English politician and agriculturalist. He was secretary of state under George I from 1714 to 1717, when he was dismissed for opposing the king's foreign policy; and from 1721 to 1730, after which he retired to his farm and did valuable work in developing crop rotation and cultivating winter feeds for cattle (hence his nickname).
Townshend did not, in fact, originate the new techniques with which his name has become associated. Turnips, for example, were already being grown in East Anglia, England, as a fodder crop from at least the 1660s. Although he may not have adopted the four-course turnips–barley–clover–wheat crop rotation, a practice taken up many years after his death, he followed the Dutch method of sowing clover with barley (clover being a legume with nitrogen-fixing properties). After the harvesting of the barley crop, animals were pastured on the clover and the soil further enhanced by their manure. Yields were also improved by the spreading of marl (a calciferous clay fertilizer) on the land. The growth and hoeing of turnips, as well as providing excellent winter fodder, broke down the soil to give a fine surface tilth. Through the successful development of his agricultural estate at Rainham in west Norfolk, Townshend brought a range of improved cultivation practices to wider public notice. Other measures encouraging profitability included the settlement of long leases on his tenant farmers to encourage interest in the property, enclosure, and the construction of new roads to give quick and easy access to local markets.
He succeeded as Viscount in 1687.
1674-1738 British Whig statesman, known as 'Turnip Townshend'. Robert Walpole 's brother-in-law, he helped to arrange George I 's accession...