Maurice FitzGerald Stephens Townshend (263)

Date of Birth: 4 Nov 1865
Date of Death: 19 Nov 1948
Generation: 8th
Residence: Castletownshend
Father: Henry John Townsend [251]
Mother: de Burgh, Jane Adeliza Clementina
  1. ffolliott, Blanche Lillie
  1. Rose-Marie Elizabeth [269]
See Also: Table II ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Maurice FitzGerald Stephens Townshend

Maurice's birth was announced in The Cork Examiner, 9 November 1865, - "BIRTHS. On the 4th inst., at Castletownsend, the wife of Henry J. Townsend, Esq, JP, of a son."

Maurice's biography can be seen on page 295 of 'Cork and County Cork in the Twentieth Century - Contemporary Biographies' by the Rev Richard J Hodges and published by W T Pike & Co in 1911. It has also been reproduced in his 'Scrapbook'.

Married 4 February 1913 at St Peter's, Eaton Square, London when Maurice was 48 years old. Blanche Lillie ffolliot was the only daughter of Surgeon General ffolliot.

Maurice started his education at Stubbington House, Hants, but it is not known where he went after this.

The loss of Chavenage in 1891 and the sale of the Castletownshend estate in 1897, fully described in the entry for his aunt Geraldine Townshend [252], must have profoundly affected Maurice. Nevertheless, the property was entailed to him and, on repayment of the outstanding mortgage on the estate and having repaid Charles Loftus Townshend [5C01] the purchase price of £14,000, he re- possessed the Castle in about or just after 1914 - Guy's Postal Directory 1914 for Castletownshend shows “Townshend Chas L, The Castle Hotel” and "Townshend C F, The Castle". (CF Townshend cannot be traced - probably MF Townshend)

Little is known about Maurice in his early years. The April 1901 Irish Census shows that he was living in a hotel at 15 Main Street, Schull, owned by Jane Attridge. Under the heading 'Occupation' Maurice is shown as living off 'Income from House'- this being income from letting The Castle to Sir John Coghill. The records of the Royal Cork Yacht Club show that in 1904 Maurice was living at Shana Court, Castletownshend and 'Guy's City and County Cork Almanac and Directory for 1907 records him living in Glandore, as does the 1911 Irish Census where he is shown as living in a nine roomed house with two domestic staff.

Whilst 'Guy's Postal Directory 1914' for Glandore shows "Townshend Maurice, Shorecliffe." (1), Maurice’s grandson, Robert Salter-Townshend [270], records that he moved into Shepperton (1a) after he married in 1913 and remained there until he was forced to move out during the Civil War (1922-23) for fear of his life. Maurice and Lillie went to England following this and in August 1925 were living at Freshford Lodge, Freshford, Somerset (see below). When they returned later that year they found that Shepperton had been taken over by another family and so they moved into the Castle at Castletownshend which had lain empty for many years. The new Irish Government compensated Maurice for the loss of Shepperton House.

Recently discovered letters (2) reveal that in 1924 Maurice and his very distant cousin Charles Archibald Victor Townshend [678] devised a scheme for investing in Canada. With a difference of thirty two years in age this might seem a strange partnership but it can most likely be ascribed to the fact that Charles’ father, Edward Mansel Townshend [630], and Maurice’s’ aunt, Geraldine were close friends until 1911 when she died and Geraldine had been a significant influence during Maurice’s fatherless childhood. In addition, Maurice, since the sale of the Castletownshend estate in 1897, was most likely hoping to make some money.

It is difficult to pin down exactly what was their plan in Canada but it would seem that they intended to buy a ranch called Twin Springs off Mr Hart at Grandhaven on the Peace River in British Columbia. Charles emigrated in June 1924 and when he arrived at the ranch he was disappointed with what he found. In a letter dated 15 June 1924 to his mother he wrote – “I'm afraid it’s very different to what we thought it and we have an idea that we have been rather done;” After many delays, Maurice and his wife finally joined Charles in the early autumn and the latter wrote in a letter dated 23 September 1924 - “Cousin Maurice is with us now at last and very disgruntled with the weather, the Ranch, and things generally.…. Maurice said that he intended to cut his loss with Hart and get out of it.” The project was a disaster and it seems that Maurice decided to build afresh – in Charles’ words “Cousin M's frame house is a white elephant he will never sell as frame houses are always colder than log and it's built on the bleakest spot on the Peace River for the view!” Maurice seems to have built the house using other peoples’ money and credit and when he left, sometime in November 1924, there was a good deal of controversy about his debts.

