University of Chicago Library

Guide to the George Townshend, Marquis Townshend, and Charlotte, Lady Townshend Collection 1763-1810

© 2016 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Townshend, George, Marquis Townshend, and Charlotte, Lady Townshend. Collection




0.25 linear feet (1 box)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Marquis Townshend is a hereditary title in Great Britain held by the Townshend family of Raynham Hall in Norfolk. This collection contains correspondence from Field Marshal George Townshend (1724–1807), 1st Marquis Townshend, and his daughter, Charlotte (1776–1856), Lady Townshend.

Information on Use


The collection is open for research.

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When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Townshend, George, Marquis Townshend, and Charlotte, Lady Townshend. Collection, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Biographical Note

George Townshend was born on February 28, 1724, in London. His parents were Charles Townshend, 3rd Viscount Townshend, and Audrey Ethelreda Townshend (née Harrison). After his education at Eton College and St. John’s College in Cambridge, Townshend joined the army in the summer of 1743 and was swiftly involved in the Battle of Dettingen in June 1743. Townshend rose to the rank of captain in the 7th Regiment of Dragoons in April 1745.

While in Belgium in 1747, Townshend ran unopposed for a position as Member of Parliament in Norfolk. He become captain of the 1st Regiment of Footguards and lieutenant colonel In the Army on February 25, 1748. As an MP, he was personally responsible for ensuring the passage of the Militia Act of 1757. On May 6, 1758, Townshend was promoted to colonel and took control of the 64th Regiment of Foot.

Townshend assumed command of a brigade in Quebec during the Seven Years’ War under General James Wolfe. When Wolfe died in 1759 and his second-in-command was wounded, Townshend took command of the British forces and received Quebec City’s surrender on September 18, 1759. Townshend was promoted to the rank of major general on March 6, 1761, and went on to command a division of the Anglo-Portuguese army to protect Portugal during the Spanish Invasion.

After the Seven Years’ War, Townshend became the Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance in the Greenville Ministry in 1763 and succeeded his father as Viscount Townshend in 1764. He went on to become Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and introduced measures to increase the general standing of Ireland’s military and economy. Along with Prime Minister Lord North, he also succeeded in imposing much greater British control over Ireland.

In 1773, Townshend married Anne Montgomery, his second wife (his first, Charlotte Compton, had died in 1770). Together they had six children, one of whom was the Lady Charlotte Townshend, born on March 16, 1776. Unfortunately, little is known of the life of his children, besides his youngest son, James Nugent Boyle Bernard Townshend, a British naval commander. Later in life, Townshend continued his rise through the ranks of the military, eventually being promoted to the position of field marshal, the highest rank in the British Army, in 1796. Townshend died and was buried in his family home in Norfolk on September 14, 1807.

Scope Note

The George Townshend, Marquis Townshend, and Charlotte, Lady Townshend Collection contains correspondence sent by George and Charlotte between 1763 and 1810. The collection contains six handwritten, autographed letters. The items are arranged by author first, placing Charlotte’s single letter at the beginning followed by George’s five letters. The letter written by Charlotte relates to business matters involving the trustees to Lord Townshend's will and the "present" Lord Townshend. Within George’s collection, letters are arranged chronologically. Also included is a small fragment bearing George’s signature.

The collection was previously part of the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection.

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Box 1   Folder 1

Charlotte Townshend to Mr. [Thomas] Astle, May 16, circa 1810

View digitized documents.

Box 1   Folder 2

George Townshend to [Thomas] Astle, 1763

  • Thursday 10, 1763
  • June 10, 1763
  • September 24, 1763
  • October 3, 1763

View digitized documents.

Box 1   Folder 3

George Townshend to Unkown, August 31, 1765

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Box 1   Folder 4

Fragment Bearing Signature of George Townshend, 1792

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