Prince Edward Island
Townshend Family Connection


General facts showing William's link to the Lords Townshends

1) William was of the correct social standing and wealth. William's father, "Richard of Wrexham" also owned extensive land. [According to Hon. Sir Charles James Townshend.]

2) William T's sons and grandsons follow similar family carreers in politics and law.

3) William T is said to have been a friend of William Pitt and William Wilberforce. Neither of these have been confirmed but they do suggest a link to the Lords Townshends. These possible friendships also confirm that William was born around 1760.

4) According to William's biography he had strong political ties to England and that these connections were attributed to his relationship to George, 1st Marquess Townshend. These political ties probably included, Sir Cecil Wray, John Horne Took, William Pitt, William Wilberforce, Edmund Burke, Lord Sydney to name a few.

5) William T's portrait (although only a pencil sketch) bears a resemblance to the other Townshends of the time.

6) A marriage certificate at St.James, Westminster in 1756 specifically states that Richard Townshend was a member of that parish. It is not known whether this is William's father but it should be noted that Lord Sydney's immediate family and relatives were associated with this church through the Selwyn family. Marriages (excluding the Selwyns) included: Albinia Townshend (Lord Sydney's sister) and Mary Wray (Sir Cecil Wray's sister). The Campbells who tie into Rt Hon Charles Townshend also appear to have been well established at St James.

7) William T's biography, describing his strict adherance to new customs laws, matches the new policy of William Pitt (The Younger) to optimize customs rules and to bring smuggling under control.


Facts suggesting that William's father, Richard might have been Thomas Townshend's (Viscount Sydney's) brother.

8) At least one known letter (of a political/business nature) exists between Hon William Townshend and Thomas Townshend (Lord Sydney). We also find that Lt.-Col Robert Stewart, William T's uncle, wrote at least six letters to Lord Sydney (probably regarding his pension payments).

9) William T's position as Collector of Customs of PEI comes directly from the British Government (William Pitt or Lord Sydney himself). On at least one occasion William reports directly back to Lord Sydney about his job's affairs.

10) William T was closely tied to Sir Cecil Wray who was a friend and relative of Lord Sydney. This connection to Sir Cecil Wray appears to be somewhat specific to the Sydney Townshends as it occurs through Albinia Selwyns.

11) William T knew and worked with Col. DesBarres (William succeeded him as governor of PEI in 1812). In fact, DesBarres was previously a Governor of Nova Scotia and named "Sydney, NS" after Lord Sydney in 1785. DesBarres and Sydney were apparently good friends.

12) William T knew Edmund Burke who was definitely associated with Lord Sydney.

13) William T's arrival in PEI (1783/1784) coincides with William Pitt and Lord Sydney taking office in 1783. It is speculated by the author that William was sent to keep an eye on things in PEI at a stage when Governor Patterson was becoming exceedingly cheeky. Patterson was eventually ousted by the Fanning-DesBrisay-Townshend-Stewart coalition. Lord Sydney favoured DesBrisay from the beginning.


Facts suggesting that William's father, Richard might have been George Townshend's (1st Marquess Townshend's) 4th brother.

14) On Prince Edward Island, William bought the land adjacent to lot 56 that was awarded to George, 1st Marquess Townshend. William is said to have acted as attorney for the 1st Marquess on at least one occasion.

15) William's uncle, Lt-Col. Robert Stewart is responsible for helping his brother, Peter Stewart, gain the position of Chief Justice of PEI even though Peter had a background in Scottish law and not English law as was required. For this to occur Lt.-Col. Robert Stewart would have had to call on the special help of Sir James William Montgomery (Lord Advocate for Scotland) who was the father-in-law of George, 1st Marquess Townshend.

16) Friendly letters exist between William's second son, Captain William Townshend (b.1796) and Captain Lord James Townshend (b.1785), youngest son of the 1st Marquess. They were both Captains in the Royal Navy and served together on the same ships at times [HMS Halifax and HMS Æolus].

17) Although William's position as Collector of Customs of PEI comes directly from England, it is speculated that it may have been initiated by Adam Smith, the economist, who at that time was Commissioner of Customs for Scotland. Rt Hon Charles Townshend was a friend of Adam Smith and hired him to tutor his step-son, the Duke of Buccleugh.

18) William's father-in-law, Peter Stewart, was a cousin (by way of two marriages) to Prof. Dugald Stewart, another famous economist and friend of Adam Smith

19) William Townshend's uncle, Lt-Col. Robert Stewart was a close friend Capt. Robert Orme who married Hon. Audrey Townshend (sister of George 1st Marquess). Stewart, Orme and Washington were all aides of General Braddock during the Seven Years War.

20) This line of Townshends provides a real person after whom a Richard Townshend could have been named - Richard Harrison of Balls Park. The only ancestor on Lord Sydney's side is Richard Bettenson but this less likely.

