Cornelius Townsend (128)

Date of Birth: 1697
Date of Death: 31 August 1756
Generation: 4th
Residence: Clogheen, Cashall & Betsborough, Mallow, Co Cork (1)
Father: John FitzCornelius Townsend [122]
Mother: Bowdler, Margaret
  1. Strange, Elizabeth
Issue: None
See Also: Table I ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Cornelius Townsend

Alumni Trinity College Dublin from Co Cork and Kerry 1593-1860 in Dr Casey's Collection records that Cornelius was taught by Mr Molloy of Cork before he entered Trinity College, Dublin, on 20 June 1715 aged 18 as a pensioner who paid a fixed sum annually for his studies. Mr Molloy also tutored Cornelius' cousin, John Townsend [300], before he entered the University in 1708. The TCD Graduation List shows that he qualified BA in Spring 1719.

Page 92 of Green's 'Index to the Marriage Licence Bonds of the Diocese of Cloyne' 1630-1800 records a Marriage Bond dated 1729. Married August 1730. Elizabeth Strange was the daughter of John and Mary Strange of Dromahane (Betsborough).

Betsborough or Fern Hill (as it was later called) was situated on the edge of the village of Dromahane in the Parish of Kilshannig, about three miles south-west of Mallow. In Colonel Grove White's Notes 1906-1915 Volume I, the Preston Collection in Cork City and County Archives, and various other sources, there are several references relating to Dromahane and Betsborough. In summary, between 1730 and 1853 the property was home to three members of the Townsend family and the history of it is set out in Cornelius' "Scrapbook" in chronological order.

1730 - 1755 Cornelius.

1839 - 1843 Dr Richard Townsend [517].

1843 - 1853 Rev Philip Townsend [613].

In An Officer of the Long Parliament Cornelius is shown in Table VIII as being 'of Clogheen', which he inherited from his father, along with the Cashall estate, which came into the family through his mother.

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. (2) 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.

Cornelius was elected a Freeman of the borough on 17 February 1720 (3) at the same time as his uncle Richard Townsend [201] was sworn in as a ‘Free Burgess’ and his father John Townsend [122] was Sovereign. Seven years later, on 15 April 1727, (4) he was himself sworn in as a ‘Free Burgess’ and on 25 July that year his name was put forward as one of three to be selected as Sovereign, (5) though he was never chosen. He attended meetings regularly after his election as a Burgess in 1727 and 1728 but tailed off in 1729. His brother Horatio Townsend [130], his cousins Francis Townsend [125] & Butler Townsend [126] and his uncles John Townsend [300], Samuel Townsend [400] & Philip Townsend [500] were all freemen of the Borough.

A letter written by Cornelius on 30 October 1744 on page 26 of An Authentic Narrative of the Success of Tar-Water (6), published in 1746, is a sad narrative about the illness he suffered. He wrote – “As to my experiences, about 15 years ago ….after a remarkably good stock of health in my infancy, I was first seized with violent heartburn…..” Having listed his ailments, which include rheumatism, scurvy, inflamation of the glands, palpitations, cramp and depression, he extols the benefits of tar-water. ".....In short, I make it my business to recommend it to all my acquaintance and, whatever your disorders are, you may safely take it: if you do, I don't at all doubt but you will soon join in the praise of tar-water. Sir, your most humble, obedient servant, Corn Townsend."

Dr Caulfield's Notes on Cork 1769 - 1781 in The Journal of The Cork Historical & Archaeological Society. Volume XI. Second Series 1905 records on page 57 that the Vestry Book of Kilshannig shows Cornelius Townsend as a churchwarden 1733-6 and 1741-2.

The book “The Ancient and Present State of the County and City of Cork” was published in 1749 in Dublin and was dedicated to John, Earl of Orrery. The list of subscriber’s names on page xii includes ‘Horatio Townsend Esq’, ‘Samuel Townsend Esq’ and ‘Cornelius Townsend Esq’. These refer to Cornelius Townsend [128], Horatio Townsend [130] and Samuel Townsend [400]. The list of "Gentlemen now in the Commission of the Peace in this County" on page 69 includes 'Townshend Corn Esq', 'Townshend Horatio Esq' and 'Townshend Revd. Horatio' (Horatio Townsend [600]). The spelling of 'Townsend' varies even in the same book!

In his will Cornelius left Betsborough to his brother Horatio Townsend [130] and Clogheen/Cashall to his nephew, Cornelius Townsend [139]. However, the Preston Collection records that Betsborough was leased, a year before Cornelius died, by Cornelius' brother, Rev Francis Townsend [132], to the Rev. Robert Nettles for 15 years at £52 p.a. on 11 October 1755.

An entry in the Church of Ireland Parish Records of Ross Cathedral 1690–1823 records on page 26 under the heading 'Burials' - "1756 8br (August?) 31st Cornelius Townsend Esq intombed."

(1) The entry for Fern Hill (Betsborough) in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Smith records Cornelius Townshend as resident at Betsborough circa 1750. Hajba writes that it was a Townsend property from the early 18th century and birthplace of the United Irishman, Thomas Russell, executed in 1803. The house, on the outskirts of the village of Drommahane, was originally known as Bettesborough (or Besborough) and a Magner occupied a house of this name in 1837. The Reverend Philip Townsend (Philip Townsend [613]) held the house valued at £21+ from William Magner in the early 1850s. In June 1881 the house and demesne of Fernhill were advertised for sale. Barclay Corrie was the owner, holding on a lease dated 1863 from Richard John Perry to Michael Joseph Magnier. The house was demolished in the early 20th century and a new house built on the site."

(2) They can be read in the Journal at pages 79-84, 129-135, 172-177, 22-224, 270-273 and 320-322. Dorothea’s interpretation of the election of individuals differs from that in these records, particularly in references to “John Townsend”. Since 1896 evidence has come to light that makes identification of him more plausible and this is explained in the records for John FitzCornelius Townsend [122] and John Townsend [300].

(3) The entry in the Council Book reads - "At a court held for the said Borough on Wednesday 17 February 1720 Richard Townesend Esq was sworn a free burgess in the room of William Wade Esq, deceased, by the undernamed suffrain and burgesses. At the same court Mr Cornelius Townesend, Adam Clarke and Daniel Carty, attorney, were sworn freemen of the same. John Townesend, suffrain.”

(4) The entry in the Council Book reads - "At a court held for the said Borough on Wednesday 5 April 1727 by the undermentioned suffrain, burgesses and deputy recorder Mr Cornelius Townesend was sworn a burgess of the said corporation in the room of Emmanuel Moore Esq, deceased, pursuant to the statute and charter.”

(5) The entry in the Council Book reads - "At a court held for the said Borough on Tuesday the 25 day of July 1727 being St James’ Day and the day for nominating three burgesses to be returned to the lord of the soyle in order for his lordships electing one of the three to serve as suffrain for the ensuing year, Richard Cox Esq, Cornelius Townesend Esq and James Cox were nominated to be returned to the lord of the soyle pursuant to the charter by the undermentioned suffrain, burgesses and deputy recorder.”

(6) Tar-water was a medieval medicine consisting of pine tar and water. As it was foul-tasting, it slowly dropped in popularity, but was revived in the Victorian era. It is used both as a tonic and as a substitute to get rid of "strong spirits".