Charlotte Ruth Townshend (261)

Date of Birth: ca 1840
Date of Death: dunm 23 Apr 1924
Generation: 7th
Residence: Kensington, London
Father: John FitzHenry Townshend [250]
Mother: Armstrong, Ellen
Spouse: Unmarried
Issue: None
See Also: Table II ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Charlotte Ruth Townshend

Very little is known about Charlotte and most of that concerns the outcome of her will. The first mention of her is contained in a letter dated October 1857 from Frances Townshend [248] to Charlotte’s father “It was but a day or two ago that I heard from Elizabeth Somerville of poor little Charlotte having been so very ill….. I cannot tell you how sorry we both were to hear of her illness and hope by the time you receive this she may be quite restored to her usual health, so that you may be able to give us a good account of her.” (1)

When Richard Mellifont-Townshend [236] died in 1884 he bequeathed a diamond ring to Charlotte.

Charlotte was an Executor to her father’s will and was living at his home at 30 Upper Fitzwilliam Street when he died in 1893. Sometime between then and May 1902 she moved to 28 Wynnstay Gardens, Kensington, London W8. It was from this address that she wrote a note dated 4 May 1902 to her brother Henry FitzJohn Townshend [260], to be given to him at the time of her death, amplifying parts of her will.

In a letter, dated 20 October 1923, to Charlotte's niece, Sylvia Townshend [268] her solicitor mentioned that he had visited Charlotte and found her in very poor health, straitened circumstances and in need of full time care. Following this it would appear that Charlotte, now aged about 83, went to live under the care of the Reverend Horace FitzHenry Waller-Bridge (2) in Sussex.

After Charlotte's death it became clear that the wording of her will (3) was unclear as to whether or not she intended Sylvia to be the main beneficiary or Sylvia's daughter, Sylvia Mary. In addition there was a suspicion that the Reverend Waller-Bridge, who was the sole executor, might have brought undue pressure upon Charlotte when she drew up her will. Wrangling over the will continued between Sylvia and the Reverend Waller-Bridge through their solicitors until July 1927. The final outcome was that Sylvia's daughter was to receive 2/3rds of the residuary estate, the furniture, effects and jewelery, Charlotte's maid (Emma Webb) was to receive an annuity of £100 per annum and the Reverend Waller-Bridge was to receive 1/3rd of the residuary estate.

When Richard Arthur Townshend [259] died without issue in 1930, six years after Charlotte, the £5,000 left to him in trust by Richard Mellifont-Townshend [236] when he died in 1884 reverted to the residual legatee of RMT’s estate – John FitzHenry Townshend [250]. As JFT died in 1893 the £5,000 would have gone to the beneficiaries of his will, namely his surviving children Henry FitzJohn Townshend [260] and Charlotte. However Henry died before Richard Arthur, as did Charlotte, and so the £5,000 went to the beneficiaries of their wills. Sylvia Rosalie Townshend [268] was the sole beneficiary of Henry’s will and thus received one moiety. Sylvia’s daughter, as Charlotte’s principal beneficiary received two thirds of the other moiety and the Reverend Waller-Bridge, received the remaining third of this moiety.

(1) Lovera Papers 248/5.

(2) Rector of Worth, Three Bridges, Sussex, born 14 April 1879 and died 1 January 1952. He married on 30 January 1913 Elsie Noëline Waller Boughton-Lee, of Cuckfield House (b. 25 December 1895 d. 24 January 1953).

(3) Her will was dated 29 November 1923 - very shortly after she went to live with the Reverend Waller-Bridge. It was proved on the 29 May 1924 London Gazette 32949 page4929 dated 24 June 1924.