John Henry Townshend (238)

Date of Birth: 4 Jul 1806
Date of Death: 28 Jan 1882
Generation: 6th
Residence: Shorecliffe, Glandore, Co Cork
Father: Richard Townsend [221]
Mother: Mellifont, Barbara
  1. Herbert, Mary
  1. Captain Richard Arthur Herbert [259]
See Also: Table II ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for John Henry Townshend JP

Married 20 December 1849 (1); the Marriage Settlement is dated 28 December 1849 (2). Mary (3) was the daughter of Rev Arthur Herbert (3a) of Myross Wood and John's second cousin. Mary's grandmother was Helena Townsend [218], youngest daughter of Richard Townsend [201]. Mary's sister, Frances Herbert, married in May 1836 Major John Townsend Somerville the son of Thomas Somerville of Castlehaven and Mary Townsend [506].

In his will (4), dated 19 January 1841, John's father Richard Townsend [221] states "I have already advanced and paid to my son Jonas Morris Townsend the sum of seven hundred pounds, to my son John Henry Townsend the sum of four hundred pounds..." Was this to help them defray the cost of emigrating to Australia? When he died in 1847 John's father left him a further eight hundred pounds. Subsequently under the terms of this will John and his brother Jonas inherited one moiety each of the lands at Ballintona, Coursecroneen and Ardra totalling 341 acres, with an annual rent of £350, which had originally been devised upon their brothers William Townsend [240] and Henry Townsend [241] who both died in 1849. Theses lands were sold in the Land Court on 26 November 1850.

Two letters in the Lovera Papers (5) indicate that the succession of Ballintona was not straightforward. The first is from Richard Large, solicitor, of 35 South Terrace, Cork – husband of Elizabeth Mellifont Somerville daughter of Henrietta Townshend [242], who married Philip Somerville. In his letter, dated 28th April 1849, to John FitzHenry Townshend [250] Richard refers to JHT having to appear in court to answer a writ brought by John Limerick; he concludes – “my own impression is that if he expects to get anything out of the property he might (do well) to facilitate the case so as to save expenses.” In the second letter, dated 31 January 1850, John himself wrote to JFT about his share in the Ballintona estate - "I am much think the property is likely to continue in the 'Royal House' of Townsend for some time longer". Does his pleasure derive from the fact that he won the suit brought by John Limerick? However, the final sentence of the letter reads - "Under any circumstances supposing Ballintona to only sell for £1,600 (its full value) I do not think that I can come in for anything unless to the prejudice of EW (Elizabeth Warren nee Townsend [244])." A transcript of the letter is given in John's Scrapbook and it is of interest as the estate was subsequently sold in the Land Court on 26 November 1850, as noted above.(5a). John also sold off part of his estate in the Land Court established under the Encumbered Estates Acts of 1848 and 1849. The Landlord Index of County Cork Encumbered Estates records "OWNSEND, John Henry, 4, 258795."

John emigrated to Australia with Morris Somerville (the brother of Mary Somerville who married Jonas Morris Townsend [237]) and his uncle Captain Emmanuel Hungerford (1785 – 1872) of the South Cork Militia and his wife Catherine (nee Loane) on the ship 'Alexander Henry'. They arrived at Port Jackson, Sydney, on 16 May 1828. John and the Hungerfords lost no time in applying for land grants whilst Morris Somerville was to act as overseer on the Hungerford's estate. The Hungerfords were granted 2,560 acres on Baerami Creek which they never settled and bought instead 2,000 acres on Fishery Creek, near Maitland. John was granted 640 acres at the ‘Heritage’ (later called 'Union Hall' and finally 'Summerville') in Patrick Plains in August 1828 and in early 1829 he was joined by Jonas Morris and his wife, who had arrived in Australia on 12 November 1828 on 'The Coronet'. In June 1831 John also rented 950 acres on the Wollombi Brook adjoining his grant and this, coupled with the land owned and rented by Jonas, gave the two brothers 2,090 acres of land on which they raised cattle and cultivated wheat, maize and tobacco. All settlers at that time were entitled to a number of convicts to help them work the land. In January 1836 John sold his grant at 'Summerville' and the rented land at Wollombi to Jonas Morris. The information in this paragraph was provided by Marjorie Laidler, grand-daughter of Charlotte Victoria Townshend [280].

