Samuel Philip Townsend (6B00)

Date of Birth: 1753
Date of Death: 11 Nov 1800
Generation: 4th
Residence: Firmount, (1) Blarney, Co Cork
Father: Reverend Horatio Townsend [600]
Mother: Hungerford, Mary
  1. Robinson, Helena
  1. Captain Horatio [6B01]
  2. Reverend Doctor William Robinson [6B02]
  3. Reverend Thomas [6B03]
  4. Doctor Edward Richard [6C00]
  5. Mary [6B61]
See Also: Table VIB ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Samuel Philip Townsend

Married April 1782. Helena Robinson was the daughter of Rev Thomas Robinson (2) of Coronea (3), near Skibbereen, Co Cork. Helena's brother, Rev William Robinson, married, Mary Townsend [314], whose brother, Reverend Richard Townsend [310], married Helena's sister, Dorothea.

Alumni Trinity College Dublin from Co Cork and Kerry 1593-1860 in Dr Casey's Collection records that Samuel was taught by Mr Bennett before he entered Trinity College, Dublin, on 1 Nov 1769 aged 16 as a pensioner who paid a fixed sum annually for his studies. The TCD Graduation List shows that he qualified BA in Spring 1774. Horatio Townsend [5D00] was an undergraduate at TCD at the same time.

Nothing is known about Samuel other than what Horatio Townsend [5D00] wrote in his book 'Statistical Survey of the County of Cork' (4) on page 681. "The late Samuel Townsend of Firmount, Esq. a gentleman of the soundest judgment, the sweetest disposition, and the most undeviating rectitude. He enjoyed the singular felicity of passing thro' life, certainly without giving, and, as I have reason to believe, for none knew him longer or better, without receiving offence. His memory will ever be embalmed in the tender recollection of his friends, but to the common people of his neighbourhood his loss is irreparable. He was their friend in distress, their adviser in difficulty, and, by sort of general acquiescence in his justice, their umpire in every dispute. Agriculture was among his favourite pursuits, and, as few understood it better, I may perhaps have additional cause of regret in the loss of that friendly assistance so often heretofore experienced."

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 Samuel was a Captain in the "Blarney Volunteers. Enrolled 1778. Force: 4 companies; 1 gren., 2 bat., 1 light. Uniform: scarlet, faced black; white buttons. Officers in 1782 - Colonel, George Jefferys; Lieut.-Colonel, Daniel Gibbs; Captains, William Willisson, Edward O'Donoghue, Thos. Whaley, and Samuel Townsend; lieutenants, Francis Cottrel, William M'Creight, and Thomas Rubee; Chaplain, Thomas Davies; Second Chaplain, John Gibbs; Surgeon, John Lee; Secretary, Thomas Magin". Whilst this most probably refers to Samuel, who would have been in his late twenties in 1778 and living near Blarney, there is no corroborative evidence.

At a meeting in the King’s Arms Tavern in Cork on 15 November 1791 (5) 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 (6) 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.

Until the mid-eighteenth century there was little incentive for tenants to plant trees on the land they leased, for the trees were legally the property of the landlord. However, by 1765, the tenant’s position had changed in that he was entitled to all the trees he had planted, or their value, on the expiry of his lease. To prove ownership tenants had to register the trees they planted and this was eventually published in a register for the particular county in which they lived. Details of the ‘Register of Trees, Co Cork, 1780 - 1860’ are contained in Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society 1976 Vol. 81, Nos 233-234, pages 39-60 and seven members of the family are shown as part of the scheme. Between them they planted 63,500 trees of which “Sam Philip Townsend” planted 6.240 in Plucknanes Lower between 1793 and 1795. Other members of the family who subscribed to the scheme include Richard Boyle Townsend [219], Rev Richard Boyle Townsend [332], John Townsend [316], Samuel Townsend [412], Samuel Philip Townsend [6B00] and William Townsend [6B02].

