Samuel Townsend (405)
|Date of Birth:||1 Jan 1768|
|Date of Death:||19 June 1836|
|Residence:||Whitehall (1), Co Cork|
|Father:||Edward Mansel (Splendid Ned) Townsend |
|See Also:||Table IV ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree|
Married 1794. Mercy Baldwin was the daughter of Walter Baldwin of Curravordy,(1a) Co Cork. Mercy's aunt, Anna Baldwin, married Samuel's father. See 1958 Edn Burke's Irish Family Records - Baldwin formerly of Brookfield. See also ‘A Guide to Irish Houses’ by M. Bence-Jones, London, 1988 – “BANDON cor Curravordy. Baldwin 1740+. Seat of the Baldwins. Derelict. Later called Mount Pleasant.”
Samuel went to Christ Church, Oxford following which he did the Grand Tour. According to a note (2) written by his grandson, Samuel Nugent Townsend , and 'An Officer of the Long Parliament', he was naturally gifted and an accomplished musician but, unlike his father, he did nothing to improve his estate. Leaving his family at Whitehall, he spent much of his time in England or Dublin, particularly after the Peninsula War - that is after 1814.
In his book 'Statistical Survey of the County of Cork' (3) Horatio Townsend [5D00] paints a slightly confusing picture. Discussing horticulture on page 640 he wrote - "Samuel Townsend Esq. of Whitehall is greatly proficient in this style of gardening. When hounds became a subject of heavy taxation, he wisely exchanged the pleasures of the chase for those of the garden. This he superintends himself with care as well as con amore, and for, I believe, a smaller expense than that of dogs, hunters, and their appendages, finds a constant source of very substantial gratification. His grapes in particular exceed any I have seen both in size and flavour." There is clearly confusion here in Horatio's writing. Samuel's father, Edward Mansel Townsend, was a keen and competent agriculturalist and this description clearly reflects his work and not that of his son. Whilst he gave Whitehall to Samuel on the occasion of his marriage in 1794 he reserved for himself a life annuity and the right to continue to live at Whitehall.
Samuel was admitted a Freeman of the City of Cork on 23 April 1790 (4); The Council Book of the Corporation of the City of Cork 1690-1800 by Richard Caulfield records on page 1050 “23 April 1790. That…..Saml. Townsend, Esq., eldest son of Edward Townsend, ·of Whitehall, Esq…..be admitted freemen at large”. He sat as a Grand Juror in Cork; Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser of Saturday 6 October 1821 reports the swearing-in of the Grand Jury for the County Court and lists Samuel and Thomas Somerville (husband of Henrietta Townsend ) amongst the members. The Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier of 25 March 1830 carries a similar report. (Copies of both articles are in Samuel's 'Scrapbook'.)
Page 317 of Francis G Tuckey's "Tuckey's Cork Remembrancer" records that he was High Sheriff for County Cork in 1798. The announcement appeared in Walker's Hibernian Magazine in March 1798, page 284. However, page 299 of the The Council Book of the Corporation of Kinsale edited by Richard Caulfield records “20 July 1797. On reading the precept to the Sovereign directed by Samuel Townsend Esq, Co Cork, High Sheriff and the usual affidavit made by the Sovereign, lodged with the Town Clerk. William Rowley Esq, being the only candidate, was elected Representative for the Town”.
Page 231 of 'An Officer of the Long Parliament', records that Lord Shannon intimated to Samuel that the Lord Lieutenant was willing to knight him. Samuel considered the title ‘only fit for castle tradesmen and city aldermen’ and replied to his Lordship “that he was unaware of his having done anything to deserve such an offer from the Irish Government”.
At a meeting in the King’s Arms Tavern in Cork on 15 November 1791 (4a) the “Gentlemen of the city and county of Cork” resolved to “assist the Civil magistrates in the execution of the law” by forming a society, called the ‘Hanover Association’, to apprehend Whiteboys (4b) who were attacking both property and people. Members of the Association paid a subscription for the “purpose of procuring information and carrying on prosecutions, where the means of the aggrieved parties are insufficient”. Members were also required to arm themselves to assist the magistrates. A further meeting of the Association was held at the King’s Arm’s on 7 December 1791 at which it was resolved to pay £50 to anyone who within 12 months provides information that leads to the discovery, apprehension and conviction of Whiteboys. The following members of the family are shown as attending the meeting: John Townsend , Richard Boyle Townsend , Richard Townsend , Samuel Townsend , Thomas Townsend , John Sealy Townsend , Rev Horatio Townsend [5D00], Rev Edward Synge Townsend , Richard Townsend [6A00] and Samuel Philip Townsend [6B00]. Additionally, Adam Newman, husband of Mary Townsend  and Thomas Warren, husband of Anna Townsend  are also shown on the list.
