TOWNSEND, John (-d.c.1625), of Warwick

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

Yst. s. of Richard Townsend (d. c.1589) of Warwick and his w. ?Christian.1 m. Margaret. admon. 15 June 1625.2 sig. Jo[hn] Townesend.

Offices Held

Principal burgess, Warwick c.1585-d., bailiff 1589-90, 1603-4, 1621-2,3 j.p. 1596-?d.4


Townsend belonged to one of Warwick’s most prominent families. His father twice served as the borough’s bailiff, or principal officer, while his brother Ralph held both this post and served as deputy town clerk. As a younger son, Townsend inherited only a house and barn in Warwick when his father died, but by then he was already a principal burgess, and shortly afterwards became bailiff for the first time. His local standing was confirmed by his selection as a borough magistrate in 1596, and he represented Warwick in the 1597 and 1601 Parliaments.5

The 1604 general election coincided with Townsend’s second term as bailiff. As such he was not strictly eligible for a Commons seat, but his decision to return himself to Westminster went unchallenged. An inconspicuous Member, he made no recorded speeches, and received only a single committee nomination, to scrutinize a bill to clamp down on unlicensed alehouse-keepers (3 Dec. 1606). During the final session, in November 1610, Warwick’s corporation requested that he and his fellow Member, William Spicer, procure a confirmation of the borough’s charter, but nothing came of this. Shortly afterwards the corporation offered Townsend £80 in parliamentary expenses, but ‘for the love he bears to the town’ he accepted only £43.6 Re-elected to Parliament in 1614, he was appointed on 28 May to accompany the Speaker when the Commons assured the king that they had not infringed the royal prerogative by suspending business while they awaited satisfaction from the Lords over Bishop Neile’s offensive remarks.7

In 1615 Townsend acted for the corporation during a lawsuit against some refractory Warwick residents. He served as bailiff for the last time in 1621-2, and died before June 1625, when administration of his estate was granted to his widow.8

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Henry Lancaster


  • 1. PROB 11/74, ff. 12v-13.
  • 2. PROB 6/11, f. 170.
  • 3. STAC 8/282/29; Black Bk. of Warwick ed. T. Kemp, 399, 409, 426, 427.
  • 4. C231/1, f. 17v; C181/1, f. 43; 181/2, f. 207v.
  • 5. Black Bk. of Warwick, 424-7; VCH Warws. viii. 494; PROB 11/74, f. 12v.
  • 6. CJ, i. 327a; Warws. RO, CR1618/W21/6, p. 2; CR1618/W20/3, pt. 2, p. 43.
  • 7. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 377.
  • 8. STAC 8/282/29; PROB 6/11, f. 170.