Frances Georgiana Townshend (248)

Date of Birth: ca 1820
Date of Death: dsp 18 Dec 1891
Generation: 6th
Residence: Dublin
Father: Jonas Morris Townsend [222]
Mother: Digby, Jane
  1. Digby, John
  2. Lawless, Cecil
  3. Browne, Andrew
    • Issue
See Also: Table II ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Frances Georgiana Townsend (Fanny)

Most of the information in these notes has been extracted from correspondence (1) between Frances and her first cousin John FitzHenry Townshend [250] between 1853 and 1880 though there is a 10 year gap between April 1862 and December 1872. The first of these letters is written from Lower Leeson Street, Dublin which is very close to Hatch Street, where John lived. The relationship between Frances and John is defined in this first letter “My poor brother Johnny (2) is hardly able to take care of his own concerns but next to him you are not only my nearest relative, but a person above all others on whose steady principles I can rely.”

Married 1st in St Peters Church, Dublin, on 10 June 1840. (3) John William Digby (4) DL of Landenstown, Co Kildare. Married 2nd in St Peters Church, Dublin, on 7 February 1848 (5). Hon Cecil John Lawless MP (6) son of Sir Valentine Browne Lawless, 2nd Baron Cloncurry.(6a) Her marriage settlement consisted of a jointure (an estate secured to a wife in lieu of a dowry). Married 3rd in St Peter's Church, Dublin, on 12 June 1856. Andrew Browne of Mount Hazel (7)(7a), Co Galway. John FitzHenry Townshend (8) and Charles Granby Burke of Milltown in the county of Dublin were trustees of Frances’ marriage settlement.

By the time of her third marriage Frances was a wealthy woman. On the death of John William Digby in 1846 she became entitled to an annuity of £650 per annum. Following the death of her second husband in 1853, Frances’ sister in law, Hon. Mary Margaret Lawless, who married Lieutenant General Sussex Lennox, challenged the entitlement of the newly widowed Frances to the inheritance left to her late husband by his father. The opinion of John FitzHenry Townshend was sought by Frances and he ruled that she was fully entitled to the inheritance in trust of £5350 in addition to his lands and property in Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin.

In the early years of their marriage Frances and her husband, Andrew, travelled extensively. On 10th November 1857 she wrote to John FitzHenry Townshend from Hotel Victoria Nice, “We have travelled a great deal since I wrote to Ellen having visited Milan twice, Verona, Venice, Padua, Vicenza, Brescia and Genoa. Spent five tiresome days getting from the latter to this place by the corniche road and have been but a day and a half in this town as yet. We move in a few hours into our winter residence which we have until 15th May next - 17 Promenade des Anglais .....very near Mr Townsend of Clontaff (9).” On 30 March 1858 they left Nice and went to Naples, Rome, Pisa, and Florence; in July they were in Vichy and by September 1858 they were back in Ireland at Mount Hazel Glantane, Co Galway. In June the following year Frances and Andrew toured Norway, Sweden and Denmark and by October 1859 were in Berlin having sailed from Stockholm to Lubbeck in a severe gale during which all the passengers seem to have been seasick except Frances. From Berlin they went on to visit Dresden, Leipzig, Frankfurt am Main, the Rhine and Brussels, returning home by December 1859. In 1861 Frances and Andrew were on tour again visiting Hungary (Pest), Vienna, Salzburg, Ischgl, up the Danube to Linz and Passau; after visiting Nurenburg they finished their tour in Paris.

Judging from the letter heading, sometime in 1860 Frances and Andrew moved from Mount Hazel to take up more permanent residence at 55. Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin - Thom's Dublin Street Directory 1862 records "55 Browne, Andrew, esq. and Mount Hazel, Glantane, co. Galway" with a rateable value of 80 shillings. From this same time her letters to John FitzHenry Townshend are devoid of news and contain nothing more than acknowledgement for payment of her twice yearly annuity. Fitzwilliam Square and Hatch Street, where John FitzHenry Townshend lived as mentioned above, are near to each other and Frances and John would have had no need to write. Furthermore, John himself moved to 30 Upper Fitzwilliam Street on 15 January 1863.

Andrew died without issue on 15 December 1879. Page 74 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 " Andrew Browne late of Mount Hazel County Galway Esquire", who died on 15 December 1879 at 55 Fitzwilliam Square Dublin were granted at the Principal Registry on 13 February 1880 to "Frances Georgina Browne of latter place widow of the deceased Residual Legatee.”, Effects under £3000.

Frances’ last letter to John from 55 Fitzwilliam Square is dated 23 January 1880 and in it she formerly asks for the sum of £5,350 to be transferred from her trustees to her own name in the Royal Bank of Ireland. As a postscript to the letter she signs a receipt for the same. This money was of course her marriage settlement which was released following the death of Andrew the previous December.

Frances died in Dublin and was buried in St Barrahane's Church in Castletownshend on 24 December 1891. Her death was recorded by Agnes Townsend [334] in her diary - '1891 Dec 18 Mrs Browne died 55 Fitzwilliam Square.'

Page 79 of The Calendar of Wills and Administration 1858-1922 in the National Archives of Ireland records that the will of "Frances Georgina Browne late of 55 Fitzwilliam Square Dublin Widow", who died on 18 December 1891 at the same place, was proved at the Principal Registry on 26 January 1892 by "Fitzjohn Hussey de Burgh of 55 Fitzwilliam Square and Richard Neville Somerville of Templemore county Tipperary Esquires two of the executors.” Effect £15,964 18s 8d

(1) Lovera Papers 248/4/5/6.