During the 1798 Rebellion the disarming of Munster and more specifically of West Cork by Sir John Moore was very heavy handed. A 'scorched earth’ policy to frighten the people into handing in their arms was operated and Sir John's soldiers unearthed some 800 pikes and 3,400 stands of arms alone from Caharagh near Skibbereen. In addition, wherever employed, the soldiers were billeted on the local inhabitants and ate them into subjection. Despite having a large number of Volunteers and Militia Dragoons placed at his disposal Samuel ensured that this practice was not followed in his own parish of Aughadown in order not to impoverish the tenantry. Unusually in this he was assisted by the Roman Catholic parish priest Timothy O’Sullivan and the Protestant vicar Joseph Wright and peace was maintained in the parish.
An article entitled ‘1798 Leader in Clonakilty: Interesting story of Dr William Callanan’, published in the West Cork newspaper ‘The Southern Star’ in 1798 records that Samuel nearly arrested Dr William Callanan (5) for spreading rumours in Skibbereen that a French invasion force, under the command of General Humbert, had landed at Killala in Mayo on 23 August that year. Richard Deasy records that he communicated this information "to old Doctor Callanan, who was then on his way to a patient in Skibbereen and he spread it through the town where it was received with equal gladness. Saml Townsend, the then High Sheriff, having also heard it, on coming into the town he at once set about finding the author of such alarming intelligence and on tracing it to the Doctor he brought him to a severe account as the spreader of false news and he was about to forward him to Cork jail unless he gave up the author. To save himself from so unpleasant a mode of travelling to Cork, he told him that I was the person from whom he had it."
In 'An Officer of the Long Parliament' there is a handwritten note at the end of Chapter X that reads "1804 Westcarbery Infantry included 47 cavalry and 100 infantry under Samuel Townsend, Captain." Whilst this could apply to Samuel who was involved in suppressing Whiteboy disturbances, it more probably refers to Samuel Irwin Townsend , who was then on half pay and was certainly living in or around Skibbereen in 1816, as his son, Edward, was born there that year. Edward's birth certificate shows Samuel as a “Captain in the Grenadier Guards”.
In 1816, when Samuel was away in London, his wife, Mercy, made extensive alterations to Whitehall at a cost of £1,700. When Samuel returned he was astonished at the change but disgusted by the cost; the bill was never paid and became an encumbrance upon the estate. In his book “The Irish Country House” Peter Somerville-Large, describes Whitehall - “the new drawing room with its long windows overlooking the sea was a focus for balls and house parties to which Cork society was invited.”
In the first two decades of the19th century the Roman Catholic population of Ireland suffered massive deprivation caused by the failure of the potato crop and this had a knock-on effect on agriculture in general and the fishing industry . In response a Committee was established to raise funds for the relief of this distress and the Report of the Committee for the Relief of the Distressed Districts in Ireland was published in London in 1823. £60,000 was raised of which £5,000 was earmarked for improvements in fishing. As Secretary to the Board of Fisheries, several letters between March 1822 and August 1823 from Henry Townsend  are included in the Report. As part of the plan for administering the relief in County Cork the coast was divided into eight districts each with a nominated committee. Samuel was a member of the Baltimore Committee (Toe Head to Roaring Water Bay) and Lionel Fleming, husband of Eliza Townsend [5D05] was a member of the Crookhaven Committee (Roaring Water Bay to the Mizen Head).
Some years after this, around 1820, when Samuel was enjoying his retirement, there were fresh Whiteboy disturbances in West Carbery and Samuel applied to Dublin for permission to raise and arm a troop of Yeoman Cavalry. He was appointed Captain Commandant and his son Samuel  was appointed his Adjutant. Two years later having pacified the area the Government ordered that the yeomanry be disbanded. Samuel was disgusted and ordered his men to hand in their arms which he then stored at Whitehall. Fearing that such a cache of weapons was an attractive target for would-be rebels, Samuel applied to the authorities in Cork for an escort to remove the arms. As nothing was forthcoming he then applied to the Admiralty for permission for his son Edward Townsend  to carry the arms to Cobh in his yacht ‘Blonde’. He was told that it was prohibited to transport arms except in a ship of the Royal Navy and that the ‘Blonde’ would be confiscated if the arms were transported in her. Frustrated beyond belief, Edward called a few of his men together one night, took the arms from Whitehall and dumped them in the sea. Nothing was ever asked by the authorities about their whereabouts.
