Sylvia Rosalie Townshend (268)

Date of Birth: 16 Oct 1872
Date of Death: 24 Apr 1935
Generation: 8th
Residence: Tally-Ho, Castletownshend
Father: Lieutenant Colonel Henry FitzJohn Townshend [260]
Mother: Bushe, Mary
  1. Gorges, Edmund Howard
  1. Sylvia Maria
See Also: Table II ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Sylvia Rosalie Townshend

Sylvia was baptized at Magdalen Asylum Church, Leeson Street, Dublin.

Married 3 July 1900 (1) at St Barrahanes Church, Castletownshend. Brigadier General Edmund Howard Gorges CB. CBE. DSO. FRGS, Officer of The Legion d'Honneur, late of the Manchester Regiment.

Following the death of her brother Arthur FitzHenry Townshend [267] in 1916 Sylvia inherited his complete estate including his house, Tally Ho in Castletownshend where, according to addressed envelopes in the Lovera Papers, she appears to have lived until she died. It would seem that the property passed to her daughter, Sylvia Mary, who was living there until she married in 1936.

Sylvia petitioned for divorce (restitution of conjugal rights) in 1919 and the marriage was dissolved in 1920 (Divorce Court File: 992). She died on 24 April 1935 and is buried in St Barrahane's Church, Castletownshend. The inscription on her grave reads “SYLVIA ROSALI GORGES NEE TOWNSHEND. BORN 16TH OCTOBER 1874. DIED 24TH APRIL 1935”.

Edmund spent much of his military career in colonial service. In 1899 he was serving in Kenya where he reinforced Halford Mackinder's expedition to climb Mount Kenya in 1899. One of the valleys on the mountain -Gorges Valley - is named after him in recognition of his services. In about 1901/02 he was in Abyssinia and wrote about his experiences in a letter to his daughter Sylvia Mary dated 29 July 1935. "I know that country so well, having commanded the Camel Corps there years ago when we were chasing the 'Mad Mullah' with the Abyssinians as our ally. I know the water holes in Walwal and I often trekked sometimes 40 to 50 miles a day by camel with the mounted infantry through that inhospitable country. Once I went to Harar and down the Fafan River to Afdub and then back to Berbera - our Headquarters. It was a grand life but desperately hot and uncomfortable, and the plague of flies and other insect pests was simply abominable." Edmund's further service can be deduced from family correspondence in the Lovera Papers. He served in Uganda in 1906-07, was in India in 1910 (2) and was Commandant West Africa as a Colonel 1914-16.

Edmund wrote 'The Great War in West Africa' which was published in 1930. He died on 26 October 1949 at Petersfield, Hants.

The daughter, Sylvia Mary, was born in London on 15 December 1904 and baptized at St Barrahane's Church, Castletownshend in March 1905. The April 1911 Irish Census records that, aged 6, she was living at The Castle, Castletownshend. At the time the house was occupied by Sir Egerton Coghill and his family and Sylvia, strangely, was shown as a cousin.

Sylvia married Conte Clemente Lovera di Maria of Saluzzo, Piedmonte, Italy in 1936 and died in 1982 as a result of injuries sustained in a motoring accident. Sylvia was a close friend of Robert Knox, a grandson of Zeenie Townsend [556], and left him her copy of 'An Officer of the Long Parliament' and many family documents, letters and papers dating from 1790 relating to the descendants of John Townsend [214]. They are known as the Lovera Papers and from them it has been possible to extract much detail about the family.

When Charlotte Townshend [261] died in 1924 her will was contested by Sylvia. The wording of the will was unclear as to whether or not she intended Sylvia to be the main beneficiary or Sylvia's daughter. In addition there was a suspicion that the Reverend Horace FitzHenry Waller-Bridge (3), 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 two thirds 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 the remaining third of the residuary estate. (4)

When Richard Arthur Townshend [259] died in 1930, without issue, 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 Townshend [261]. However both Henry and Charlotte died before Richard Arthur Townshend and so the £5,000 went to the beneficiaries of their wills. As Sylvia was the sole beneficiary of Henry’s will she received one moiety and her daughter, as Charlotte’s principal beneficiary received two thirds of the other moiety. The Reverend Waller-Bridge received the remaining third of this moiety. (5)

(1) Entry in the diary of Agnes Townsend [334] - 'July 3rd 1900 Miss Sylvia Townshend married to Capt Gorges'.

(2) Letter to Henry FitzJohn Townshend [260] from Edmund at 'Woodlands' Hotel, Darjeeling dated 18 August 1910.

(3) 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).

(4) Lovera Papers 261/5

(5) Lovera Papers 259/3