Doctor Edward Richard Townsend (6C00)

Date of Birth: 31 Jul 1800
Date of Death: 6 Jan 1878
Generation: 5th
Residence: Queenstown, Cork
Father: Samuel Philip Townsend [6B00]
Mother: Robinson, Helena
  1. Bath, Elizabeth Jane
  1. Vice Admiral Sir Samuel Philip [6C01]
  2. Neville Bath [6C02]
  3. Horace [6C03]
  4. Doctor Edward Richard [6C04]
  5. Helena [6C05]
  6. Mary [6C06]
  7. Elizabeth Jane (Dizzy) [6C07]
  8. Lucy Cuthbert [6C08]
  9. Fanny [6C09]
See Also: Table VIC ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Doctor Edward Richard Townsend MD

Married 3 September 1828 at St. Nicholas Church, Cork. Elizabeth Jane Bath (1) was the daughter of Neville Bath CE of Cork (Waterford?).

Edward planned to go to India on the 'East Indiaman Kent' (2) in 1825 with Horace Thomas Townsend [334] but nearly lost his life when the ship caught fire and sank in the Bay of Biscay. He never got to India, instead he returned to Ireland and qualified as a doctor and Hon Fellow of King's and Queen's College of Physicians (3).

Edward established his medical practice in Cork at 13, Morrison's Quay and appears to have spent his whole career there. Page 249 of Aldwell's General Directory 1844-45, page 234 of Slater's Directory (Cork City & County) 1856, page 327 of Laing's Cork Mercantile Directory 1863 and page 628 of Francis Guy’s County & City of Cork Directory 1875-76 all reflect this. Laing’ Directory also shows his son, Edward Richard Townsend [6C04], with a practice at 10 Morrison’s Quay. In addition to his practice the County and City of Cork Almanac 1843 shows on page 128 that he was the 'Inspector' and 'Surgeon' to the County Gaol.

As explained in the ‘Background History’ page, the Act of Union in 1801 and successive reforming measures in the early years of the century drove the Anglo-Irish Protestant community into a position of permanent political minority. Fearing that their ascendancy was being eroded, meetings were held during the early decades of the century seeking to affirm and uphold the integrity of the ‘Protestant Constitution and State’. Reports of these meetings in County Cork between December 1828 and October 1834 can be seen in the record for John Sealy Townsend [333] and those members of the family who attended them are shown at Footnote 4. However, not all members of the family shared these views and press cuttings from the Southern Reporter & Cork Commercial Courier and Dublin Evening Packet & Correspondent show Edward and his eldest brother, Horatio Townsend [6B01], were among the many Protestant Liberals who took a much more conciliatory approach to Roman Catholic emancipation. (The cuttings are reproduced in Edward’s ‘Scrapbook’).

The Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier of 29 October 1835 reports the establishment of new facilities at Cork School of Physic and Surgery and publishes classes for the session of 1835: “Anatomy, Physiology and Surgery with Demonstrations and Dissections by Doctors Woodroffe and Townsend: Practical Anatomy with Doctors Townsend and Bull.” This refers to Edward or Richard Townsend [517]. A copy of the article is reproduced in his ‘Scrapbook’

Fulton's Directory 1871 also records that Edward was President of the Cork Library (page 309). Founded in 1790, it was was open every day from 10 to 4 in winter and 10 to 5 in summer - annual subscription, one guinea.

Francis Guy’s County & City of Cork Directory 1875-76, page 446, shows Edward continued to own or rent properties on Morrison’s Quay and also lived in Queenstown. He remained as President of the Cork Library and is also shown as President of the Cork Medico-Chirurgical and Pathological Society, which met at the Royal Cork Institution on the second and last Wednesday in the month. Page 246 of the Directory records a ‘Townsend Edward R, M.D,’ living at Ballymore, which is about 5km east of Cobh. This is probably Edward but it could be his son Edward Richard Townsend [6C04], though Guy’s refers to him as “Townsend Edw. R, jun, 24 St. Patrick's hill”

The archives of the Royal Cork Yacht Club record that in the regatta held on 14th July 1857 "'Imp' (WR Morrison Esq) finished first in a race versus 'Uriel' (9 tons ER Townsend Esq) and 'Charm' (12 tons S Perrot Esq) but was disqualified in consequence of forcing 'Uriel' about on a starboard tack near Camden, the latter boat getting first prize". 'Uriel' was owned by Major Longfield in 1864.

'Griffith's Valuation of Ireland 1848-64' records "Townsend Edward R. Morrison's Quay & Fitton Street" and "Townsend Edward R. Ballymore" owning property in the parish of Templerobin (Great Island)

McDonnell's Index of Deaths - 1828 records seven instances where Edward attended to the needs of people who died that year. There is no reason to doubt that subsequent years followed a similar pattern. He also attended his cousin Chambre Corker Townsend [5D01] when he contracted scarlet fever in October 1851.

