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Townshend family papers
mssTD 1-2430  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administration Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Content
  • Related material in the Huntington Library includes:
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Townshend family papers
    Dates: 1521-1956
    Bulk Dates: 1601-1915
    Collection Number: mssTD 1-2430
    Creator: Townshend (Family : Frognal, Kent, England)
    Extent: 6,849 items, plus ephemera
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
    The Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2203
    Fax: (626) 449-5720
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The Townshend Family papers is a collection of correspondence, family and government documents, literary manuscripts, volumes, diaries, deeds and ephemera spanning the 16th to 20th centuries.
    Language of Material: The records are in English with some French, German, and Latin.

    Administration Information


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please go to following web site  .

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Townshend family papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased from H.S. Mott, June 20, 1969: 14 letters addressed to George, 1st Marquis Townshend, 1768-1770.
    Transferred from the Art Gallery, March 1985 [in Art Gallery since 1984]: 1 letter by George, 1st Marquis Townshend, 1797, Oct. 2.
    Purchased June 10, 1999, via Maggs from Christie’s sale, Lot 188: Townshend Family Papers.
    Purchased June 7, 2000, via Maggs from Christie’s sale, Lot 57: Selwyn Addenda.
    Purchased September 14, 2000, from Maggs: Whitchurch Addenda.

    Biographical Note

    The Townshend family lived at Frognal, Chislehurst, Kent and were a junior branch of the Townshend family of Raynham, Norfolk. The family held the titles of Baron Sydney of Chislehurst, Viscount Sydney of St Leonards, and Earl Sydney of Scadbury before becoming extinct in 1890 upon the death of John Robert Townshend, 1st Earl Sydney.
    A detailed Townshend family tree is available; please contact reference@huntington.org to obtain a copy.


    Organized in the following manner: Correspondence (Boxes 1-49); Categories: Estate (Boxes 50-61), Financial (Boxes 62-66), Government (Boxes 67-70), Legal (Boxes 71-72), Literature (Boxes 73-74), Military (Boxes 75-76), Personal and Family (Boxes 77-87), Special Subjects (Boxes 88-89), Ephemera (Boxes 90-91), Deeds (Boxes 92-129); arranged alphabetically and chronologically.

    Scope and Content

    The papers consist of the following:
    1. Correspondence (Boxes 1-49, 1619-1914, call numbers TD 1-2430) is arranged chronologically. This series includes family letters of both branches of the Townshend family; the letters are between parents/grandparents and children, siblings, cousins and personal friends. The series includes business letters related to their lands in Chislehurst, Kent, Ludgershall, Wilts., and Whitchurch, Hants. There are also letters related to the Government and the various public offices held by the family.
    Significant correspondents include George III, George IV, William IV and Victoria, as well as many members of the Royal family. Political correspondents include 1st Earl of Chatham, W.E. Gladstone, George Grenville, Lord Palmerston, Sir Robert Peel, Spencer Perceval, William Pitt, the Duke of Wellington, and John Wilkes.
    Important note: although this material includes the years 1769-1865 there is only one letter which refers slightly to the American Revolutionary War and no letters or other material deal with the American Civil War.
    2. Categories (Boxes 50-129, with box and folder numbers) are arranged alphabetically and chronologically based on material type. This series includes:
    Estate (Boxes 50-61, 1659-1846): includes material related to family lands in Frognal, Ludgershall, and Whitchurch; correspondence, reports, titles, land papers, rent rolls, taxes and maps.
    Financial (Boxes 62-66, 1550-1891): includes family accounts, annuities, bills, bonds, receipts; also material related to the town of Whitchurch.
    Government (Boxes 67-70, 1715-1890): includes material dealing with The Exchequer, the Palace and Parliament. John Robert Townshend, 3rd Viscount Sydney, held various offices in the Royal household, including Lord Chamberlain, the material related to his office include Season Kalendars, Rules and Procedures and Ceremonials.
    “Lord Chamberlain / Private” Leather-bound box used by Sydney for official correspondence and papers; with some damage and a loose handle. Curator approval must be obtained before paging.
    Legal (Boxes 71-72, 1636-1886): includes family accounts, briefs, court opinions, Chancery, Indentures and material related to Chislehurst, Ludgershall and Whitchurch.
    Literature (Boxes 73-74, approx. 1690-1901): includes epitaphs, poems, prayers, songs, travel accounts and drawings.
    Military (Boxes 75-76, 1725-1858): includes appointments, reports, correspondence, Sir Horatio George Powys Townshend, and Yeoman of the Guard.
    Personal and Family (Boxes 77-87, 1513/14-1915): includes wills, marriage settlements, genealogy, inventories and lists, memorandum books, account books, diaries, London dinner books and auction catalogues.
    Special Subjects (Boxes 88-89, 1707-1901): includes Autograph Collection of Franks, Sydney Present Fund, Lord Sydney Monument and Elections and Voting.
    Ephemera (Boxes 90-91, 1791-1956): includes printed material, autograph notes about the collection, portfolio covers, and bound volumes.
    Deeds (Boxes 92-129, 1521-1818): includes a few land deeds related to Kent; the majority are land deeds related to Whitchurch: including indentures, feoffments, leases and releases and uses of fines. These deeds predate the time when the Townshend family had any interest in the town of Whitchurch so it is important to note the deeds follow the land and not the family.