As described on the page ‘Background History’, events in Ireland in the last decade of the 18th century convinced the Prime Minister in Westminster, William Pitt, that the only way to solve unrest in the country was to get the Irish Parliament to pass an Act of Union. He thought that Irish Catholics would be better off as a minority in the United Kingdom, rather than a majority in Ireland. Samuel, and six of his kinsmen (7), supported this and they, along with several hundred fellow landowners in Co Cork, published a proclamation supporting union in The Belfast Newsletter dated Tuesday 30 July 1799. A copy of the proclamation is reproduced in Samuel’s ‘Scrapbook’.

It appears that Samuel was a Freeman of the City of Cork. 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.

In his journal covering the first 25 years of his life, written in 1869, Edward Hume Townsend [626] recorded that in 1811, accompanied by his mother, he went to Cork where he first met for the first time his great aunt Helena, wife of Samuel Philip Townsend [6B00], and his cousins Mary Townsend [6B61] and Edward Townsend [6C00]. He noted.....’My aunt had lived many years in total darkness, her eyes not bearing the light. Her son Edward, who was some three years my senior, was born in the dark and was, I believe, never seen by his mother. He lived with her until her death and is now head of the medical profession in Cork. His sister Mary was a delightful companion, a most pleasant creature and withal a true Christian. My aunt’s great delight was to listen to God’s word, read to her by any kind friend siting in the drawing room near the green curtains that excluded the light from her room.'

Judge John FitzHenry Townsend [250] shows Firmount as Fairmount.

(1) The entry for Firmount in the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway Landed Estates Database records "A Townsend family home, occupied by Horace Townsend (Horatio Townsend [6B01]) in 1837 and by William Coghlan at the time of Griffith's Valuation. It was then valued at £14.10 shillings and was held from Horatio Townsend. The sale rental of 1877 records a fee farm grant of Firmount from John Crewe Chetwood Townsend (John Crewe Chetwood Townsend [6B04]) to Arthur Chute dated 1871 and a fee farm grant from Arthur Chute to J.C.C. Townsend executed the following year."

(2) The entry for Robinson (West Carbery) in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "George Robinson of Coronea, grandson of the Reverend William Robinson, rector of Abbeystrewery, was the owner of almost 1000 acres in county Cork in the 1870s. He was one of the principal lessors in the parish of Dromdaleague at the time of Griffith's Valuation."

(3) The family lived at Coronea for some time. 'Thom's Irish Almanac Co Cork 1862' records "Robinson, George, Coronea, Skibbereen" as a magistrate. The entry for Coronea House in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "Thomas Clerke was leasing this property from George Robinson at the time of Griffith's Valuation, when it was valued at £17. Lewis refers to Coronea House occupied by Mrs. Marmion in 1837. The residence of Rev. William Robinson in 1814 and in the 1770s it was the seat of a Townsend family. It is no longer extant." It is unclear which member of the family owned Coronea House - possibly Rev Richard Townsend [310]. Page 217 of 'An Officer of the Long Parliament' describes Coronea as "a nice house near Skibbereen."

(4) Sponsored by the Royal Dublin Society and published in 1810 it covers historical sketches, agricultural and trade statistics, notices on education, fisheries, antiquities, manufactures, etc. A large appendix and section of addenda includes a variety of interesting documents, on matters social, scientific, political, religious and other matters. The book criticised the Roman Catholic clergy, particularly its role in education and this generated considerable controversy. A copy of the book can be found in the Trinity College, Dublin, library and the Library of Herbert Bell, Belfast.

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

(6) 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.

(7) John Townsend [214] shown as ‘John Townfend MP Shepperton’, Rev Richard Townsend [310] shown as ‘Richd Townfend clk Skull’, William Townsend [504] shown as ‘William Townfend Derry’. Thomas Townsend [509] shown as ‘Thos Townfend Mallow’, Rev Horatio Townsend [5D00] shown as ‘Horace Townfend Courtmacsherry’, Richard Townsend [6A00] shown as ‘Richard Townfend Palacetown'.

'An Officer of the Long Parliament' Ch XII p. 267.