Professor Edward (Iney) Townsend (6B20)

Date of Birth: 1831
Date of Death: 5 May 1919
Generation: 6th
Residence: Galway & Torquay, Devon
Father: Reverend Thomas Townsend [6B03]
Mother: Jeynes, Caroline
  1. Persse ?
  2. Townsend, Judith Eleanor Anne [372]
    • Doctor Edwin Hotham [6B29]
    • Sir John Sealy Edward [6B30]
    • William Richard [6B31]
    • Helena Eleanor [6B32]
    • Mary Young [6B33]
    • Martha Catherine Caroline [6B40]
See Also: Table VIB ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Professor Edward Townsend JP

Married 1st. The Persse marriage (1 & 1a) is only shown by Judge John FitzHenry Townsend [250] but acknowledged in Burke's Irish Family Records. Married 2nd 1864. Judith May Townsend [372] only child of John Sealy Townsend [333] of Dublin.

Alumni Trinity College Dublin from Co Cork and Kerry 1593-1860 in Dr Casey's Collection records that Edward was taught by Dr Browne before he entered Trinity College, Dublin, on 5 June 1848 aged 17 as a pensioner who paid a fixed sum annually for his studies. His brother Thomas Townsend [6B19] was also taught by Dr Browne and entered the University at the same time aged 19. The TCD Graduation List records that he qualified BA in Summer 1853 and MSc in Spring 1856. His kinsman Edward Richard Townsend [6C04] was studying at Trinity at the same time, whilst Rev Richard Townsend [337] was teaching at the university.

Appointed Professor of Civil Engineering, Queen's College, Galway and Registrar University College, Galway in 1860, very little is known about Edward's achievements. Page 10 of the Report of President of Queen's College, Galway, 1867-69, catalogued in the ‘Enhanced British Parliamentary Papers on Ireland’, shows that Edward was a Member of the Council 1868-69.

However, it is known that, in conjunction with John Henry Ryan, he designed the Galway-Clifden Railway. Work started on this project in the winter of 1890 and was completed in January 1895. At a cost of some £9,000 per mile, the line consisted of 48 miles of standard gauge track through central Connemara with seven stations. The most significant engineering feature of the line was the massive viaduct across the Corrib river. As a keen salmon fisherman, Member of the Board of Conservators for the river and Secretary of the angling club from 1870, Edward no doubt took a particular interest in the construct of the viaduct. The line was closed in 1935.

The following article from The Connaught Tribune, Saturday, March 18, 1950 gives some idea of Edward's prominence in the world of engineering at the time.

"When the Schools of Engineering were established in Galway, Cork and Belfast a century ago there were probably not more than four engineering schools in the British Isles or half a dozen in the world. For ninety-eight out of these hundred years the Chair in Galway was held by only three Professors, Binden Blood, Townsend and Rishworth. Professor F.S. Rishworth was a pupil of Professor Townsend and graduated in 1898. He was appointed Assistant Engineer on the construction of an extension of the Great Northern Railway in Derbyshire and afterwards was transferred to King's Cross. In 1902 he was appointed lecturer in Civil Engineering at the School of Engineering, Giza, from which he resigned to succeed Professor Townsend in Galway. The number of students was increasing on the establishment of the National University and it was no longer possible to continue Townsend's practice of sitting at a table with his few students gathered around him. Professor Rishworth foresaw the needs of the future and designed and supervised the erection of the present Engineering School which was opened in 1914 equipped with what was then the latest testing apparatus. ..... He carried on the high tradition of the School and, like Professor Townsend, his deepest interest was in teaching and in the welfare of his graduates. Many engineers now in responsible positions both at home and abroad will gratefully acknowledge that their success is due to him. Living now in retirement in Dublin, he retains his keen interest in his old students and his old college. Bindon Blood, Townsend and Rishworth, these names will always be associated with the growth of the Galway Engineering School from the infancy of Engineering one hundred years ago, to the great achievements of today."

A paper entitled 'An easy proof of the "prismoidal formula", with an accurate method of taking out the quantity of earth, and of setting out the "half-breadths" in a cutting with a steep gradient' published by Edward in 1871 can be found in 'Transactions of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland Vol. IX, pp. 28-31, 1871.

The Enhanced British Parliamentary Papers on Ireland contain three Commissions of Inquiry in which Edward appeared as a witness:

-As a member of the fishing club that had the rights to fish the River Corrib between Lough Corrib itself and the sea, Edward appeared as a witness before The Royal Commission on Irish Inland Fisheries in 1901. His evidence is recorded in the Report on Pages 451- 453.

-The Royal Commission on University Education in Ireland. His evidence, given on 8 April 1902, is recorded in the Report on Pages 132- 136.

-The Vice-Regal Commission on Arterial Drainage (Ireland) 1905. His evidence, given on 9 August 1906, is is recorded in the Report at Pages 273 – 278

In 1866 Edward was living at Brinkwater, Salthill, Galway.

