TOWNSHEND, Hon. Charles (1700-64).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1722 - 22 May 1723

Family and Education

b. 11 July 1700, 1st s. of Charles Townshend, 2nd Visct. Townshend, by his 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Pelham, M.P., 1st Baron Pelham, half-sis. of the Duke of Newcastle and Henry Pelham; bro. of Hon. Thomas, William, and Roger Townshend. educ. Eton; King’s, Camb. 1718; Grand Tour.1 m. 29 May 1723, Etheldreda, da. and h. of Edward Harrison of Balls Park, Herts., niece of George Harrison, 4s. 1da. summ. to Lords in his fa.’s barony of Townshend of Lynn Regis (but styled Lord Lynn) 22 May 1723; suc. fa. as 3rd Visct. 21 June 1738.

Offices Held

Ld. of the bedchamber 1723-7; master of the jewel office 1730-9; ld. lt. and custos rot. Norf. 1730-8.


The son of a distinguished father, and the father of a still more famous son, Townshend himself played little part in national politics. He was returned in 1722 on his family’s interest for Yarmouth but soon vacated his seat on being raised to the House of Lords. After succeeding his father as 3rd Viscount he proved a source of dissension in Norfolk politics. On 5 Sept. 1747 Thomas Coke, Earl of Leicester, who had managed Norfolk for Walpole, wrote to Hardwicke (Philip Yorke):

It grieves me much to see the Whig interest in this county in so very bad a way, but I must take share to myself, for Lord Townshend’s son [George] could not have had the least chance to have been representative here had I not put him into the place of my own son [ Edward Coke], which I did hoping thereby to establish the Whig interest the more by making his family, which for some time had not stirred, active on the Whig cause; but it has taken the contrary effect, he has chiefly applied to the Tories. Mr. Townshend, his son, when here never visited but the Tories, and now his Lordship recommends as justice of the peace ... one of the most distinguished Tories... . In Lord Orford’s [Robert Walpole] time with great reluctance he, at the request of the principal Whig gentlemen, got Lord Townshend removed from being lord lieutenant for his desire to bring in Tory justices, and will your Lordship now, contrary to the desire of the present lord lieutenant, and I will venture to say of the principal Whig gentlemen of the county, let him introduce them into the commission now?2

He died 12 Mar. 1764.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. Ex inf. Prof. J. H. Plumb.
  • 2. Add. 35602 f. 314.