Doctor Thomas Henry Denny (Pa Willy) Townsend (5A10)

Date of Birth: 13 Apr 1876
Date of Death: 21 Oct 1952
Generation: 8th
Residence: Merton, Cobh, Cork
Father: Doctor Richard Hungerford Townsend [5A02]
Mother: Denny, Arabella Jane
  1. Studdert, Ethel Mary
  1. Richard Uniacke Denny [5A22]
  2. Margaret Champernoune Denny [5A23]
See Also: Table VA ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Doctor Thomas Henry Denny Townsend MD

Married 4 April 1907. Ethel Mary (Meem) (1) was the youngest daughter of Major George Studdert (2 & 2a) JP of Moy House (3), Lahinch, Co Clare. See Burke's Irish Landed Gentry 1912 - Studdert.

Born in 'Ardeevin', Cobh, where his father, Richard Hungerford Townsend [5A02], was a doctor, Thomas was educated at Derby School from September 1892 to April 1894 - The Derby School Register 1570-1901 records that he won the A-mile Handicap and 220 yards in 1893. Following this he studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and the Dublin University Calendar 1906 records that he qualified BA. MB. BCh. BaO in 1899 and MD in Winter 1903. His brother Henry Denny Townsend [5A12] and Horace Montagu Townsend [5B21] were undergraduates at the same time.

For the next 40 years Thomas was the Principal Ophthalmic Surgeon at the Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, Cork. In 1919 he was appointed ophthalmic surgeon at the Victoria Hospital, Cork and was, for a time, President of the Irish Ophthalmological Society.

The Postal Directory for Cork City and the Suburbs in Guy's City and Almanac and Directory for 1907 shows that Thomas was living at 14 Wellington Place. Guy’s Directory for 1913 shows him living at this same address and 11 St Patrick’s Hill – most probably this latter address refers to his consulting rooms. His kinsman Dr Norman Ian Townsend [6C18] lived at 24 St Patrick's Hill. In 1916 Thomas moved from Wellington Place to Rock Lodge (4) where he remained until late 1922 when the house was attacked during the 'Troubles'. The National Archives of Ireland contain a letter written by Thomas seeking compensation under the Damage to Property (Compensation) Act 1923 for “Damage to windows by unknown persons on 17 November 1922". Shortly afterwards he moved to Merton, Cobh, where he remained until his death.

There is no record of Thomas in the April 1901 Irish Census. The 1911 Irish Census of Ireland shows Thomas' wife was living in his father's house at 11 Westbourne Terrace, Queenstown on 2 April of that year. Thomas' aunt, Maria Devereux [5A08] and sister Kathleen Townsend [5A15], were living there at the same time. Once again, there is no record of Thomas in the Census.

During the 'Troubles of 1920' Thomas undertook an eye operation on a man known as 'The One Eyed Gunner'; the operation was successful and the 'gunner', delighted not to have lost the sight of his remaining eye, sent Thomas a large bunch of flowers the day after he was discharged from hospital. It later transpired that these had been picked the night before from a number of private gardens in Cork!

Thomas was an avid reader with a brilliant memory and razor sharp wit. He was also a keen fisherman and golfer; Guy’s Directory for 1913 shows him as the Captain of the Cork Golf Club. The same Directory also shows him as the owner of a Registered Motor Car!

Thomas was entered as a Freemason in 1903 and continued so until his death.

Thomas is buried in St Barrahane's Church, Castletownshend and there is a small commemorative plaque to him in the church. The inscription on his grave in the churchyard reads “IN LOVING MEMORY THOMAS HENRY DENNY TOWNSEND 1876 - 1952”. Meet is buried in a separate grave and her inscription reads “IN LOVIING MEMORY OF ETHEL MARY DENNY TOWNSEND 1872 - 1955”.

This Youtube footage of a street scene would have been very familiar to Thomas Cork 1902

Seven members of the family practiced medicine in Cork and Queenstown during the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries. Richard Townsend [517] 1800-1843; Edward Richard Townsend [6C00] 1800-1878; Richard Newman Townsend [530] 1835-1877; Edward Richard Townsend [6C04] 1838-1897; Richard Hungerford Townsend [5A02] 1845-1922; Normnan Ian Townsend [6C18] 1869-1921 and Thomas Henry Denny Townsend [5A10] 1876-1952. In addition 'Townsends' from another family practiced at roughly the same time; notably Dr William C Townsend and Dr Horace R Townsend.

(1) Meem was born on 28 January 1872 and died on 21 September 1955.