On 16 December 1924 Captain Thomas Flatt, friend and business associate of Charles, wrote to Charles’ father, Edward Mansel Townshend, from Fort St. John, BC - “As regards the mix up with Maurice Townshend, I consider he and his wife have sailed perilously near the edge of the law, the way they went to work never intending to put a penny into the place is really dirty, also they still owe me $1500 odd also Charlie $275 to say nothing of several folk about here, who supplied timber etc., who collectively they owe about $600. I sincerely trust you will get after the old reprobate, he has signed notes of hand for all of us which he should honour this 1st Dec 1924.” Thomas Flatt wrote to Edward Mansel T again on 5 July 1925 – “I am very glad you have written Maurice T. re the return of my money, & the payment of bills he owes to various folk about, for building him a house. These unfortunate folk & I, have now been waiting 1 1/2 years for our money…. If he only made an attempt to pay by instalments, but to tour round Switzerland, and other countries, & leave us struggling minus capital is the limit.”

Whatever, the truth of the matter will never be known for Maurice wrote to Edward Mansel T from Freshford Lodge, Freshford, Somerset, on 12 August that year - “My solicitor in Peace River, is working the case against Hart and hopes to recover sufficient money to pay off all the money spent on the house which these bills represent…..Charlie of course had no share in the venture but by his own suggestion was to receive 10% of the nett profits before a division between Capt Flatt and us, instead of any wage. All this was his own suggestion and it was very bad luck that it turned out so badly for us all…..I have told my solicitor in Peace River who is a Limerick man to keep Capt Flatt acquainted with the position and any progress and shall write him again today but it takes a long time to get an answer.”

On the death of his kinsman Horace Townsend [5D12] in 1885 Maurice inherited £2,000 (£144k 2005 equivalent) and that same year he also inherited £5,000 (£360k 2005 equivalent) from his great aunt Elizabeth Anne [235]. It would also appear that he inherited £1,000 (£63.5k 2005 equivalent) on the death of Elise in 1896, second wife of Samuel Townsend [443].

The records of the Royal Cork Yacht Club show firstly in the Lloyd's Yacht Register 1900 "Townshend, Maurice FS. Schull, Co Cork. 'Scout' (23 tons)" and secondly, "M.F.S. Townsend; yacht 'Scout' – registered in Cowes – 1905 – schooner 23 tons". (RCYC List of Yachts – 1905 & 1907).

Blanche contracted TB, moved to Lausanne, Switzerland and died there on 19 January 1939. Her ashes were interred in the churchyard of St Barrahane's in Castletownshend.

Maurice is buried in Barrahane's Church and the inscription on his grave reads “LOVING MEMORY OF MAURICE FITZGERALD STEPHEN TOWNSHEND WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE 19 NOV. 1948 AGED 84 YEARS”

(1) The entry for Shorecliffe in the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway Connacht and Munster 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." Family correspondence (Lovera Papers) shows that Maurice's cousin, Richard Arthur Herbert Townshend [259], owned Shorecliffe in 1886 but it is not known if and when he ever sold this property to Maurice; Guy's Postal Directory 1914 shows Richard living in Beach House, Bantry.

(1a) The entry for Shepperton in the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway Connacht and Munster Landed Estates Database records "John Townsend held this property in fee at the time of Griffith's Valuation, when it was valued at £20 10s. Noted by Lewis as the seat of M. Townsend in 1837 and by Leet as the residence of Jonas M. Townsend in 1814. Shepperton is still extant but in poor repair." The house belonged to Maurice's brother , Hubert de Burgh Townshend [264} who inherited it after the wife of Jonas Morris Townsend [222] died in 1878.

(2) Llanvapley Papers.