The information in the next five paragraphs is drawn from recently discovered (2007) correspondence in the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand (6). This material consists of eleven letters written by John Henry between 1844 and 1864. They are all addressed to Donald McLean (7) in New Zealand who emigrated to New South Wales from Scotland in 1838. He took employment with the Sydney timber-trading merchants Abercrombie and Company who in 1840 sent him to the Auckland area, New Zealand.

At some time after January 1836 and before September 1844 John Henry left Australia, moved to New Zealand and settled in the Auckland/Coromandel Peninsula area. It appears that he met Donald McLean well before then, for in a letter dated 19 September 1844 from Auckland he tells Donald that their enterprise was a failure and he was short of money. The next letter is dated Adelaide, South Australia 14 February 1845 and in it John describes how he had to leave New Zealand in a hurry leaving a number of unpaid debts – “I had not two hours in which to make up my mind whether I should go to Sydney or Hobart Town the day I left Auckland”. The reason for leaving in such a hurry is not entirely clear, but a letter in the McLean archives (8) suggests why he had to do so. However in his letter from Adelaide, John continues “Tell no one of my intentions and many who now doubtless think me an unprincipled fellow, or in plain words a damned rogue will have cause to alter their opinions.” He had no money when he arrived in Australia and was forced to accept whatever employment he could find; he wrote “I had no money when I landed and was glad to take anything. I am now on a sheep establishment at forty pounds a year. Everything I want ….a good deal of knocking about, no women or wine and 13000 head of sheep to look after.” This letter concludes enigmatically – “I have a thousand things to tell you & questions to ask but the policemen waits & can wait no longer so must conclude by telling you I am and always shall remain your sincere friend.”

The next of John’s letters to McClean is dated “Castletownshend, near Skibbereen, 15 September 1852 and in it he records that he returned to Ireland in 1847 having had some success in mining shares in Australia. He also records that he was newly married and appointed a magistrate. It was of course in 1847 that his father died and John inherited a further £800 and this could be the reason that he returned to Ireland.

The remainder of John’s letters to Donald McLean are written from either Dunbeacon (his brother Richard's home) or Shorecliffe (8a) and are full of lengthy reminiscences of the times they spent together in New Zealand. From these it can be deduced that John was an exuberant man who really enjoyed life to the full. He clearly had the interests of the Maoris at heart, their respect and a penchant for their women. In many of his letters he enquires after them and asks to be remembered to them.

One letter written in 1854 is of particular interest for he writes “I am a farmer having 90 acres on my own hands which is a large farm in this quarter of the world.” He then goes on to describe the horrors of the famine when he returned to Ireland and how a “population of eight and a half millions lost their chief supply of food in one week for the potato was the only food that four fifths of the people had to rely on.” He continues by saying that so many died in the famine or emigrated that the survivors can “find employment at double their former wages. In the country pauperism has mainly disappeared and as an illustration of what I tell you we have at present in the Skib workhouse (of which I am the Vice Chairman) 128 inmates and in November 1850 we had 1470.” (9)

Several of John’s nephews and cousins emigrated to New Zealand (10) and, over the period of their correspondence, John continually promoted their interests with Donald McLean asking him to give them a “push up the ladder”. John was also very ready to promote the interests of those friends who took his mail out to New Zealand and details of these will be found as footnotes to his letters in his Scrapbook.

A substantial amount of correspondence between 1869 and 1873 survives (11) concerning Mary’s marriage settlement and the disposal of the judgment of a principal sum of £3000 made on 1 July 1836 against the estate of William Talbot Crosbie Esq. The detail of this correspondence does not concern these notes but two matters are of interest. The first is the need to draw down capital from the principal as well as enjoy the interest from it in order to meet financial commitments. In a letter to John FitzHenry Townshend from Shorecliffe, Glandore, dated 16 November 1869 Mary wrote “My income every way is so very small, and expenses increased by being at Shorecliffe…..if our income is lessened instead of increased, we must give up the notion of living comfortably half the year at Shorecliffe which entails expenses none that we have had hitherto. I have found out that there is a clause in the settlement enabling my trustees, with my desire in writing, to advance any sum not exceeding a child’s proportion for the purpose of education, maintenance or advancement in any profession, trade or business of any such child or children. Therefore I am more happy as regards being able to pay for Richard Arthur’s (my son) commission.” The second matter of interest is that it was Mary who drove the issue rather than her husband – in a further letter to John FitzHenry five days later she wrote “My Dear John, Do not fear that I am going to ask you for a reply; I would rather not as John is averse to my writing, also wants his finger in the pie, which he would complicate as he does not understand this sort of business.”

