Sir Simon Peter Edmund Cosmo William Towneley KCVO KCSG (born 14 December 1921) was born with the surname Koch de Gooreynd, the elder son of a British father of Belgian stock, Alexander L.W. Koch de Gooreynd, and a British mother (Priscilla Reyntiens), also of partial Belgian descent.
Alexander Koch de Gooreynd changed the family name prior to the birth of Towneley's younger brother, Sir Peregrine Worsthorne, the journalist. The brothers were raised Catholic, but did not attend denominational schools.
Worsthorne assumed the surname and arms of Towneley, an old recusant family, by royal licence. At the time of his wedding, he changed his name and took on the remaining Lancashire inheritance of that family, of which his great-grandmother Caroline Theresa, Lady Abingdon, had been one of the three co-heiresses.
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. 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.
- "(Supplement) no. 35893". The London Gazette. 5 February 1943. p. 699. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
- "no. 53527". The London Gazette. 30 December 1993. p. 4. Retrieved 28 November 2009.
- Obituary: Mary Towneley, The Independent 22 February 2001 (archived version)
- Koch de Gooreynd family information
- Genealogy site
- Royals Portal
- Koch de Gooreynd , William Julien Maurice (1853–1919), first published Sept 2004, 940 words (subscription required)
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