Selected images and extracts from Lewis H Hughes' book (1998);


Lewis H Hughes is reachable through
his daughter, Cathy (Hughes) Rogers -
and nephew, Richard Townshend -

Hem House, Rosset, Denbigshire
..Through this marriage (to Anne Spencer) Sir Robert Townshend came into possession of a brick mansion, Hem House, which stands within a mile or two of Trevallyn House. Palmer notes that ‘Hem’ relates to a border, a hem - and he adds that Robert’s ownership of it commenced in 1661. Following this acquisition Robert styled himself as ‘Knight of the Manor of Hem’. (See photo, taken by Susan’s cousin Fiona Heaven in 1991.) It is mere coincidence, but the picturesque mill on the Alyn river in Rossett (photo - by Susan, 1992) carries on its gable the date 1661. I think a short historic note on Hem House will interest the reader, particularly since the ancient structure still stands, and is in use. Palmer suggests it may be very old, belonging to the 16th Century. None of the Townshends appear to have lived in it. An historical record by one John Pate (courtesy of Colin Jones, Gresford) notes that in 1675 he “moved to this very substantial Hem House Manor” - presumably leasing it from Robert T....
....the County of Kent. There it was, till the 1950’s, in the possession of Margaret, widow of John Sidney Townshend. It was finally auctioned by a London firm, by arrangements with Margaret’s son-in-law, Geoffrey Ledger. The sale notice connects the interior hand-painted scenes to the Reubens school, which the celebrated painter operated from approximately 1620 to his death in 1640. As to the sale itself, I have no information on the price it brought, nor the name of the present owner....

...A final but significant historical note involving Sir Robert is what his descendants have for generations called ‘the King Charles cabinet’. This magnificent antique stood in the Townshend family homes from the latter 1600’s onward, was relocated to Charlton Kings, and ultimately to

....This photo is a painting on parchment sent to me by Cilla - which she found amongst some historical Townshend memorabilia. Being better informed on heraldic art than I am, she defined the deer as a ‘stag passant retardant naturel’. My wife and I dug out our Oxford dictionary, and were able to translate Cillas’s stag into one that is “looking natural, walking slowly with right forepaw raised, and head turned to one side”. Cilla also let us know that the green tree is a Royal Oak. I found that this heraldic term relates to the 1651 battle of Worchester, from which King Charles escaped with his life by hiding in an oak tree. In the years following, the significance of this ‘royal oak’ was honored by the wearing of a sprig of oak each May 29th from 1660 onward. It thus commemorated the Restoration of the Monarchy. The clusters surrounding the shield continue the oak theme. I feel sure that the painting must have had some significance in Sir Robert’s life. In Fairbain’s ‘British Crests’ I found very few which included a stag, or an oak tree. The Townshend Coat of Arms, clearly featuring a stag , and the great importance of May 29, 1660 to the fortunes of Sir Robert, convince me that the parchment painting is very old, and had a direct connection to him. Perhaps? - some initial ideas about designing his Coat of Arms “with a difference” from the Raynham Townshends?....

picture at age 8 - 1775

Tree of Rings entry: “of Hem House aforesaid, Esquire, eldest surviving son, an Officer in 2nd Reg’t. of Dragoon Guards. b.1767, d.1826. The family history has quite a number of John Townshends, but the one we are now meeting has, in several aspects, a unique story to tell. To avoid confusion with the other John Townshends, I’ll refer to him informally by his initials J.S.T. One point of interest is that his is the first occasion in the Townshend pedigree where the oldest son has been given 2 Christian names. But why a Slavic name in the middle position? My wife’s cousin John Bowers advised us that the family’s belief is that J.S.T.’s Godfather was the then King of Poland. When I later consulted a history book, I was heartened to note that in 1767, the year of J.S.T.’s birth, Poland had a King named Stanislaus II (reigned 1764-1795). Is it possible, I mused, that the boy’s father John, an Army Officer with a home in Chester, and a wife expecting a child, may have had occasion to meet this King - in Poland or England? Further, is it possible that, in toasting each other’s health, John graciously accepted the proposal by the King to become the child’s Godfather, and to give the child (if a son) the name Stanislaus? Well, previously the King had been Poland’s Ambassador to Russia, which would also require travels to other key countries of Europe, such as England. The post did allow him to become a ‘warm’ friend of Catherine the Great, who was influential in making him King of Poland - ‘to restore Polish liberty’ she had said. In 1766 (the year prior to J.S.T.’s birth) Poland’s ruling Catholics rejected concessions to Protestants, which gave Russia and Prussia an excuse to intervene. England got involved on Poland’s behalf - that would indicate that some serious travelling was in process between England and Poland. I concluded that the traditional family explanation of where our hero got his middle name was fully supportable.

