Henry John Townsend (251)

Date of Birth: 1 Nov 1827
Date of Death: dvp 7 Sep 1869
Generation: 7th
Residence: Castletownshend
Father: Reverend Maurice FitzGerald Stephens Townsend [231]
Mother: Shute, Alice Elizabeth
  1. de Burgh, Jane Adeliza Clementina
  1. Maurice FitzGerald Stephens [263]
  2. Captain Hubert de Burgh FitzGerald [264]
See Also: Table II ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Henry John Townsend

Henry was born at Thornbury vicarage.

Married 29 September 1864 at Kilfaughnabeg, Co Cork. Jane de Burgh (1) was the eldest daughter of John Hamilton Hussey de Burgh JP of Kilfinnan, (1a & 1b) near Glandore, Co Cork, by his wife Louisa Townsend [249] who was the daughter of Jonas Morris Townsend [222]. See Burke's Irish Landed Gentry 1912 - de Burgh.

Henry was educated at Eton following which he purchased his commission in the 1st Regiment of Dragoons on 25 April 1845 (2). Three years later, and still a Cornet, he transferred into the 2nd Life Guards (3), purchased his Lieutenancy on 23 May 1851 and retired from the regiment on 17 July 1857 (4). After his military service it would appear that Henry spent the rest of his life in Castletownshend.

Henry’s father, owner of the Castletownshend estate, only ever lived in Thornbury, Gloucestershire and Henry might well have acted as his agent running the estate, though it is known that Thomas H Marmion was the agent in 1849 and might have continued as such.

According to family correspondence in the Llanvapley Papers, Henry sadly “fell prey to an insidious malady for which his life paid its eventual sad forfeit”. In a letter to John FitzHenry Townshend [250] written from Killencarrig Lodge, Delgany and dated 23 November 1865 Henrietta Gahan (daughter of Henrietta Townsend [227]) wrote - "I am glad you paid Henry a visit. I am sure it was a great pleasure to him. He wears remarkably well and is very like himself of past times. But these are changes one would long to see before Time’s invisible hand tells on all the powers of body and mind. By nature dear Henry was very lovable and a great favourite in his family. But this will not do – may it please God in his great mercy to give him that saving knowledge of himself which he has vouchsafed to others of his family" (5). And in a letter dated 21 July 1897 to Edward Mansel Townsend [630], Geraldine wrote “His shortcomings were the result of taking to drink; otherwise a kinder hearted man never lived” (6).

On coming of age in 1848 Henry inherited Chavenage, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire, which his mother had left in trust for him when she died in 1831. Using Chavenage as security, at some time after he inherited the Castletownshend Estate in 1845, on the death of his elder brother Colonel John Townsend [230], Henry's father raised a substantial mortgage from Mr Robert Stayner Holford of Westonbirt in Gloucestershire. (Possibly the money was used to make good after the fire of 1852.) When Henry predeceased his father in 1869 Chavenage was left to his widow, Jane, in trust for their eldest son Maurice Townsend [263]. Records (7) show that Jane was Lady of the Manor in 1885 and the following year she appears to have advertised the property for sale. It was eventually sold in 1891 and this was to have dire consequences for the Castletownshend Estate six years later. (See the entry for Henry's sister Geraldine Townsend [252] for the details.)

'Thom's Irish Almanac and Official Directory for the Year 1862' shows “Townsend, Henry John, Castle Townsend “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’.

Henry is buried in St Barrahane's Church in Castletownshend and, as he pre-deceased his father, his sisters were left a ‘life interest successively’ in the Castletownshend estates on the death of their father.

Only 23 when Henry died, Jane married secondly Arthur Cave of Schull (8), Co Cork, in 1877. They had a daughter, Oriel, who was born in Nice in 1878 (9), and three sons, Jordayne (b. 1883), Arthur (b. 1884) and Victor (b. 1888).

At some time after the death in 1872 of her father-in-law, Maurice [231], to everyone’s horror, Jane sold all the heirlooms from Chavenage. Correspondence of the time records that relationships between Jane and her sisters-in-law were appalling. In a letter dated 4 June 1897 to Edward Mansel Townsend [630], Geraldine wrote of her sister’s “horror of my brother's marriage at 38 with Miss Hussey de Burgh of 18 years old - & their subsequent conduct & the behaviour of my brother's widow - makes her not willing even to make the acquaintance of these two young men Maurice & Hubert.” (Henry and Jane’s two sons). In another letter six weeks later, again to Edward Mansel, Geraldine wrote of “having a horror of Mrs. Cave to whom we impute all our misfortunes. She certainly fixed the sale of our Mother's beautiful place, Chavenage,in Gloucestershire.”

The 'Register of Landowners in County Cork 1876' shows that Jane's estate of 1,510 acres was valued at £626 - 10s. (2005 equivalent - £45,259).

The April 1901 Irish Census shows that Jane, aged 50 (wrong; she was 55) was living at house 13 Cosheen (Ballybehob, Cork) with her husband, daughter, three sons and two domestic staff. The two eldest sons are shown as 'Assistant Agents'. The census also shows that Arthur owned a mill for processing the mineral barytes. The April 1911 Irish Census shows Jane living in Kilfinnan with her mother and three servants. The house consisted of seven rooms, a coach house, a stable and a further seven outbuildings. It also shows Jane as being married for 34 years (ie since 1877) having had five children of whom only three survived. As Maurice & Hubert by her first marriage were alive at this time this must refer to the children by Arthur Cave, who presumably was dead.

(1) Jane was born in Limerick in 1845.

(1a) The entry for de Burgh (Dromkeen) in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "This family of Bourke originally from county Mayo settled at Dromkeen in county Limerick in the 15th century. In 1726 Thomas Burgh of Dromkeen, son of the Reverend Richard Burgh, married his cousin Mary Burgh of Oldtown, county Kildare and they had a son Richard who died in 1762 and left his estate to his cousin Walter Hussey later Lord Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer in Ireland. Richard's sister Mary married Philpot Wolfe of Forenaghts, county Kildare, and appears to have inherited land in county Limerick. Walter Hussey de Burgh held land in the parish of Dromkeen, barony of Clanwilliam, county Limerick, at the time of Griffith's Valuation. His estate appears to be connected to that of the Balfes. His son, John Hamilton Hussey de Burgh, married Louisa Townsend, of Shepperton, county Cork and is associated with property in that county. Members of this family were still residing at Dromkeen in the 1970s."

(1b) The entry for Kilfinnan Castle in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Occupied by John O'Brien, leasing from John de Burgh , at the time of Griffith's Valuation, when it was valued at £15. Noted in Lewis in 1837 as the residence of J. Ranclud. John French was occupying the house and demesne at Kilfinnin, barony of East Carbery, when it was offered for sale in the Encumbered Estates Court in May 1851."

(2) London Gazette 20465 page 1253 dated 25 April 1845.

(3) London Gazette 20846 page 1451 dated 14 April 1848.

(4) London Gazette 22022 page 2477 dated 17 July 1857.

(5) Lovera Papers 227/3.

(6) This and all letters quoted are from the Llanvapley Papers.

(7) ‘A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11’ third paragraph.

(8) Arthur Cave was born in 1854. He was a mining agent. Family correspondence of 1897 in the Llanvapley papers records that Arthur was blind.

(9) Richard Mellifont Townshend [236] was living in Nice at the time and Jane most probably called on him, as several other members of the family did.

See ‘Officer of the Long Parliament’ p. 187.