TOWNSHEND, Sir Horatio, 3rd Bt. (1630-87), of Raynham, Norf.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

bap. 16 Dec. 1630, 2nd s. of Sir Roger Townshend, 1st Bt., (d.1636) of Raynham by Mary, da. and coh. of Horace, 1st Baron Vere of Tilbury. educ. St. John’s, Camb. 1644; travelled abroad (Italy and Switzerland) 1646-8. m. (1) bef. 13 Apr. 1649, Mary (bur. 22 May 1673), da. and h. of Edward Lewkenor of Denham, Suff., s.p.; (2) 27 Nov. 1673 (with £8,000), Mary (d. 17 Dec. 1685), da. of Sir Joseph Ashe, 1st Bt., of Twickenham, Mdx., 3s. suc. bro. bef. 13 July 1648; cr. Baron Townshend of Lynn Regis 20 Apr. 1661, Visct. Townshend of Raynham 2 Dec. 1682.

Offices Held

Commr. for militia, Norf. 1648, 1649, Mar. 1660, assessment 1649-52, 1657, Jan. 1660-1, j.p. 1652-76, ?1682-d.; gov. of King’s Lynn Mar. 1660; commr. for oyer and terminer, Norfolk circuit July 1660; dep. lt. Norf. c. Aug. 1660-1, 1680-d., col. of militia horse Apr. 1660-76, ld. lt. 1661-76, commr. for corporations 1662-3; v.-adm. 1663-76; asst. R. Fishing Co. 1664; high steward, King’s Lynn 1664-84; alderman, Thetford by 1669-?82.1

Councillor of State May-Dec. 1659.

Col. of ft. 1667.


Townshend’s ancestors had been at Raynham since the end of the 14th century, but the founder of the family fortunes was Sir Roger Townshend, an eminent lawyer who sat for Bramber in 1467, and greatly enlarged the estates. One of the largest landowners in the county, Townshend inherited, with his father’s new mansion, 30 manors and three lordships in Norfolk, besides valuable property in Essex. During the Interregnum he held local office and sat in two Protectorate Parliaments, but by 1659 he had become one of the most influential Presbyterians working for a restoration. He delivered a letter from Charles II to his cousin, the 3rd Lord Fairfax (Thomas Fairfax), and presented the Norfolk address for a free Parliament to General George Monck.2

Townshend was returned to the Convention Parliament for Norfolk after a contest, though it was reported he ‘had the nomination of all who were chosen in the county’. He was listed by Lord Wharton as a friend, and chosen to attend the King at The Hague. An inactive Member, he was named to eight committees, including the committee of elections and privileges, and those for abolishing the court of wards and for settling the revenue of the crown; but he is not recorded as having spoken.3

Townshend was rewarded for his services to the Restoration with the lease of the coal export duties for 21 years and a peerage in the coronation honours. As lord lieutenant of Norfolk he mitigated the rigours of the Clarendon Code as much as he could, and by 1675 he had moved into opposition. He used his interest vigorously in favour of country candidates in the exclusion elections, but he was not himself an exclusionist, and in 1682 he made his peace with the King and was raised a step in the peerage. Before the 1685 election, the Earl of Sunderland wrote to Townshend asking him to use his influence to ensure that ‘good Members be chosen’ in Norfolk, and he co-operated with the lord lieutenant in settling the county election. He was buried at Raynham on 10 Dec. 1687. His eldest son Charles was secretary of state to George I and George II, and his two younger sons sat in the Commons under Anne and George I.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 609; Parl. Intell. 9 Apr. 1660; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 77; Blomefield, Norf. iii. 404; Sel. Charters (Selden Soc. xxviii), 182.
  • 2. J. Durham, Townshends of Raynham, 7; Norf. Arch. xxiii. 97-98; Blomefield, vii. 130-6; Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 205; Clarendon, Rebellion, vi. 111-12, 118-19, 165.
  • 3. Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 682.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1671, pp. 46-47, 464; 1685, p. 21; Durham Univ. Jnl. n.s. xv. 13-21; Luttrell, i. 161; Add. 36988, f. 180.