At a meeting in in Skibbereen, reported by the Dublin Evening Post of 22 December 1822, Lord Carbery read out a list of resolutions including a request for renewal of the Insurrection Act (6) as “if the county were in rebellion” according to the article. This was strongly opposed by the “Rev Mr Collins, the Parish Priest” who showed that there was no reason to adopt such strong measures. This was supported by “every other Gentleman”, including “Samuel Townsend Esq of Whitehall [who] called on the Landed Proprietors to take into consideration the deplorable state of the Tenantry, by which they would contribute much to the peace of the Country. (Loud applause)”
The Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier of 8 September 1823 features an article about the hearing before magistrates in Skibbereen concerning the affray at Castlehaven that ensued when the Rev Robert Morritt sought to collect arrears of tithes for the previous three years. The opening paragraph states, “The investigation into the affray between the Country People and the Police commenced this day at twelve o’clock. Mr Blacker arrived at 11 o’clock from Castle Freke accompanied by Lord Carbery and surrounded by two Cavalry Associations formed here under Captains O’Driscoll and Townsend. Later in the proceedings Lord Carbery declared an arrest warrant, signed by “Samuel Townsend Esq”, invalid because it had no seal. Richard Townsend  and Richard Townsend  were two of the magistrates at this hearing. This was not the first time that Samuel encountered the Rev Morritt. In the pamphlet “Supplement to the Trials of the Rev Robert Morritt” Morritt is described as a “Clergyman who in a few years could render himself so obnoxious to his Parishioners as to be the subject of no less than eight civil actions and one criminal indictment”.
The first case against Morritt concerns the forcible eviction of a tenant of Mrs Somerville (Elizabeth Townsend  - Samuel's cousin) and the second is an action for defamation brought by Mr Roche. In both cases Morritt’s counsel was Daniel O’Connell who managed to secure acquittals by claiming in both cases there was a Townsend family conspiracy against Morritt. Mrs Somerville is described on page 12 of the pamphlet as the “Queen of the Conspirators” and “one brother, four brothers-in-law, an uncle, two nephews, eight cousins” as fellow ‘Conspirators’ and they are all shown at Note (7), which affords a classic example of the web of Townsend family relationships that existed then. Published in 1819, rather strangely, the pamphlet was written by an ‘Anti-Conspirator’ who had access to private correspondence addressed to Samuel's cousin, Richard Townsend , that same year! Further details can be seen in the record for Elizabeth Townsend .
After Mercy's death Samuel decided to let Whitehall to Lord Audley hoping the rent thus accrued would pay for Samuel to go abroad for the season. Sadly he was to be disappointed for the trip cost more than the anticipated rent, which in the event was never paid because Lord Audley was declared bankrupt.
As explained in the ‘Background History’ page, the Act of Union in 1801 and successive reforming measures in the early years of the century drove the Anglo-Irish Protestant community into a position of permanent political minority. Fearing that their ascendancy was being eroded, meetings were held during the early decades of the century seeking to affirm and uphold the integrity of the ‘Protestant Constitution and State’. Press cuttings covering these meetings (all shown in Samuel’s ‘Scrapbook’) between December 1828 and October 1834 include (with attendees shown in brackets):
Bandon Brunswick Constitutional Club (8) Meeting on Monday 22 December 1828 - Southern Reporter & Cork Commercial Courier of 23 December 1828 and Dublin Evening Mail of 31 December 1828. (John S. Townsend, Samuel Townsend jnr and Thomas Somerville)
Protestant Conservative Society of Cork Meeting in the Imperial Clarence Rooms, Cork in August 1832 - Dublin Weekly Mail of 11 August 1832. (Samuel Townsend, Samuel Townshend and Thomas Townsend)
County and City of Cork Protestant Meeting in June 1834 - Dublin Evening Packet & Correspondent of 1 July 1834. (Thomas Townsend and George Digby Daunt)
Protestant Meeting in Bandon on Tuesday 7 October 1834 - Southern Reporter & Cork Commercial Courier of 11 October 1834. (Samuel Townsend, Samuel Townshend, John Townsend and Thomas Townsend)
The common theme throughout was affirmation of Protestant loyalty to the crown and a commitment to take whatever measures were necessary “to preserve the remnants of the constitution and maintain the integrity of the United Kingdom” in “defence of our liberties and the safety of the Glorious Constitution under which we live”. As shown above, several members of the family (9) attended these meetings but it is not possible to identify them precisely in every case, though eloquent statements by “John Townsend Esq son of the Recorder of Clonakilty” are reported verbatim in the press reports of the meetings in Bandon and these can certainly be ascribed to John Sealy Townsend .
