Mary Townsend (121)

Date of Birth: 1710
Date of Death: post 1739
Generation: 3rd
Residence: Creagh, Co Cork
Father: Reverend Philip Townsend [106]
Mother: Galwey, Helena
Spouse:
  1. Becher, John
  2. Mercer, Luke
Issue: None
See Also: Table I ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Mary Townsend

The Registry of Deeds Index Project Ireland records a Marriage Bond Memorial 208913 dated 19 August 1727. John Becher (1) of Creagh,(2) son of John Becher of Aghadown,(3) Skibbereen, Co Cork and grandson of Colonel Thomas Becher who was one of the richest men in West Cork and received a salary of ten shillings a day as Governor of Sherkin Island. Later, he acted as aide-de-camp to William III at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, when the King presented him with his own watch.

John’s father was born in Aghadown, Co Cork on 1 Sep 1677. In 1690 he was apprenticed to Sir John Duddlestone in Bristol and he married his master's daughter Hester in 1695. Sir John died in 1715 and left £20 in his will to John Beecher who was later elected Mayor of Bristol. He died there in 1742 and is buried in the Mayor's vault in St Marks, Bristol. Hester died in 1704 after childbirth, and is buried at All Saints, Bristol. See 1976 Edn Burke's Irish Family Records - Becher. See also ‘A Guide to Irish Houses’ by M. Bence-Jones, London, 1988 – “SKIBBEREEN cor Creagh. Becher 1820+”.

Mary married second 1739 Colonel Luke Mercer of Creagh, Co Cork. The London Daily Post and General Advertiser of Thursday Sept 27, 1739 records "Last week Captain Mercer, commander of the Thompson Galley, was married to Mrs Beecher, Relict of Col Beecher, who has a jointure of £500 per annum”. It seems that Captain Mercer was a well known and much admired Revenue Officer who was renowned for capturing many smugglers vessels. He commanded The Thompson and then The Bessborough. It would appear that he retired around the end of 1788 and purchased a property called Brenans Town in Dublin. He died in March 1781. Whilst he is shown in Burke's Irish Family Records as Colonel Luke Mercer, all newspaper and book references show him as Captain.

Mary’s uncle Horatio Townsend [104] married Elizabeth Becher who was the younger John Becher’s aunt.

Of the children, who were all by Mary's first husband:

Thomas Becher was born ca 1733 (calculated from age given at his death) and died in Aug 1754 (as Reported in the Cork City Newspaper August 5 1754, “Died last Friday at Creagh, Skibbereen, Thomas Becher aged 22 of a Fever”. According to 'An Officer of the Long Parliament', he was the eldest son & Samuel Townsend [400] of Whitehall was made his guardian upon the death of his father.

John Townsend Becher was born in 1729 and died 22 Nov 1760 at Dunmanway, Cork. He married 17 Feb 1755 Mary (d. 7 Feb 1761), daughter of Rev Morgan O'Donovan JP, of Ballincalla, West Carberry. They had a daughter Mary and a son Henry Becher (4) who was born in 1759 and killed in a shooting accident on his 21st birthday. ‘Gleanings from Old Cork Newspapers’ in the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, 1964, Vol. 69, No. 209, page 58 contains the following item from ‘The Corke Journal’ of 15 April 1756 - “ The lands of Glandarta, 600 acres in the parish of Caheragh, lands in Sherkin including the two Slieves More, Clodagh, Kilmona and Harbour’s Mouth part of estate of John Townsend Beecher to be set to the highest bidder from May 1st. Proposals to owner at his house Anngrove near Midleton, or Francis Townsend his agent at Castletownsend. ”

Michael Becher was born ca 1735 and died Aug 1778 near Bandon. His will was written in 1776 and proved in 1778. He married Catherine daughter of Colonel Savage French (5) on 10 Jan 1767 at St Nicholas, Cork and had issue.

Helena Becher was born before 1739 and died before 1762. She married Edward Mansel Townsend [401] in 1752.

Eliza Becher was born before 1739 and married 28 Oct 1758 Richard Cox, eldest son of Sir Richard Cox (6) at Aughadown Church.

(1) John was born on 6 Apr 1700 in Bristol and christened at St Michaels, Bristol. He died in 1738. The entry for Becher in the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway Connacht and Munster Landed Estates Database records "Burke's ''Irish Family Records'' and Smith both indicate that the Beechers were originally a Kent family. Fane Becher was granted over 12,000 acres in county Cork during the reign of Elizabeth I. Henry Beecher was granted land in West Carbery in 1669 and is recorded as the purchaser of land from Lord Kingston and Sir William Petty. In 1778 Mary daughter of John Townshend Becher of Creagh and Annisgrove, county Cork, married William Wrixon of Cecilstown, county Cork. She succeeded to the estates of her brother Henry Becher of Creagh. Their eldest son William Wrixon of Ballygiblin assumed the name of Becher and was made a baronet in 1831. He married an actress Miss O'Neill and had a number of children. Griffith's Valuation records Sir William Wrixon Beecher holding an estate in the parishes of Castlemagner, Clonfert, Kilmeen, Knocktemple and Subulter, barony of Duhallow, county Cork. Sir Henry Becher, who succeeded his father in 1850, was among the principal lessors in the parishes of Castlehaven, Aghadown, Creagh and Tullagh in the barony of West Carbery, county Cork. Sir William Becher also held land in the parish of Kilvellane, barony of Owney and Arra, county Tipperary. The estate of Sir Henry Wrixon Becher of Ballygiblin amounted to 18,933 acres in county Cork and 358 acres in county Tipperary in the 1870s. Michael A Becher held townlands in the parish of Kilmeen, barony of East Carbery and in the 1870s Michael R. A. Becher of Ballyduvane, Clonakilty owned over 2,000 acres in county Cork. In 1854 lands and mining interests, the property of Edward Baldwin Becher, were offered for sale in the Encumbered Estates Court, and includes a report on the mines of Coolaghmore and Coolaghbeg. In the 1870s the Becher estate in Cork (a combination of the Wrixon and Becher estates) amounted to over 18,000 acres while he also held lands in Tipperary. The estate of the representatives of the late John Beecher amounted to over 1600 acres in the 1870s. At the time of Griffith's Valuation, Edward and George Beecher were among the principal lessors in the parish of Kilcoe while Richard Beecher was the lessor of townlands in the parish of Skull. Eliza Beecher held several townlands in the parish of Kilgarriff, barony of Ibane & Barryroe, at the same time. In October 1851, 17,000 acres, the estate of Richard H. Hedges Beecher, was offered for sale in the Encumbered Estates Court. Lot 1 included the owner's house at Hollybrook. A sale of the remaining lots took place in February 1852 and included the house at Lakelands, leased to Richard O'Donovan Beecher. In April 1858, the house and demesne at Hollybrook were again offered for sale. An extensive family history of both the Becher/Beecher and Wrixon families is given by Grove White and published in the ''Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society'' (1907) under Ballygiblin. The spelling Becher and Beecher are used almost interchangably thoughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries."

