TOWNELEY (or Townley), CHARLES (1737-1805), English archaeologist and collector of marbles, was born at Towneley, the family seat, near Burnley in Lancashire, on the 1st of October 1737. He was educated at the college of Douai, and subsequently under John Turberville Needham, the physiologist and divine. In 1758 he took up his residence at Towneley, where he lived the ordinary life of a country gentleman until about 1765, when he left England to study ancient art, chiefly at Rome. He also made several excursions to the south of Italy and Sicily. In conjunction with Gavin Hamilton, the artist, and Thomas Jenkins, a banker in Rome, he got together a splendid collection of antiquities, which was deposited in two houses bought by him for the purpose in Park Street, Westminster, where he died on the 3rd of January 1805. His solitary publication was an account of an ancient helmet found at Ribchester. His marbles, bronzes, coins, and gems were purchased by the British Museum for about £28,000, and form part of Graeco-Roman collection.
For an account of the antiquities see Sir Henry Ellis's The Towneley Gallery (1836), and A. T. F. Michaelis's Ancient Marbles in Great Britain (1882).