Townshend, Charles, 2nd Viscount

Townshend, Charles, 2nd Viscount
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b. 1674 England
d. 1738 England
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English landowner and improver.
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Charles Townshend succeeded his father as 2nd Viscount Townshend at the age of 15. In his early life he played a prominent political role: he was Lord Privy Seal under William III; served as a commissioner to treat for the Union between Scotland and England; and, with Marlborough, signed the treaty of Gertruydenberg in 1709. He was Secretary of State under both George I and George II, and was for a time Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
In 1730 he retired from political life to Raynham, in Norfolk, and devoted himself to the care of his estate and to experiments in agricultural husbandry. He paid particular attention to the rotation of crops and the cultivation of turnips and clover. His efforts on the light soil of his estate brought substantial returns, and those of his tenants and neighbours who followed his example also prospered. His particular zeal for the merits of the turnip earned him the nickname of "Turnip Townshend".
He is popularly credited with the introduction of the Norfolk Four Course Rotation, but this had certainly been long practised in his area. However, the success of his farming practice and the wide publicity that he gave to it were important factors in the improvement of British agriculture during the mid-eighteenth century.
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Further Reading
R.E.Prothero, 1892, article in Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England : 1–3.
——1912, English Farming Past and Present, London, pp. 172–5 (places Townshend within his context).
AP

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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