(2) John Morris Townsend [246] who died in 1853 aged 26.

(3) Extract from 'The Connaught Journal', Galway, Thursday, June 18, 1840 - "MARRIED In St. Peter's Church, by the Rev. John Digby, Winfield, John William Digby, Esq. of Landenstown, County Kildare, and Landlord of the Islands of Arran, in the county of Galway to Frances Georgiana, eldest daughter of Morris Townsend, Esq. of Merrion -square, and of county Cork".

(4) John died on 27th August 1846. The entry for Digby (Aran) in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "The Aran Islands comprised 3 parishes Inisheer, Inishmaan and Inishmore, all in the barony of Aran, county Galway. At the time of the Acts of Settlement the islands were granted to Richard [Butler] Earl of Arran. From the mid 18th century they belonged to the Digby family of Landenstown, county Kildare, a junior branch of the Digby family granted the title Baron Digby of Geashill in 1620. The Digbys bought the islands from John Richard Fitzpatrick and Sir Stephen Fox. The islands had been granted to Richard Butler, Earl of Arran, in 1669. The issue of ''The Connaught Journal'' dated 4 June 1840 reported the marriage of John William Digby of Landenstown and landlord of the islands of Arran with Frances Georgina Townsend. By the time of Griffith's Valuation the Aran Islands were in the possession of Peter Barfoot, his wife Henrietta and her sister Elizabeth Digby. Henrietta and Elizabeth were sisters of John William Digby. In the 1870s Henrietta Barfoot and Elizabeth Digby each owned 5596 acres in county Galway. In 1851 Sir Thomas St Lawrence, 3rd Earl of Howth married as his second wife Henrietta Barfoot daughter of Peter Barfoot and Henrietta Digby and they had a son and 2 daughters, one of whom married Captain Benjamin Lee Guinness, a brother of Lord Ardilaun. By March 1916 an offer from the Congested Districts' Board for the purchase of the islands had been accepted by the St Lawrence and Guinness families. In the early 19th century Digby Devenish, revenue officer, was a prominent resident of the Aran Islands. In 1803 he married Elizabeth Digby of Aran and during the following 20 years their children were baptized in St Nicholas Church, Galway. "

(5) Entry in the diary of Agnes Townsend [334] - 'Feby 7 1848. Fanny Digby married to Mr Lawless'.

(6) Cecil John Lawless was a Member of Parliament for Clonmel between 1846 and 1853. He was initially elected as a Repeal Association candidate, but was re-elected as a Liberal in 1852. However, later the same year he again changed allegiance, this time to the Irish Independence Party. He died on 5 November 1853.

(6a) The entry for Lawless in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "The Lawless family, originally from Hertfordshire, settled in Dublin in the early 18th century. Nicholas Lawless son of Robert Lawless of Abington, county Limerick, married Margaret daughter of Valentine Browne of Dublin. He was created a baronet in 1776 and elevated to the peerage as Baron Cloncurry in 1789. At the time of Griffith's Valuation Lord Cloncurry owned 10 townlands in the parish of Abington, barony of Owneybeg. In the 1870s Lord Cloncurry owned over 5,000 acres in county Limerick, 919 acres in county Dublin, 396 acres in county Meath and 6,503 acres in county Kildare, where he resided at Lyons, Hazelhatch."

(7) 'Property owners County Mayo circa 1870' records "Andrew Browne, Mount Hazel, Co. Galway, 1,939 acres." and 'Landowners in Co. Galway, circa 1870' records "Andrew Browne, address Mount Hazel, Glantane, owned 2,953 acres." A total of 4892 acres. These entries are summarized in U.H.Hussey de Burgh's 'Landowners of Ireland 1878' - "Browne, Andrew, JP. Galway - Mount Hazel, Woodlawn, Ballinasloe; 55, Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin; Kildare Street Club, Dublin. Galway, 1,939 acres £1076. Mayo, 2,953 acres £336."

(7a) The entry for Browne (Moyvilly & Mounthazel) in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "The Moyvilly estate, near Oranmore, county Galway, was granted to the Brownes under the Acts of Settlement. It was formerly an estate belonging to the Ffrench family. Andrew Browne of Moyvilla is listed as a resident proprietor in county Galway in 1824. The Blakes of Kiltolla became indebted to the Brownes during the 18th century and in settlement sold their Mounthazel Estate, near Mount Bellew, to the Brownes. The Brownes then moved their main residence from Moyvilly to Mounthazel. At the time of Griffith's Valuation, the Mounthazel estate comprised of 8 townlands in the parish of Ballymacward, barony of Tiaquin and townlands in the parishes of Boyounagh, barony of Ballymoe and Dunmore, barony of Dunmore, county Galway, some of them purchased from the Cuff and Eyre families. The Brownes also held land in the parishes of Moygawnagh and Kilfian, barony of Tirawley, county Mayo, at the time of Griffith's Valuation. In the 1870s Andrew Browne of Mounthazel owned 1,939 acres in county Galway and 2,953 acres in county Mayo while his first cousin Colonel Andrew Browne of Mount Bernard owned 1,644 acres in county Galway. The Mounthazel estate passed by marriage to the De Stacpoole family in 1883. In 1887 Virginia Maude daughter of Lieutenant General Andrew Browne married Captain Hugh O'Connor Henchy of Stonebrook, county Kildare and they inherited Moyveela Castle.

(8) On 2 February 1856 Frances wrote from her house at 2 Fitzwilliam Square West, Dublin to John FitzHenry Townsend “You cannot blame me for marrying again when you are aware how utterly friendless and lonely I am in the world”.

(9) Richard Mellifont Townshend [236]