    Related material in the Huntington Library includes:

    • Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney papers. ST 17 Vol. 2 is a letterbook of George Grenville, 1st Marquis of Buckingham, as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; the letterbook includes a significant number of letters (1782-1783) to Thomas Townshend, Viscount Sydney, 1733-1800.


    Cataloger's Notes
    1. The material in this collection was acquired through purchase and transfer from 1969 to 2000; as it is more than likely all the material originated with the Townshend family, or their descendants, the decision was made to merge all the accessions together and catalog the material as the Townshend Family Papers.Information about the various acquisitions, including inventories, is available in the Townshend Family Papers Information File.
    2. The autograph notes of Robert Marsham-Townshend appear on material throughout the collection. Unless substantive, it was decided not to catalog these autograph notes on the folders on in the Finding Aid.

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Adelaide, Queen, consort of William IV, King of Great Britain, 1792-1849
    Anglesey, Charlotte Paget, Marchioness of, 1781-1853
    Anglesey, Henry William Paget, Marquis of, 1768-1854
    Biddulph, Thomas Myddelton, Sir, 1809-1878
    Bowlby, Mary Powys, -1813
    Conyngham, Francis Nathaniel Conyngham, Marquess, 1797-1869
    Cornwallis, Charles Cornwallis, Marquis, 1738-1805
    Cust, Peregrine Francis, 1791-1873
    Cust, Sophia Mary, -1852
    Dynevor, Frances Rice, Lady, 1772-1854
    Dynevor, George Talbot Rice, Baron, 1765-1852
    Ely, Jane Loftus, Marchioness of, 1821-1890
    Eugénie, Empress, consort of Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, 1829-1920
    George III, King of Great Britain, 1738-1820
    George IV, King of Great Britain, 1762-1830
    Gladstone, W.E. (William Ewart), 1809-1898
    Greville, Henry William, 1801-1872
    Leitrim, Elizabeth Clements, Countess of, -1817
    Leitrim, Robert Clements, Earl of, 1732-1804
    Louis Napoléon, Prince Impérial of the French, 1856-1879
    Marsham-Townshend, Robert
    Midleton, Charles Brodrick, Viscount, 1791-1863
    Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, 1808-1873
    Palmerston, Henry John Temple, Viscount, 1784-1865
    Peel, Robert, 1788-1850
    Perceval, Spencer, 1762-1812
    Pitt, William, 1759-1806
    Pitt, William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, 1708-1778
    Ponsonby, Henry Frederick, Sir, 1825-1895
    Romney, Charles Marsham, Earl of, 1777-1845
    Romney, Mary Elizabeth Marsham, Countess of, 1794-1847
    Selwyn, Mary, 1690-1777
    Selwyn, George Augustus, 1719-1791
    Selwyn, John, 1688-1751
    Sydney, Caroline Elizabeth Townshend, Viscountess, -1805
    Sydney, Elizabeth Townshend, Viscountess, 1736-1826
    Sydney, Emily Caroline Townshend, Viscountess, 1810-1893
    Sydney, John Robert Townshend, Viscount, 1805-1890
    Sydney, John Thomas Townshend, Viscount, 1764-1831
    Sydney, Thomas Townshend, Viscount, 1733-1800
    Townshend, Albinia, -1739
    Townshend, Anne, 1573-1622
    Townshend, Charles Townshend, Viscount, 1674-1738
    Townshend, Charles Townshend, Viscount, 1700-1764
    Townshend, Charles, -1799
    Townshend, George Townshend, Marquis, 1724-1807
    Townshend, George Townshend, Marquess, 1753-1811
    Townshend, Georgiana, 1761-1835
    Townshend, Henry, 1736-1762
    Townshend, Horatio George Powys, Sir, 1780-1843
    Townshend, Mary, -1821
    Townshend, Thomas, 1701-1780
    Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, 1819-1901
    Warner, Ferdinando, 1703-1768
    Wellesley, Gerald Valerian, 1809-1882
    Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, Duke of, 1769-1852
    Wilkes, John, 1725-1797
    William IV, King of Great Britain, 1765-1837

