TOWNSHEND, Lord Charles Vere Ferrers (1785-1853), of Rainham, Norf.

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



1812 - 1818
1820 - 1834

Family and Education

b. 16 Sept. 1785, 2nd s. of George, 2nd Mq. Townshend, by Charlotte, da. and coh. of Eaton Mainwaring Ellerker of Risby Park, Yorks. educ. Harrow 1797-9. m. 24 Mar. 1812, Charlotte, da. of Gen. William Loftus* of Stiffkey, Norf., s.p.

Offices Held

Maj. Norf. rangers 1808; capt. Norf. yeoman cav. 1831.


Townshend’s father died in 1811, having disinherited his unsuitable heir. The family trustees therefore selected him to sit on the family interest for Tamworth. He was listed a supporter by the Treasury. He paired against Catholic relief, 13 May, and voted against it on 24 May 1813 (as also on 21 May 1816). On 31 May 1815 he joined the opposition vote for inquiry into the Regent’s expenditure. Next session his votes were divided: with ministers on the army estimates, 6 and 8 Mar.; against them on the property tax and retrenchment, 18 Mar., 3 Apr.; with them on the civil list, 24 May, and against them on the public revenue bill, 20 June 1816. In 1817 he was in the minority against the address, 29 Jan., and on the composition of the finance committee, 7 Feb. He also voted for the opposition candidate for the Speaker’s chair, 2 June. He voted for the suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June 1817. No further votes and no speeches are known.

The Townshend trustees having meanwhile sold the Tamworth Castle estate, Lord Charles was not expected to offer for re-election in 1818, when Sir Robert Peel canvassed for himself and his younger son William. But, in defiance of his uncle, Lord John Townshend, he stood. During an acrimonious contest he was labelled a lax attender and accused of being prepared to dispose of his seat to a stranger in 1816. He posed as an independent resisting the Peel monopoly. He was defeated. The Treasury was satisfied: ‘Lord C. Townshend latterly was in opposition. His successor W. Peel is certain support.’ Yet he persevered and came in unopposed in 1820. The Peels were prepared to compromise with him until 1834. He even re-purchased the Castle. He died 5 Nov. 1853.

Add. 40278, ff. 102, 170; 40279, f. 62; Tamworth Pub. Lib. album of election posters, 1818.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne