Our History

At the age of 21, Henry Claude Townsend completed a 7 year apprenticeship and was offered 3d an hour extra pay by his employer. However, his father, Joseph Henry felt that he was under valued for such a talented young craftsman, and so encouraged Henry Claude to set up his own joinery business. Coffin manufacturing and funerals soon became part of the work, and H.C.Townsend was formed, in 1927.

Kenneth Brian, only child of Claude and Beatrice (Kitty) joined the business on completion of his education at Harrogate Grammar School, in 1952.
The business flourished and Cundalls Funeral Directors was acquired in the late 1970s.

In 1981 David, eldest son of Brian and Mary, joined the business and at the age of just 17, carried out his first funerals.
In October 2004, Brian and Mary retired and handed the reins to David and his wife, Ann, and in October 2005, they acquired Backhouse of Hunsingore, Funeral Directors.

In 2007, building works began to transform the old joinery workshops into a refurbished Chapel of Rest, modern mortuary and new garaging to accommodate the business’s first fleet of vehicles.

Alex began working for the company in 2014, and has continued to do so throughout studies at Harrogate Grammar School and Nottingham Trent University before graduating in July 2019. Alex conducted his first funeral for the business in late October 2019.

In 2018, a new fleet of vehicles were acquired, the first fleet of Mercedes vehicles that the company owned. Building works began on the new outside bespoke office building to be used in early 2019, and is now fully functioning and furnished, ready to accommodate you in your time of need.

With history comes great experience, providing us with a complete knowledge and understanding of funerals, allowing us to give the very best funeral service every time.

A lot has happened in the world of funerals since opening our doors in 1927, but through offering our best funeral services every time to every family, we have thrived. Take a look at other events from 1927 to see how far we have come.


Henry Claude Townsend
Henry Claude Townsend, Founder of HC Townsend & Son



David and Alex Townsend, 3rd and 4th Generation of HC Townsend & Son