To the manor born

Henrietta Townsend and the challenges she faced to become Lady of the Manor

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Black and white portrait of Henrietta Townsend

Lady Henrietta Townsend

Henrietta Rosa Peregrina Townsend (1745 – 1785) Lady of the Manor 

Henrietta was only four years old in 1749 when she was set to inherit Bruce Castle on the death of her father Henry Hare, 3rd Lord Coleraine. But 18th century society had different ideas. As a foreign-born female from Italy, with a French mother and her parents unmarried, her status in society made this unacceptable. Her destiny changed however when she married into the Townsend family. Through her marriage to James Townsend MP she was able to become lady of the manor at Bruce Castle. 

Henrietta, like her father before her, continued her family’s great interest and support of the arts and antiquities. Henrietta was an exceptional artist known to have drawn three local scenes from Tottenham. These were produced as etchings. The earliest of an imagined view of a 12th century Hermitage by the High Cross in Tottenham was published in 1770.  

You can see another one of Henrietta’s pictures on display and explore more in the museum about how her marriage to James Townsend MP secured the house and the Hare dynasty survival into the 19th century. You can also find out about the family tree and the Townsend family’s African heritage. 

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Drawing of the High Cross by Henrietta Townsend

A drawing of the High Cross monument by Lady Henrietta Townsend