21) Sir Cecil Wray was connected to the Viscount Sydney Townshends (through the Selwyns) but may have also been connected the Viscount Raynham Townshends as well because: A) Lord John Townshend runs for MP of Westminster in the term after Sir Cecil Wray's attempt. B) The Harrisons of Sir Cecil Wray's aunt, Mary Harrison (da. of Edward Harrison of Morely) might be related to Audrey Harrison (da. of Edward Harrison of Balls Park). C) Sir Cecil Wray was a friend of Charles James Fox (until Fox aligned himself with Lord North). Charles James Fox was a friend of the Raynham Townshends and his bust still exists in Raynham Hall.

22) William Townshend shares a clear Scottish connection with the Viscount Raynham Townshends (Stewart, Campbell and Montgomery). There does not appear to be any Scottish ties in Lord Sydney's family. Furthermore, the Stewarts and the Campbells originate from the same place - Campbeltown.


Richard Townshend, father of Hon William Townshend of the PEI Townshends, was known as "Richard of Wrexham". It is believed that Richard came from Wexham in Buckinghamshire, England and NOT Wrexham in Wales

Wexham and Stoke-Poges
are West of London - Click for UK map

Contrary to recent, descriptions William and Richard were originally from England and not Wales! The biography of Hon Sir C J Townshend and obituary of Canon Rev G Townshend both indicate that William and Richard were from England. In addition, many searches for William or Richard in Wales have proved futile. The Wales error has been perpetuated by researchers and biographers (possibly Canadian) who naturally assumed "Richard of Wrexham" meant Wrexham in Wales. Finding Richard's "Wrexham" in ENGLAND was not easy. It is now believed to be Wexham in Buckinghamshire for the following reasons:

  1. Rev. Sir William Ullithorne Wray (Sir Cecil Wray's cousin) was indeed the rector at St Mary's, Wexham there in 1755. Furthermore, this place is spelled "Wrexham" in the 1881 book "History of the Wrays of Glentworth" by Charles Dalton.

  2. For a long time the Howard-Vyse's family home was Stoke Place (near Wexham). This is noteworthy because the Howard-Vyse family have Dalton/Norcliffe/Wray connections. In fact, they eventually inherited Langton Hall (in Yorkshire), the ancestral home of Sir Cecil Wray's mother, Frances Norcliffe. Langton Hall is very close to Malton which appears to have a number of Townshend ties (click for UK map):
    • There is a William, son of a Richard Townshend, baptised in Malton in 1762
    • Captain Lord James Townshend dies at Hattun Lodge near Malton. (probably should be spelled Hutton)
    • Edmund Burke is at one point MP for Malton. We know that Hon William Townshend indeed knows Burke because he purchases his PEI property from Burke's widow in 1799.

  3. The Churchills, the Dukes of Marlborough, were also associated to this area. They built the house (?Black Hall?) on Langley/Black Park. This is important because the Duke of Marlborough hired Rt Hon Charles Townshend as one of his "deputy-lieutenants" in 1763.

  4. The Duchess of Buccleuch inherits Ditton Park, Wexham in a will. It is not yet known who's will this was but it is relevant because the Duke of Buccleuch was raised by his step-father, Rt Hon Charles Townshend. Furthermore, the Duke of Buccleuch marries Hon. Harriet Townshend, the daughter of Thomas Townshend (Lord Sydney).

  5. The Godolphin Family (Baronets) owned a place called Baylies in Wexham. This Godolphin line died out but they were closely tied to the Osbornes, the Duke of Leeds, who inherit this property. This is interesting because they too had Lord Townshend ties.
    • Most notable is George, 6th Duke of Leeds that marries Lady Charlotte Townshend, daughter of George, 1st Marquess Townshend.
    • More tenuiously, we also find that a number of other Osborne family marriages (Vere, Bertie, D'Arcy, Walmesley) link to the Townshends and the Wrays.
    • Possibly pure coincidence, but we find that another of the Osborne properties, Godolphin House is very close to Townshend town in Cornwall. (Click for UK map)

  6. Lastly, we find that Sir Cecil Wray's great-great-grandfather, Sir William Wray (1st Baronet, b.1601) married Lucy Montagu (daughter of Sir Edward Montagu of Boughton), the same Montagu's of Ditton Park, Wexham. Sir William Wray later married Frances Drury. Boughton is presently in the hands of the present Duke of Buccleach. Incidentally, an inscription to a Lucy (Wray) Hobson, daughter of this Sir William Wray, can be found at Clewer church, Eton, Windsor. This is farely close by and suggests that the Wrays were involved with this area from as early as the 1600's.

  7. Charles Townshend, Baron Bayning of Foxley appears to be situated only 7 miles away. Foxley was previously assumed to be Foxley in Wiltshire (home of Charles James Fox). However, Bayning's Foxley was in Berskhire and is believed to be Foxley Green (near Stud Green, near Touchen-End, near Bray) which is southwest of Slough and Wexham.

  8. Rev Edward Townshend (1758-1753) of Bray, Berkshire was about 6 miles away from Wexham. Bray was in fact the parish church of Foxley indicating that Rev Edward probably preached to his cousin (born a generation earlier), Baron Bayning of Foxley. If Richard was indeed from Wexham then there is every chance that he attended church at Bray instead of at St Mary's Wexham. Rev Edward Townshend was the son of Hon. Rev Edward Townshend (1719-1765)


Still under construction
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