Frederick Townsend (1822 - 1905)
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Frederick Townsend (1822 - 1905)


Portrait by Elliott & Fry 1896 [ex Herbaria@home]

Frederick Townsend was a noted 19th century botanist. He is best known for his flora of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (1883) and his membership of the Botanical Exchange Club. He was a member of a large and wealthy land-owning family, with their seat at Honington Hall, Warwickshire, which he inherited in 1874.


1822 Rawmarsh, Yorks
1844 Cambridge
1851 Census - St Leonard's, Sussex
1861 Census - Lillington, Warw.
1865 Shedfield Lodge, Hants.
1871 Census - Shedfield, Hants.
1874 Honington Hall
1901 Census - (Lurgashall, Sussex)
1905 December 16 Honington Hall, Warw.


  • Botanical Exchange Club
  • Linnean Society (1878)
  • Botanical Society of Edinburgh (1846)
  • Société Botanique de France


Additional links

Annotated family tree of the Townsends of Honington
Short biography of Frederick Townsend by Chris Liffin, archived from the Meiosis web
Over 4400 of Townsend's specimens have been documented by the Herbaria at Home project. The bulk of his collection residing at the south London Botanical
1822 December 5 : Birth This is the date of birth given by most biographers. He was baptised at Rawmarsh, Yorkshire, on 1823 January 21.
1844 : Cambridge University Frederick was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, on 1844 May 18 (Venn, J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses. London, England: Cambridge University Press, 1922-1954.)
1850 : Awarded BA Frederick was awarded a BA degree in 1850 followed by MA in 1855. (ibid)
1861 June 6 : Death of
A. J. Hambrough
¹Hampshire Chronicle - 1861 June 15
DIED. On the 6th inst., at Princes-terrace, Hyde-park, London. Albert John Hambrough, Esq., F.L.S. F.G.S. of Steephill Castle, Isle of Wight, in the 41st year of his age.
A. J. Hambrough was a botanist and one of Frederick's closest relatives. Townsend's specimens show that he spent time collecting at Steephill.
1863 July 21 : Marriage ¹Oxford Journal - 1863 July 25
MARRIED. July 21, at All Saints’, Knightsbridge, by the Rev. W. W. Hume, Incumbent of St. Mary Magdalene, St. Leonard’s-on-Sea, assisted by the Rev. Windsor Hambrough, Rector of Evenlode, Gloucestershire, Frederick Townsend, Esq., only surviving son of the late Rev. E. J. Townsend, Esq., Rector of Ilmington, Warwickshire, to Mary Elizabeth, only child of the late Rev. Robert Butler, Vicar of St. John’s, Kilkenny.
1874 : Honington Hall ¹John Bull - 1873 September 20
... another link uniting the present to the last century has lately been severed in this neighbourhood by the death of the Rev. H. Townsend, of Honington Hall, at the ripe age of ninety years... He is succeeded at Honington by Mr. Frederick Townsend, the eldest surviving son of his next brother, the late Rev. Edward Townsend, formerly Rector of Honington.
1883 : Flora of Hampshire Townsend, F. 1883. Flora of Hampshire including the Isle of Wight. London.
... and I may mention here that my first lessons in Botany were learnt on Hampshire ground; which circumstance, probably, went far to induce me more earnestly to take up the Flora during my permanent residence of nearly ten years in the county."
[Full text - Google Books]
1886 July 7 : MP ¹Banbury Advertiser - 1886 July 15
ELECTORS, The victory we have won today ia a glorious one. We have fought for a good cause; our beloved country is in danger, and you, by your votes, have helped avert that danger. I offer my hearty thanks to all, and especially to you who are working men, whose help I have not sought in vain, and wose votes have greatly helped us to win the day. But though the battle is ours now, we may soon be called upon to fight again. Let our watchword be "Be ready," so that whenever that time may come, we may win again as we have won today.
Yours faithfully, Frederick Townsend. Honington Hall, 7th July 1886
1892 June 28 : Resignation from Parliament ¹Leamington Spa Courier - 1892 July 9
Gentlemen, The Dissolution of the late Parliament, which has just taken place, severs the tie which has bound us closely for six years. For many reasons I regret that I do not seek to represent your interests and those of our beloved country in future Parliament. I am deeply impressed with and highly value the unbroken confidence you have accorded me, and I shall not cease to value it. I do not again seek your suffrages only because time decreases the vigour with which I should desire to serve you.
In taking leave of you and in thanking you for your support and confidence, let me urge upon you to further the Unity and Welfare of our country and the return of our leader, Lord Salisbury, by sending to Parliament the Candidate who will support him. have the honour to be, Gentlemen, Yours faithfully,
Honington Hall, June 29th, 1892.
1905 December 16 : Death ¹Birmingham Daily - 1905 December 20
Gazette DEATH OF MR. F. TOWNSEND. The death has taken place in the South of France of Mr. Frederick Townsend, of Honington Hall, Shipston-on-Stour, at the age of eighty-four. Mr. Townsend was well-known and much respected in South Warwickshire. To him the Unionist party owed a considerable debt of gratitude. At the general election of 1885 Lord William Compton (now Marquis of Northampton) defeated the Conservative candidate, Mr. S. S. Lloyd, by a majority of 801. In the ensuing year Mr. Townsend left the retirement of country life to which he was attached and became the champion of Unionism on the Home Rule issue in the election of 1886. Mr. Townsend led his party to victory, and by a majority of 489, placed the representation of the division in the hands of the Conservatives and Unionists, who have maintained their position with increasing success whenever the seat has been contested during the past twenty years. Mr. Townsend retired from Parliamentary life in 1892, being succeeded in the representation of the Stratford-on-Avon division by Mr. A. B. Freeman-Mitford, now Lord Redesdale. br Mr. Townsend then resumed the career of unostentatious usefulness, which he had previously pursued at his beautiful home near Shipeston-on-Stour. Miss Alice Carleton, a relative of the deceased gentleman, married Mr. John Stratford Dugdale, Recorder of Birmingham.
[Link to obituary published in the Journal of Botany, v44, 1906. - Biodiversity Heritage Library]

1 Transcription reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive

Managed by Richard Middleton : last updated 16 January 2018