Richard Townsend (201)

Date of Birth: 18 Jul 1684
Date of Death: Nov 1742
Generation: 3rd
Residence: Castletownshend
Father: Colonel Bryan Townsend [200]
Mother: Synge, Mary
Spouse:
  1. Synge, Mary
  2. Becher, Elizabeth
Issue:
    • Samuel [211]
    • Maria Margaretta [212]
    • Colonel Richard [213]
    • John [214]
    • Captain Henry [215]
    • Elizabeth [216]
    • Harriet [217]
    • Helena [218]
See Also: Table II ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Richard Townsend JP (Richard Townesend)

Richard's date of birth is taken from an entry - in contemporary writing - on the fly leaf of a copy of ‘The Christian Pattern or Imitation of Jesus Christ' - London 1707.

Under the heading 'Townesend', page 127 of Gillman's 'Index to the Marriage Licence Bonds of the Diocese of Cork and Ross' records a Marriage Bond dated 1706 with Mary Synge. Mary was the daughter of the Very Rev Samuel Synge,(1) Dean of Kildare whose sister married Richard's father - thus Mary was Richard's cousin. Married 2nd (but not shown in 'Gillman's Index') Elizabeth Becher (2) who was the only daughter of Henry Becher (3) of Aghadown,(4) Skibbereen, Co Cork and a niece of Elizabeth Becher who married Richard’s uncle Horatio Townsend [104]. See Burke's Irish Landed Gentry 1912 - Becher and Synge.

Sadly very little information about Richard is to be found in 'An Officer of the Long Parliament' or elsewhere.

In 1896 Dorothea Townshend, the wife of Richard Baxter Townshend [5D15], wrote six articles entitled ‘Notes on the Council Book of Clonakilty’ for inclusion in the ‘Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society’ that year. (5) Thirteen members of the family were elected to serve on the council between 1686, when Colonel Richard Towensend [100] was elected Sovereign (Portreeve) and 1802 when the Rev Horatio Townsend [5D00] was the last Sovereign; of these, seven served as Sovereign. The Council met on average about four times each year with St James’ Day on 25 July and St Luke’s Day on 28 October as regular fixtures. There is a gap in the records between February 1730 and 1802 though it is recorded that Philip Townsend [500] was Sovereign in 1764 and 1765.

Richard, and his cousin John FitzCornelius Townsend [122] were elected Freemen of the borough on 17 October 1715. (6) Five years later Richard was sworn a ‘Free Burgess’ on 17 February 1720 (7) and elected Sovereign of the Borough for one year on 18 October 1721. (8) He attended no meetings until his election as Sovereign and thereafter his attendance was erratic. His brothers John Townsend [300], Samuel Townsend [400] & Philip Townsend [500] and his nephews Francis Townsend [125], the Rev Butler Townsend [126], Cornelius Townsend [128] & Horatio Townsend [130] were all freemen of the Borough.

Richard was appointed a JP in 1715 and page 317 of Francis G Tuckey's "Tuckey's Cork Remembrancer" records that he was elected High Sheriff of Co Cork in 1726. He inherited Castletownshend in 1727 on the death of his father.

An article entitled 'Militia Commissions Co Cork 1727 - 1756' in the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archeological Society Part 1 Volume XXXII No 135 of January 1917 shows that Richard was appointed a Colonel of Dragoons on 11 January 1727 vice Michael Becher.

His will was proved on 11 November 1742 and, as he died before his son Richard Townsend [213] had come of age, he left his wife Elizabeth as the sole legatee and guardian of the children. If she were to die before young Richard came of age then his brothers Samuel Townsend [400], Philip Townsend [500] and Horatio Townsend [600] were appointed guardians. Elizabeth died the following year and under the terms of her will her son Richard inherited the entire Castletownshend estate, John inherited the lands of North and South Aghills (Shepperton), Drishane and Farrendagh, East and West Myross and Glannafoyne (near Loch Ine) and Henry inherited the lands of Dunbeacon, Ardra and Ballintona.

Richard was godfather to Horatio Townsend [5D00].

(1) The entry for Synge (Lislee) in the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway Connacht and Munster Landed Estates Database records "Sir Edward Synge was the owner of over 1000 acres in county Cork in the 1870s. He was the lessor of property in the parish of Lislee, barony of Ibane & Barryroe, at the time of Griffith's Valuation. This family was originally from England and came to Ireland in the early 17th century. A number of family members were Protestant clergymen, two became bishops. Robert Synge was created a baronet in 1801. John Millington Synge, the playwright, was connected to this family. The seat of this family is recorded as Lislee Court, Bandon."

(2) Elizabeth's will is dated 11 September 1743 and she died some time later that same year.

(3) 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."

(4) 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."

(5) They can be read in the Journal at pages 79-84, 129-135, 172-177, 22-224, 270-273 and 320-322. Dorothea’s interpretation of the election of individuals differs from that in these records, particularly in references to “John Townsend”. Since 1896 evidence has come to light that makes identification of him more plausible and this is explained in the records for John FitzCornelius Townsend [122] and John Townsend [300].

(6) The entry in the Council Book reads - "At a court held for said borrough on Monday, the 17th of October, 1715, Mr. Percy Freke, Mr William Snowe, John Young junr, John Townesend, Richard Townesend, Henry Rice, Robt Spiller, and Ralph Fuller, were sworne freemen of this corporation before Joseph Jervois, esqr Sovereign. Signed by order, Saml Birde."

(7) The entry in the Council Book reads - "At a court held for the said Borough on Wednesday 17 February 1720 Richard Townesend Esq was sworn a free burgess in the room of William Wade Esq, deceased, by the undernamed suffrain and burgesses. At the same court Mr Cornelius Townesend, Adam Clarke and Daniel Carty, attorney, were sworn freemen of the same. John Townesend, suffrain.”

(8) The entry in the Council Book reads - "At a court held for the said Borough on Wednesday, the 18th day of October 1721, being St Luke's Day, Richard Townesend Esq, pursuant to the nomination and appointment of the Hon Henry Lord Baron of Carleton, lord of the soyle, was sworn suffrain for the ensuing year by the undernamed suffrain and burgesses."

'An Officer of the Long Parliament]' Ch VII p. 150-51 and 'Pooles of Mayfield' p. 237 refer.

For other Becher connections see Horatio Townsend [104], Mary Townsend [121], Barbara Townsend [306], Edward Mansel Townsend [401], Samuel Townsend [412] and Anne Townsend [417].

Much of the information on the Becher Family has been provided by Jenny Stiles from Australia who is a descendant of John Becher (b. 6 Apr 1700 d. 1738) of Creagh and Mary Townsend [121] through their son Michael (b. ca 1735 d. Aug 1778).