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Sir Isaac Townsend  16??-1731

George Marsh in his diary (page 9) refers to his grandfather (John Milbourne, 16??-1722) and notes that he worked for a Captain Townsend.  George says that his grandfather was a good penman and so presumably worked for Captain Townsend as his secretary.  They seem to have had a lot of adventures together including surviving a shipwreck.  What is a little unclear is exactly who this Captain Townsend is, as he is initially referred to as Captain Townsend but later on he is referred to as Sir Isaac Townsend and he becomes based in Portsmouth as a Commissioner of the Navy.  It is probably safe to assume that Captain Townsend and Sir Isaac Townsend are the same person and that this is Sir Isaac Townsend (16??-1731).  He was married to Elizabeth, daughter of Anthony Storey, apothecary of London. Sir Isaac is buried inside Winchester Cathedral.  His memorial is very large and is located centrally on an an inner wall on the south side of the Cathedral.  The memorial faces south.  There is a long inscription all written in latin.

M.S. / ISAACI TOWNSEND equitus aurati / qui muniis nauticis per sexaginta annos functus est / Mari / Per triginta quinque annos in Classe Regia versatus fuit / in Qua
Plurimis Principalibus praefuit navibus / Navarchus Dignissimus / terra / unus e primariis rei Navalis procurandae praefectis / Per viginti et quinque annos extitit / Rei
Navalis vere Providus / utpote Ubique et Mari, et Terra / Principi et patriae vere Fidus / in omni Vitae Studio Vir Probus et Integer / Obiit vicesimo-sexto die Maii; Anno
Salutis 1731o/ Aetatis 75o / Gravissimi Doloris Hoc posuit Monumentum / Moerens Vidua.

Sacred to the memory of Sir Isaac Townsend, who was employed in naval duties for 60 years.   At sea, he spent 35 years in the Royal Navy, in which he commanded many principal ships of the line, a most distinguished commander.  On land, he was one of the leading officers in naval procurement for 25 years.  [He had] real foresight in naval matters.  At all times and in all places at sea and on land he was truly loyal to his sovereign and country.  In every aspect of life [he was] an upright and honest man.  He died on the 26th day of May, in the year of salvation 1731, aged 75.  His grieving widow placed this memorial of her very deep grief.

Her memorial on the back reads as follows:
Here lies Dame Elizabeth Townsend, who was the beloved wife of Sir Isaac Townsend, four and forty years, and almost four his widow.  She was a most affectionate wife of uncommon piety, prudence and economy.  She was hospitable to strangers and friends, and in truth was mistress of many other virtues.  But in no time of her life did she appear more glorious than in her last moments, when she perceived the approaches of inevitable death with invincible courage, and overcame its finishing stroke with a well grounded and truly Christian assurance of a blessed immortality.  She died on the twenty fifth of March 1735.

It should be noted that there is another Sir Isaac Townsend who was also in the navy and so pops up in historic records.  He is a nephew and started his naval career working for Sir Isaac.  This is Adm Sir Isaac Townsend (1685c-1765), who married Elizabeth, daughter of William Larcum, surgeon of Richmond.  This younger Sir Isaac had a very adventurous naval career and was later MP for Portsmouth (1744-1754) and Governor of Greenwich Hospital (1754-1765).  In 1757 he became Admiral of the White and he was later senior Admiral on the list.  His portrait is in the Greenwich Maritime Museum.  He is remembered for holding Admiral John Byng under arrest, prior to his court-martial and subsequent execution at Portsmouth in 1757.

Later, 26 July 1796 (page 178 of the diary), George Marsh notes 'Spencer George Townshend Gent, produced his Warrant as paymaster of the contingencies of the Navy Office and Receiver of Fees, with an allowance of three hundred pounds a year'.  Perhaps this Spencer George Townshend is related but his name is spelt differently?

There was also another person in the Navy with a similar family name; George Townshend (1715-1769).


(George Marsh)  (Diary of George Marsh