Janet Gray Townshend (5D46)

Date of Birth: May 1896
Date of Death: 1970
Generation: 8th
Residence: Haynes, Bedfordshire
Father: George Chambre Wilmot Townshend [5D33]
Mother: Gray, Eliza Susan (Bessie)
Spouse: Unmarried
Issue: None
See Also: Table VD ; Scrapbook ; Lineage ; Ancestors' Tree ; Descendents' Tree

Notes for Janet Gray Townshend

Janet passionately believed that beautiful surroundings have a profound effect upon growing children and this belief dominated her whole working life. She started her teaching career at St Felix School, Southwold. In 1919 she taught mathematics briefly at Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk. where in 1911 her cousin John Chambre Miller (1) was appointed the first housemaster of Farfield House, (which in 2011 celebrated its centenary).

In April 1929 Janet bought Haynes Park, Bedfordshire (2) for £12,000, at which time she was living in Paulton Square, Chelsea, in a property which changed hands for £3.7 million in February 2009. In partnership with Margery Chapman, she founded Hawnes School in the property. She paid a 10% deposit plus £639 in expenses related to the purchase, foundation of the school and formation of Hawnes School (Ampthill) Limited – a company set up to run the school. A month after the acquiring the property the company took over the purchase agreement and repaid Janet’s expenditure.

The initial plan was for a school of no more than 200 girls, organised in houses. It opened in September 1929 with 23 pupils and an annual fee of £165. The school expanded rapidly and by the summer of 1938 there were 100 pupils. The school accounts show a profit every year from the start, most of which was ploughed back into running the school, although shareholders received an annual dividend of 3-5% per share.

Janet was known universally as JT by Hawnes pupils and Margery Chapman was known as Chappie. Janet retired in 1961 and a Memorial Service was held for her in St James's Church, Piccadilly on 23 September 1970 and at St Mary's, Haynes Park, on 3 October that same year. Her estate was valued at £56,377.

An article about Janet entitled, "Filling Some Gaps", written by Ann Swallow in the Old Hagensian Newsletter 2011 is reproduced in Janet's 'Scrapbook'.

Janet's great aunt by marriage, Emily Townshend wife of Chambre Corker Townshend [5D14], was on the Hawnes School Council from its inception until her death in 1934.

(1) The son of Caroline Charlotte Townshend [5D10] and her husband Rev Thomas Miller, Fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge. The London Gazette records that he was commissioned into 3rd Volunteer Battalion, The Norfolk Regiment on 21 December 1901 and was transferred in July 1909 from the 5th Battalion, The Norfolk Regiment, to be Captain in the Gresham School Contingent, with seniority as from the 24 January 1903.

(2) The house was formerly the home of the Carteret Family.