    Corporate Names

    East India Company
    Great Britain. Lord Chamberlain's Office


    Anglo-French War, 1793-1802
    Anglo-Spanish War, 1739-1748
    Catholic emancipation
    Children –- Great Britain -– History
    Education -- Great Britain -- History
    Elections -- Great Britain -- History
    Families –- Great Britain -- History -– 17th century
    Families –- Great Britain -- History -– 18th century
    Families –- Great Britain -- History -– 19th century
    Fashion -- Great Britain -- History -– 18th century
    Fashion -- Great Britain -- History -– 19th century
    Grand tours (Education)
    Medicine -- Great Britain-- History
    Napoleonic Wars, 1800-1815
    Pregnancy -- Great Britain-- History
    Seven Years' War, 1756-1763
    Sick -- Great Britain -- History
    Smallpox -- Great Britain -- History
    Voting -- Great Britain -- History
    Waterloo, Battle of, Waterloo, Belgium, 1815

    Geographic Areas

    Great Britain -– Church History -– 19th century
    Great Britain -– Politics and government -– 17th century
    Great Britain -– Politics and government -– 18th century
    Great Britain -– Politics and government -– 19th century
    Great Britain -– Social life and customs -– 18th century
    Great Britain -– Social life and customs -– 19th century


    Business letters -– Great Britain -– 17th century
    Business letters -– Great Britain -– 18th century
    Business letters -– Great Britain -– 19th century
    Deeds -- Great Britain -- 16th century
    Deeds -- Great Britain -- 17th century
    Deeds -- Great Britain -- 18th century
    Deeds -- Great Britain -- 19th century
    Diaries -- Great Britain -- 18th century
    Diaries -- Great Britain -- 19th century
    Drawings -- Great Britain -- 18th century
    Drawings -- Great Britain -- 19th century
    Family papers -- Great Britain -- 17th century
    Family papers -- Great Britain -- 18th century
    Family papers -- Great Britain -- 19th century
    Letters (correspondence) -- Great Britain -- 17th century
    Letters (correspondence) -- Great Britain -- 18th century
    Letters (correspondence) -- Great Britain -- 19th century
    Manuscripts -- Great Britain -- 18th century
    Manuscripts -- Great Britain -- 19th century
    Poems -- Great Britain -- 18th century
    Poems -- Great Britain -- 18th century