Robert Townshend (judge)

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Sir Robert Townshend (died 8 February 1555/56) of Ludlow, Shropshire was a judge who held a number of positions, including Chief Justice of the Marches of Wales and Chester.[1] He was the founder of the Cheshire and Shropshire branch of the Townshend family.

Sir Robert Townshend was the second son of Sir Roger Townshend (d.1551) of Raynham, Norfolk[2] and was admitted to Lincoln's Inn in 1515.[3] He became Justice of the Peace for Norfolk in 1526, Serjeant at Law in 1540 and King's Serjeant in 1543.[4] He was appointed as Justice of Chester in 1545, and was knighted by Henry VIII on 21 May 1545 at Hampton Court Palace.

He married Alice Poppy, a daughter of Robert Poppy. Together they had six sons and six daughters.[1][5] He died on 8 February 1555/6. He was buried in Ludlow church, where his memorial, erected in 1581, is a large table tomb with polychrome recumbent effigies of Sir Robert and Dame Alice, and with empanelled heraldry[6] and images of his children as mourners.[7]

One son, Sir Henry Townshend was also a judge.[8]


The children of Sir Robert Townshend and Alice née Poppy are shown[9] as follows:

  • Thomas (b. c.1534, d. 1591), Esquire, of Bracon Ash, Norfolk, married (1) (1558) Lady Elizabeth Styles (daughter of George Periente of Digswell, Hertfordshire), who died 1580, and (2) (1581–82) Ann D'Oyley (daughter of Henry D'Oyley of Shottisham, Norfolk, and of Pond-Hall, Hadleigh, Suffolk), who afterwards made two further marriages.[10]
  • Robert (b. c.1535, d. 1614),[11] of Llanvary and Ludlow, Shropshire, married (1571) Ann Machell (daughter of John Machell, Sheriff of London 1555–56).[12]
  • (Sir) Henry (b. c. 1537, d. 1621),[13] Judge, of Ludlow Castle and Cound, Shropshire, married (1) Susanna, daughter of Sir Rowland Hayward, and (2) Dorothy Heveningham, of Pipe Hall, Burntwood,[14] Staffordshire.[15]
  • Isaac, living 1552 aged under 18.[16]
  • Roger.
  • John.
  • Elizabeth
  • Alice, who died at Ludlow in Shropshire on 28 November 1607, married (1) at Ludlow on 6 October 1550 Humphrey Archer, of Tanworth-in-Arden in Warwickshire, who died at Tanworth-in-Arden on 24 October 1562 and (2) Edmund Colles, of Leigh in Worcestershire, who died on 19 December 1606.[17][18][19][20]
  • Amey, married Raffe Dutton of Hatton, Cheshire.
  • Eleanor, died without issue.
  • Thomazin, married (1) William Curson of Beck Hall, in Billingford and Bylaugh, Norfolk (brother of Lady Ursula Hynde of Madingley), and (2) William Rugge, of Felmingham, Norfolk, Esquire.[21]
  • Grace, married (1) Ambrose Gilbert,[22] and (2) Richard Smyth.
  • Bridget, married (as his first wife) Henry Acton of Ribbesford, Worcestershire, third son of Sir Robert Acton of Ribbesford and Elmley Lovett.[23] Charles Acton, brother of this Henry, was grandfather of Elizabeth Acton who by her marriage to a younger Henry Townshend reinforced the Townshend connection with Elmley Lovett.[24]


  1. ^ a b E. Brydges, Collins' Peerage of England, Genealogical, Biographical and Historical, greatly augmented (etc.), 9 Vols, II (London 1812), p. 457.
  2. ^ G. Grazebrook and J.P. Rylands, 'Townshend of Ludlow', The Visitation of Shropshire taken in the year 1623, Part II, Harleian Society XXIX (London 1889), pp. 463–65; W. Rye (ed.), The Visitacion of Norffolk, etc Harleian Society Vol. XXXII (London 1891), pp. 290–92, from Harleian MS 1552.
  3. ^ Lincoln's Inn Admission Register
  4. ^ E. Foss, The Judges of England Vol. 5, (Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans and Roberts, London 1857), pp. 102–03.
  5. ^ The children and their marriages are enumerated in M. Townsend, Townsend-Townshend 1066–1909. The History, Genealogy and Alliances of the English and American House of Townsend, Revised edition (New York 1909), p.24.
  6. ^ The armorials are described in C.H. Townsend, 'The Townshend Family', in G. Boyd Roberts (ed.), Genealogies of Connecticut Families. From the New England Historical and Genealogical Register Vol. I, Adams-Gates (Clearfield/Genealogical Publishing Co. Ltd, 1983/2006), pp. 492ff., at pp. 494–95.
  7. ^ A Description of the Town of Ludlow, with an Historical Account of the Castle (W. Felton, Ludlow 1812), pp. 8–9.
  8. ^ N.M. Fuidge, 'Townshend, Henry (?1537–1621), of Cound and Ludlow, Salop.', in P.W. Hasler (ed.), The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558–1603 (Boydell & Brewer 1981), Read here; S. Healy, 'Townshend, Sir Henry (c.1537–1621), of Cound and Ludlow Castle, Salop and Lincoln's Inn, London', in A. Thrush and J.P. Ferris, The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604–1629 (Cambridge University Press, 2010), Read here (History of Parliament Online).
  9. ^ Townshend', in Visitacyon of Norffolk, and 'Townshend of Ludlow' in Visitation of Shropshire, with additions as shown.
  10. ^ M. Townsend, Townsend-Townshend, 1066–1909, p. 25.
  11. ^ Will of Robert Townshend (P.C.C. 1615).
  12. ^ Visitacion of Norffolk, p. 291; J.L. Chester, The Parish Registers of St Mary Aldermary, Harleian Society, Registers Vol. V (London 1880), p. 5.
  13. ^ Will of Sir Henry Townesend (P.C.C. 1621)
  14. ^ 'Burntwood: Manors, local government and public services', in M.W. Greenslade (ed.), A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 14, Lichfield (London, 1990), pp. 205–220. (British History Online. Retrieved 15 May 2016)
  15. ^ M. Townsend, Townsend-Townshend, 1066–1909, pp. 24–25.
  16. ^ M. Townsend, Townsend-Townshend, 1066–1909, p. 24.
  17. ^ M. Townsend, Townsend-Townshend, 1066–1909, p. 25.
  18. ^ Find A Grave |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  19. ^ History of Parliament, retrieved 23 November 2016
  20. ^ Landed Families of Britain and Ireland, 166 Archer of Umberslade, retrieved 23 November 2016
  21. ^ 'Cursonn', in Visitacion of Norffolk, pp.90–91, from Harleian MS 1552.
  22. ^ M. Townsend, Townsend-Townshend, 1066–1909, p. 25.
  23. ^ W.P.W. Phillimore (ed.), The Visitation of the County of Worcestershire made in the year 1569: with other pedigrees from Richard Mundy's collection, Harleian Society XXVII (1888) pp. 4–5.
  24. ^ 'Parishes: Elmley Lovett', in A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3 (London, 1913), pp. 106–10. (British History Online. Retrieved 17 May 2016)