TOWNSHEND, Hon. John Thomas (1764-1831).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



10 Apr. 1786 - Jan. 1790
1790 - 30 June 1800

Family and Education

b. 21 Feb. 1764, 1st s. of Thomas Townshend, 1st Visct. Sydney, and bro. of Hon. Horatio George Powys Townshend* and Hon. William Augustus Townshend*. educ. Eton 1775-81; Clare, Camb. 1781; Grand Tour 1785. m. (1) 12 Apr. 1790, Hon. Sophia Southwell (d. 9 Nov. 1795), da. of Edward Southwell, 20th Lord de Clifford, 1s. d.v.p. 2da.; (2) 27 May 1802, Lady Caroline Elizabeth Letitia Clements, da. of Robert, 1st Earl of Leitrim [I], 1s. suc. fa. as 2nd Visct. Sydney 30 June 1800.

Offices Held

Under-sec. of state for Home affairs Feb. 1784-June 1789; ld. of Admiralty Aug. 1789-Apr. 1793, of Treasury June 1793-July 1800, of bedchamber 1800-10; ranger of Hyde Park and St. James’s Park 1807-d.

Capt. Kent yeoman cav. 1794-1812; high steward, Great Yarmouth 1815-d.


Townshend was removed to the Admiralty board when his father resigned the Home Office in 1789. He came in on the family interest for Whitchurch at the ensuing election. In 1791 he was listed among opponents of repeal of the Test Act in Scotland. In 1793 he was transferred to the Treasury board. He of course supported Pitt’s administration, voting for his assessed taxes, 4 Jan. 1798, and acting as ministerial teller on 20 June 1798, but he is not known to have uttered a syllable in the House. On his father’s death in 1800 he became a courtier. Both his wives died in childbed. He was patron of Whitchurch and, until 1812, of one seat for Ludgershall. He died 20 Jan 1831.

Gent. Mag. (1831), i. 267.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: Brian Murphy