(2) ‘Slater’s Royal National Directory of Ireland, 1894’ records under the heading ‘County Magistrates for the Province of Munster Co Clare’ - “Studdert Major George S. Moy, Lahinch R.S.O” and under the heading ‘Munster Parishes - Lahinch, co. Clare, Private Residents’ - “Studdert Maj. George JP. Moy house.” Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry 1912 shows George as being of “Craggane tower, Co Clare and late Major Clare Militia”. He married in 1858 Agnes, second daughter of the Rev Charles Waller of Trimley, Suffolk, England.

(2a) The entry for Studdert in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "The Reverend George Studdert, rector of Kilpeacon and Rathkeale, county Limerick, was the son of George Studdert who was granted lands in counties Limerick and Kerry in the 17th century. The Reverend George married Millicent daughter of George Rose of Morgans and Mount Prospect, county Limerick and their sons were the ancestors of the various familes of Studderts of counties Clare and Limerick. From Thomas their eldest son descend the Studderts of Bunratty. Henry 8th and last Earl of Thomond sold Bunratty castle, county Clare and 472 acres to Thomas Amory in 1712 for £225 and an annual rent of £120. Amory sold the Castle to Thomas Studdert who took up residence circa 1720. The Studderts later built a house in the grounds of the demesne and castle was abandoned. The castle ruin was purchased by the 7th Viscount Gort in 1956. He restored it with assistance from state agencies and opened it to the public in 1960. In 1778 Thomas Studdert of Bunratty married Anne Fitzgerald of Shepperton and had six sons and three daughters. His fourth son Charles Fitzgerald Studdert resided at Newmarket House, Newmarket-on-Fergus. Charles F. Studdert was married to Maria Wogan, a niece of Thomas Steele. She inherited Cullane House, Kilkishen, from her uncle, which became the home of their eldest son Robert Wogan Studdert. At the time of Griffith's Valuation R.W. Studdert held 5 townlands from the Bishop of Limerick in the parish of Mungret, barony of Pubblebrien, county Limerick. In the 1870s Robert Wogan Studdert of Cullane owned 386 acres in county Clare and 218 acres in county Limerick. Richard Studdert of Bunratty owned over 400 acres in county Clare in the 1870s. Thomas Studdert of Bunratty owned over 600 acres in county Kerry in the 1870s, mostly in the parish of Kilfeighny, barony of Clanmaurice. This land was owned by Joseph and Maurice Studdart at the time of Griffith's Valuation. The rental of this land was offered for sale in the Landed Estates Court in July 1865. The sale notice indicates it was on lease from the Palmer estate. Lewis mentions a property called Braeside Cottage, the seat of Hugh Studdart, in 1837."

(3) Moy House the former home of the Studdert family. It was a most luxurious and expensive hotel but currently (2024) is closed Photographs of the house can be seen on the Tripadvisor website. The entry for Moy Lodge in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Also known as Carrowgar House, this early 19th century house was built by Sir Augustine Fitzgerald. Possibly the house named 'Moy' occupied by John Finucane in 1814. Lewis describes Moy as the occasional residence of Sir W. Fitzgerald. Weir writes that it was purchased by George Studdert, sixth son of Charles Fitzgerald Studdert of Newmarket House in the mid 19th century. It was still in the possession of Sir Edward Fitzgerald at the time of Griffith's Valuation and Lady C.E. Fitzgerald was resident in 1906 when the mansion house was valued at £25. Now functions as a guesthouse, a member of 'The Blue Book'."

(4) Webber Carleton who married Mildred Townsend [6A08] lived in Rock Lodge sometime in the early 19th century. 'The Post Chaise Companion or Traveller's Directory through Ireland 3rd Edition 1804' page 346 records "Three miles from Cork on the R. is Inchegaghan Church & castle; and half a mile farther, is Carrigroghan (Rock Lodge), the seat of Mr Colthurst". In the section covering the parish of Carrigrohanbeg 'Lewis' Topographical Dictionary 1837' records "The gentlemen's seats are Woodside, the residence of the Rev. E. M. Carleton....Rock Lodge, of R. Carleton, Esq." The entry for Rock Lodge in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "A house on the Donoughmore estate, occupied by R. Carleton in 1837 and by Henry Osborne Seward at the time of Griffith's Valuation when it was valued at £25."

The entry for Woodside in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Occupied by John Carleton in 1814 and by the Reverend E.M. Carleton in 1837. By the early 1850s the house was occupied by Horace Townsend and held by him in fee. It was valued at £40. It had become known as Kilcrenagh by the publication of the 25-inch Ordnance Survey map in the 1890s. Donnelly states that it was burnt in May 1921 during the War of Independence when it was the residence of the family of Ebenezer Pike. The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage notes that it is now in ruins."