Henrietta Augusta Townshend (234)

Date of Birth: ca 1797
Date of Death: 11 Dec 1869
Generation: 6th
Residence: Drishane, Castletownshend
Father: Richard Boyle Townsend [219]
Mother: Newenham, Henrietta
  1. Somerville, Thomas
  1. Thomas Henry
  2. Henrietta
See Also: Table II ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Henrietta Augusta Townsend

Married 12 October 1822. Colonel Thomas Somerville (1 & 1a), DL. JP. of Drishane,(1b) Castletownshend eldest son of Thomas Townsend Somerville of Drishane, Castletownshend, and his wife Elizabeth Henrietta Becher Townsend [225]. See Burke's Irish Landed Gentry 1912 - Somerville. See also ‘A Guide to Irish Houses’ by M. Bence-Jones, London, 1988 – “CASTLETOWNSHEND cor Drishane. Somerville 1790+. Built by Thomas Somerville.”

According to page 184 of 'An Officer of the Long Parliament' Henrietta and her sister Elizabeth Anne Townsend [235] where famed for their beauty. When they were presented at Court, Anthony St Leger (2), the Queen's Chamberlain, standing by said " Those are the two young ladies from Ireland I mean to marry". To which Queen Charlotte replied "You have very good taste Mr St Leger".

Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser of Saturday 6 October 1821 reports the swearing-in of the Grand Jury for the County Court and lists Thomas and Samuel Townsend [405] amongst the members.

‘The Southern Reporter & Cork Commercial Courier’ carries a letter dated 16 December 1828 from Lord Francis Leveson Gower, Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, addressed to ‘JM Townsend and T Somerville Esqrs, Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, Skibbereen’. In it he commands them to hold a meeting for the purpose of “carrying into execution” the ‘Act to make Provision for the Lighting, Cleansing and Watching of Cities, Towns Corporate and Market Towns in Ireland of 25 July 1828’ in Skibbereen. 'T Somerville' presumably refers to Henrietta's husband.

As explained in the ‘Background History’ page, the Act of Union in 1801 and successive reforming measures in the early years of the century drove the Anglo-Irish Protestant community into a position of permanent political minority. Fearing that their ascendancy was being eroded, meetings were held during the early decades of the century seeking to affirm and uphold the integrity of the ‘Protestant Constitution and State’. Press cuttings covering these meetings (all shown in the ‘Scrapbook’ for John Sealy Townsend [333]) between December 1828 and October 1834 include (with attendees shown in brackets):

Bandon Brunswick Constitutional Club (3) Meeting on Monday 22 December 1828 - Southern Reporter & Cork Commercial Courier of 23 December 1828 and Dublin Evening Mail of 31 December 1828. (John S. Townsend, Samuel Townsend jnr and Thomas Somerville)

Protestant Conservative Society of Cork Meeting in the Imperial Clarence Rooms, Cork in August 1832 - Dublin Weekly Mail of 11 August 1832. (Samuel Townsend, Samuel Townshend and Thomas Townsend)

County and City of Cork Protestant Meeting in June 1834 - Dublin Evening Packet & Correspondent of 1 July 1834. (Thomas Townsend and George Digby Daunt)

Protestant Meeting in Bandon on Tuesday 7 October 1834 - Southern Reporter & Cork Commercial Courier of 11 October 1834. (Samuel Townsend, Samuel Townshend, John Townsend and Thomas Townsend)

The common theme throughout was affirmation of Protestant loyalty to the crown and a commitment to take whatever measures were necessary “to preserve the remnants of the constitution and maintain the integrity of the United Kingdom” in “defence of our liberties and the safety of the Glorious Constitution under which we live”. As shown above, several members of the family (3a) attended these meetings but it is not possible to identify them precisely in every case, though eloquent statements by “John Townsend Esq son of the Recorder of Clonakilty” are reported verbatim in the press reports of the meetings in Bandon and these can certainly be ascribed to John Sealy Townsend [333].

Opposition to Roman Catholic emancipation was not confined to the laity. The Southern Reporter & Cork Commercial Courier of 20 March 1827 reports that the Bishop and seventy-seven members of the clergy, including Richard Boyle Townsend [332], Chambre Corker Townsend [5D01] and Robert St Lawrence (husband of Elizabeth Townsend [235]), signed a “Petition of the Protestant Clergy of the United Dioceses of Cork & Ross against Catholic Emancipation” which was submitted to the House of Commons on 2 March 1827. The list of signatories also includes a ‘Thomas Townsend, Prebendary of Island’; this is wrong as page 487 of Volume 2 Brady’s Clerical and Parochial Records shows Horatio Townsend [5D00] as the incumbent!

Not all members of the family shared such views and press cuttings from the Southern Reporter & Cork Commercial Courier and Dublin Evening Packet & Correspondent in 1828 and 1829 respectively show that Horatio Townsend [6B01] and Edward Richard Townsend [6C00] were among the many Protestant Liberals who took a much more conciliatory approach to Roman Catholic emancipation.

Thomas Somerville, Richard Townsend [221] and James Redmond Barry JP (3b) were involved in setting up the Agricultural and Country Bank in Skibbereen in April 1835.

