Reverend Richard Townsend (337)

Date of Birth: 30 Apr 1821
Date of Death: dsp 16 Oct 1884
Generation: 7th
Residence: Baltimore, Co Cork & Dublin
Father: Lieut Thomas Townsend RN [319]
Mother: Freke, Helena
  1. Barrett, Mary Jane
Issue: None
See Also: Table III ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Reverend Richard Townsend

Richard's entry in the Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 57 can be viewed here.

Richard was born at Baltimore.

Married at the Parish Church of St Peter's Dublin on 13 January 1852 (1). Mary Jane Barrett (2) was the daughter of Mr Barrett of Dublin and a cousin of Richard's mother. Richard was living at 34 Rathmines, Dublin at the time.

After attending local schools in Castletownshend and Skibbereen Alumni Trinity College Dublin from Co Cork and Kerry 1593-1860 in Dr Casey's Collection records that Richard was privately tutored before he entered Trinity College, Dublin, on 13 October 1837 aged 16 as a pensioner who paid a fixed sum annually for his studies. The TCD Graduation List records that he qualified BA in Spring 1842, MA in Spring 1852 and appointed a Senior Fellow in 1883. Horace Townsend [5B00] and William Hotham Townsend [6B18] were undergraduates at Trinity at the same time.

Following graduation Richard's whole career was spent as an academic at Trinity: initially as First Senior Moderator in mathematics and physics; Junior Fellow May 1845; Tutor October 1847; Professor of Natural Philosophy June 1870; Examiner in Mathematics and Mathematical Physics and Senior Fellow in 1883. During his time at the university seventeen of his kinsmen studied there as undergraduates and nine studied for their Masters or Doctorates.

Richard was ordained Deacon on 25 May 1860 at Cork and admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society on 7 June 1866. Between 1863 and 1865 he published 'Chapters on the Modern Geometry of the Point, Line and Circle'. In 1884 he published 'On the geometrical properties of the atriphthaloid' a copy of which can be found in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Science Series 2, Vol. IV, pp. 62-70, 1884-8.

When Gladstone's Irish Church Act of 1869 dis-established and partly dis-endowed the protestant Episcopal Church of Ireland, Richard's native parish of Baltimore in west Cork fell on very hard times. As a benefactor of the church, Richard subsequently managed to raise about £2,500 to establish a permanent endowment. Page 294 of Reverend John Harding Cole's Church and Parish Records of the United Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross covering the period 1863 to 1903 and published in 1903 records - "Many improvements have been effected in Baltimore Church in recent years, such as re-flooring; new heating apparatus; font; harmonium, etc.; a beautiful stained glass window was put in as a memorial of the late Revd. Richard Townsend, S.F.T.C.D., who was a native of this place, in which he took much interest, and to which he was a large benefactor.....There is a partial endowment consisting of a considerable sum collected and contributed by that good friend of the parish,the Revd. Richard Townsend, the interest of which goes towards the assessment, which is £168, the Rector's stipend being £300."

Richard lived at 54 Upper Leeson Street, Dublin and died there of heart disease. Thom's Dublin Street Directory 1862 shows the house with a rateable value of 49 shillings. Richard's funeral was held in the chapel at Trinity and he was buried in the Mount Jerome Cemetery on 20 October 1884.(3) Probate was granted on 21 November 1884 and his estate was valued at £7,057, 9 shillings and 11 pence (2005 equivalent £422,122).

Richard's death was recorded in the diary of Agnes Townsend [334] - 'Octo 16 1884 Richd T - FTCD died' (Fellow Trinity College Dublin). Page 799 of the Calendar of Wills and Administration 1858-1922 in the National Archives of Ireland records that the will of the "Reverend Richard Townsend late of 54 Upper Leeson Street Dublin", who died on 16 October 1884, was proved at the Principal Registry on 21 November 1884 by the "Reverend Richard Jones of Youghal County Cork DD and William Chatterton of Bromley Common County Kent MD the Executors". Effects £7,057 9s 11p.

A year after his death on 19 December 1885 an exhibition was established in memory of Richard as an outstanding mathematician at Trinity College; called the "Townsend Memorial Prize" it is awarded to the Junior Freshman who obtains the highest aggregate of marks in Mathematics at the Michaelmas Prize Examination and either the Hilary or the Trinity Honor Examinations. Sadly TCD show the prize in memory of "Robert Townsend". (See also page 111 of the Dublin University Calendar 1898).

(1) Entry in the diary of Agnes Townsend [334] - 'Jan 10 1852 R Townsend married to Miss Barret.'

(2) Entry in the diary of Agnes Townsend [334] - 'Aug 28 1881 Mrs R Townsend Leeson St died'.

(3) The inscriptions on the headstones for Richard and Mary read:

No.1226 In Loving Memory of The Reverend RICHARD TOWNSEND Senior Fellow of Trinity College and formerly Professor of Natural Philosophy in The University of Dublin died October 16 1884 aged 63 years. He was a sincere Christian a kind friend and relative and deservedly beloved by all who knew him. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God". S. Matthew V.8.

No.1227 Left side of number 1226:- In Affectionate Remembrance of MARY JANE the fondly and devoted wife of the Reverend RICHARD TOWNSEND Fellow of Trinity College Dublin who died 28th August 1881. Of her father WILLIAM BARRETT who died 15th Jany. 1858 of her mother SARAH BARRETT who died 10th June 1857 and of her sister JANE BARRETT who died 30th June 1858 "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive".

See Richard's entry in the Dictionary of National Biography 2004.