Richard Townsend (221)

Date of Birth: 1770
Date of Death: 11 Dec 1847
Generation: 5th
Residence: The Point, Dunbeacon and Ballintona
Father: John Townsend [214]
Mother: Morris, Mary
  1. Mellifont, Barbara
  2. Ancram, Katherine
  3. Townsend, Anna [408]
    • Richard [236]
    • Jonas Morris [237]
    • John Henry [238]
    • George Mellifont [239]
    • Henrietta Anna Margaretta [242]
    • Barbara Mellifont [243]
    • Elizabeth Hildegardis [244]
    • William Richard [240]
    • Henry Owen Becher [241]
    • Katherine Helena [245]
See Also: Table II ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Richard Townsend JP

Richard was always known in the family as 'Dick of the Point' though John FitzHenry Townshend [250] referred to him as 'Punctum'

Married 1st 5 July 1790. Barbara Mellifont (d 1806) was the daughter of David Mellifont (deceased) of Dublin (1). Married 2nd 1812. Katherine (Kitty) Ancram was the daughter of Major Ancram 34th of Foot and widow of Mr Baldwin (2). Married 3rd 1822. Anna Townsend [408] was the widow of Thomas Warren MP of Prospect Villa (3), Monkstown, Co Cork and younger daughter of Edward Mansel Townsend [401] of Whitehall. (4)

Alumni Trinity College Dublin from Co Cork and Kerry 1593-1860 in Dr Casey's Collection records that Richard was taught by Mr Coveley before he entered Trinity College, Dublin, on 21 January 1787 aged 16 as a pensioner who paid a fixed sum annually for his studies.

When Henry Townsend [215] died without issue in February 1788 his lands at Dunbeacon, Ardra and Ballintona passed to Richard's father, John, who passed them on to him. Thus when Richard's father died in 1810, knowing Richard was cared for, he left his estate to his other sons - Shepperton (5) to Jonas Morris Townsend [222], the Kilcoe and Myross lands to Henry Townsend [223] and the Drishane and Glannafoyne lands to Abraham Townsend [224].

At a meeting in the King’s Arms Tavern in Cork on 15 November 1791 (6) the “Gentlemen of the city and county of Cork” resolved to “assist the Civil magistrates in the execution of the law” by forming a society, called the ‘Hanover Association’, to apprehend Whiteboys (7) who were attacking both property and people. Members of the Association paid a subscription for the “purpose of procuring information and carrying on prosecutions, where the means of the aggrieved parties are insufficient”. Members were also required to arm themselves to assist the magistrates. A further meeting of the Association was held at the King’s Arm’s on 7 December 1791 at which it was resolved to pay £50 to anyone who within 12 months provides information that leads to the discovery, apprehension and conviction of Whiteboys. The following members of the family are shown as attending the meeting: John Townsend [214], Richard Boyle Townsend [219], Richard Townsend [221], Samuel Townsend [405], Thomas Townsend [502], John Sealy Townsend [507], Rev Horatio Townsend [5D00], Rev Edward Synge Townsend [601], Richard Townsend [6A00] and Samuel Philip Townsend [6B00]. Additionally, Adam Newman, husband of Mary Townsend [605] and Thomas Warren, husband of Anna Townsend [408] are also shown on the list.

Like his uncle Colonel Richard Townsend [213] and his father, Richard was a Collector of Excise but it is not known when he was appointed. Most likely it was after 13 August 1799 when his father was appointed. Catalogued in the ‘Enhanced British Parliamentary Papers on Ireland’, page 8 of 'An Account of Offices and Emoluments in the Department of Inland Revenue & Taxes in Ireland' in 1810 shows Richard as a Collector of Taxes in Baltimore on a salary of £500 per annum.

During the early years of the 19th century several close family members became involved in two trials involving the Rev Robert Morritt, who succeeded to the living of the parishes of Glanbarrahan & Curragrangemore (8) on 28 March 1807 from the Rev David Freeman, husband of Harriet Townsend [217].

The Rev Morritt is described in the pamphlet “Supplement to the Trials of the Rev Robert Morritt” as a “Clergyman who in a few years could render himself so obnoxious to his Parishioners as to be the subject of no less than eight civil actions and one criminal indictment”.

