George Townshend, 2nd Marquess Townshend

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The Most Honourable
The Marquess Townshend
Lord Townshend by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Lord Steward of the Household
In office
Monarch George III
Prime Minister Hon. William Pitt the Younger
Henry Addington
Preceded by The Duke of Dorset
Succeeded by The Earl of Dartmouth
Personal details
Born 18 April 1753 (1753-04-18)
Died 27 July 1811 (1811-07-28) (aged 58)
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Charlotte Mainwaring-Ellerker (d. 1802)
Alma mater St John's College, Cambridge

George Townshend, 2nd Marquess Townshend, PC, FRS (18 April 1753 – 27 July 1811), known as The Lord Ferrers of Chartley from 1770 to 1784 and as The Earl of Leicester from 1784 to 1807, was a British peer and politician.

Background and education

Townshend was the eldest son of George Townshend, 1st Marquess Townshend, by his first wife Charlotte Compton, 15th Baroness Ferrers of Chartley and 7th Baroness Compton. He was the elder brother of Lord John Townshend and Lord Charles Townshend and the nephew of Charles Townshend. He succeeded to the titles held by his mother on her death in 1774 and became known as the Lord Ferrers of Chartley. He was educated at Eton[1] and St John's College, Cambridge,[1][2] and served for a few years in the Army, achieving the ranks of Cornet, Lieutenant, and finally Captain in 1774.[1]

Political career

Townshend was summoned by writ to Parliament in 1774. In March 1782 he was appointed Captain of the Honourable Band of Gentlemen Pensioners, a position he held until May 1783, and again from December 1783 to 1797. He was admitted to the Privy Council in April 1782[3] and also served as a member of the Committee for Trade from 1784 to 1786. In 1784 he was created Earl of Leicester in his own right.[4] His choice of title derived from the fact that he was a female-line great-great-great-grandson of Lady Lucy Sydney, daughter of Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl of Leicester (a title which had become extinct in 1743). He later held office under William Pitt the Younger and Henry Addington as Master of the Mint from 1790 to 1794, as Joint Postmaster General from 1794 to 1799 and as Lord Steward of the Household from 1799 to 1802. In 1807 he succeeded his father in the marquessate of Townshend.

Apart from his political career, Townshend was interested in archaeology and served as President of the Society of Antiquaries. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Trustee of the British Museum.[1]


Lord Townshend married Charlotte, daughter of Eaton Mainwaring-Ellerker, on 24 December 1777, who had adopted the name and arms of Ellerker by a 1750 Act of Parliament.[5] They had two sons, George and Lord Charles, both of whom died childless, and three daughters. She died in February 1802. Lord Townshend died suddenly in July 1811, aged 58, and was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son George, who had previously been disinherited. On the latter's death in 1855 the earldom of Leicester became extinct while the marquessate passed to his cousin John Townshend, son of Lord John Townshend of Balls Park.[1]

Titles and styles

  • The Hon. George Townshend (18 April 1753 – 3 September 1770)
  • The Rt. Hon. The Lord Ferrers of Chartley (3 September 1770 – 1784)
  • The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Leicester (1784 – 14 September 1807)
  • The Most Hon. The Marquess Townshend (14 September 1807 – 27 July 1811)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1899). [ "Townshend, George (1755-1811)" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Dictionary of National Biography. 57. London: Smith, Elder & Co.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Ferrars, Lord George (FRRS770G)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. The London Gazette: no. 12290. p. 1. 23 April 1782.
  4. The London Gazette: no. 12541. p. 1. 8 May 1784.
  5. Deed Poll Office: Private Act of Parliament 1750 (24 Geo. 2). c. 17

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Mount Edgcumbe and Valletort
Captain of the Honourable Band of Gentlemen Pensioners
Succeeded by
The Earl of Jersey
Preceded by
The Earl of Jersey
Captain of the Honourable Band of Gentlemen Pensioners
Succeeded by
The Viscount Falmouth
Preceded by
The Earl of Chesterfield
Master of the Mint
Succeeded by
Sir George Yonge, Bt
Preceded by
The Earl of Chesterfield
The Lord Walsingham
Joint Postmaster-General
with The Earl of Chesterfield 1794–1799
The Lord Auckland 1798–1799

Succeeded by
The Lord Auckland
Earl Gower
Preceded by
The Duke of Dorset
Lord Steward of the Household
Succeeded by
The Earl of Dartmouth
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
George Townshend
Marquess Townshend
Succeeded by
George Ferrers Townshend
New creation Earl of Leicester
6th creation
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Charlotte Townshend
Baron Ferrers of Chartley
Succeeded by
George Ferrers Townshend