When the boy was only 11 his father died. This would indicate that, as now the only son, John would be called on to do his growing up with uncommon speed.

1790 he married Dorothy Gladwin, of Ipswich, County Suffolk. They settled in the Townshend roots of Denbighshire, and in the course of time, this union would bring forth 11 children. Living in the Parish of Gresford, the Townshends were associated with the Gresford Parish Church, built over 500 years ago, and one of the most beautiful churches in all of Wales. It has, for well over 100 years, been blessed with a remarkable peal of bells. In 1790 a large marble tablet was placed on the south wall; it can be safely judged that this memorial was initiated by J.S.T. The wording (parallelling the content of the Tree of Rings), is as follows:

“Sacred to the memory of Sir Robert Townshend, Knight, and Anne his wife, daughter of William Lord Spencer, father of Henry, 1st Earl of Sunderland -- of Anthony Townshend their only son -- of John, the only son of Anthony, by Mary his wife, daughter of Sir John Dugdale, Knt., of Coventry -- of Frances, 2nd wife of John, daughter and heir of Nathaniel Lee Esq. of Darnhall in County of Chester -- of John their son and Anne his wife, daughter and co-heir of Henry Bennett Esq. of Moston in County of Chester -- and of their daughter Elizabeth -- of Frances, daughter of the above John and Frances Townshend -- of Susannah Townshend, youngest daughter of the above John and Frances Townshend.”....

Trevallyn House in Rossett is now a Hospital
...At the age of 43, he determined that the Townshends needed a larger estate and larger dwelling than they had. So in 1810 he purchased Trevallyn at Rossett, Denbighshire (just north of Gresford and a few miles from Wrexham), the previous owner being Dr. Robert Twiss. The owner prior to Twiss was William Travers, who owned several properties in and around Wrexham. A building already stood on the site of Trevallyn, and Travers enlarged it in 1754 to virtually what it is today. During that work some of the larger rooms of the earlier house survived, and these remain as part of the modern-day Trevallyn. We do know that the earlier building referred to was already a fairly substantial house, being assessed in 1670 for a total of 10 hearths (fireplaces being a common basis of taxation in those days). In fact there are records confirming that a Trevallyn House stood on the same ground since about 1480, when the Langfords were the owners. The present 3-storey brick building is Georgian in style, the exterior featuring stone dressings and rusticated (i.e. roughened) lintels. Highlights of the interior include elegant fireplaces, and well-staircases with corner landings, swept rails, and columnar pillars. The total number of rooms during the Townshend residency was about 50.....

CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE 89k - Aerial view showing Hall, Church and Stables
Coloured engraving of 'Royal Bow Meeting'.
Original painted by John townshend, 1822.
Click for larger image

For the 4th time in as many generations, His Tree of Rings entry:- “First son, born Oct. 20, 1791. Died without issue, 1862.” - To that I can add Palmer’s note that he married Priscilla Fielden in 1842. I can’t provide any details of John’s early life. But I’m sure the purchase of Trevallyn by his father in 1810, when the boy was 19, led to a major boost in his responsibilities. We do know though, that he was able to enjoy the pleasures of membership with the Royal British Bowmen, whose focus was to improve their results in hunting wild game, primarily the agile deer. And we know that he enjoyed testing his talents with ‘brush and paint’, for in 1822 he combined both of these interests in depicting (here I quote from his own title) “The Meeting of the Royal British Bowmen in the Grounds of Erthig, Denbighshire, the Seat of Simon Yorke Esq. - on Sept. 13, 1822" (see photo). It carries the artist’s name as “John Townshend delt.” (the Latin ‘delineator’ abbreviated). Erthig, spelt Erddig by the Welsh amongst us, was the Yorkes’ handsome estate a few miles south of Trevallyn. A note below the title says “Respectfully dedicated to that Society by one of its Members”. The subject matter includes about 150 figures, both male and female, with tents and targets, and a remarkable number of bows and arrows in use, all distributed around the spacious lawns. The next year an engraving from the original was made by a Mr. Bennett, and colouring followed Salusbury M. Elizabeth

....After Anne’s death, the Townshend family presented an elegantly beautiful brass lectern to Gresford Church in her memory. The Bible rests on the wings of an eagle, which looks towards the congregation with a purposeful stare. No doubt the gift would have been initiated by her brother Henry, as would the coloured window placed in the same Church, in memory of Anne and her oldest brother, John.....