Reverend John Townsend (309)

Date of Birth: 1752
Date of Death: ante 1794
Generation: 5th
Residence: Clonakilty & Marmullane, Passage West, Cork
Father: John Townsend [303]
Mother: Reddish, Elizabeth
  1. Williams, Martha
  1. Martha [317]
See Also: Table III ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Reverend John Townsend JP

Married 1788. Martha Williams (1) was the daughter of Carre Williams of Ashgrove, Co Cork.

Alumni Trinity College Dublin from Co Cork and Kerry 1593-1860 in Dr Casey's Collection records that John was taught by Mr W Jessop before he entered Trinity College, Dublin, on 1 Nov 1770 aged 18 as a pensioner who paid a fixed sum annually for his studies. The TCD Graduation List shows that he qualified BA in Spring 1768. Horatio Townsend [5D00] was an undergraduate at TCD at the same time.

John was ordained Deacon on 23 April 1775 and Priest on 5 May 1776, both at Cork. He was appointed Curate of The Island in 1776 and was Rector of Marmullane 1788-91. JP 1785. His will was proved in Cork in 1794 (2). See page 213 of Brady's Parochial and Clerical Records Volume 1 for a summary of John's ministry.

Following the outbreak of the American War of Independence in 1775 the largest army ever to leave Britain was sent to America, and, when France entered the war on the American side, Ireland was left open to attack from France. Inspired by events in America, and later in revolutionary France, the Society of United Irishmen agitated for reform and this raised fears in the Protestant Ascendancy about internal disorder in Ireland. In 1778 the City of Cork Corporation made a grant of three hundred guineas for the raising of Protestant militia volunteer corps in response to this turn of events and Protestant Militia and Volunteers 1778 lists the 48 Militias raised in the county numbering between one and four companies each strong. Richard Townsend [213] and some 126 of his fellow Protestants signed the resolution on 26th March 1778 and it appears that John was Chaplain to the "Hanover Society Clonakilty. Enrolled 1778. Force 2 companies. Uniform: scarlet, faced buff. Officers a 1782 - Colonel, Richard Hungerford; Major, Thomas Hungerford; Captains, John Hungerford and Beecher Hungerford; Lieutenant, Swithin White; Adjutant, Richard Bagley; Chaplain, John Townsend; Secretary, Thomas Morgan". There is no corroborative evidence that this is John, though as Curate of The Island 1776-88 it most probably refers to him.

'The Post Chaise Companion or Traveller's Directory' through Ireland 3rd Edition 1804 page 346 records "Near two miles from Cork on the L. is Pouladaff, the seat of Mr Grey; and a little farther, is Ashgrove, the seat of Mr Williams".

An entry in the Church of Ireland Parish Records Ross Cathedral 1690–1823 records on page 1 "1786 Aprill the 26th Mark Leede and Elizh McCarthy were married in the Church of Clonakilty by the Revd John Townsend." This would refer to the time when John was Curate of The Island.

Memorial 250781 dated 2 January 1786 in the Registry of Deeds Index Project Ireland records that the 'Rev John Townsend of Clonakilty' was witness to the deed in which land at Desert was leased by Henry Cox of Dunmanway, Co Cork to James Harris of Willsgrove, Co Cork.

Page 70 of ‘The Report of the Select Committee on the Public Income & Expenditure of Ireland’, published in 1815, records that “Rev John Townsend” was a regular subscriber to the ‘South Cork Infirmary’; his annual subscription of £1 – 2s – 9d was due on 5 January 1814. Other subscribers include Horatio Townsend [6B01], Rev William Robinson Townsend [6B02] and Mildred Townsend, wife of Richard Townsend [6A00].

(1) The Carre Columbine Williams who married John's daughter, Martha Townsend [317] is most likely a nephew.

(2) 'Cork and Ross Wills 1548-1800'.