The first case against Morritt concerns the forcible eviction of a tenant of Mrs Somerville (Elizabeth Townsend [225] - Richard's sister) and the second is an action for defamation brought by Mr Roche. In both cases Morritt’s counsel was Daniel O’Connell who managed to secure acquittals by claiming in both cases there was a Townsend family conspiracy against Morritt. Mrs Somerville is described on page 12 of the pamphlet as the “Queen of the Conspirators” and in the list of the 'Dramatis Personae' “one brother, four brothers-in-law, an uncle, two nephews, eight cousins” are shown as fellow ‘Conspirators’. They are listed at Note (9), which affords a classic example of the web of Townsend family relationships that existed then. Published in 1819, rather strangely, the pamphlet was written by an ‘Anti-Conspirator’ who had access to private correspondence addressed to Richard that same year!

The pamphlet also describes how, when the Rev Morritt became a magistrate “Summons flew in all directions and to all distances, and when it was known that a lazy serving boy, or an idle apprentice, might punish his master by making him travel twenty or thirty miles to appear before Judge Morritt on a sixpenny complaint, the shop of justice could never lack customers.” He is reported as having neighbouring magistrates hear 600 summonses against his parishioners in respect of outstanding tithes. Morritt even wrote to the Honourable Board of Commissioners (for Excise) accusing Richard (the Collector) of “neglect of duty and connivance at peculation” and asking that he be dismissed. This was at a time when “the dangerous illness of a near relative had obliged him (Richard) to go to England and this appeared a favourable opportunity to bring forward complaints which could not be so conveniently managed had the Collector been at home.” After a full hearing, at which Richard was present, the Board of Commissioners wrote to him on 2 March 1819 and dismissed the complaint as “unfounded "; a copy of the letter is given in his ‘Scrapbook’. Small wonder that Morritt was a thorn in the flesh!

The Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier of 8 September 1823 features an article about the hearing before magistrates in Skibbereen concerning the affray at Castlehaven that ensued when the Rev Robert Morritt sought to collect arrears of tithes for the previous three years. Both Richard and his son, Richard Townsend [236], were magistrates at the hearing, which was presided over by Lord Carbery who had arrived “surrounded by two Cavalry Associations formed here under Captains O’Driscoll and Townsend.” (Samuel Townsend [405]) Later in the proceedings Lord Carbery declared an arrest warrant, signed by “Samuel Townsend Esq”, invalid because it had no seal.

A further report in the Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier of 31 March 1825 records that William Somerville, Richard, his son Richard Townsend and Richard Neville Somerville “four of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the County of Cork” attended a hearing in the Customs House in Castletownshend on 4th and 5th March 1825 concerning a salvage claim. On 31 January that year the ship ‘Clio’ of St John’s, New Brunswick, 376 tons with a cargo of timber, got into difficulty in poor weather off the coast of south west Cork, was salvaged and taken into Crookhaven for safety. There were 34 claims for salvage amounting to £9,500 with John Sealy Townsend [507] acting as Counsel for the claimants.

Page XII of Volume 1 of ‘A Scriptural Commentary on the Book of Genesis and the Gospel according to St Matthew’ published in 1832 shows “Townsend Richard Esq. The Point” as a subscriber. Five other members of the family are shown as subscribers Thomas Townsend [319], John Sealy Townsend [507], Rev Philip Townsend [613], Horatio Townsend [6B01], Edward Townsend [6C00].

Richard, James Redmond Barry (10) and Colonel Thomas Somerville, husband of Henrietta Augusta Townsend [234] were involved in setting up the Agricultural and Country Bank in Skibbereen in April 1835.

There is a manuscript note on Table I of 'An Officer of the Long Parliament' which records that Richard was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1798. 'Aldwell's General Directory 1844-45', County Directory - Skibbereen page 306, shows Richard as a Justice of the Peace living at Clontaff. ‘A List of Justices of the Peace in Ireland’ published in Dublin in 1844 records on page 42 that Richard Townsend of Point House, Castletownshend was a Justice of the Peace for Union Hall where Petty Sessions were held every alternate Thursday.

‘Aldwell's General Directory 1844-45’ also records that Richard was Chairman of the Skibbereen Poor Law Union (11) - “Richard Townsend, Esq., Point House, Castletownsend” – and his brother, Henry Owen Becher Townsend [223] was Deputy Vice Chairman – “H. Townsend, Esq., Malmaison, Castletownsend”. (12)

The Cork Examiner of 12 May 1845 reported the formation of a Committee of Management to oversee the construction of the Bandon to Bantry Railway with branches to Clonakilty and Skibbereen. The estimated cost was £100,000 to be raised in 20,000 shares of £25 each with a deposit of £1-7s-6d per share. There were some sixty-six members of the committee including Richard, Henry Owen Becher Townsend [223], Horatio Townsend [6B01] and Lionel Fleming, husband of Eliza Townsend [5D05]. The railway was eventually built in the 1880s by William Martin Murphy.

