Early life and education
Towneley was born in St George Hanover Square, London, the elder son of a British father of Belgian stock, Alexander Louis Wynand Koch de Gooreynd, and a British-Belgian mother, Priscilla Reyntiens. His mother was the daughter of Lady Alice Josephine, second daughter of Montagu Bertie, 7th Earl of Abingdon, and Maj. Robert Reyntiens, a member of the International Olympic Committee. The family name was changed to Worsthorne and he later changed it Towneley Worsthorne and finally Towneley by royal licence, on 18 January 1955. His younger brother is Sir Peregrine Worsthorne the journalist. The brothers were brought up as Roman Catholics, but did not attend denominational schools. He was educated at Stowe School and Worcester College, Oxford.
In 1954 (under the name Simon Towneley Worsthorne) he published Venetian Opera in the 17th Century, a seminal study of the field, which played a significant role in the remarkable revival of the Venetian opera repertory in the latter 20th century.
Towneley married his second cousin Mary Fitzherbert, the third of six children of Cuthbert Fitzherbert, from a well-off recusant English Roman Catholic family. She was a keen endurance equestrian, repeating Dick Turpin's ride from London to York and opening up what became known as the Mary Towneley Loop on the Pennine Bridleway. Lady Towneley died in 2001 from cancer, aged 65.
The couple had seven children; one son and six daughters including the author K. M. Grant.
- "Simon Peter Edmund Cosmo William KOCH De GOOREYND,". authorandbookinfo. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
- Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. p. 3922. ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
- Burke 2003, p. 2350
- "No. 35893". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 February 1943. p. 699.
- "No. 53527". The London Gazette. 30 December 1993. p. 4.
- Obituary: Lady Towneley, Daily Telegraph, March 2001
- Koch de Gooreynd , William Julien Maurice (1853–1919), first published Sept 2004, 940 words (subscription required)
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