Survey 'Discovery Series'. A short distance to the east of the property are those of Mullenroe, Ballymacorcoran and Mount Cross and these feature in correspondence in the first six months of 1884 between Marianne Townsend [5D16], her brother-in-law Rev Aubrey Townsend [621] and 'J Hamilton Bryan', their agent in Dunmanway, about two years outstanding rent. (Llanvapley Papers)

(3) They can be read in the Journal at pages 79-84, 129-135, 172-177, 22-224, 270-273 and 320-322.

(4) The entry in the Council Book reads - "At a court held for said borrough on Monday, the 17th of October, 1715, Mr. Percy Freke, Mr William Snowe, John Young junr, John Townesend, Richard Townesend, Henry Rice, Robt Spiller, and Ralph Fuller, were sworne freemen of this corporation before Joseph Jervois, esqr Sovereign. Signed by order, Saml Birde."

(5) The entry in the Council Book reads - "At a court held for the said Borough on the 7th November 1716, John Townesend Esq was sworn burgess of this corporation before the suffrain and undernamed burgesses."

(6) The entry in the Council Book reads - "At a court held for the said Borough on St Luke's Day, being the 18th of October 1719, John Townesend, one of the free burgesses of this Borough, pursuant to the nomination and appointment of the Hon the Lord Carleton, was sworn suffrain of the said Borough for the ensuing year and the ensigns of authority delivered to him by the late suffrain and undernamed burgesses."

'An Officer of the Long Parliament' Ch VIII p. 209-210 refers.