Rather confusingly, ‘An Officer of the Long Parliament’ and ‘Aldwell's General Directory’ (pages 284 & 306) show Richard living at The Point, (13) Ballintona, (14) and Dunbeacon (15). 'The Southern Reporter & Cork Commercial Courier' of 13 October 1833 carries an advertisement for the sale or let of Point House - "Mr Townsend will let or dispose of his interest in the Point House."

'The Southern Reporter & Cork Commercial Courier' of 10 November 1836 reports that "The Rev Mr Barry PP of East Skull has commenced the erection of a New Chapel for a poor population in a remote District". The article lists those who have contributed to the cost of the chapel including "Mrs Townsend of Dunbeacon Cottage - £2"; this could refer to Richard's wife, Anna, as he had "let or disposed" of Point House.

The Tithe Applotment Books in the National Archives of Ireland were compiled between 1823 and 1837 in order to determine the amount which occupiers of agricultural holdings over one acre should pay in tithes to the Church of Ireland. The 1829 entry for the Parish of Myross shows Richard owning 40 acres rated at £8-16s-9d. An 1833 entry for the Parish of Rathclarin shows a "Richard Townsend Esq" owning 24 acres of land rated at £4-18s-6d. This could also be Richard Townsend [513] or Richard Townsend [236].

In his will (16) Richard devised the Dunbeacon estate and one moiety of Ardra and Ballintona to his eldest son Richard [236] and £1200 each to Jonas Morris [237] and John Henry [238]. To William [240] and Henry [241] he devised one moiety of Ardra and Ballintona and £800 each to Henrietta [242] and Elizabeth [244]. Following the early death of Henry and William in 1849, the moiety of Ardra and Ballintona passed to Jonas Morris and John Henry. The will is dated 19 January 1841 and was witnessed by William Clarke Walter, Edward Townsend [411] of Whitehall and W. Baylie of Castletownshend. The executors were John FitzHenry Townsend and Thomas Somerville son of Elizabeth [225].

Richard was elected a Freeman of the City of Cork on 9 September 1796; The Council Book of the Corporation of the City of Cork 1690-1800 by Richard Caulfield records on page 1111 “9 September 1796. That…..Richard Townsend, Esq., eldest son of John T., of Shepperton, Esq.… admitted freemen at large”. Between 1710 and 1841, when the power of admitting Freemen only by birth or right ceased, a total of thirty three members of the Townsend family were admitted as Freemen.

Page 318 of Francis G Tuckey's "Tuckey's Cork Remembrancer" records that 'Richard Townsend' was High Sheriff of County Cork in 1807; there is no supporting evidence to show that this refers to Richard - it could equally apply to four others named Richard [315], [501], [508] and [6A00] or to someone from another family. On balance of probability it is most likely this Richard.

Page 54 of the Return of the Courts of Petty Sessions in the Counties of Ireland for the year ending 31st December 1835 records details of fines imposed by Richard, his son Richard Townsend [236], Samuel Townsend [405]and his son Samuel Townsend [412] at the Skibbereen and Union Hall Petty Sessions.

Richard's death was recorded in the diary of Agnes Townsend [334] - 'Dec 11th 1847 Mr Townsend of Ballintona died.' He is buried in St Barrahane's Church in Castletownshend.

(1) Lovera Papers 221/1. In the marriage settlement, dated 5 July 1790, Richard was shown as a ‘student of Trinity College’. Settlement of £2000 in addition to some land, signed and witnessed by John and Mary Townsend [214], Hannah Mellifont (widow of David), George Mellifont 4th Dragoons (son of David), David Mellifont 14th Light Dragoons (son of David), Richard Boyle Townsend [219] Barbara Mellifont, Richard Townsend [221] and Abraham Morris of Dunkettle. The settlement was drawn up by John Sealy Townsend [507]. (Richard’s nephew John Townsend [230] bought his commission in the 14th Light Dragoons in 1805 and probably served alongside David Mellifont in the early years of the century.)

(2) Her children were Willy, Harry and Katie (Baldwin).

(3) Ordnance survey of Ireland. Discovery Series. 1:50,000. Map sheet 87, grid reference W774641.

(4) The entry for Whitehall in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Edward Townsend held this property in fee at the time of Griffith's Valuation, when it was valued at £22. Lewis noted it as the residence of S. Townsend in 1837. In 1906 it was owned by the representatives of Samuel R. Townsend and valued at £21. Bence-Jones indicates that it later became the property of the Alleyne family."

