Chief Inspector Walter Townsend (414)

Date of Birth: 1803
Date of Death: 22 Aug 1869
Generation: 6th
Residence: Blue Hill, Bantry, & Dereeny Co Cork
Father: Samuel Townsend [405]
Mother: Baldwin, Mercy
  1. Swete, Alice
  1. Marian Swete [430]
  2. Alice [431]
See Also: Table IV ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Chief Inspector Walter Townsend

Married 1839. Alice Swete (1) was the daughter of Benjamin Swete (2 & 2a) of Greenville,(3) near Macroom.

'An Officer of the Long Parliament' (OLP) records nothing about Walter but it is known that he joined the Coastguard Service. Some detail about his career has been drawn from various internet websites.

The National Archives of Ireland contain three letters written by Walter between 2 December 1845 and 8 May 1846. The entries refer to him as “Walter Townsend, Inspecting Commander of the Whitehorse Coast Guard”. The first of the letters in which he reported the loss of one quarter of the local potato crop was addressed to the Famine Relief Commission. The second letter, regarding the extent of potato blight in his district, was dated 1 February 1846 and addressed to Sir James Dombrain (4), Inspector General of the Coast Guard. In the the third letter Walter asked for the “forms to complete the returns of the prices of provisions”.

The next reference to Walter is found at British Coastguards 1841-1891 where he is shown as being stationed at Bacton in 1851. "Townsend, Walter IRL 1799 or 1803. 1851 Bacton NFK. Wife: Alice, 1806, IRL. Children: May A & Alice, 1842 & 1847, IRL." This is strange as Bacton is in Norfolk half way between Cromer and Yarmouth. It also queries his date of birth.

'Coastguards of Yesteryear' show that, seven years later, Walter is now an Inspecting Chief Officer and back in Ireland, stationed at Blue Hill, near Bantry. "Townsend, Walter Insp.Chf. Off.1858/9 Bluehill, Bantry Cork. This is followed by 'Thom's Irish Almanac and Official Directory for the Year 1862' which shows under the section headed 'Coast Guards' "Walter Townsend, esq., Blue Hill." Robert H Laing’s Cork Mercantile Directory 1863 records on page 192 ‘Walter Townsend Esq’ was a Coast Guard Officer at Bantry.

'Griffiths Valuation of Ireland 1848-64' shows "Townsend Walter" owning land in the parish of Kilmocomoge, near Bantry.

Table X of OLP shows Walter as of Dereeny. The entry for Dereeny in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database which records "This property was built sometime after the 1st edition Ordnance map was published. In the 1850s Samuel Townsend held a property in fee at Derreeny, valued at £6 10s. Labelled Dereeny House on the 25-inch Ordnance Survey map, it is still extant and occupied."

Walter took a 31 year lease on Dereeny from his nephew, Samuel Nugent Townsend [432], on 1 May 1855, presumably on his retirement. Samuel subsequently sold the property in the Landed Estates Court on 26 June 1875. Walter’s wife and two daughters were entitled to continue living there until the lease expired in 1886.

Page 639 of the Calendar of Wills and Administration 1858-1922 in the National Archives of Ireland records that Letters of Administration on the personal estate of "Walter Townsend late of Dereeny County Cork", who died on 22 August 1869 were granted at the Principal Registry on 13 February 1873 to "Alice Townsend of Dereeny the Widow of said deceased". Effects under £212.

(1) Alice was born in 1806 and died in Worthing, Sussex on 10 March 1881. She was buried at Broadwater on 15 Mar 1881.

(2) Benjamin Swete is not listed on the Swete family website. He is, however, shown in 'Samuel Lewis' Topographical Directory 1837' living in the parish of Kilmichael - "The principal seats are Cooldaniel, that of J. Barter, Esq.; Carrigbuoy, of E. Barrett, Esq.; and Greenville, of B. Swete, Esq., in whose demesne are some lakes with great numbers of swans and waterfowl; also an ancient rath, now planted, in which a bag of copper coins, and several apartments, communicating by narrow passages, have been discovered. The house was attacked in 1822 by the Whiteboys, who were repulsed, and several of them killed. 'Griffiths Valuation of Ireland 1848-64' shows Benjamin Swete owning property and land in 1852 in the Parish of Kilmichael - the townlands of Greenville (78 acres) and Lackareagh.

(2a) The entry for Swete in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Samuel Swete of Greenville, county Cork, originally known as Kilglass, purchased the lands of one of the McSweeneys and died in 1733. In 1791 Benjamin Swete youngest son of Benjamin Swete of Greenville married Thamer Swete of Bandon. At the time of Griffith's Valuation Benjamin Swete held an estate in the parishes of Kilmichael, Inchigeelagh and Kilmurry, barony of West Muskerry, county Cork. George S. Swete of Greenville, Lissarda, county Cork, was the owner of over 3000 acres in the 1870s. In November 1877 part of the fee simple estate (1,006 acres) of George Samuel Swete in the barony of West Muskerry and his life interest in Greenville (1,889 acres) were advertised for sale. see and"

(3) The entry for Greenville in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "The home of a branch of the Swete family from the early 18th century, occupied by Samuel Swete in 1814 and by B. Swete in 1837. Valued at £35 at the time of Griffith's Valuation and held by Benjamin Swete in fee. The house is described as the family residence in the sale rental of 1877 but was held on a short term lease by Frederick Theodore Courtis. This house is now a ruin."

(4) Sir James Dombrain (1783-1871) founder and comptroller General of the Coastguard in Ireland from 1819-1849.