Marianne Oliver (Minnie) Townshend (5D16)

Date of Birth: 5 Jan 1833
Date of Death: 15 Jul 1910
Generation: 6th
Residence: Bristol, London and Italy
Father: Reverend Chambre Corker Townsend [5D01]
Mother: Oliver, Eliza Wilmot
Spouse:
  1. Townsend, Commander John [622]
Issue: None
See Also: Table VD ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Marianne Oliver Townshend (Minnie)

In the Pamphlet ‘In Memoriam - The Rev Chambre Corker Townsend’ (see the entry [5D01]) Marianne’s mother wrote “The year after the outbreak of cholera, our Darling Minnie was born; a frail flower, and but for the incessant loving care with which we watched over her, we should never have reared her into a fine well-developed woman.”

When her father died in 1852, Marianne was 19 and her mother, maternal grandparents and aunt, Katherine Townshend [5D06], acted as guardians to her and her siblings until they came of age. Under the terms of her father’s will (1) dated 2 September 1846 she became entitled to an equal share of £2,000 devised to all the children, except her half-brother Horace Payne-Townshend [5D12] who inherited the entire Derry estate.

Married 28 April 1857 in Clifton Parish Church. Commander John Townsend [622] (2) was the 3rd son of Horatio Townsend [607]. Their love letters survive (3) and are interesting reading.

Marianne was a very talented pianist and linguist, being competent in French, German and Italian. Delicate in her childhood she suffered from poor health throughout her life, particularly after a most serious illness in 1860, when she and her husband were living at 6 Rodney Place, Clifton, Bristol. In later years, this led to irritability and depression and relationships with her mother became increasingly strained as Marianne’s illness worsened.

Throughout her married life, and particularly in the later years, Marianne and John experienced financial problems on account of falling rents from their Irish properties as a result of rulings by the Land Commissioners and a considerable amount of correspondence about this survives. Following John’s death in 1884, Marianne and her brother-in-law, Aubrey Townsend [621] experienced great difficulty in sorting out John’s estate and this was compounded in 1891 when Aubrey died.

Poorly provided for, throughout the rest of her life Marianne was worried about maintaining her income so that she could “settle down anywhere in a little house". Despite the plethora of extant correspondence on the subject it is not possible to work out exactly what her financial situation was. However, in a letter dated 27 December 1897 to her son Edward Mansel Townsend [630] Marianne wrote that part of her income derived from £50 she received each year from Geraldine Mundy [252] but this was used to clear “Aunt B’s mortgage which, in another year should be paid off”. This money would then revert to Marianne for her own use and this coupled with a legacy from ‘Cousin Elise’ (wife of Samuel Townsend [443]) and some sort of settlement from Judith Townsend [372] would be sufficient for her needs. In her letter she tells Edward not to tell anyone about the money from Judith or Cousin Elise because if Geraldine found out she might stop the £50 allotment. Geraldine at this time was herself probably facing major financial difficulties, having lost Castletownshend in 1897 because she could not meet the mortgage that had been called in. See the entry for at [252].

Marianne suffered a fire at her home in London (Langdon House, St Ann’s Hill, Wandsworth) some time before 1887 following which she left to live at 54 St Alban’s Road, Watford. (She was paid £95 insurance after the fire.) Thereafter she seemed to be constantly on the move and correspondence shows that she lived at 15 different addresses, in the UK, Italy and Switzerland between the time of the fire and her death in 1910. She spent what appears to be a particularly happy four years painting in Italy, between December 1894 and July 1898; much of the time being spent in and around Naples and Capri. Wary of Italians, she left most of her valuables in the care of her sister Alicia Townsend [5D48] and her husband Edward Morgan at Monte Triano ‘being quite afraid to take such things into southern Italy'. The last occasion that Marianne was in Italy would appear to be sometime in 1908 when she wrote to Messrs Hallebore & Trench from Pension Rosada, 43 Via Aurora, Rome, with instructions as to various investments.

Marianne’s grandfather, Major General Oliver died on 11 January 1854. In his will, dated 25 February 1853 (4), he devised his personal estate to his trustees who were to invest the same and pay the interest to his wife, Marianne, during her lifetime and after her death to his daughter Eliza Townshend (Marianne’s mother). After her death the residue was to be divided equally amongst her surviving children share and share alike.

Likewise he devised his real estate in Suffolk and Kerry to his trustees who were to pay the yearly rents to his wife during her lifetime and after her death to Eliza. After her death when the children came of age, or if the daughters married before then, they were to receive their share of the real estate or the rents thereof, or if the real estate was sold they were to receive their share of the principal or the interest of the proceeds.

Marianne’s mother died on 17 August 1906 and thus her share (£3,384) of the Oliver estate passed to the trustees of her marriage settlement - Rev Horace Sterling Gahan (son of Katherine Townsend [638]) and JB Somerville.

Marianne spent the last years of her life with her son Edward Mansel Townsend [630] and she is buried in the churchyard at St Mapley's Church, Llanvapley (5), where he was the Rector. The London Gazette 28438 of 18 November 1910 records that Marianne was "late of Carrick House, Tunbridge Wells, in the county of Kent"

(1) Derry Papers 5D01/6. Will of Chambre Corker Townsend dated 2 September 1846 with codicil dated 5 April 1851. Probate 9 Sep 1852.

(2) John was born on 10 March 1815 and died on 11 February 1884.

(3) Llanvapley Papers.

(4) Derry Papers OL/8, 8A, 8B, 9, 9A. The wills of Major General Oliver and his wife, Marianne, and the disposal of their estates.

(5) Click here to see an image of her headstone.