A Brief History...
of the Castletownshend Family and their Castles
Castletownshend is in the parish of Castlehaven and this Georgian village grew around a bolting mill set up by Colonel Richard Townesend in c1650. There have been three castles in the area. The ruin of the first castle ‘Bryans Fort’ still remains in The Castle grounds, having been attacked by the O’Driscolls who ruled the sea. Compensated by the British, Colonel Richard Townesend built a second castle thought to be where Swifts Tower still stands. It is said that when this second castle was destroyed through renovations in the 1800’s the stone was used to add the towers to what is believed to have previously been the Dower House, and what is “The Castle” today.
Not much is known about Colonel Richard Townesend before he arrived with Cromwell’s army. He died in 1692 and is buried in the churchyard at Castlehaven in the chancel of the old church. The original spelling of the name was Townesend and then became Townsend. In 1870 Reverend Maurice Fitzgerald Townshend consulted with the Townshend’s of Raynham, Norfolk and requested that the whole family add the ‘h’ into the name. Not everyone adopted this and therefore the various spellings spread across the branches throughout UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada.