Reverend Edward Synge (The Apostle) Townsend (601)

Date of Birth: 18 Jan 1741
Date of Death: 19 Jan 1819
Generation: 4th
Residence: Several Parishes in Muskerry, Co Cork
Father: Reverend Horatio Townsend [600]
Mother: Hungerford, Mary
  1. Townsend, Elizabeth [144]
  1. Horatio (Horace) [607]
  2. Cornelius [608]
  3. Samuel [609]
  4. Thomas [610]
  5. Edward Synge [611]
  6. Reverend Richard [612]
  7. Reverend Philip [613]
  8. Mary [614]
  9. Susannah [615]
  10. Elizabeth [616]
  11. Anne [617]
  12. Grace [618]
  13. Helena Herbert [619]
See Also: Table VI ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Reverend Edward Synge Townsend (The Apostle)

Married 2 October 1766 at Macroom, Co Cork. Elizabeth Townsend [144] (1) was the fourth daughter of Horatio Townsend [130] of Bridgemount, Macroom. (1a)

Alumni Trinity College Dublin from Co Cork and Kerry 1593-1860 in Dr Casey's Collection records that Edward was taught by his father before he entered Trinity College, Dublin, on 4 May 1757 as a pensioner who paid a fixed sum annually for his studies. The TCD Graduation List shows that he qualified BA in Spring 1761. John Townsend [214] was an undergraduate at TCD at the same time.

Edward's ministry is complicated as he held many livings simultaneously during the latter part of his life. He was licensed on 11 July 1765 to the Curacy of Donoughmore; on 6 July 1768 to that of Macroom; on 18 July 1772 to that of Inniscarra and on 23 April 1773 to that of Clondrohid. From 1784-89 and again from 1793-99 he was Rector Ballyvourney and from 1789-93 Rector of Whitechurch. Edward was also Rector of Clondrohid 1793-1808 (2) and from 1808 to 1819 Vicar of Clonmeen and Roskeen. His other benefices included 1788-89 Vicar Nathlash and Kildorrery and 1789-99 Priest Killenemer. See page 142/143 of Brady's Parochial and Clerical Records Volume 2 for a summary of Edward's ministry.

Edward was succeeded in the living of Ballyvourney and Killenemer by his son Richard Townsend [612] whilst his youngest son, Philip Townsend [613] was his Curate at Clonmeen and Roskeen.

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 Edward was Chaplain to the "Muskerry Volunteers. Enrolled 1779. Force: 1 company. Uniform: blue, edged buff; buff waistcoat and breeches. Officers in 1782 - Captain Com., Thomas Barter; Captain, William Ashe; Lieutenant, John Barter; Ensign, Matthew Menheer; Chaplain, Edward Synge Townsend; Surgeon, Richard Grey, M.D.; Adjutant, John Butler."

The article ‘A Contemporary Account of the Rightboy Movement: the John Barter Bennet Manuscript’ in the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archeological Society (1983 Series 2 Vol 88 No 247) records on page 34 an incident involving Edward. “In 1780 the churchwardens of the parish of Clondrohid, of which Mr Edward Synge Townsend was curate, went into the parish to collect the church rates but returned without making any collection, the people having positively refused to pay them. Shortly after, they went again into the parish to collect the church rates, attended by a few Volunteers from Macroom belonging to a corps called the Muskerry Blues. The church wardens, assisted by the Volunteers, took the distresses of some people in the parish, and as they were carrying off the distresses, they were attacked by great numbers of the country people. Being hemmed in at a particular place, the insurgents now assaulted them most furiously, and so near were both parties to each other that a stone which was thrown by one othe assailants struck off the sight of one of the Volunteers’ firelocks, by which the bayonet fell off and was never found since. Thus circumstanced, the Volunteers fired and killed two brothers, who left their work and came a considerable distance on purpose to join in the riot, neither of whom ever had a child. The rioters, however, effected their purpose by rescuing the distresses. Mr Townsend was collated to the parish of Ballyvourney, as mentioned by the bishop of Cloyne, in 1784, so that the abuse he received in reading the liturgy and the above transaction happened at two distant periods.”

At a meeting in the King’s Arms Tavern in Cork on 15 November 1791 (2a) 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 (2b) 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.

Known in the family as "The Apostle" on account of his benevolent looks and flowing white locks Edward always carried a shepherd's crook. However, an entry on page 123 in Brady's Clerical and Parochial Records casts doubt on his health - "ES Townsend has cure of souls, and resides in summer but passes the winter at Bath in England, being very infirm. The duties during his absence are performed by his Curate, Rev John Orpen."

In his journal covering the first 25 years of his life, written in 1869, Edward Hume Townsend [626] recorded that in 1811, after visiting his great aunt Helena Townsend [6B00] he travelled with his mother to Kinsale where he met for the first time his paternal grandfather. 'My grandfather, the Rev Edward Synge Townsend was infirm on his limbs, the result of rheumatism from which he had long suffered. His face was handsome, the expression remarkably sweet; his eyes dark and expressive; his manner full of bonhomie. My grandmother, Elizabeth Townsend was a tall rather elderly woman; not as handsome as her husband but full of love and kindness. My grandparents had at this time 3 sons and 4 daughters living. The former were Horace who lived in London, Edward who was a country squire somewhere near Macroom and Philip a clergyman.' Later in his journal Edward recalled that when he visited in 1816.....'My grandfather Townsend was a very old man, infirm on his limbs, with very sweet expression of face, beaming with benevolence'.

According to his great grandson, Edward Mansel Townshend [630] (3), Edward retired to Bath before moving to Dennis's Quay, Kinsale, where he lived out his final years. He and Elizabeth were joined there in March 1816 by his son Horatio Townsend [607] and his family. Also living there at the same time was Edward's sister, Helena Townsend [619], and her husband, George Digby Daunt.

Edward was buried in St Multose Church in Kinsale along with his wife and daughters Mary Townsend [614], Helena Herbert Townsend [619] and husband George Digby Daunt.

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 “Rev Horatio Townsend” 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], Thomas Hungerford Townsend [502], Rev Horatio Townsend [5D00], Rev Horatio Townsend [600].

The “Rev Edward Synge Townsend” 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], Edward Mansel Townsend [400], Philip Townsend [304], Captain Thomas Townsend [502], Rev Horatio Townsend [600] and Richard Townsend [6A00].

Edward's son, Horatio Townsend and his grandsons Edward Townsend [620] and John Townsend [622] all married cousins, as he had done, and there is evidence in correspondence (4) between 1854 and 1930 that a number of his descendants suffered mental instability.

(1) Elizabeth was born in 1742 and died at Kinsale on 12 April 1831.

(1a) Elizabeth's brother, Cornelius inherited Bridgemount on the death of their father but was forced to dispose of the property after a disastrous agricultural experiment in 1778. It appears therefore that either Edward bought the property from his kinsman Cornelius or it passed to him as a belated dowry. It is worth noting that Clondrohid is about one mile from Bridgemount. The evidence for the acquisition of the estate is contained in Note 2 in the record for Cornelius Townsend [139].

(2) Edward was succeeded in the living at Clondrohid by Rev Robert Kirchoffer who got involved, along with one of Edward's sons, in the infamous trial of the Clondrohid Whiteboys in 1822.

(2a) Reported in the Dublin Evening Post 31 January 1792.

(2b) 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.

(3) Extract from 'A Protestant Auto-Biography by the Rev E Mansel Townshend'

(4) Llanvapley Papers.

'An Officer of the Long Parliament' Ch XII p.268.