World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend

Article Id: WHEBN0000317317
Reproduction Date:

Title: Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Evelyn Pierrepont, 1st Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull, John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville, Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington, Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle, Robert Walpole
Collection: 1674 Births, 1738 Deaths, Agriculturalists, Alumni of King's College, Cambridge, Ambassadors of Great Britain to France, Ambassadors of Great Britain to the Netherlands, British Agriculturalists, British Secretaries of State, Diplomatic Peers, Fellows of the Royal Society, Knights of the Garter, Lord Presidents of the Council, Lord-Lieutenants of Norfolk, People Educated at Eton College, People from North Norfolk (District), Townshend Family, Townshend Family (English Aristocracy), Viscounts in the Peerage of England
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend

The Right Honourable
The Viscount Townshend
Charles, Viscount Townshend, after Kneller c. 1715–20. Dressed in Garter robes. National Portrait Gallery NPG 1755
2nd Viscount Townshend
Lord President of the Council
In office
11 June 1720 – 25 June 1721
Monarch George I
Preceded by The Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull
Succeeded by The Lord Carleton
Personal details
Born (1674-04-18)18 April 1674
Raynham Hall, Norfolk
Died 21 June 1738(1738-06-21) (aged 64)
Raynham Hall, Norfolk
Nationality roman
Parents Horatio Townshend (father)
Known for inventing the 4 crop rotation method

Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend Bt KG PC FRS (; 18 April 1674 – 21 June 1738) was a British Whig statesman. He served for a decade as Secretary of State, directing British foreign policy. He was often known as Turnip Townshend because of his strong interest in farming turnips and his role in the British agricultural revolution.


  • Early life 1
  • Secretary of State and other posts 2
  • "Turnip" Townshend 3
  • Family 4
  • References 5

Early life

Townshend was the eldest son of Sir Horatio Townshend, 3rd Baronet, who was created Baron Townshend in 1661 and Viscount Townshend in 1682. The old Norfolk family of Townshend, to which he belonged, is descended from Sir Roger Townshend (d. 1493) of Raynham, who acted as legal advisor to the Paston family, and was made a justice of the common pleas in 1484. His descendant, another Sir Roger Townshend (c. 1543–1590), had a son Sir John Townshend (1564–1603), a soldier, whose son, Roger Townshend, was created a baronet in 1617. He was the father of Sir Horatio Townshend.[1]

Born at Raynham Hall, Norfolk, Townshend succeeded to the peerages in December 1687, and was educated at Eton College and King's College, Cambridge.[2] He had Tory sympathies when he took his seat in the House of Lords, but his views changed, and he began to take an active part in politics as a Whig. For a few years after the accession of Queen Anne he remained without office, but in November 1708 he was appointed Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, having in the previous year been summoned to the Privy Council. He was ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the States-General from 1709 to 1711, taking part during these years in the negotiations which preceded the conclusion of the Treaty of Utrecht.[1]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in April 1706.[3]

Secretary of State and other posts

Charles Viscount Townshend, studio of Kneller. National Portrait Gallery NPG 1363. Probably painted soon after Townshend entered the House of Lords in 1697, but he does not wear his official robes. This is typical of the Kit-Cat Club portraits, which emphasise the like-mindedness and unity of the members rather than their different social positions[4]

After his recall to England he was busily occupied in attacking the proceedings of the new Tory ministry. Townshend quickly won the favour of Secretary of State for the Northern Department. The policy of Townshend and his colleagues, after they had crushed the Jacobite rising of 1715, both at home and abroad, was one of peace. The secretary disliked the interference of Britain in the war between Sweden and Denmark, and he promoted the conclusion of defensive alliances between Britain and the emperor and Britain and France.

