Cornelius Townsend (139)

Date of Birth: ca1745
Date of Death: dsp 1817 (1)
Generation: 5th
Residence: Clogheen & Bridgemount, (2) Macroom
Father: Horatio Townsend [130]
Mother: Richards, Anne
Spouse:
  1. Tanner, Mary
Issue: None
See Also: Table I ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Cornelius Townsend

Married 26 April 1770. Mary Tanner was the daughter of Jonathon Tanner of Bandon, Co Cork.

Cornelius inherited Bridgemount (Cahirkegan) from his father in 1764 and the estates at Clogheen and Cashall from his uncle, Cornelius Townsend [128] when he died in 1756.

Alumni Trinity College Dublin from Co Cork and Kerry 1593-1860 in Dr Casey's Collection records that Cornelius was taught by Mr Foley before he entered Trinity College, Dublin, on 11 May 1762 as a fellow commoner paying double fees and enjoying several privileges.

According to 'An Officer of the Long Parliament', he was forced to sell Bridgemount (3) having failed in his attempts at agricultural improvement. The book further states that Arthur Young in his 'Tour in Ireland 1776 - 1779' mentions that about 1778 Cornelius Townsend "fixed two Sussex farmers to improve a stony mountain. These men, Messrs Crampe and Johnson, bought very fine horses and brought over all their implements at great expense. Mr Townsend built the most handsome houses, barns etc for them. The land was so stony that £100 was spent in clearing one field of eight acres. The men were ruined and Mr Townsend suffered considerably". No trace of this quotation can be found in the 'A Tour in Ireland', by Arthur Young and edited by Henry Morley.

Horatio Townsend [5D00] referred to this incident in his book 'Statistical Survey of the County of Cork' (4). On page 682 he wrote - "In another part of the district under consideration occurred also an instance of the unfortunate result of injudicious enterprise. Cornelius Townsend, Esq. of Bridgmount, (a seat situated in a wild and rugged country between Macroom and Millstreet) several years since, induced two Sussex farmers (Cramp and Johnson) to leave their native country, and settle upon a part of his estate in that uncultivated and hardly cultivable region. Mr. Townsend had visited England at an early age, and, struck with the superior excellence of its agriculture, felt a laudable desire of introducing a similar style into his own country. But the difference of circumstances was too striking to escape any person of cool reflection. Youth and inexperience may excuse, but cannot justify transplantation so preposterous as that from the fields of Sussex to the wilds of Muskerry. Attempts, however, were made to assimilate the situations. Houses and barns, wholly unfit for the place, were erected at great expense. The formidable obstructions of rock and bog were endeavoured to be removed at an expense exceeding the fee simple of the ground, which, after all, was a miserable subject for farming operation. Market, as well as manure, was remote and inconvenient, and the roads of the country wholly unfit for the heavy draught of carts and waggons. The result was what might have been expected—ruin to the farmers, and very serious injury to the landlord."

The Registry of Deeds Index Project Ireland records three entries relating to Cornelius. Memorial 281042 dated 9 August 1790 and Memorial 277186 dated 9 September 1790 both record 'Cornelius Townsend of Droumilly'(wherever that may be) as Party 1 in the lease of part of the lands at Cashall to Richard and William Wolfe (Party 2). Memorial 457758 dated 14 August 1813 does not specify where Cornelius was living. The Wolfe family also features in a deed involving Cornelius' uncle, Cornelius Townsend [128] - Memorial Deed 124501 dated 7 January 1752.

Cornelius was admitted a Freeman of the City of Cork on 11 November 1783. 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.

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 1776 records the “Cornelius Townsend of Bridgemount Esq” in the list of subscribers.

The list of Freemen and Freeholders who voted in the election of 13 August 1783 for two members to sit in Parliament for the City of Cork shows that Edward Mansel Townsend [401] and Cornelius voted for Augustus Warren and John Bagwell; Richard Boyle Townsend [219], Richard Townsend [213] (or possibly [6A00]) and Rev Horatio Townsend [5D00] all voted for John Hely Hutchinson and John Bagwell. John Hely Hutchinson and Richard Longfield were duly elected.

An entry in the Church of Ireland Parish Records Ross Cathedral 1690–1823 records on page 53 under the heading 'Burials' - "1807 August 1st Mary Townsend of Benduff." This might refer to Cornelius' wife, Mary

(1) Cornelius died at Monmouth.

(2) Ordnance survey of Ireland. Discovery Series. 1:50,000. Map sheet 79, grid reference W294763.

(3) It appears that Bridgemount stayed in the family. At the trial of the Clondrohid Whiteboys (Scroll down to 'The Whiteboys in Muskerry') in 1822 a 'Bridgemount Townsend' testified in support of Thomas Goggin at the infamous trial of the that same year. - 'Townsend, a member of the Bridgemount family, stated that he had known “Goggin’s family these thirty years.” They were, he added, “tenants to his father and brother for many years, they held grounds from them at a very high rate and paid with the utmost punctuality to the very farthing they had contracted for. The man at the bar was a most correct and proper man – industrious and honest.” However, these words on his behalf, were to prove fruitless, as along with nine others he was found guilty and sentenced to death.' Further evidence can be found in the announcement of Horatio Townsend's [623] death in the Cork Constitution in June 1864. "On the 15th inst. in Charlemount Street, Dublin, of apoplexy, in the 62nd. year of his age, Horatio Townsend Esq. barrister-at-law, second son of the late Horatio Townsend Esq. formerly of Bridgemount, County of Cork". Thus it is reasonable to postulate that Bridgemount was bought by Edward Synge Townsend [601] who married Cornelius' sister in 1766. The last mention of Bridgemount occurs in August 1882 when John Townsend [622] wrote to his son Edward Mansel Townsend [630] about visiting the property.

(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.

'An Officer of the Long Parliament' Ch VIII p. 212-13 refers.