Simon Towneley

Sir Simon Peter Edmund Cosmo William Towneley KCVO KCSG JP (born Koch de Gooreynd; 14 December 1921)[1] is a British author who served as Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, 1976–1997.[2]

Early life and educationEdit

Towneley was born in St George Hanover Square, London, the elder son of a British father of Belgian stock, Alexander Louis Wynand Koch de Gooreynd, and a British-Belgian mother, Priscilla Reyntiens. His mother was the daughter of Lady Alice Josephine, second daughter of Montagu Bertie, 7th Earl of Abingdon, and Maj. Robert Reyntiens [nl], a member of the International Olympic Committee. The family name was changed to Worsthorne and he later changed it Towneley Worsthorne and finally Towneley by royal licence, on 18 January 1955. His younger brother is Sir Peregrine Worsthorne the journalist.[3] The brothers were brought up as Roman Catholics, but did not attend denominational schools. He was educated at Stowe School and Worcester College, Oxford.[2]


During the Second World War, Worsthorne served in the King's Royal Rifle Corps, receiving a commission as a second lieutenant in December 1942.[4]

In 1954 (under the name Simon Towneley Worsthorne) he published Venetian Opera in the 17th Century, a seminal study of the field, which played a significant role in the remarkable revival of the Venetian opera repertory in the latter 20th century.


He was appointed High Sheriff of Lancashire for 1971 and Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire from 1976 to 1996.

He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 1994.[5]


Towneley married his second cousin Mary Fitzherbert, the third of six children of Cuthbert Fitzherbert, from a well-off recusant English Roman Catholic family. She was a keen endurance equestrian, repeating Dick Turpin's ride from London to York and opening up what became known as the Mary Towneley Loop on the Pennine Bridleway. Lady Towneley died in 2001 from cancer, aged 65.[6]

The couple had seven children; one son and six daughters including the author K. M. Grant.


  1. ^ "Simon Peter Edmund Cosmo William KOCH De GOOREYND,". authorandbookinfo. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. p. 3922. ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
  3. ^ Burke 2003, p. 2350
  4. ^ "No. 35893". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 February 1943. p. 699.
  5. ^ "No. 53527". The London Gazette. 30 December 1993. p. 4.
  6. ^ Obituary: Lady Towneley, Daily Telegraph, March 2001


Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Clitheroe
Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire
Succeeded by
The Lord Shuttleworth