Trench, John Townsend

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Trench, John Townsend

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John Townsend Trench was born on 17 February 1834. He was the second son of William Steuart Trench (1808-1872). His mother, Elizabeth Susanna, was a daughter of John Sealy Townsend, of Myross Wood, Co. Cork. Like his father, John Trench was a land-agent. He became assistant agent to the Lansdowne estates in Co. Kerry at the age of 19. He replaced his father as chairman of the Kenmare Board of Guardians in 1862 and on the death of his father in August 1872 he became sole agent on the Lansdowne estate. He was also agent to the Stradbally estate in Queen's County. While not directly involved in the running of the Digby estate in Geashill he was called upon regularly by his father for advice and is responsible for the many detailed sketches and illustrations sent on an annual basis from the estate to Lord Digby. His talents as an artist are also evident in the first edition of his father’s work 'Realities of Irish Life'.

Not only was Trench a talented artist but he displayed skills in agricultural improvement, accounting, administration, architecture, town planning, while also acting as a judge and amateur physician during his agency on the Lansdowne estate. Known locally as ‘Master Towney’, his time in Kenmare was marked by the transformation of the town, including the regeneration of the Market Square, with the erection of a public clock on the market house. He was also responsible for the establishment of a successful fisheries industry. He was talented as athlete, oarsman and cyclist. He was involved in the invention of a tubeless tyre which resulted in a litigation, and in him borrowing large sums of money to cover his debts.

During the Land war and the agricultural crash of 1879 Trench denied that any problems existed on either the Lansdowne or Luggacurren estates (Queen's County). This led the Marquess of Lansdowne to turn to Townsend’s successor, William Rochfort for advice. He eventually resigned eight years later. He was married twice, firstly to Agnes Merivale (1870), daughter of Herman Merivale, Under Secretary for India, and secondly to Leonora, daughter of George Cecil Gore Wray, of Ardnamona, Co. Donegal (1874). He had five children. He died on 9 August 1909


Co. Laois (Queen's)
Kenmare, Co. Kerry

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Land agent

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Related entity

Trench, William Steuart (1808-1872)

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Trench, William Steuart

is the parent of

Trench, John Townsend

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Related entity

Trench, Thomas Weldon (1833-1872)

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Trench, Thomas Weldon

is the sibling of

Trench, John Townsend

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Rules and/or conventions used

ISAAR (CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families, 2nd edition (2011)


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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

August 2016




Biographical history by Mary Delaney

Gerard J. Lyne, 'The Lansdowne Estate in Kerry under W. S. Trench 1849-72', Dublin (2001)

Maintenance notes

Created by Lisa Shortall

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