Reilly Family History

Chauncey Hare Townshend

Chauncey Hare Townshend or Townsend was married to Elisa Frances Norcott. Chauncey was a famous poet in his time, and a friend of the author Charles Dickens. In fact Dickens dedicated his novel Great Expectations to Townshend.

Chauncey Hare Townsend was born in London on April 20, 1798 in Godalming, Surrey, London. He was also christened on 16 May 1798 in Godalming, Surrey, London (ref IGI).

Chauncey was the only son of Henry Hare Townsend (a man of considerable property in Tottenham, Godalming, and Norfolk, born 1765 in Downhills, Tottenham, London, died: 06 April 1827 Tottenham, London, Father: James Townsend, Mother: Henrietta Rosa Peregrina du Plessis) and Charlotte Lake (born about 1768 in Edmonton, London, died 13 Nov 1831, father: Sir James Winter Lake of Edmonton, mother: Joyce Crowther). His parents were married 29 December 1789 in Edmonton, London.

Chauncey Hare TownshendHe had a younger sister Charlotte, born: 1800 Godalming, Surrey, England, and christened: 05 Nov 1800 Godalming, Surrey, England (from IGI Parish registers for Godalming, 1582-1948 Church of England. Parish Church of Godalming). She married Mr. Elrington in 1824, in London, England. She died soon after on 03 Nov 1824.

Chauncey Hare Townsend was educated at Eton College (1811–15) and Trinity Hall, Cambridge (BA, 1821; MA, 1824), where he won the Chancellor's English Medal for poetry in 1817, and graduated with an MA. Took holy orders but was early disabled by illness from following this profession, and spent most of the following years at his villa Monloisir, Lausanne, where Charles Dickens and Angela Burdett-Coutts visited him in 1856.

He published several books of poetry and wrote books on other subjects, notably, mesmerism, which he studied and practised and was one of its earliest exponents.

He married Elisa Frances Norcott on 2 May 1826 in Hornsey, London. The marriage ended on 30 August 1843, confirmed by deed of separation on 6 September 1845, with ‘unhappy differences’ cited as the cause. There were no children.

He changed the spelling of his name from Townsend to Townshend in 1828. He adopted the name of Townshend (with an 'h') because he considered himself to be a descendant of the Tounshends of Rainham in Norfolk.

On his death at his residence in Park Lane, London, on February 25, 1868, he bequeathed his paintings and his jewellery collection to the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum), and his books and curiosities to the museum at Wisbeach. He left a trust fund for the furtherance of elementary education in London. Most of his money came from his grandfather, James Townsend, Lord Mayor of London in 1772, and from his wife's (Elisa?) marriage settlement.

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