Opposition to Roman Catholic emancipation was not confined to the laity. The Southern Reporter & Cork Commercial Courier of 20 March 1827 reports that the Bishop and seventy-seven members of the clergy, including Richard Boyle Townsend , Chambre Corker Townsend [5D01] and Robert St Lawrence (husband of Elizabeth Townsend ), signed a “Petition of the Protestant Clergy of the United Dioceses of Cork & Ross against Catholic Emancipation” which was submitted to the House of Commons on 2 March 1827. The list of signatories also includes a ‘Thomas Townsend, Prebendary of Island’; this is wrong as page 487 of Volume 2 Brady’s Clerical and Parochial Records shows Horatio Townsend [5D00] as the incumbent!
Not all members of the family shared such views and press cuttings from the Southern Reporter & Cork Commercial Courier and Dublin Evening Packet & Correspondent in 1828 and 1829 respectively show that Horatio Townsend [6B01] and Edward Richard Townsend [6C00] were among the many Protestant Liberals who took a much more conciliatory approach to Roman Catholic emancipation.
Page 299 of the Appendix to the First report of the Commissioners Part 1 - Municipal Corporations (Ireland). Published by William Clowes, Stamford Street, London in 1835 concerns the Borough of Dingle. In the section headed ‘Burgesses’ it records that “Several of the burgesses are nearly connected with the patron of the borough. The following are the present burgesses:
- John Townshend Esquire, Lieutenant Colonel 14th Light dragoons, patron of the Borough and principal proprietor of the town. (Colonel John Townsend )
- Rev Thomas Townshend, his brother. (Should read Maurice Fitzgerald Townsend )
- Rev Boyle Townshend, ditto. (Abraham Boyle Townsend )
- Richard Townshend Esq., second cousin. (Richard Townsend )
- Samuel Townshend Esq., Whitehall Co Cork.”
None of them lived within the limits of the borough and it would appear that they rarely, if ever, attended borough meetings.
The Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier of 10 August 1830 records that “Samuel Townsend of Whitehall” voted in ‘Freeman’s Booth No 2’ for Mr Boyle in the 1830 Cork City Election. It is not clear whether this refers to Samuel or to his son Samuel Townsend . The report also shows “SLC Townsend of Thornberry Cottage” voting for the same candidate in the same booth.
Samuel was appointed Deputy Lieutenant for County Cork on 18 February 1832 and the commission was signed by the Earl of Shannon. Four years later Samuel died in Cork.
The list of subscribers to 'Samuel Lewis' Topographical Dictionary 1837' shows "Townsend, Samuel, Esq. White-hall, Skibbereen."
The Skibbereen entry in 'Pigot's Provincial Directory 1824' records "Townsend Samuel Esq, Castletownshend."
Page 54 of the Return of the Courts of Petty Sessions in the Counties of Ireland for the year ending 31st December 1835 records details of fines imposed by Samuel, his son Samuel Townsend , Richard Townsend  and his son Richard Townsend  at the Skibbereen and Union Hall Petty Sessions.
The Registry of Deeds Index Project Ireland records three entries relating to Samuel. Memorial 364735 dated 16 April 1802 concerning properties in the City of Cork. Memorial 386926 dated 22 June 1805. Memorial 507436 dated 3 March 1819 concerning the disposal of the "Town and Lands of Curraghnesory/Curraghnebury/Curraghugan near the Town of Coree, County Cork."
The Tithe Applotment Books in the National Archives of Ireland were compiled between 1823 and 1837 in order to determine the amount which occupiers of agricultural holdings over one acre should pay in tithes to the Church of Ireland. Records show Samuel owning land as follows:
Judge John FitzHenry Townsend  shows his marriage as 1796.