Robert H Laing’s Cork Mercantile Directory 1863 records on page 183 ‘Somerville, Thomas, Drishane, Skibbereen’ as a Deputy Lieutenant.

An article in The Skibbereen and West Carberry Eagle records that a Grand Masonic Concert in aid of the Masonic Female Orphan Asylum Cork was held in the New Lecture Hall, Mardyke, Skibbereen on 9 April 1863. The following members of the family were amongst those who patronised the concert. Thomas Somerville, husband of Henrietta Augusta Townsend [234], Thomas Somerville of The Prairie, son of Henrietta Anna Townsend [242], William Warren of Clontaff, husband of Elizabeth Hildegardis Townsend [244], Samuel Richard Townsend [421], Lionel John Fleming of Newcourt, husband of Eliza Townsend [5D05] and Horace Townsend of Derry [5D12]. The cutting is reproduced in individual ‘Scrapbooks’.

In a letter (4) dated 2 June 1897 written from Thornbury House to Edward Mansel Townsend [630] Geraldine Townsend [252] wrote that Henrietta "was able to buy the Castlehaven Estate, with the £5,000 she inherited from my Grandfather! - I understand this Estate now brings in to Col. Somerville the sum of £700 a year..."

Henrietta died at Castletownshend and is buried in St Barrahane's Church, Castletownshend. Her husband erected a window in the east end of the church in memory of her in 1872. This was replaced in 1915 by a window that represents the Blessed Virgin and the Child Christ. It was made by Harry Clarke of Dublin (1889-1931), one of the greatest glass craftsmen of modern times.

Henrietta's husband Thomas Somerville was an executor of the will (5) of her kinsman Richard Townsend [221].

Of the children:

Thomas Henry Somerville (6) was a Lieutenant Colonel in the 3rd Buffs, JP and High Sheriff 1888. He married on 29 June 1857, Adelaide Eliza, 10th daughter of Vice Admiral Sir Josiah Coghill 3rd Bt,(7) and died 15 March 1898 having had four sons and three daughters. The eldest daughter, Edith, wrote amongst many other titles "Some Experiences of an Irish RM" and "Further Experiences of an Irish RM". The youngest daughter, Elizabeth Hildegarde Augusta (Hilda), married Sir Egerton Coghill 5th Bt and lived in The Castle at Castletownshend for a time at the beginning of the 20th century.

Henrietta Somerville was born in 1827 and died on 22 June 1920 in Gristhorpe, Filey, Yorkshire.

(1) Thomas Somerville was born ca 1793 and died on 19 May 1882. He was High Sheriff of Cork in 1863.

(1a) The entry for Somerville in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Burke's ''Irish Family Records'' indicates that the first of this family to settle in Cork was Rev. William Somerville, who allegedly fled persecution in Scotland in the 1690s. Col. Thomas Somerville of Drishane, Skibbereen, owned over 450 acres in county Cork in the 1870s while other members of the family owned similar amounts. Thomas Somerville was among the principal lessors in the parish of Castlehaven at the time of Griffith's Valuation while Elizabeth Somerville held townlands in the parish of Skull at the same time."

(1b) The entry for Drishane in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Thomas Somerville held this property in fee at the time of Griffith's Valuation when it was valued at £35. Lewis also recorded it as the seat of Thomas Somerville in 1837. In 1906 it was owned by Aylmer Somerville and valued at £35. It is still extant."

(2) He was then a widower and lived next door to the Townsends who lived at 8 Montague Square, London.

(3) First conceived in September 1828 Brunswick Constitutional Clubs were established in Ireland to deny Roman Catholics the right to enter both Houses of Parliament. About 200 clubs were established with a total membership of about 150,000 but they quickly became defunct following the Catholic Relief Act 1829 which repealed the Test Act.

(3a) John Sealy Townsend [333] and Samuel Townsend [412] can be positively identified. The other contenders are Samuel Townsend [405] or Samuel Townsend [6A03], Thomas Townsend [319] or Thomas Townsend [509], Thomas Somerville (probably the husband of Henrietta Augusta Townsend [234]) and George Digby Daunt (husband of Helena Herbert Townsend [619]).

(3b) James Redmond Barry served on the Fisheries Commission at the same time as 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].

(4) Llanvapley Papers.

(5) Lovera Papers 221/1.

(6) See also which shows Thomas as being in the 68th Light Infantry (The Durham Light Infantry).

(7) The entry for Coghill in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "The Coghill family, whose main estates were located in counties Kilkenny and Meath, maintained a summer residence in Castletownsend, county Cork, which they leased from the Townsend estate. There were several marriages between members of the family and west Cork families such as Somervilles and Townsends."

For other Somerville connections see also Elizabeth Henrietta Townsend [225], Jonas Morris Townsend [237], Henrietta Anna Townsend [242], John Townsend [316], Horatio Thomas Townsend [334], Letitia Mary Townsend [351], Mary Townsend [506], Maria Townsend [5D07]. See the entry for Mary Townsend [506] for a precis of the Somerville family and their connections with the Townsends.