Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Turner, Thomas (1591-1672)
TURNER, THOMAS (1591–1672), dean of Canterbury, born at Reading in 1591, was the son of Thomas Turner of Heckfield in Hampshire, mayor of Reading. He matriculated from St. John's College, Oxford, on 26 June 1610, graduating B.A. on 6 June 1614 and M.A. on 9 May 1618. He was elected a fellow, took the degree of B.D. on 20 July 1624, and was created D.D. on 1 April 1633. In 1623 he was presented by his college to the vicarage of St. Giles's, Oxford, which he held with his fellowship, but relinquished in 1629. Laud, when bishop of London, made him his chaplain and licenser; he had much regard for him, and bequeathed him his 'ring with a diamond, and the garter about it' (Laud, Works, 1854, iv. 270, 444). On 7 Jan. 1627-8 Turner was appointed a member of the commission for ecclesiastical causes (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1627–8, p. 506); and on 14 April 1629 Laud collated him to the prebend of Newington in St. Paul's cathedral. On 29 Oct. following he was collated chancellor of London, and soon after was appointed chaplain in ordinary to the king. In May 1631 he obtained the rectory of St. Augustine-in-the-Gate, but exchanged it on 10 Nov. for that of Southwark. In 1633 he accompanied Charles in his Scottish coronation progress, and on 17 Dec. of the same year his name appears in the commission for exercising ecclesiastical jurisdiction in England and Wales (ib. 1633–4, p. 576). On 11 Nov. 1634 he was instituted rector of Fecham in Surrey; on 31 Dec. 1638 he and John Juxon received from the king the lease of the prebend and rectory of Aylesbury for five years (ib. 1638–9 p. 191, 1640 p. 11); and 16 Feb. 1641–2 he was nominated dean of Rochester (ib. 1640-1, pp. 562–3). On 3 Jan. 1643–4 he was constituted dean of Canterbury, a nominal office, as Kent was in the hands of parliament. He adhered to the king with great devotion, and attended him at Hampton Court and during his imprisonment in the Isle of Wight. During the parliamentary ascendency and in the time of the Commonwealth he was much harassed and deprived of all his benefices. Three of his houses were plundered, his books seized, and he himself arrested at Fecham by a party of horse for having sent 120l. to the king. He was forcibly dragged away while holding divine service and carried to the White Lion prison in Southwark.
At the Restoration he regained his Surrey rectories, and entered into possession of the deanery of Canterbury. It is said he declined the offer of a bishopric, 'preferring to set out with too little than too much sail.' Shortly after he resigned the rectory of Fecham, and, dying on 8 Oct. 1672, was buried in the dean's chapel in Canterbury Cathedral, where a mural monument was erected to his memory. He married Margaret, daughter of Sir Francis Windebank [q. v.], principal secretary of state to Charles I. By her he had three sons, Francis Turner [q. v.], nonjuring bishop of Ely; Thomas Turner (1645–1714) [q. v.], president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford; and William Turner (1647–1685), archdeacon of Durham.
[Chalmers's Biogr. Dict. 1816; Manning's Hist. of Surrey, ed. Bray, i. 486, iii. 606; Le Neve's Fasti Eccles.; Hackett's Select and Remarkable Epitaphs, 1757, i. 262; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Wood's Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 472; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 115, 189; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, ii. 6; Hasted's Hist. of Kent, ii. 28, iv. 538, 595; Lansdowne MS. 986, ff. 160–61.]