Turnham, Robert de (DNB00)

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TURNHAM, ROBERT de (d. 1211), baron, was younger son of Robert de Turnham, founder of Combwell Priory, Kent, and brother of Stephen de Turnham [q. v.] Like his brother, he took part in the third crusade, and in May 1191 was in command of one half of Richard’s fleet which sailed round Cyprus to capture hostile galleys (Rog. Hov. iii. 109). When Richard left for Acre, Robert de Turnham remained in Cyprus as co-justiciar with Richard de Camville. Camville died soon after, and Turnham, becoming sole justiciar, quelled a revolt of the natives (ib. iii. 111, 116). In April 1193 he returned to England ‘cum hernasio regis’ (ib. iii. 206; Chron de Melsa, i. 260). Richard rewarded Turnham for his services with the hand of Johanna, daughter and heiress of William Fossard, the last of the old lords of Mulgres (ib. i. 105, 231). This seems to have been about 1195, and in 1197 Turnham was in command of Richard’s forces in Anjou (ib. i. 290). At Richard’s death Turnham, as seneschal of Anjou, surrendered the castles of Chinon and Saumur, together with the royal treasure, to John, and at once became a faithful adherent of the new king (Rog. Hov. iv. 86). He was with John in France in June 1200 (Rot. Normanniæ, pp. 24, 26), and was present at Lincoln when the king of Scots did homage on 22 Nov. of that year (Rog.Hov. iv. 142). In 1201 John sent him to suppress the revolt in Poitou (ib. iv. 176), and for the next four years Turnham remained abroad as the king’s seneschal in Poitou and Gascony (Cal. Rot. Pat., Record ed. pp. 1, 32, 49). Turnham’s efforts could not prevent the conquest of Poitou by Philip Augustus, and at last, towards the end of 1204 or beginning of 1205, he was taken prisoner (ib. p. 49). He recovered his liberty about the end of the latter year, and in January 1206 was with the king in England (ib. p. 58). In 1208 and 1209 he was again serving in Gascony (ib. pp. 77, 79, 91).

Matthew Paris describes Robert de Turnham as one of John’s evil counsellors ii. 531). Turnham died in 1211 (ib. ii. 532), leaving by his wife Johanna an only daughter and heiress, Isabella, who was born after 1200, and subsequently to the death of her parents given in marriage to Peter de Mauley [q. v.], by whom she became the ancestress of the later barons De Mauley, lords of Mulgres (Chron. de Melsa, i. 105, 291).

[Roger Hoveden's Chronicle, and Chronicon de Melsa, ap. Rolls Ser.; Norgate’s England under the Angevin Kings; English Historical Review, xi. 516.]

C. L. K.