In spite of these successes the influence of the Whigs was gradually undermined by the intrigues of Prince of Wales, their intention being that the prince should supplant his father on the throne. Consequently in December 1716 the secretary was dismissed and was made Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, but he only retained this post until the following April.[1]

Early in 1720 a partial reconciliation took place between the parties of Stanhope and Townshend, and in June of this year the latter became Bishop Atterbury, the pardon and partial restoration of Lord Bolingbroke, and the troubles in Ireland caused by the patent permitting Wood to coin halfpence.[1]

Townshend secured the dismissal of his rival, Austria and in foreign politics generally led to a final rupture in 1730. Failing, owing to Walpole's interference, in his efforts to procure the dismissal of a colleague and his replacement by a personal friend, Townshend retired on 15 May 1730.[1] His departure removed the final obstacle to the conclusion of an Anglo-Austrian Alliance which would become the centrepiece of British foreign policy until 1756.

"Turnip" Townshend

His remaining years were passed at Raynham, where he interested himself in agriculture. He died at Raynham on 21 June 1738.[1]

He promoted adoption of the Norfolk four course system, involving rotation of turnips, barley, clover and wheat crops. He was an enthusiastic advocate of growing turnips as a field crop, for livestock feed.[5] As a result of his promotion of turnip-growing and his agricultural experiments at Raynham, he became known as “Turnip Townshend”. (Alexander Pope mentions “Townshend’s turnips” in Imitations of Horace, Epistle II.) Townshend is often mentioned, together with Jethro Tull, Robert Bakewell and others, as a major figure in England’s “Agricultural Revolution”, contributing to adoption of agricultural practices that supported the increase in Britain’s population between 1700 and 1850.[5][6]


Elizabeth Pelham (1681–1711), first wife of Charles, (Godfrey Kneller, late 1690s)
Lady Dorothy Townshend (Walpole) (1686-1726), second wife of Charles by Charles Jervas

Townshend was twice married—first to Elizabeth Pelham (d. 1711), daughter of Thomas Pelham, 1st Baron Pelham of Laughton and his first wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Jones of Ramsbury Manor.

Children of Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend of Raynham and Hon. Elizabeth Pelham

Secondly he was married to Dorothy Walpole (1686–1726), sister of Sir Robert Walpole who is said to haunt Raynham as Brown Lady of Raynham Hall.

Children of Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend of Raynham and Dorothy Townshend

He had eight sons. The eldest son,

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
William Cadogan
British Ambassador to the Netherlands
Succeeded by
Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford
Political offices
Preceded by
Marquess of Hartington
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard
Succeeded by
The Lord Paget
Preceded by
William Bromley
Northern Secretary
Succeeded by
James Stanhope
Preceded by
The Earl of Sunderland
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by
The Duke of Bolton
Preceded by
The Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull
Lord President of the Council
Succeeded by
The Lord Carleton
Preceded by
The Earl Stanhope
Northern Secretary
Succeeded by
The Lord Harrington
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Duke of Norfolk
Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk
Succeeded by
The Duke of Ormonde
Preceded by
The Duke of Ormonde
Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk
Succeeded by
Lord Lynn
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Horatio Townshend
Viscount Townshend
1st creation
Succeeded by
Charles Townshend
Baron Townshend
(descended by acceleration)

1st creation
  1. ^ a b c d e f g Public Domain One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain:  This cites:
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ National Portrait Gallery description of NPG 1363
  5. ^ a b Prothero, R. E. (Lord Ernle). (Sir A. D. Hall, ed.) 1936. English farming, past and present. 5th Ed.
  6. ^ Overton, M. 1996. Agricultural revolution in England, the transformation of the agrarian economy 1500-1850, Cambridge University Press.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Norwich Cathedral: Church, City, and Diocese, 1096–1996Atherton, Ian (ed.) p. 584 (Accessed 3 April 2013)
  9. ^
  10. ^


Townsend was the maternal grandfather of Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis.

The third viscount had two sons, George, 1st Marquess Townshend, and Charles Townshend.

Dean of Norwich The younger son Edward (1719–1765) became [1]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.