John Townshend, 5th Marquess Townshend

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Caricature by ATn published in Vanity Fair in 1870.

John Villiers Stuart Townshend, 5th Marquess Townshend DL (10 April 1831 – 6 October 1899), known as Viscount Raynham from 1855 to 1863, was a British peer and Liberal Member of Parliament.

Townshend was the son of John Townshend, 4th Marquess Townshend, and Elizabeth Jane Crichton-Stuart. The soldier George Townshend, 1st Marquess Townshend, was his paternal great-grandfather, and Prime Minister John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, was his maternal great-grandfather. He was elected to the House of Commons for Tamworth in 1855 (succeeding his father), a seat he held until 1863, when he inherited the marquessate on his father's death and entered the House of Lords.

At the Salisbury Petty Sessions in May 1881, Lord Edward Thynne described how he had been accosted by Lord Townshend and two accomplices on the road between Laverstock and Salisbury. A Colonel Nepean held the pony's head while Townshend struck him several times with the handle of a horse whip. Thynne acknowledged having eloped with Lady Townshend in 1872, but noted that the marquess had never sued for divorce, and alleged that Lord Macduff had attacked him over the same matter while he was abroad.[1]

Townshend was convicted of the assault, and sentenced to a fine of £500 or three months in prison. After some hours in jail, he reluctantly paid the fine, equivalent to £49,500 in 2019[2]. Townshend denounced the court, while Vanity Fair reported unnamed others as saying "the only regret is that he [Thynne] was not thrashed earlier and worse".[3]

Lord Townshend married Lady Anne Elizabeth Clementina Duff, daughter of James Duff, 5th Earl Fife, on 17 October 1865. Their children included:

Lord Townshend died in October 1899, aged 68, and was succeeded in his titles by his son John. Lady Townshend died in 1925.


  1. ^ "The Assault on Lord Edward Thynne". The Times (30209). London: The Times Digital Archive. 1 June 1881. p. 7. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  2. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  3. ^ F. M. L. Thompson (May 2006). Townshend, John Villiers Stuart, fifth Marquess Townshend (1831–1899). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 17 May 2014.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Townshend
Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Member of Parliament for Tamworth
With: Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Peel, Bt
John Peel
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
John Townshend
Marquess Townshend
Succeeded by
John Townshend