Doctor Richard Townsend (501)

Date of Birth: 12 Jan 1736
Date of Death: 7 Sep 1819
Generation: 4th
Residence: Derry, Bandon and Dublin
Father: Captain Philip Townsend [500]
Mother: Hungerford, Elizabeth
  1. Sealy, Eleanor
  2. Townsend, Margaret [141]
  3. Norris, Elizabeth
See Also: Table V ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Doctor Richard Townsend MD

Richard was born at Brade (Braad) (1) near Myross, Co Cork. His godparents were Samuel Jervois (1a & 1b) of Brade and Lieutenant Thomas Bate.

Married 1st October 1762. Eleanor Sealy (2) was the younger daughter of John Sealy MP JP (3) of Richmount,(3a) Bandon, Co Cork. See Burke's Irish Landed Gentry 1912 - Sealy-King. Married 2nd March 1781. Margaret [141] (4) was the daughter of Horatio Townsend [130] of Bridgemount, Co Cork. Married 3rd in July 1808 at St Wolstan’s Church, Leixlip (5) Elizabeth Norris (6) of Molesworth Street, Leixlip, Co. Kildare.

Richard’s father Philip Townsend [500] complained that ‘Dick’ could not apply himself to books; but he must have improved because he attended Trinity College, Dublin and qualified as a doctor of medicine in Edinburgh in 1759. In a letter written from New York and dated 26 November 1758, Philip wrote " Sure Dick, if he has not been idle, has by this time taken his degree."

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 Richard was surgeon to the "CORK UNION. Enrolled 1776. Force; 4 companies; 1 grenadier, 2 battalion, 1 light. Uniform: scarlet, faced green; yellow buttons. Officers in 1782 - Captain Commanding, Henry Hickman; Captains, Benjamin Hayes, Simon Cooke, James Gregg, and - Galway; Adjutant, James Hudson; Chaplain, Broderick Tuckey; Surgeon, - Townsend, M.D.; Secretary, James Gregg."

Elected a Freeman of the City of Cork (7) on 30 November 1784; The Council Book of the Corporation of the City of Cork 1690-1800 by Richard Caulfield records on page 995 “30 November 1784. That ….. Richard Townsend, Esq., Doctor of Physic … admitted freemen at large”. Richard is listed on page 156 of Lucas's Cork Directory 1787, under the heading 'Physicians and Surgeons', - "Townsend (R.) M.D. Prince's-street"

On 7th April 1787 Lieut General Samuel Townsend [403] 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, Samuel's cousin and the only 'Dr Townsend' living at this time. The letter is reproduced in Richard's 'Scrapbook' with a transcription. Without knowing further details about the matter it is difficult to make much sense of it.(7a)

Sometime after 1787 it would appear the Richard moved to Dublin and established a practice in Merrion Square for he is not shown in West's Cork Directory 1809-1810. However, his obituary refers to him as "Formerly a physician of eminence in Cork" - see below.

Family tradition has always maintained that when Richard's father, Philip, died in 1786 Derry passed to him and, according to ‘An Officer of the Long Parliament’, Richard then sold Derry (8) to his youngest brother, Horatio Townsend [5D00], in about 1810. However, Philip’s will, dated 3 June 1781 and recently transcribed (2010), shows that he actually bequeathed Derry to his sons Thomas and Horatio and their heirs for ever as tenants in common. To Richard he left ten guineas and an undertaking to repay two bonds totaling £1200 - "I am indebted to my son Richard Townsend by two bonds one in the sum of eight hundred pounds and the other in the sum of four hundred pounds".

The seventh edition of “The History of the General Rebellion in Ireland: Raised upon the Three (sic) and Twenty day of October 1641” published by Phineas and George Bagnell, Castle Street Cork in 1766 shows “Richard Townsend of Bandon Esq M.D,.” as a subscriber. (6a) Ten other members of the family are shown in the list of subscribers; Francis Townsend [125], Cornelius Townsend [139], John Townsend [214] or [303], Richard Townsend [213] or [219] or [6A00], Rev Richard Townsend [301], Philip Townsend [500], Thomas Hungerford Townsend [502], Rev Horatio Townsend [5D00], Rev Horatio Townsend [600], Rev Edward Synge Townsend [601].

