Townshend History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Townshend surname lived among the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. The name comes from when they lived on the outskirts of a village. The surname Townshend literally refers to a dweller "at the town's end." The name belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees.

Early Origins of the Townshend family

The surname Townshend was first found in Norfolk, at Snoring Magna (Great Snoring) where one of the first records of the name was found there in 1377. "In 1398, John Townshend settled at Rainham, which according to some accounts accrued to them by the heiress of Havile. " [1]

Another source confirms this noble family's status. "In 1398, the ancestor of the Marquis Townshend was at Rainham, the present seat of the family." [2]

Actually the first record of the name was listed before the two aforementioned worthy sources. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 lists: Geoffrey de le Tuneshende in Norfolk; Henry atte Tunesende in Oxfordshire; and Alice atte Tunishende in Buckinghamshire. Years later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Ricardus atte ye Thounhende; and Johannes atte Tonehende. [3]

Raynham Hall is a country house in Norfolk, England. Completed shortly after the death of Sir Roger Townsend's death in 1637, it has been the seat of the Townshend family for nearly 400 years. The Hall is reported to be haunted, and was the scene of the famous ghost photo of the Brown Lady descending the staircase.

Early History of the Townshend family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Townshend research. Another 83 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1350, 1390, 1430, 1493, 1486, 1568, 1603, 1603, 1596, 1637, 1630, 1687, 1682, 1608, 1668, 1630, 1618, 1692, 1674, 1738, 1619 and are included under the topic Early Townshend History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Townshend Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Townshend include Townsend, Townshend and others.

Early Notables of the Townshend family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir Roger Townshend (ca. 1430-1493), who was knighted by Henry VII in 1486; Sir John Townshend (c.1568-1603), of Raynham Hall in Norfolk, an English soldier and Member of Parliament, killed in a duel with Sir Matthew Browne in August 1603; Sir Roger Townshend, 1st Baronet (c.1596-1637), an English landowner and politician; Horatio Townshend (1630-1687), who was Created Viscount...
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Townshend Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Townshend family to Ireland

Some of the Townshend family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Townshend migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Townshend Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Townshend, who settled in Virginia in 1620
  • Richard Townshend, who landed in Virginia in 1620 [4]
  • Frances Townshend, who landed in Virginia in 1640 [4]
  • Mary Townshend, who arrived in Virginia in 1675 [4]

New Zealand Townshend migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Townshend Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Chancy Hy Townshend, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840

Contemporary Notables of the name Townshend (post 1700) +

  • Richard Wellington Townshend (1840-1889), American Democrat politician, U.S. Representative from Illinois 19th District, 1877-89 [5]
  • Norton Strange Townshend (1815-1895), American Democrat politician, Member of Ohio State Legislature; U.S. Representative from Ohio 21st District, 1851-53 [5]
  • Milton P. Townshend, American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Galt, 1897 [5]
  • Micah Townshend, American politician, Secretary of State of Vermont, 1781-88 [5]
  • Hannah D. Townshend, American Republican politician, Member of Connecticut Republican State Central Committee, 1927 [5]
  • Field Marshal George Townshend (1724-1807), 1st Marquess Townshend, English soldier
  • Peter Dennis Blandford "Pete" Townshend (b. 1945), English rock musician and composer for the rock group The Who, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Who in 1990
  • Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend (1861-1924), English soldier
  • Charles Townshend (1725-1767), English statesman
  • Charles George Townshend (b. 1945), 8th Marquess Townshend, British peer
  • ... (Another 6 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Miss Tiria Ferrers Townshend (1897-1914), New Zealander First Class Passenger from Auckland, New Zealand who survived the sinking on the Empress of Ireland [6]
Halifax Explosion
  • Mrs. Florence Mosher  Townshend (1892-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [7]

  1. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 26) . Retrieved from
  6. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from
  7. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from on Facebook
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