Lieutenant General Samuel Townsend (403)

Date of Birth: 1732
Date of Death: 17 May 1794
Generation: 4th
Residence: London
Father: Samuel Townsend [400]
Mother: Mansel, Dorothea
  1. Aikenhead, Elizabeth
  1. Captain Samuel Irwin [409]
  2. Elizabeth Trelawney [410]
See Also: Table IV ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Lieutenant General Samuel Townsend (1)

Samuel was born at Whitehall (2).

Alumni Trinity College Dublin from Co Cork and Kerry 1593-1860 in Dr Casey's Collection records that Samuel was taught by Mr Butler Townsend (probably Rev Butler Townsend [126]) before he entered Trinity College, Dublin, on 10 April 1747 aged 15 as a pensioner who paid a fixed sum annually for his studies. The TCD Graduation List shows that he qualified BA in Spring 1751.

On first leaving home Samuel's father wrote him a long letter setting out the way he should conduct himself in life - "First let your strictest duty to God be your constant care…. Next to your duty to God, that of your duty to your King & Country…. Be courteous and obliging to Every Body......" (3)

Married ca 1760. Elizabeth Aikenhead came from Lanark and was the widow of Gilbert Ford of Northaw (4), Herts, and Attorney General of Jamaica.

Samuel was commissioned into Drogheda's Light Horse and in 1759 transferred to the 18th Light Dragoons as a Captain, having raised a troop. The following year he transferred to the 19th of Foot (The Green Howards) (5). The Regiment saw action during the Seven Years War at the Siege of Belle Isle in 1761, during which Samuel, serving as a Captain in the Grenadier Company, was ADC to Major General Kingsley (6)(7). It was the Grenadier Company that secured the landing on the island at Locmaria and subsequently took possession of the citadel at La Palais after a long siege.

Promoted Major on 15 June 1763 and Lieutenant Colonel on 5 May 1769, Samuel assumed command of the 34th of Foot (The Border Regt), which throughout his time in command was stationed in Ireland. (A short history of these Regiments is given in Samuel’s Scrapbook).

Placed on half pay in May 1776, Samuel was appointed "Inspector General and Superintendent of the Recruiting of all the Forces employed on Foreign Service" on 24 January 1778 - London Gazette 11843 (7a). A letter from the War Office dated 21 July 1809 in the House of Commons Papers records this appointment and shows that Samuel was paid thirty shillings a day and his assistant five shillings a day. Notwithstanding this, during his time as Inspector General Samuel incurred great expense, and he was granted £17,000 by George III to cover his expenses. It would appear that he relinquished the appointment in 1786 - In January 2012 the AbeBooks website (7b) advertised a copy of a manuscript 'King's Warrant' [King George III], declaring 'Major General Saml. Townsend, discharged from further accounting for the Sum of £17464. 14. 8 received by him for Recruiting Service from the end of the year 1778, to 24th. June 1786.'

On 4 November 1778 Samuel wrote to William Smith (8) concerning the conduct of Lieutenant Colonel Maunsell who was stationed at Charles Fort (9), Kinsale and who was responsible for the quartering, provisioning, clothing and embarkation of recruits bound for America. "The Col. resides at Charles Fort, about 12 miles from Cork where he has excellent Quarters and a Hospital and a Surgeon. When Invalids arrive, they can in general be conveyed to Charles Fort at a trifling expense either by land or water, where every Case will be taken care of. No troops can go to Cork without being embarked by me or without my knowledge. Whenever that has happened, I have always put the officer who had charge of ye Men, under ye Command of Col. Maunsell who has given them every assistance." signed “Samuel Townsend, Inspector General of Recruiting”.

On 25 November 1778, a few days after he wrote the letter about Colonel Maunsell, Samuel was appointed ADC to King George III (London Gazette 11932). During the Gordon Riots (1780) he was directly responsible for the safety of the King. Subsequently Samuel was promoted Major General on 26 November 1782 (London Gazette 12391) and Lieutenant General in 1793 (London Gazette 13582).

Samuel lived at 23 Wimpole Street, Cavendish Square, London and he was a churchwarden for many years at St George's, Hanover Square. He died at his home in Wimpole Street and is buried in the Portico Vault of St Martin's in the Fields, Trafalgar Square.

On 7th April 1787 Samuel wrote to his cousin Richard Townsend [6A00] from his home in Wimpole Street about a demand for payment of £6,000. The envelope is addressed 'Richd. Townsend Esq; Pallace town; near Kinsale. to be forwarded by Doctor Townsend with dispatch'. It is presumed that 'Doctor Townsend' refers to Richard Townsend [501], Samuel and Richard's cousin and the only 'Dr Townsend' living at this time. The letter is reproduced in Samuel's 'Scrapbook' with a transcription. Without knowing further details about the matter it is difficult to make much sense of it.(10)

Samuel, who would have been only 13 at the time, was godfather to Samuel Townsend [563] of Derry who was born in 1745 and died young.

The death of Samuel's wife was announced on page 64 of Walker's Hibernian Chronicle for January 1801 - "Mrs Townsend, lady of Lieut Gen Townsend."

Gainsborough painted Samuel's portrait, which was in the possession of Samuel Nugent Townsend [432] in 1896 (11).

