Maria Stewart (Cissie) Townshend (5D28)

Date of Birth: Aug 1858
Date of Death: 5 Apr 1929
Generation: 7th
Residence: Edstaston House, Wem, Salop
Father: Horace Payne - Townshend [5D12]
Mother: Kirby, Mary Susannah
  1. Cholmondeley, Hugh Cecil
  1. Cecily
See Also: Table VD ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Maria Stewart Payne Townshend (Cissie)

Maria was originally engaged to Lieutenant Nevill Coghill VC but he was killed defending the Colours of the 24th Regiment of Foot (The South Wales Borderers) at the Battle of of Isandlwana in South Africa.

Married 24 March 1885 (1), as his first wife, Brigadier Hugh Cecil Cholmondeley CB, CBE, DL, JP (2), eldest son of Capt Hon.Thomas Grenville Cholmondeley. See Burke's Peerage - Delamere B. They lived at Edstaston House in Wem which Maria inherited from her father when he died in 1885 just a few weeks before they married (3).

In his unpublished autobiography Edward Mansel Townshend [630] (4) mentions meeting Maria and her sister on several occasions - they were first cousins - and described her as charming with 'wonder-filled hazel eyes'. He goes on to write 'Those who know children, will not be surprised to learn that, young as he was, the writer of these pages was soon deeply enamoured of that pretty face and hair and eyes, of his young Cousin, a fascination which never left him, and would have grown to something more substantial, had not a growing family prejudice, against cousin marriages, — justified or not, — as well as, I fear, some stupid jealousy of the considerable inheritance involved, — of which her young admirer knew nothing — interfered, to sternly forbid practically all possibilities of intercourse!' (5)

Maria's sister Charlotte was a frequent visitor to Edstastson and to Keyham, Leicestershire, where Maria and Hugh took a lodge for the hunting season with the Quorn.

The daughter Cecily Charlotte Cholmondeley was born on 27 February 1886. She married Sir Richard St. John Jefferyes Colthurst, 8th Bt. on 2 August 1911 and divorced in 1927. She died on 1 January 1958 leaving two daughters:

Mary Penelope Colthurst was born on 16 October 1912 and married, firstly, Major General Godfrey John Hamilton, son of Lt Col Frederick Arthur Hamilton, on 27 April 1937; they divorced in 1952. Mary married, secondly, Major Jack Montagu Hillyard, son of Commander GW Hillyard, on 10 September 1952 and died in September 1975 leaving a daughter:

Adrian Louise Hamilton who married Lt Col Charles John Dawnay, son of Vice-Admiral Sir Peter Dawnay on 18 March 1968.

Shournagh Dorothy Colthurst was born on 24 July 1914 and married Lieutenant Robert Tristram Combe, son of Major Robert Thomas Combe, on 20 July 1937. She died on 13 February 2001 leaving two sons:

Richard Tristram Combe was born in 1938. Educated at Eton College he was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards.

Henry Cecil Combe was born in 1940 and married twice; first to Gillian Margaret Hancock, daughter of Ralph Hancock, in 1968 and second to Ingerise Andersen in 1975.

(1) Entry in the diary of Agnes Townsend [334] - 'March 24 1885 Miss Mary Stewart Townshend Derry married to Capt Cholmondeley'. Burke's Irish Family Records shows the marriage as 24 Aug 1885.

(2) Hugh died on 13 December 1941

(3) Maria's mother, Mary Kirby, was devisee of her uncle, Thomas Payne of Edstaston. He is buried at St Peter's Church, Leckhampton near Cheltenham. The inscription on his tombstone is "IN LOVING MEMORY / LIEUT COLL THOMAS COX KIRBY. K.H. / 86TH REGT / BORN 1783, DIED 1850. / OF / MARY ANN KIRBY HIS WIFE. / DAUGHTER OF JOHN KNIGHT ESQRE / OF WHITCHURCH SALOP, / BORN 1792, DIED 1861.

(4) 'A Protestant Auto-Biography by the Rev E Mansel Townshend'

(5) Edward's parents, grandparents and great grandparents were all Townsend/Townsend cousin marriages and some of the children were affected by this. Edward's paternal grandfather, Horatio Townsend [607], his uncle Horatio Townsend [623] and brother John Chambre Townsend [629] were all strange. It is understandable therefore that Edward was strongly discouraged from any form of relationship with Maria.