TOWNSEND, Chauncy (1708-70), of Austin Friars, London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



16 Mar. 1748 - 1768
23 Dec. 1768 - 28 Mar. 1770

Family and Education

bap. 23 Feb. 1708,1 o.s. of Jonathan Townsend, London brewer, by Elizabeth, da. of Richard Chauncy, London merchant and Welsh mining adventurer. m. c.1730, Bridget, da. of James Phipps of Westbury, Wilts., gov. of Cape Coast castle, 7s. 5da.2 suc. fa. 1710.

Offices Held


Chauncy Townsend, who lost his father at the age of two, was apprenticed to Richard Chauncy Co., linen-drapers, his maternal grandfather’s business. Admitted to the Mercers’ Company in 1730,3 he appears in commercial directories up to 1740 as a linen-draper, subsequently as a merchant. He had extensive connexions in America, about which he wrote to the Duke of Newcastle, 28 Mar. 1740: ‘I correspond and am conversant with the most considerable persons of New England which has given me a considerable knowledge of that Government’.4 He obtained contracts for provisioning the garrison of Ruatan, off Honduras, and troops in Nova Scotia in 1744;5 had a further contract for supplying coal to Louisbourg in 1747;6 and before 1750 was working coalmines in the Swansea district, which he greatly extended, employing mining engineers.7 In the early ’40s he appears to have lent £4,000 to Frederick, Prince of Wales.8

Townsend was connected with Wallingford and Westbury through his cousin, Joseph Townsend, who represented Wallingford 1740-1 and Westbury 1741-7, and through his wife, whose brother had stood unsuccessfully for Westbury. According to his own account, ‘in 1747 ... on my assuring Mr. Pelham I could carry both [boroughs] with his support he desired me to undertake them and if I carried them he would help me out to my satisfaction’.9 He was defeated but was returned on petition. In the House, as a holder of government contracts, he consistently supported the Administration under George II. He died 28 Mar. 1770.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: R. S. Lea


  • 1. Freshfield, Reg. Book of the Parish of St. Christopher-le-Stocks, 37.
  • 2. Misc. Gen. et Her. (n. s.) iv. 125-31.
  • 3. N. and Q. (ser. 11), v. 2.
  • 4. Add. 32693, f. 121.
  • 5. Cal. Treas. Bks. and Pprs. 1742-5, pp. 472-74, 517-27.
  • 6. T29/31.
  • 7. C. Wilkins, S. Wales Coal Trade, 48-49.
  • 8. Daniel Avery to Lord Gage, 20 Feb. 1749, Newcastle (Clumber) mss.
  • 9. To James West, 26 June 1754, Add. 32735, f. 573