Thom's Irish Almanac and Official Directory for the Year 1862 shows “Townsend, John Henry, Dunbeacon, Ballydehob” as a Magistrate. Robert H Laing’s Cork Mercantile Directory 1863 records on page189 the following as Magistrates: ‘Townsend Henry J, Castletownshend’, ‘Townsend, Horace, Derry, Rosscarbery; Union Club, London SW’, ‘Townsend, Horatio DL, Woodside, Cork’, ‘Townsend, J Handcock, Myross Wood, Leap’, ‘Townsend, John Henry, Dunbeacon, Ballydehob’, ‘Townsend, Richard, Clontaff, Union Hall, Leap’, ‘Townsend, Saml, Blackrock, Cork’, ‘Townsend, Samuel Richd, Whitehall, Skibbereen’.

A report on the front page of the Cork Examiner of 26 November 1868 records that John, Samuel Nugent Townsend [432], Horatio Hamilton Townsend [6B05], Thomas Somerville of The Prairie, son of Henrietta Townsend [242] and James Redmond Barry JP (12) were all members of McCarthy Downing’s Election Committee for the Cork County Election. He was duly elected on 30 November 1868 and served as a Liberal MP until 9 February 1874.

'Griffith's Valuation of Ireland 1848-64' shows John owning land in the parishes of Kilmacabea, Myross, Castlehaven, and Schull. The University of Galway Landed Estates Database shows that John was living at Mall Cottage in Castletownshend at the time of Griffith's Valuation (1850-58) - "John H. Townsend was leasing this property from Thomas Somerville at the time of Griffith's Valuation, when it was valued at £20. It is still extant."

In the entry for Glandore - 'Justices of the Peace' - on page 225 Francis Guy's City and County Cork Almanac and Directory 1875 records "Townsend John Henry, Shorecliffe". Page 129 of the 1884 Directory still shows him as a Justice of the Peace living at Shorecliffe, though he died in 1882!

‘Townsend, John, J. P. Glandore’ is listed as a subscriber to “Sketches in Carbery, County Cork. Its Antiquities, History, Legends, and Topography” by Daniel Donovan, published in Dublin in 1876.

The 'Register of Landowners in County Cork 1876' shows that John's estate totalled 14 acres and was valued at £27 - 5s (2005 equivalent - £952). The subsequent entry shows 'Mary Townsend, Carrignafoy, Queenstown with an estate of 1 acre valued at £59 - 0s’ - this could be John's wife.

‘Slater’s Royal National Directory of Ireland, 1894’ records under the heading ‘Munster Parishes – Rosscarbery’. - “Midway to Skibbereen is the elegant mansion of John Henry Townsend esq.” and under Rosscarbery - Private Residents - “Townsend John Henry, Miros wood.” This is clearly wrong. Myross was owned by John Hancock Townsend [523] who died in 1889 and the property passed to his sons; John Henry Townsend died in 1882 and never lived there!

John died at Shorecliffe (8a), Glandore, Co Cork and is buried in St Barrahane's Church in Castletownshend. Entry in the diary of Agnes Townsend [334] - "1881 Jany 28 John Henry Townshend died." Page 884 of The Calendar of Wills and Administration 1858-1922 in the National Archives of Ireland records that Letters of Administration of the personal estate of "John Henry Townshend late of Glandore County Cork", who died on 28 January 1882, were granted at Cork on 10 June 1892 to " Richard Arthur Herbert Townshend of Friendly Cover House Durrus". Effects £85 5s 7d. Re-sworn £109 10s 1d.

(1) Entry in the diary of Agnes Townsend [334] - "Dec 20 1849 John Henry Townsend married to Miss Herbert."