(2) The entry for Creagh House in the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway Connacht and Munster Landed Estates Database records "At the time of Griffith's Valuation, Sir H. Becher was in possession of Creagh House, then valued at £25. In 1906 this was owned by Sir John Becher and valued at £30 15s. It is still extant and the well-known gardens are sometimes open to the public."

(3) The entry for Aghadown in the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway Connacht and Munster Landed Estates Database records "At the time of Griffith's Valuation, Aghadown House, owned by William Jago, was unoccupied and valued at £8. Lewis had noted Aghadown as the seat of H. Becher in 1837. [The 25" Ordnance Map shows a second house, also called at Aghadown House, at W049334] The original Aghadown House is shown on Taylor and Skinner's 1783 map as a seat of the Banfield family."

(4) Henry left Creagh to his younger sister Mary Becher, who married 1778 William Wrixon of Ballygiblin, High Sheriff of County Cork 1778 and 1779 and appointed JP of County Cork 21 November 1777.

(5) The entry for French in the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway Connacht and Munster Landed Estates Database records "Marino, county Cork, was the seat of the French family in the 18th century. At the time of Griffith's Valuation Thomas George French of Marino, county Cork, a younger brother of Savage French of Cuskinny, Queenstown, held land in the parishes of Cullen, barony of Duhallow, Donaghmore, Magourney, Carrigrohanebeg, Inishcarra, barony of East Muskerry, Donaghmore, barony of Barretts and Clonmel, barony of Barrymore. He died in 1866. In October 1852, 350 acres in the barony of Barretts, the property of Michael Phillip French was offered for sale in the Encumbered Estates Court. The original lease was between Savage French and Michael French of Rath, county Cork. In the 1870s the representatives of Thomas G. French of Cork owned 1,559 acres in the county and Pasco French of Marino Passage owned 624 acres. Thomas G. French had one son and five daughters and his estate was eventually inherited in 1893 by his grandson Thomas George Stuart of county Tyrone who took the additional name of French."

(6) The entry for Cox (Cork & Kilkenny) in the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway Connacht and Munster Landed Estates Database records "The Cox family baronets of Dunmanway, county Cork, and Castletown Cox, county Kilkenny, held extensive estates in counties Kilkenny, Cork and Tipperary and descend from Sir Richard Cox Lord Chancellor 1703-1707 and Chief Justice 1711-1714. The Cox estates eventually passed to the Villiers Stuart family through the marriage in 1833 of Catherine Cox daughter and eventual heiress of Michael Cox of Castletown, county Kilkenny and William Villiers Stuart. A sale rental dated July 1853 records the former Cox estate as comprised of 12,479 acres in the baronies of West Muskerry, Ibane, Barrymore and East Carbery and 1,826 acres in the baronies of Iffa and Offa East and Slievardagh, county Tipperary plus 6,877 acres in county Kilkenny. In 1810, Townsend noted estates around Dunmanway, the property of Henry Cox, who was then resident in North America. William Arnoppe was granted an estate of almost 3,000 acres at Dunmanway in 1666 which was purchased by the Richard Cox before the end of the 17th century. Martha and Catherine Cox were among the principal lessors in the parish of Fanlobbus, barony of East Carbery, at the time of Griffith's Valuation. In November 1858, they offered almost 7000 acres of the estate, including The Manor House, and the town of Dunmanway, for sale in the Encumbered Estates Court. The sale notice indicates the purchasers of the various lots. They included the Baldwin, Bryan, Becher, Hamilton and Shuldham estates. In October 1873, 1300 acres owned by Katherine Anne Cox, in and around the town of Dunmanway, were offered for sale in the Landed Estates Court. The sale notice indicates the purchasers included the Shuldham, Fuller and Lucas estates. see http://www.leighrayment.com/baronetage/baronetsC5.htm"

Much of the information on the Becher Family has been provided by Jenny Stiles from Australia who is a descendant of this John Becher and Mary through their son Michael.

For other Becher connections see Horatio Townsend [104], Richard Townsend [201], Barbara Townsend [306], Edward Mansel Townsend [401], Samuel Townsend [412] and Anne Townsend [417].