Roger Townshend

The Honourable Lieutenant Colonel Roger Townshend has a monument in the south aisle of the nave of Westminster Abbey. He is buried at Albany, New York. The monument, of red and white marble, was designed by Robert Adam and executed by Thomas and Benjamin Carter and was in place by November 1761. The sculptured relief of a military skirmish at Ticonderoga between the British and the French was modelled by Luc-Francois Breton and executed by John Eckstein. The relief shows figures (some of whom have lost their heads) in Roman armour with Townshend shown dying in the foreground. Above are military emblems. Two Native Americans of the region, about four feet five inches tall, act as caryatids supporting a sarcophagus. One carries a tomahawk in his hand but the blade has been broken off and the other a musket and both have powder horns slung over their shoulders. The inscription reads:

This monument was erected by a disconsolate parent, the Lady Viscountess TOWNSHEND, to the memory of her fifth son, the Honble. Lieut. Colonel ROGER TOWNSHEND, who was killed by a cannon ball on the 25th of July 1759 in the 28th year of his age, as he was reconnoitring ye French lines at Ticonderoga in North America. From the parent, the brother, and the friend, his social and amiable manners, his enterprizing bravery, and the integrity of his heart, may claim the tribute of affliction: yet stranger, weep not; for, tho' premature his death, his life was glorious; enrolling him with the names of those immortal statesmen and commanders whose wisdom and intrepidity in the course of this comprehensive and sucessfull war, have extended the commerce, enlarged the dominion, and upheld the majesty of these kingdoms, beyond the idea of any former age.

Roger was a son of Charles, 3rd Viscount Townshend of Raynham Hall in Norfolk, and his wife Audrey (Harrison). His brother George was created Marquess Townshend of Raynham and brother Charles was a famous statesman. Raynham Hall has been the family home of the Townshends for over 300 years and several members of the family are buried there.

Further reading

"Robert Adam, Luc-Francois Breton and the Townshend monument in Westminster Abbey" by John Fleming in The Connoisseur July 1962

Designs for the monument are at the Sir John Soane's Museum London

For members of the family see Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


25th July 1759





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Roger Townshend
Roger Townshend memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2021 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Roger Townshend
Native American figure

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2021 Dean and Chapter of Westminster