In his autobiography (10) Edward Mansel Townshend  describes Whitehall as he saw it when he visited in 1882. “Whitehall, is a delightfully romantic old House, looking out to Cape Clear, from a Cove of Roaring Water Bay, amid ‘Carbery and its Hundred Isles’, The rooms are almost palatial in size, all of them 15 ft., high, on the ground floor, and the Drawing Room and Dining Room, each 25 ft., long, by about 18 ft., wide, preceded by an Ante room, about 15 ft. square and as high."
(1) The entry for Whitehall in the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway Connacht and Munster 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 .
(1a) The entry for 'Baldwin Mount Pleasant' (Curravordy) in the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway Connacht and Munster Landed Estates Database records "Henry Baldwin was among the principal lessors in the parish of Templemartin, barony of Kinalmeaky, county Cork, at the time of Griffith's Valuation. The representatives of William Baldwin held townlands in the parish of Kinneigh, barony of East Carbery at that time. In October 1857, lands in the barony of Kinalmeaky, originally part of the estate of Henry Baldwin, were offered for sale in the Encumbered Estates Court. In June 1862, lands at Lisnagat, barony of Kinalmeaky,owned by Herny McCarthy, were offered for sale in the Landed Estates Court. The original lease was from the Baldwin estate. In the 1870s, the representatives of James Baldwin of Mount Pleasant, owned over 3000 acres in the county. The representatives of Samuel Baldwin held over 300 acres." Curravordy. See also Baldwin (Glandore)
(2) RBT Papers.
(3) Sponsored by the Royal Dublin Society and published in 1810 it covers historical sketches, agricultural and trade statistics, notices on education, fisheries, antiquities, manufactures, etc. A large appendix and section of addenda includes a variety of interesting documents, on matters social, scientific, political, religious and other matters. The book criticised the Roman Catholic clergy, particularly its role in education and this generated considerable controversy. A copy of the book can be found in the Trinity College, Dublin, library and the Library of Herbert Bell, Belfast.
(4) Between 1710 and 1841, when the power of admitting Freemen only by birth or right ceased, a total of thirty three members of the Townsend family were admitted as Freemen.
(4a) Reported in the Dublin Evening Post 31 January 1792.
(4b) Whiteboys were a secret 18th century Irish agrarian organization which used violent tactics against landlords and tithe collectors to defend tenant farmer land rights. They wore white smocks on their nightly raids and sought to address rack-rents, tithe collection, excessive priests' dues, evictions and other oppressive acts.
(5) Dr Callanan, a well known doctor, prosperous merchant and noted leader of the United Irishmen of the time, was already known in the family having rented Skirtagh Cottage from John Townsend  in 1783.
(6) First introduced during 1796, the act imposed the death penalty (replaced in 1807 by transportation for life) on persons administering illegal oaths. It also allowed government to proclaim specific districts as disturbed, thereby imposing a curfew, suspending trial by jury, and giving magistrates sweeping powers of search and detention. The act was in force during 1796-1802, and was reintroduced, with modifications, in 1807-10, 1814-18, and 1822-25.
(7) The ‘Dramatis Personae’ shown on page 12 of the pamphlet and in the ‘Scrapbook’ are:-
Philip Somerville “A witness in both trials” – Brother-in-law of Elizabeth Townsend  and husband, first of Maria Townsend [5D07], and second Henrietta Townsend  the daughter of Richard Townsend .
Mr T Somerville “Attorney at both trials” - Nephew? Or son of Elizabeth Townsend ?
Rev Philip French – Curate of Glanbarrahan whose wife was sister of Katherine Corker who married Rev Horatio Townsend [5D00].
Mr Thomas Robinson - Father of Dorothea Robinson who married Rev Richard Townsend .
Mr Becher Fleming - Husband of Judith Somerville, who was sister of Philip Somerville, and daughter of Mary Townsend .
Mr Richard Somerville – Brother-in-law of Elizabeth Townsend .
(8) First conceived in September 1828 Brunswick Constitutional Clubs were established in Ireland to deny Roman Catholics the right to enter both Houses of Parliament. About 200 clubs were established with a total membership of about 150,000 but they became defunct following the Catholic Relief Act 1829.
(9) John Sealy Townsend  and Samuel Townsend  can be positively identified. The other contenders are Samuel Townsend  or Samuel Townsend [6A03], Thomas Townsend  or Thomas Townsend , and Thomas Somerville (probably the husband of Henrietta Augusta Townsend 
(10) ‘A Protestant Auto-Biography by the Rev E Mansel Townshend'.
'An Officer of the Long Parliament' Ch X p.234-238 refers.