(2) Richard Mellifont Townsend [236] and Arthur Herbert (Brother? Will dated 16 October 1864. Died before December 1870) of the 39th Regiment of Foot were both witnesses and trustees to Mary’s settlement of £1432. In 1873, following the death of Arthur Herbert sometime prior to 1870 and Richard Townsend’s permanent residence in Nice, Arthur Edward Herbert and William Warren (husband of Elizabeth Townsend [244]) were appointed trustees. Lovera Papers 238/5

(3) Mary was born ca 1813 and died at Durrus on 10 April 1893. Entry in the diary of Agnes Townsend [334] - "1893 April about 12th Mrs John H Townshend Durrus". Page 816 of The Calendar of Wills and Administration 1858-1922 in the National Archives of Ireland records that the will of " Mary Townshend late of Friendly Cove Durrus County Cork Widow”, who died on 10 April 1893, was proved at Cork on 31 May 1893 by "Richard Arthur Herbert Townshend of same place late Captain in HM Army the sole Executor". Effects £1,649 16s 1d.

(3a) The entry for Herbert (Cahernane) in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "The Herberts of Cahernane descended from the same family as those at Muckross. Smith indicates that two members of the family received lands in Kerry after the Desmond rebellion, Sir William Herbert received over 13,000 acres while Charles Herbert received over 3000 acres. Over 300 acres of Rev. Richard Herbert's estate at Tullig, barony of Magunihy, was offered for sale in the Encumbered Estates Court in 1858. In 1865, the Brewsterfield property of Arthur Orpen and Elizabeth Herbert was offered for sale in the Landed Estates Court as well as premises in Killarney town. In the 1870s the Cahernane family estate amounted to over 3000 acres in county Kerry. At the time of Griffith’s Valuation, the representatives of Rev. B. Herbert were among the principal lessors in the parish of Killaha while Rev. Edward Herbert was a principal lessor in the parish of Kilnanare, both in the barony of Magunihy. Rev. Richard Herbert held several townlands in the parish of Currans, barony of Trughanacmy. Lands held under lease by Timothy Kennedy from Rev. Richard Herbert's estate were offered for sale in the Land Judges' Court in 1881." The Herberts of Muckross are also listed in this entry.

(4) Lovera Papers 221/3

(5) Lovera Papers 238/7 and 238/8

(5a) The Encumbered Estates Acts enabled the sale of Irish estates which had been mortgaged and whose owners found themselves in difficult financial circumstances. Unable to meet the demands of their creditors owners sold their estates, or portions of them, to settle their obligations. During and after the potato famine many tenants could not pay their rents, and this left landlords with little choice. However, the sale of land was difficult until the introduction of the Encumbered Estates legislation. Between 1849 and 1857 the Landed Estates Court oversaw the sale of more than 3000 Irish estates. Others in the family who were forced to sell include Jonas Morris Townsend [237], Samuel Townsend [412], John Handcock Townsend [523], John Townsend [622], Samuel Philip Townsend [6A03], Rev Thomas Townsend [6B03], Edward Richard Townsend [6C00].

(6) Donald McLean papers MS-Papers-0032-0606. Turnbull Collections (Tapuhi), Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

(7) Sir Donald McLean 1820-1877. Administrator, runholder, politician, provincial superintendent. Crown Protector of Aborigines, Native Land Purchase Commissioner and Minister of Native Affairs. Appointed KCMG in 1874. Biography published in 2007 "The Best Man Who Ever Served the Crown?: A Life of Donald McLean."

(8) Folder 438. Letter from John McLeod to Donald McLean 3 December 1844, Auckland. "Townsend has behaved excessively ill after you left. He took to his old habit of drinking & I understand has disposed of some property of yours left in his charge for the natives. He made an attempt in connection with a person of the name of Juby(?) who you may recollect lived for some time with Mr Castle to secure (?) a way with the Marora while at Auckland."

(8a) The entry for Shorecliffe in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Occupied by the Rev. William Baldwin at the time of Griffith's Valuation, when it was valued at £11. It is named Prospect House on the 1st-edition Ordnance Survey map but as Shorecliffe House on the 25-inch map of the 1890s. It is still known by this name."

(9) John's cousin Reverend Richard Boyle Townsend [332] was Vicar of Abbeystrewry and was very deeply involved in relieving suffering during the famine. He died of typhus himself.

(10) Richard Townsend [254], probably Thomas Townsend [255], the sons of his sister Elizabeth Townsend [244] (Thomas and Michael Warren) and the son of his cousin Louisa Townsend [249] (Maurice de Burgh).

(11) Lovera Papers 238/2 and 238/3

(12) 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 involved in setting up the Agricultural and Country Bank in Skibbereen in April 1835 along with Richard Townsend [221] and Colonel Thomas Somerville, husband of Henrietta Augusta Townsend [234].