TOWNSHEND, Hon. Thomas (1701-80), of Frognal, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1 Nov. 1722 - 1727

Family and Education

b. 2 June 1701, 2nd s. of Charles, 2nd Visct. Townshend, by his 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Thomas, 1st Baron Pelham; nephew of Thomas, 1st Duke of Newcastle, and uncle of Hon. George and Hon. Charles Townshend and of Charles Townshend of Honingham.  educ. Eton 1718; King’s, Camb. 1720; L. Inn 1720.  m. 2 May 1730, Albinia, da. of John Selwyn, M.P., of Matson, Glos., sis. of George Augustus Selwyn, 3s. 2da.

Offices Held

Under-sec. of state 1724-30; teller of the Exchequer 1727- d.; sec. to Duke of Devonshire as ld. lt. [I] 1739.


By birth and upbringing Townshend was a Whig, closely connected with the leading Whig families under George II. Comfortably provided for with one of the richest sinecures under Government,1 he seems to have had no great political ambitions. He remained loyal to Newcastle after 1762, and continued with the Opposition until he left Parliament. Judging from his record in division lists, he was a regular attender. It is impossible to say how often he spoke because of confusion in the reports with his son, but three speeches are definitely known: 25 May 1759, on the plate bill;2 18 Mar. 1765, on a bill to facilitate the exchange of Church lands;3 23 Feb. 1773, against the motion to abolish subscription to the 39 Articles at the universities4—all questions which touched the interests of his constituents.

He died it 21 May 1780.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. CJ, xxxviii. 755.
  • 2. Add. 32891, f. 309.
  • 3. Harris’s ‘Debates’.
  • 4. Cavendish’s ‘Debates’, Egerton 244, p. 220.