Richard died of typhus at Derry. The announcement of his death appeared in the Cork Mercantile Chronicle on 12 September 1817 and the Belfast News letter of 19 September 1817.

"1817, 7 September. On Sunday last, at Derry, in this County (Cork), the seat of his brother, the Rev. Horatio Townsend, Richard Townsend Esq MD at the advanced age of 81. This venerable and much respected gentleman was amongst the numerous victims of the fever which so generally prevails, and which proved fatal to so many of his nearest and dearest connections. Dr Townsend was father to the highly distinguished lawyer, John Sealy Townsend, Esq… (CMC Friday 12 Sept). Formerly a physician of eminence in Cork (BNL 19 Sept)." This obituary is reproduced in an article entitled ‘Typhus Epidemic in Ireland 1817-1819 – Priests, Ministers and Doctors’ by Hugh Fenning in ‘Collectanea Hibernica’

When Richard's brother, Thomas Hungerford Townsend [502], died in early 1799 he left "all my estates real and personal and all my goods and chattels to my brother Horatio Townsend subject to the following bequests - to my brother Richard Townsend £600 and to my brother William Townsend £400" (9).

All the children were by Eleanor.

Two entries in the Church of Ireland Parish Records Ross Cathedral 1690–1823 possibly refer to Richard, though both could refer to Richard Townsend [315].

P. 47 ‘Burials’ - "1795 January 23rd a child of Doctor Townsend."

P. 47 ‘Burials’ - "1795 May 7th Mrs Townsend the wife of Doctor Richard Townsend." This could be the death of Richard's first or second wife.

This entry on page 66 certainly refers to Richard - "Burials. 1818 September 9th Richard Townsend MD Derry."

(1) The entry for Brade House in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "John Swanton was leasing this property from Rev. Maurice Townsend at the time of Griffith's Valuation, when it was valued at £15 10s. Lewis had noted it as the seat of Rev. E.P. Thompson in 1837. It was the residence of Samuel Jervois in 1814. Taylor and Skinner's 1783 map also indicate it as a Jervois residence. In 1906 it was owned by Katherine Townsend and valued at £44 5s. There is still an extant house at the site." (Maurice Townsend [231] & Katherine Townsend [523]).

(1a) This is most likely the ‘Samuel Jervois’ who accompanied Richard’s kinsman Colonel Richard Townsend [213] and others to apprehend miscreants. Francis G Tucky's "The City and County of Cork Remembered", c.1830 records that on 18 February 1777 "Richard Townsend, John Townsend, Samuel Jervois and Daniel Callaghan, magistrates, with several gentlemen of the county and their servants, well mounted and armed, set out at two o clock in the morning to the mountains above Bantry, in the neighbourhood of Murdering glin and Glanunbannoul, where they apprehended several persons, charged with cutting off the ears of a horse." Samuel Jervois was the son of Joseph Jervois who married Elizabeth Freke, daughter of John Freke, and built the house at Brade. There is also a strong Townsend/Jervois connection through election as Freemen of the Borough of Clonakilty. Joseph Jervois was Sovereign of Clonakilty when John Townsend [300] and his brother Richard Townsend [201] were appointed Freemen.

(1b) The entry for Jervois in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Members of the Jervois family held over 450 acres in county Cork in the 1870s. In October 1855 and January 1856 over 100 acres of their property in the parish of Nohaval, barony of Kinalea, were offered for sale in the Encumbered Estates Court. The original lease, dating from 1710, was between the Busteed and Hodder families. In 1853 Samuel Jervois was among the principal lessors in the parish of Dromdaleague, barony of West Carbery. Townsend notes the discovery of copper on the estate of Samuel Jervois, at Leap, before 1810. Family history sources suggest that an earlier Samuel Jervois had come to Ireland with the Cromwellian forces in the mid seventeenth century. He had been granted land around Glandore."

