Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Turnor, Edward

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TURNOR, Sir EDWARD (1617–1676), judge, born in Threadneedle Street, London, in 1617, was the eldest son of Arthur Turnor (d. 1651) of Parndon Parva, Essex, and the Middle Temple, serjeant-at-law, by Anne, daughter of John Jermy of Gunton, Norfolk. Educated at Abingdon, under Dr. Thomas Godwin [q. v.], and at Queen's College, Oxford, where he matriculated on 9 Nov. 1632, but did not graduate, Turnor was called to the bar in 1640 at the Middle Temple, of which he was elected treasurer in 1662. On 28 Dec. 1658 he was returned to parliament for Essex, which county he seems also to have represented in the parliaments of 1654 and 1656, and which he continued to represent on the Restoration. He was then made king's counsel and attorney-general to the Duke of York (15 June 1660), knighted (7 July), and employed in the prosecution of the regicides (October), and of certain obscure fanatics charged in December 1662 with imagining the king's death. In the parliament which met on 8 May 1661 he represented Hertford, and was chosen speaker of the House of Commons. During his tenure of this office, which lasted until his elevation to the bench, he distinguished himself chiefly by the courtly style of his addresses to the throne.

His loyalty did not go unrewarded. In December 1663 a treasury warrant was signed for the payment to him of 2,000l. as a free gift; a similar warrant for 5,000l. was signed in July 1664; and yet another for 4,000l. on 26 Sept. 1671. On 18 Feb. 1667–8 he took exception to Sir Richard Temple's bill for the frequent holding of parliaments on the ground that it was blotched and interlineated.

On 11 May 1670 Turnor became solicitor-general after the death of Sir Geoffrey Palmer [q. v.], the attorney-general. He was made serjeant-at-law and lord chief baron of the exchequer (23 May 1671). On the reassembling of parliament (4 Feb. 1672–3) he was succeeded as speaker by Sir Job Charlton [q. v.] According to Roger North (Lives, i. 52), his removal to the court of exchequer was occasioned by the clamour raised by the commons on his detection in the receipt of a trifling gratuity from the East India Company; and it is possible that some corrupt transactions in which he had been concerned came to light in the course of the parliamentary investigation into the charges brought by Thomas Skinner against the company in 1669. The minutes of these proceedings were expunged from the journals on the adjustment (22 Feb. 1669–70) of the dispute between the two houses to which they gave rise, and the defect is only partially supplied by Hatsell's ‘Precedents’ (1818, iii. 368–92), Grey's ‘Debates’ (i. 150), and Cobbett's ‘Parliamentary History’ (iv. 422) and ‘State Trials’ (vi. 710–70).

Turnor was a younger brother of Trinity House (admitted October 1663) and steward of the royal forest of Waltham. As chief baron he became ex officio a member of the court of summary jurisdiction established to try causes between owners and occupiers of estates in the districts ravaged by the fire of London. In recognition of his services in this capacity the corporation of London caused his portrait to be painted by Michael Wright, and placed in the Guildhall (1671) [cf. Turnor, Sir Christopher]. He died on circuit at Bedford on 4 March 1675–6. His remains were interred in the parish church of Parndon Parva, where he had his principal seat. He was also lord of the neighbouring manor of Great Hallingbury. Turnor's official utterances while speaker were printed by his order, and are collected in Grey's ‘Debates’ and Cobbett's ‘Parliamentary History.’ A favourable impression of his eloquence is afforded by his speech at the prorogation of parliament, 8 Feb. 1667–8.

Turnor married twice: (1) Sarah (d. 1651), daughter of Gerard Gore, alderman of London, through whom he acquired the estates of Shillinglee Park, Kirdford, Sussex, and Down Place, near Godalming, Surrey; (2) (before 1656) Mary, daughter of Henry Ewer of South Mimms, Middlesex, widow of William Ashton of Tingrith, Bedfordshire. By his second wife, who survived him, he had no issue. By his first wife he left issue, with a daughter, two sons, of whom the younger, Arthur Turnor, resided at Shillinglee Park, married Elizabeth, daughter of John Urling of Eton, Stoke-Pogis, Buckinghamshire, and had issue a son Edward, who died without issue in 1736.

The chief baron's elder son, Sir Edward Turnor (1643–1721), was appointed gentleman of the privy chamber in 1680, and represented Orford, Suffolk, in parliament throughout the reign of Queen Anne. He married, in May 1667, Lady Isabella, daughter of William Keith, seventh earl marischal [q. v.], and, dying on 3 Dec. 1721, left issue, with a daughter Sarah, a son Charles, who died without male issue. The daughter, Sarah Turnor, married Francis Gee, and left issue a daughter Sarah, who succeeded as sole heiress to the Turnor estates, which, by her marriage with Joseph Garth, passed on her death, 22 Sept. 1744, to her son, Edward Turnour Garth, who assumed the additional name of Turnour, and was created Baron Winterton of Gort, Galway, on 10 April 1761, and Viscount Turnour and Earl of Winterton on 12 Feb. 1766.

[Le Neve's Pedigrees of Knights (Harl. Soc.), p. 87; Addit. MS. 19103 f. 339; Morant's Essex, ii. 495–6, 513; Manning and Bray's Surrey, ii. 7; Lodge's Peerage of Ireland, ‘Turnour, Earl Winterton;’ The Genealogist, ed. Selby, iii. 248; Dugdale's Orig. p. 222; Willis's Not. Parl. ii. 261, 274; Lists of Members of Parliament (official); Lords' Journ. xiv. 344; Commons' Journ. viii. 245, ix. 126, 245; Parl. Hist. iv. 200, 411; Cobbett's State Trials, v. 1075, 1103, vi. 226; Pepys's Diary, ed. Braybrooke; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss) iii. 1060; Bigland's Observations on Parochial Registers, p. 28; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1655–71 passim; Hist. MSS. Comm. 2nd Rep. App. p. 79, 7th Rep. pp. 135, 152, 474, 12th Rep. App. vii. 48, 51, 68; Harvey's Account of the Great Fire in London in 1666; Price's Descr. Acc. of the Guildhall of the City of London, p. 79; Carlisle's Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber, p. 194; Memoirs of Lady Fanshawe, 1830; Turnor's Hertford, p. 124; Allen's Lincolnshire, v. 317; Horsfield's Sussex, ii. 183; Berry's County Genealogies (Sussex), p. 368; Foss's Lives of the Judges; Manning's Speakers of the House of Commons; Burke's Peerage, s.v. ‘Winterton.’]

J. M. R.