(5) The entry for Shepperton in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "John Townsend held this property in fee at the time of Griffith's Valuation, when it was valued at £20 10s. Noted by Lewis as the seat of M. Townsend in 1837 and by Leet as the residence of Jonas M. Townsend in 1814. Shepperton is still extant but in poor repair."

(6) Reported in the Dublin Evening Post 31 January 1792.

(7) Whiteboys were a secret 18th century Irish agrarian organization which used violent tactics against landlords and tithe collectors to defend tenant farmer land rights. They wore white smocks on their nightly raids and sought to address rack-rents, tithe collection, excessive priests' dues, evictions and other oppressive acts.

(8) See pages 473 & 479 of Brady'sClerical and Parochial Records. Morritt resigned the living on 4 January 1824 and some time later moved to Paris where, in 1828, he brought an action for defamation against three Anglican Clergymen.

(9) The ‘Dramatis Personae’ shown on page 12 of the pamphlet and in the 'Scrapbook' are:-

Richard Townsend [221] “Magistrate who issued the arrest warrant” - Brother of Elizabeth Townsend [225] (Mrs Somerville).

Thomas Hungerford “Attorney who drew up the depositions” - Brother-in-law of Elizabeth Townsend [225] and son-in-law of Mary Townsend [506], who was sister to Rev Horatio Townsend [5D00].

Philip Somerville “A witness in both trials” – Brother-in-law of Elizabeth Townsend [225] and husband, first of Maria Townsend [5D07], and second Henrietta Townsend [242] the daughter of Richard Townsend [221].

Mr T Somerville “Attorney at both trials” - Nephew? Or son of Elizabeth Townsend [225]?

Rev Horatio Townsend [5D00] “Witness (in one trial viz Roche)” – Uncle.

Mr John French “Witness (in one trial viz Roche)” – Grandson of Susannah Townsend [505] and sister of Rev Horatio Townsend [5D00].

Rev Richard Townsend [310] – Referred to on page 25 as “Long Dick”; a cousin of Elizabeth Townsend [225].

Rev Philip French – Curate of Glanbarrahan whose wife was sister of Katherine Corker who married Rev Horatio Townsend [5D00].

Mr Thomas Robinson - Father of Dorothea Robinson who married Rev Richard Townsend [310].

Samuel Townsend [405] - A cousin of Elizabeth Townsend [225].

John Townsend - Could be John T [214], [222] or [303]; all close relatives.

Mr Becher Fleming - Husband of Judith Somerville, who was sister of Philip Somerville, and daughter of Mary Townsend [506].

Mr Richard Somerville – Brother-in-law of Elizabeth Townsend [225].

Richard Boyle Townsend [219] - Referred to on page 25. First cousin of Elizabeth Townsend [225].

(10) James Redmond Barry JP served on the Fisheries Commission at the same time as Richard’s brother, Henry Owen Townsend [223] and attended the dinner organized by Henry in 1839 in honour of Daniel O’Connell, the famous Irish political leader who campaigned for Catholic emancipation. He was also a member of McCarthy Downing’s Election Committee, as reported in the Cork Examiner of 26 November 1868, along with John Henry Townsend [238], Samuel Nugent Townsend [432] and Horatio Hamilton Townsend [6B05].

(11) Poor Law Unions. Skibbereen Union containing an area of 3694 square miles had a population of 91,736. There were 37 elected and 9 ex-officio Guardians. The Work-House, opened 19 March 1842, was built to accommodate 800 paupers and on the 2 December1843 there were 265 inmates. The Guardians met at the Work-House on every Saturday.

(12) Malmaison is now called Bow Hall and was later the home of Margaret Champernoune Townsend [5A23].

(13) The entry for Point House in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "John Somerville was leasing Point House from Rev. M. Townsend at the time of Griffith's Valuation, when it was valued at £20. Lewis recorded it as the seat of R.B. Townsend in 1837. It is labelled Point House on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map but as Cosheen on the 25-inch edition of the 1890s. It is still extant and known by the latter title.

(14) The entry for Ballintona in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Daniel Welply was leasing this property to William Warren at the time of Griffith's Valuation, when it was valued at £13 5s. There is still an extant house at the site." Ballintona was subsequently sold in the Land Court on 26 November 1850.

(15) The entry for Dunbeacon in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Richard Townsend held this property in fee at the time of Griffith's Valuation, when it was valued at £11 5s. In 1906 it was also the property of Richard Townsend and valued at £8."

(16) Lovera Papers 221/3 & 221/4.

For other Warren connections see also daughter of Henrietta Anna Townsend [242], Elizabeth Hildegardis Townsend [244], John Townsend [318], Anna Townsend [408], Edward Henry Townsend [411] and Augusta Amelia Townsend [424].