Reverend Abraham Boyle Townsend (233)

Date of Birth: ca 1790
Date of Death: dunm 5 Feb 1860
Generation: 6th
Residence: Easthampstead
Father: Richard Boyle Townsend [219]
Mother: Newenham, Henrietta
Spouse: Unmarried
Issue: None
See Also: Table II ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Reverend Abraham Boyle Townsend

Abraham was a student at Christ Church,(1) Oxford at the same time as his brother, Maurice FitzGerald Townsend [231]. His tutor, Mr Frederic Ricketts, wrote (2) to Abraham's mother on 29 June 1810 - "He (Mr Webber the Archdeacon) has however faithfully promised to endeavour in the course of the next term to fix Boyle’s mind more closely to those studies that are worthy of his abilities" and goes on to report that "Both he (Maurice) and Boyle are in high health."

In the summer of 1810, whilst still at Oxford, Abraham and his brother Maurice went out to Portugal to see their brother John Townsend [230] - known to them as Jack, then a Lieutenant in the 14th Light Dragoons serving under the Duke of Wellington during the Peninsula Campaign. Letters (3) home from Maurice describe the good life of Lisbon - "Lisbon is so delightful a place I should like to stay here the rest of the winter"; "The ladies in Lisbon are delightfully pleasant and rather pretty but the men are the most uncultivated stupid, dirty, lazy, ugly bears I ever met." In a letter to his mother from Lisbon dated September 29th 1810 Maurice said that he and 'Boyle' should return to Oxford for the Michaelmas term. However, the good life of Lisbon was clearly too tempting for Maurice later wrote to seek leave of absence for the term which was granted. Other letters to his mother tell of Jack being "in high health and spirits" but very frustrated that he did not yet have his own troop (4). In his last letter from Lisbon dated Saturday December 15th 1810 he wrote "I heard of Jack yesterday from Charles Synge, he is very well and has done one of the most gallant things that has as yet been done in Portugal - namely he with eight of his men surprised and brought home as prisoners fifty French troopers, it has been the talk of the town these last four or five days".

Some ten years later, Abraham was ordained Deacon on 5 December 1819 and Priest on 19 December 1819, both at Cork. See page 257 of Brady's Parochial and Clerical Records Volume 3. In 1826 he was appointed Rector of Easthampstead, Berks, where he remained until his death and where he is buried.

Along with his brothers, John and Maurice, Abraham was made a Freeman of Limerick on 6 Aug 1817. Abraham was also a Freeman of the City of Cork. 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 299 of the Appendix to the First report of the Commissioners Part 1 - Municipal Corporations (Ireland). Published by William Clowes, Stamford Street, London in 1835 concerns the Borough of Dingle. In the section headed ‘Burgesses’ it records that “Several of the burgesses are nearly connected with the patron of the borough. The following are the present burgesses:

- John Townshend Esquire, Lieutenant Colonel 14th Light dragoons, patron of the Borough and principal proprietor of the town. (Colonel John Townsend [230])

- Rev Thomas Townshend, his brother. (Should read Maurice Fitzgerald Townsend [231])

- Rev Boyle Townshend, ditto.

- Richard Townshend Esq., second cousin. (Richard Townsend [236])

- Samuel Townshend Esq., Whitehall Co Cork. ( Samuel Townsend [412] or [405])”

None of them lived within the limits of the borough and it would appear that they rarely, if ever, attended borough meetings.

'Pigot's Provincial Directory 1824' records "Townsend Abraham Esq, Castle Townshend".

The 'Diary of General Richard O'Donovan 1819-1823', published by the Cork Historical and Archeological Society records on 5 December 1822 "The Ball at Drishane put off this evening in consequence of the severe illness of Abraham Townsend" (Drishane is the home of the Somerville family in Castletownshend).

(1) Matriculated 21 Dec 1809. BA1813. MA 1816. He was a Senior Fellow of Christ Church, Oxford until 1827.

(2) RBT Papers.

(3) Letters in ‘An Officer of the Long Parliament’.

(4) John finally got his own troop after the Battle of Fuentes d'Onor were he was ADC to Sir Stapleton Cotton. It was during this battle that Captain Knife of the 14th Light Dragoons was mortally wounded and John was promoted Captain on 6 June 1811, without purchase, and put in command of Captain Knife's troop.