‘Slater’s Royal National Directory of Ireland, 1894’ records under the heading ‘Counter Magistrates for Connaught. Co Galway’ - “Townsend Edward MA. TCD Galway.” In respect of his academic appointments the Directory records ‘Dublin. Royal University of Ireland, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin. Fellows and Examiners’ - “In Engineering - Edward Townsend, Dsc” and under the heading ‘Galway City Colleges & Schools. Queen's College, Newcastle road. Professors’ - “Civil Engineering. Edward Townsend MA.” It also records for Queen’s College “Registrar, Edward Townsend MA Killora, Sligo.”

Edward was High Sheriff Galway in 1895.

'Land Owners in Ireland, 1876 - Galway City' records "Townsend Edward" owning land in Galway City.

The April 1901 Irish Census records Judith, aged 59, as married and living at house 7 in Town Parks, Galway West, Galway, with her son William Townsend [6B31]. Judith's husband Edward is not shown in the Census and must have been out of the country at the time. Neither of them are shown in the 1911 Irish Census.

Edward was the executor of his brother's will - William Hotham Townsend [6B18]. Page 609 of The Calendar of Wills and Administration 1858-1922 in the National Archives of Ireland records that Probate of the will of "William Hotham Townsend formerly of Woodhill Terrace Cork and late of Queen’s College Galway Esquire”, who died on 14 March 1910 at Queen’s College, was granted at Dublin on 28 February 1911 to "Edward Townsend Esquire." Effects £3,743 19s 9d.

Agnes Townsend [334] shows Edward as 'Iney' in her diary and from this it can be deduced that Martha Townsend [6B40] was his daughter. Martha appears to be from the first marriages and the other children are from the second.

Edward died at Torquay, Devon. The Calendar of Wills and Administration 1858-1922 in the National Archives of Ireland records that Probate of the will of "Townsend Edward of Wilderlands, Chelston, Torquay Devon Professor formerly of University College Galway” was granted 16 Oct 1919 to "Judith Eleanor Anne Townsend".

(1) The Persse family were wealthy and came from Galway. U.H. Hussey de Burgh's ‘Landowners of Ireland 1878' records three entries - "PERSSE.BURTON ROBERT PARSONS, J.P. and D.L. co. Galway (was High Sheriff in 1862),— Moyode Castle, Craughwell, co. Galway; Kildare Street Club, Dublin. PERSSE, DUDLEY, J.P. and D.L. co. Galway, Roxborough, Loughrea, co. Galway; Kildare Street Club, Dublin. PERSSE, HENRY, S., J.P. Galway. Glenarde, Galway; Kildare Street Club, Dublin." Between then they owned 23,191 acres valued at £10,776 in Galway, King's Co, Kilkenny and Rosscommon.

(1a) The entry for Persse (Roxborough & Moyode) in the University of Galway Landed Estates Database records "The Persse family first received grants of land in counties Galway and Roscommon in the 1670s. Some of this land had been de Burgo land and later a descendent of the Persses acquired the estate at Moyode. Lands at Moyode and Castleboy had been granted to Sir William Scawen in 1703. The Persses settled initially at Spring Garden. Afterewards they purchased Roxborough where some of the family were living by the early 18th century. Robert Persse of Roxborough established estates at Castleboy and Moyode for his sons Parsons and Burton respectively. R. Persse of Castleboy is recorded as the proprietor of townlands in the parish of Isertkelly in the 1830s. D. Persse of Roxborough is recorded as proprietor of townlands in the parishes of Isertkelly and Kilchreest in the 1830s. Burton Persse is recorded as the proprietor of lands in the parish of Kilconieron at the same time. Dudley Persse held extensive lands in the parishes of Kilchreest, barony of Dunkellin, and Killinan, barony of Loughrea, in the 1850s. Burton Persse, Sen. Tallyho Lodge, Burton Persse, Jun. Persse Lodge, Robert Persse, Roxborough, Robert Parsons Persse, Castleboy and Henry Persse, Persse Park, were all resident proprietors in 1824. The estate at Spring Garden in the parish of Tynagh, barony of Leitrim, was offered for sale in the Encumbered Estates court in July 1850. In 1855, however, Burton Persse was still recorded as the lessor of over 700 acres in the parish of Tynagh, barony of Longford. In the 1870s the Persses owned over 1,800 acres in county Galway and over 1,300 acres in county Roscommon. In May 1876 almost 2000 acres in the baronies of Kiltartan and Leitrim, county Galway, the property of the Blair and Persse families, were offered for sale in the Landed Estates court. In 1906 William Arthur Persse owned a mansion house and almost 500 acres of untenanted demesne land at Laherdaun. At the same time Capt. A Persse owned about 1000 acres of untenanted lands and Roxborough House, valued at £70."