Captain Thomas Hungerford Townsend (502)

Date of Birth: 20 Feb 1737
Date of Death: 6 Mar 1799
Generation: 4th
Residence: Derry, Rosscabery, Co Cork
Father: Captain Philip Townsend [500]
Mother: Hungerford, Elizabeth
Spouse: Unmarried
Issue: None
See Also: Table V ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Captain Thomas Hungerford Townsend

Aged 19, with his father, Philip Townsend [500], Thomas embarked for America at Cork in November 1756 as a volunteer in General O'Farrel's Regiment - 22nd of Foot (Cheshire Regiment). They arrived in New York on 11 February 1757 and served together in North America during the Seven Years War. In a letter (1) from aboard the 'Thornton transport, New York, 19 April 1758' Thomas' father wrote "poor Tom studies to lessen my expense...he has at last got a commission and Col Rollo, who is very good to him and to whom I think I am alone obliged for his preferment, has appointed him to my company, but while he is the youngest ensign he'll have no pay."

Thomas' father returned to Ireland sometime after June 1759 because of ill health whilst Thomas himself continued to serve with General O'Farrel's Regiment. He was present at the Capture of Quebec in September 1759 and at the Siege of Ravenna, Ohio. He was appointed Lieutenant on 10 March 1761 and was still in serving in 1763. He returned to Ireland some time after this, quite possibly in the same year when the 22nd were ordered to the West Indies. Memorial 166787 dated 7 August 1767 regarding the lease of a house in Dublin in the Registry of Deeds Index Project Ireland shows 'Thomas Hungerford Townsend of Dublin' as a witness.

Thomas spent the rest of his life at Derry (1a) with his brother William Townsend [504]. The Derry Papers show that he leased the lands of Gurranaslotty from his father on 19 October 1769 (2) which he then leased to Andrew Keefe on 24 November 1790 for 21 years at £4 per annum (3).

At a meeting in the King’s Arms Tavern in Cork on 15 November 1791 (3a) 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 (3b) 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 [214], Richard Boyle Townsend [219], Richard Townsend [221], Samuel Townsend [405], Thomas Townsend [502], John Sealy Townsend [507], Rev Horatio Townsend [5D00], Rev Edward Synge Townsend [601], Richard Townsend [6A00] and Samuel Philip Townsend [6B00]. Additionally, Adam Newman, husband of Mary Townsend [605] and Thomas Warren, husband of Anna Townsend [408] are also shown on the list.

Memorial 327398 dated 28 November 1796 in the Registry of Deeds Index Project shows 'Thomas Hungerford Townsend of Derry' and his brother Rev Horatio Townsend [5D00] of Courtmacsherry as Trustees for an annuity payable to Elizabeth Campbell of 'Keel', near Macroom.

Family tradition has always maintained that when Thomas' father, Philip, died in 1786 Derry passed to his eldest son, Dr Richard Townsend [501] and, according to 'An Officer of the Long Parliament', Richard then sold Derry to his youngest brother, Horatio Townsend [5D00], in about 1810. However Philip’s will, dated 3 June 1781 and recently transcribed (2010), shows that apart from legacies and bequests for his other children he actually bequeathed Derry to his sons Thomas and Horatio as tenants in common -– “all the rest and residue of my real estate that I have in the lands of Derry and all my personal fortune I give leave and devise to my two sons Thomas Hungerford Townsend and the Rev Horatio Townsend and their heirs forever”.

Appointed a Captain of the Battle Axe Guards (4) by Lord Townshend, Viceroy of Ireland 1767–1772, Thomas also commanded a Grenadier Company of 80 men (5) during the period of 'Whiteboy' violence in the early 1790's.

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 “Thomas Hungerford Townsend Esq” as a subscriber. 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], Dr Richard Townsend [501], Rev Horatio Townsend [5D01], Rev Horatio Townsend [600], Rev Edward Synge Townsend [601].

“Captain Thomas Townsend Esq. Captain, Battle-ax-Guards” is shown as a subscriber to the book ‘The State of The Protestants of Ireland under the late King James’s Government' by William King, Lord Archbishop of Dublin and published by Phineas Bagnell, Cork, in 1768. “In which their carriage towards him is justified, and the absolute necessity of their endeavouring to be freed from his government, and submitting to their present Majesties is demonstrated.” Other members of the family who subscribed to this book include Richard Townsend [213], John Townsend [214] or [303], Philip Townsend [304], Edward Mansel Townsend [401], Rev Horatio Townsend [600] Rev Edward Synge Townsend [601] and Richard Townsend [6A00].

Thomas was a churchwarden between 1788 and 1790 at St. Fachtna's Cathedral, Ross.

Thomas' will is dated 1 June 1794. He died of a stroke and his will was proved in Cork on 17 March 1799. All estate real and personal, goods and chattels he left to his brother Horatio Townsend [5D00], who was the sole executor, except £600 to his brother Dr Richard Townsend [501], £400 to his brother Captain William Townsend [504], £400 to the children of “my late sister” Susannah [505] and £400 to sister Mary [506] (6).

An entry in the Church of Ireland Parish Records Ross Cathedral 1690–1823 records on page 49 under the heading ‘Burials’ "1799 March 6th Captain Thomas Townsend Derry."

In 1787/88 a survey of the Estate of Sir John Freke of Castle Freke, near Rosscarbery, Co Cork was undertaken by the noted 18th century Dublin land surveyor Thomas Sherrard. The surveyed lands stretch from Durrus at the mouth of Dunmanus Bay to Ballincollig near Cork City and consist of maps of 46 townlands covering 15,000 acres of land comprising the Cork holdings of the Freke estate; later to become known as the Carbery estate after John Freke inherited the title of Lord Carbery in 1807. Table 5 of the survey shows adjacent lands (not belonging to the Freke Estate) and their owners. Map 19, also reproduced in his ‘Scrapbook', shows part of Derry estate that Thomas owned.

(1) Letters in ‘An Officer of the Long Parliament’.

(1a) 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."

(2) Derry Papers DD/37.

(3) Derry Papers 502/1.

(3a) Reported in the Dublin Evening Post 31 January 1792.

(3b) 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.

(4) The battle-axe-guards did duty in the public apartments of Dublin Castle.

(5) Hand written note in 'An Officer of the Long Parliament'.

(6) Derry Papers 502/2.

Was Thomas presented with a fine sword in 1797 in recognition of his service as Adjutant of the Royal Cork Volunteers? Click on his Scrapbook.

'An Officer of the Long Parliament' Ch XI p. 254-58 refers.