(2) Eleanor’s sister Elizabeth Sealy married Francis Beamish of Kilmaloda House in 1758. Their son, Francis Beamish, married in 1784 Mary Townsend [138] who was a cousin of Richard’s second wife Margaret Townsend [141]. Francis Beamish’s uncle married Elizabeth Jervois, daughter of Joseph Jervois of Brade and sister to Richard’s godfather, Samuel Jervois. There are also other Townsend/Beamish connections through Mary Townsend [111] and Dorothea Townsend [124].

(3) John Sealy was born in 1707 and married first in 1738 Eleanor Fuller of Downaghmore, Co Cork, Eleanor’s mother. He married second in 1751 Mary Barter of Annagh. The entry for Sealy (Cork) in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Winthrop B. Sealy, of Barleyfield, Bandon, was the owner of over 2000 acres in county Cork in the 1870s and was among the principal lessors in the parish of Rathclarin, East Carbery barony, at the time of Griffith's Valuation. John Sealy (or Seely) was among the principal lessors in the parish of Ballymoney at the same time. Richard Sealey of Richmount held property in the parish of Ballymodan, barony of Kinalmeaky and owned over 800 acres in the 1870s. In 1854, almost 500 acres at Kilcoleman West, barony of Kinalmeaky, the property of John T.H. Sealy, were offered for sale in the Encumbered Estates Court. Lands in the barony of Ibane and Barryroe, the property of John Sealy and John Young, were offered for sale in the Encumbered Estates Court in April 1858. Mrs Elizabeth Sealy held land in the parish of Ballyhay, barony of Fermoy in the mid 19th century. Her representatives owned 950 acres in the 1870s.

(3a) The entry for Richmount in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Richard Sealy held this property in perpetuity in the early 1850s when it was valued at £45.Lewis also notes it as his seat in 1837. It had been a residence of the Sealy family since the early eighteenth century. The site is now occupied by Bandon Grammar School." ‘Landowners of Ireland – County Cork 1876’ shows the Sealy estate at Richmount, consisted of 844 acres valued at £649.

(4) Margaret died without issue in June 1790.

(5) Judge John FitzHenry Townsend [250] does not show the third marriage. An announcement of the marriage was made in 'Walker’s Hibernian Magazine' and can be seen at the 1808 entry in Leixlip Chronology 1800-1835.

(6) An entry in the Church of Ireland Parish Records Ross Cathedral 1690–1823 records on page 66 under the heading ‘Deaths’ - "1813 May 2nd Mrs Townsend Derry." Whilst the dates don't quite match this probably refers to Katherine, second wife of Rev Horatio Townsend [5D00]. However, it could refer to Elizabeth Norris.

(6a) It is assumed that this refers to Richard whose first wife came from Bandon and he most likely lived there whilst she was alive. Presumably he moved to Cork around the time of his second marriage in 1781.

(7) 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.

(7a) 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.

(8) The entry for Derry in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records Family records indicate the original house at Derry was bought by Bryan Townsend, son of Richard, the Cromwellian officer, in the 1680s. This house was a short distance from the current house which was built by Reverend Horatio Townsend in the early years of the nineteenth century and was held in fee by Reverend Chambre Townsend in 1851 when it was valued at £44. Earlier, in 1786, Wilson referred to Derry as a Townsend seat. It was substantially damaged when it was burnt in April 1921 during the War of Independence. . At the time it was the residence of Alexander Sullivan, a well-known barrister. In 1944 the Irish Tourist Association Survey noted that it was still derelict following the 1921 burning. The centre portion of the house and a substantial farm still exist at the site."

(9) Derry Papers 502/2.

'An Officer of the Long Parliament' Ch XI p. 254 and 'Pooles of Mayfield' p. 237 refer.