Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Turford, Hugh

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TURFORD, HUGH (d. 1713), quaker writer, was probably a near relative of Elizabeth Turford, who in 1664 was twice imprisoned for a month or more at Bristol (Besse, Sufferings, i. 51, ii. 638). Turford, who was a schoolmaster, died at Bristol, and was buried there on 5 March 1713. His wife Jane and a son and a daughter predeceased him before 1674.

His ‘Grounds of a Holy Life, or the Way by which many who were Heathens came to be renowned Christians and such as are now Sinners may come to be numbered with Saints by Little Preaching’ (London, 1702, 8vo), which has become a classic, owing to its appeal to every class of readers, is a broad-minded and entirely unsectarian contention for consistency rather than conformity of practice, urging a return to the primitive virtue of self-denial. It has been translated into French (Nismes, 1824, 8vo) and into German, many times reprinted, and reached a seventeenth edition in 1802 and a twentieth in 1836. Other editions appeared at Manchester, 1838, 12mo, and 1843; London, 1843, 12mo; and Manchester (27th ed.), 1860, 12mo. Two portions of the book, viz. Paul's speech to the bishop of Crete, and ‘A True Touchstone or Trial of Christianity,’ were separately issued—the former, Bristol 1746, and Whitby 1788, the latter, Leeds 1785, 1794, and 1799. The whole work was reissued in 1787 as ‘The Ancient Christian's Principle, or Rule of Life, revised and brought to Light, with a Description of True Godliness, and the Way by which our Lives may be conformed thereunto.’ It was reprinted under this title: Dublin, 1793; London, 1799; and York, 1812 and 1814. Under this title it was translated into Spanish, ‘Principios de los primitivos Cristianos,’ London, 1844, 12mo; into Italian ‘Massime Fondamentali degli antichi Cristiani,’ London, 1846, 12mo; and into Danish, Stavanger, 1855, 12mo.

[Works above mentioned; Smith's Cat. ii. 832, and Suppl. p. 343; Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit.; Registers at Devonshire House, Bishopsgate.]

C. F. S.