Edward became involved with the tragic illness of Horatio Townsend [607]. Among the large volume of extant correspondence in this branch of the family there is a copy of letter dated 19 November 1855, written from 13 Morrison's Quay, Cork by Edward concerning the sanity of Horatio. The letter, written ten years after Horatio died, is addressed to Dr Symonds, and reads "Lieutenant John Townsend's [622] father (ie Horatio) was never insane. There existed no hereditary predisposition to any mental disease in his family. I am acquainted with the history of every branch of it for nearly two hundred years and no case of lunacy has ever occurred in that time. Mr Horace Townsend … was the eldest son of a man of fortune and, although well educated, his temper naturally bad was never restrained and he became proud, morose and unkind to his friends. I attribute the increase of those feelings to mis-management in domestic arrangements. His brother placed him in a lunatic asylum here, but the late Dr Hallaran the medical inspector did not think him insane and discharged him in a very short time from that establishment". Under the entry for Blackrock, Cork, 'Samuel Lewis' Topographical Directory 1837' records that "Here is a dispensary, and near Ballintemple are two private lunatic asylums. Cittadella, belonging to Joshua Bull, Esq., was established by the late Dr. Hallaran, in 1798, and has secluded pleasure grounds for the use of the patients."

A paper on diseases of the lungs written by Edward in 1832 can be found in The Dublin Journal of Medical Science, Vol. I, p. 74, March, 1832

Edward 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. Edward and his kinsman, Chambre Corker Townsend [5D01], are listed in the “Names of Non-Resident Freeman who Voted at this Election” as recorded in the Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier of 17 January 1835.

Page XII of Volume 1 of ‘A Scriptural Commentary on the Book of Genesis and the Gospel according to St Matthew’ published in 1832 shows “Edward Townsend Esq. M.D. Cork” as a subscriber. Five other members of the family are shown as subscribers Richard Townsend [221], Thomas Townsend [319], John Sealy Townsend [507], Rev Philip Townsend [613], Horatio Townsend [6B01].

Memorial 183309243 dated 18 May 1833 in the Registry of Deeds Index Project Ireland records 'Edward Townsend MD' and Thomas Uniacke of Roachford, Co. Westmeath buying the lands in the lease of 12 August 1758 from Robert and Thomas Lidwell of Passage West, Co Cork for £1000.

Unable to meet his financial obligations, like several others in the family who owned property in Ireland, Edward sold off part of his estate in the Land Court established under the Encumbered Estates Acts of 1848 and 1849. (5) The Landlord Index of County Cork Encumbered Estates records "TOWNSEND, Edward Richard, 4, 258795."

Edward died at The Cottage, Queenstown and was buried at Donoughmore on 10 January 1878. Entry in the diary of Agnes Townsend [334] - '1878 Jany 6 Dr E Townsend & Mr OC of Ross died'. Page 706 of the Calendar of Wills and Administration 1858-1922 in the National Archives of Ireland. It records that the will of "Edward Richard Townsend Senior of the Cottage near Queenstown", who died on 6 January 1878, was proved at Cork on 28 March 1878 by the oath of "Edward Richard Townsend Junior of Patrick's Hill Cork Esquire MB an Executor". Effects under £14,000.

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) Elizabeth was born on 3 March 1802 and died on 26 February 1878. Entry in the diary of Agnes Townsend [334] - 'Feb 26 1878 Mrs ER Townsend died'. Her death was reported in The Cork Examiner on 1 March 1878.

(2) His cousin, Edward Hume Townsend [626], sailed to India in 1822 to take up employment with the East India Company and there is probably a connection here.

(3) Now the Royal College of Physicians Ireland.

(4) John Sealy Townsend [333] and Samuel Townsend [412] can be positively identified. The other contenders are Samuel Townsend [405] or Samuel Townsend [6A03], Thomas Townsend [319] or Thomas Townsend [509], Richard Boyle Townsend [332], Horatio Townsend [5D00], Chambre Corker Townsend [5D01], Thomas Somerville (probably the husband of Henrietta Augusta Townsend [234]) and George Digby Daunt (husband of Helena Herbert Townsend [619]).

(5) The Encumbered Estates Acts enabled the sale of Irish estates which had been mortgaged and whose owners found themselves in difficult financial circumstances. Unable to meet the demands of their creditors owners sold their estates, or portions of them, to settle their obligations. During and after the potato famine many tenants could not pay their rents, and this left landlords with little choice. However, the sale of land was difficult until the introduction of the Encumbered Estates legislation. Between 1849 and 1857 the Landed Estates Court oversaw the sale of more than 3000 Irish estates. Others in the family who were forced to sell include Jonas Morris Townsend [237], John Henry Townsend [238], Samuel Townsend [412], John Handcock Townsend [523], John Townsend [622], Samuel Philip Townsend [6A03], Rev Thomas Townsend [6B03],