(1) Material for these notes is drawn from 'An Officer of the Long Parliament', the 'Green Howards’ Gazette' of December 1936 and 'A Protestant Auto-Biography by the Rev E Mansel Townshend' (Edward Mansel Townsend [630]). The website '' incorrectly shows 'Reverend Samuel Irwin Townsend' as Samuel's son. The pedigree drawn up by John FitzHenry Townshend [250] and Table X in 'An Officer of the Long Parliament' both show the son as Captain Samuel Irwin Townsend and his son as Reverend Samuel Thomas Townsend. These records reflect this. A short biography of Samuel is given on The Green Howards website.

(2) The entry for Whitehall in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Edward Townsend held this property in fee at the time of Griffith's Valuation, when it was valued at £22. Lewis noted it as the residence of S. Townsend in 1837. In 1906 it was owned by the representatives of Samuel R. Townsend and valued at £21. Bence-Jones indicates that it later became the property of the Alleyne family." Horatio Townsend [5D00] describes Whitehall on page 342 of his book 'Statistical Survey of the County of Cork' - "Whitehall, the seat of Samuel Townsend, Esq. stands on the east side of Rincolisky, or Roaringwater Bay. It enjoys every advantage of land and water, but from the nature of its situation is unfavourably circumstanced for the growth of trees. The upper part of the ground commands one of the grandest prospects to be found any where, an immense expanse of water extending from Cape Clear on one side to the Mizen-head upon the other. The depth of this great bay is proportioned to its breadth, its shores are diversified by many jutting points and headlands, on several of which are ruined castles, and its ample bosom is inlaid with a great number of verdant islands, of different sizes and shapes. The cape forms a fine termination to the land view on the left, and the rocky summit of Mountgabriel appears to great advantage in the back ground on the right. Some of the islands are large, and contain a great many inhabitants; others small, and used only for summer feeding, are remarkable for the richness of their pasture. Exclusive of these considerations, they are extremely useful in breaking the force of the sea, and forming many secure stations for vessels." The property was sold out of the family in the early 20th century by Piers Townsend Hughes-Townsend son of Charlotte Frances Townsend [422].

(3) A Copy of the letter is in Samuel's scrapbook. The original was given to John Chambre Oliver Townsend [629] on his 21st birthday by his father, Commander John Townsend [622] who made a copy of it. This copy is now in the possession of Colonel John Townsend [5A26]. John Chambre was a grandson of General Samuel through his grandmother Elizabeth Trelawney Townsend [410].

(4) Gilbert's niece was Anne Ford (1732–1824) who was one of the foremost performers on the viola da gamba of her day, and composed for the instrument . She was also a gifted performer on the musical glasses and the first to publish a 'method' on how to play them. She was the only child of Thomas Ford, lawyer and Clerk of the Arraigns, and his wife (née Champion).

(5) The 19th of Foot were one of very few Infantry Regiments not to have been amalgamated in various army reforms before 2006. Amongst the officers at this time in the 19th, was Surgeon Walter Farquhar, with whom Samuel became bosom friends, having served eight years together in the Regiment. When Samuel was at Horse Guards on his recruiting duties he introduced Walter Farquhar to the Regent as being a skilful physician, who took him on his personal staff. As a token of gratitude the Doctor, who afterwards became a baronet, gave Townsend’s name to all his children, and the prefix has been borne by several members of the family ever since. The second son of the Doctor, Sir Robert Townsend Farquhar was successively Governor of Penang, Prince Edward Island and Mauritius.

(6) There is no mention of Major General Kingsley in the siege. The only mention of Kingsley during the Seven Years War is at the Battle of Minden on 1st August 1759 when he commanded the 2nd Brigade; this consisted of the 20th Foot (his regiment), 51st Foot and 25th Foot and two Hanoverian regiments.

(7) Samuel's uncle Philip Townsend [500] saw active service during the Seven Years War in North America as a Captain in General O'Farrel's Regiment (22nd of Foot - The Cheshire Regiment) in North America.

(7a) Prior to this date recruiting was undertaken by individual units and this system sufficed in peacetime. However, the increased demand for recruits to man the Army during the American and French revolutionary wars led to unrestrained competition between units for recruits and this was found to be unsustainable. Thus the Army authorities established a better regulated and centralised system for recruiting.

(7b) Folio, 2 pp. On first leaf of bifolium, with the verso of the second leaf docketed, under the heading 'King's Warrant'. Text clear and complete. Fair, on aged paper. Headed '(Copy)', and with 'George R' in a bold hand in the top left-hand corner. Although the signature is almost certainly not in the hand of the king, the document is docketed in pencil: 'Signature of his late beloved Majesty King George III on Copy of a Warrant retained by General Saml. Townsend'. Begins (in another hand): 'Whereas We are given to understand that our Trusty and Well beloved Major General Samuel Townsend Inspector General of the Recruiting Service is set insuper in the Account of Our Right Trusty and Well beloved Counseller Richard Rigby late Paymaster General of Our Forces for the Sum of Seventeen Thousand Four Hundred Sixty Four Pounds Fourteen Shillings and Eight Pence being Money Imprested to him for carrying on the above Service from the end of the year 1778, to the 24th. day of June 1786 [.]'. The document records that the original was signed by Pitt, Eliot and Aubrey, as 'Commissioners for auditing the Public Accounts', 'the Commissioners having recommended unto Us to discharge Major General Samuel Townsend from rendering any further Account of the same'. Bookseller Inventory # 10790

(8) See Footnote 8.

(9) See also

(10) The letter was found on eBay by Nicholas Cook of Kinsale in 2020. He is a local historian who has researched the "Heard" family who purchased Pallastown from the Townsends in 1864.

(11) Article in 'The Times' 11 September 1923.

'An Officer of the Long Parliament' Ch X p.232 refers.