A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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The parish of Turvey, containing 4,001 acres, is situated on the banks of the Ouse, 7 miles westnorth-west of Bedford. Of the acreage, 1,176¾ acres are arable land, 2,341 ¼ permanent grass and 237½ woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The slope of the land varies: the highest point above the ordnance datum is 337 ft. in the south; in the neighbourhood of the Ouse the land is liable to floods. The soil is mixed gravel and strong clay, the subsoil clay, gravel and rock. Turvey is traversed by a main road passing south-east through the village to the north-west of the parish, where Turvey Bridge crosses the Ouse to Cold Brayfield. In the water between the mill and the bridge is a statue, placed there in the 19th century, and said to represent Jonah kneeling on a fish. (fn. 2) The 'Three Fishes,' an old inn near the bridge, bears the date 1624 on its quaint wooden porch. Turvey village, which lies in the east of the parish, was almost entirely rebuilt in native stone in the middle of the 19th century. (fn. 3) The parish church of All Saints is in the north of the village, near the entrance to the park of Turvey House—an 18thcentury mansion, with a portico of large Corinthian columns carrying the usual entablature and pediment, built by John Higgins. The Three Cranes Inn, formerly known as the 'Chequeres,' is on the road to Turvey station, just south of the church. The original inn has been much modernized and is of very little interest. Turvey Old Hall, the residence of the Mordaunts, stood at a short distance from the village; its site is now occupied by Turvey Hall Farm, but the moat, the bowling-green and the gardens are clearly indicated by the configuration of the ground. (fn. 4) Turvey Abbey, the origin of which name is probably to be traced to the lands held here by the Abbey of St. James at Northampton, stands in a park of 120 acres. It is a Jacobean building, though much modernized, very few of its original windows being left. In two of its gabled dormers at the back are the dates 1603 and 1608 respectively. The abbey stands back from the roadway, having a large carriage drive round the front. The main staircase is original, but besides this there is no woodwork of interest remaining. The building is of stone, with a tile roof. The balustrade along the road in front of the building is a typical one of that date and is said to have been brought from the Old Hall, Easton Mandit, about 1801. In the garden at the back is a small stone summer-house, with an original old oak door. It is called the 'chapel,' and has some modern stained glass inserted in its windows. The whole building was restored early last century. The coach-houses, which stand to the west of the main building, are a little later in date than the house.
The parish is well wooded, and includes Allebones Spinney, Picts' Hill Gorse, Davis's Spinney, Dobbin Spinney, Gullet Wood and Sheepwalk Spinney. Turvey is a station on the Bedford and Northampton Railway. The parish was inclosed by Act of Parliament in 1783. (fn. 5)
The following place-names have been found in documents relating to this parish: Budewell, Gorebroc, Landimareswell, Lestringhey, Leveronhey (from the old English female name Leofran) and Woolseys (which recurs in the 18th century) and Middelputhyde in the 13th century; Blakedole, Hodewykefourlong, Pykeshull, Wolveresheye (the Woolseys of the 18th century and derived from the old English Wulfhere) in the 14th; Graffoldmore in the 16th; Liver Nayle, Fishers' Pingle, Wymond Close in the 17th.
At the Survey of 1086 eight entries occur with regard to land in Turvey, of which one only describes the property referred to as a manor. This estate of TURVEY MANOR, sometimes called MORDAUNTS MANOR, was held by the Bishop of Coutances. Three sokemen had owned it in the preceding reign, and it consisted of 4 hides worth £6. (fn. 6) The overlordship is subsequently found attached to the barony of Trailly (q.v.) and was attached to the honour of Gloucester, the descent being the same as that of Biddenham (q.v.). (fn. 7) The last reference to the overlordship is in 1612, when James I granted to John Eldred and others the rents of assize belonging to the honour of Gloucester, lately held by the Duke of Buckingham in Turvey. (fn. 8)
There is no mention of a tenant holding in Turvey in 1086, but the family of Mordaunt is found holding this manor from the early 13th century. Halstead, the authenticity of whose early charters is doubtful, claims in his Succinct Genealogies that Eustace Mordaunt acquired this manor by marriage with Alice sister and co-heir of Hugh de Alneto, and that Sarah, another sister and co-heir, married Robert de Ardres, thus leading to the formation of the two manors of Mordaunts and Ardres held conjointly for some time. (fn. 9)
The cartulary of St. Neots certainly furnishes evidence that the de Alnetos preceded the Mordaunts in Turvey, for their name constantly recurs as benefactors to the priory. On one occasion there is mention of three generations when Hugh de Alneto (brother of Alice) confirmed the grants of Hugh his grandfather and William his father of land in Turvey. (fn. 10) Therefore it seems likely that an intermarriage did take place, especially as in 1225 an assize of mort d'ancestor was summoned between Eustace Mordaunt and Robert de Ardres and John Trailly their overlord concerning 3 carucates of land, of which each was awarded 1½ carucates. (fn. 11) The heir of William Mordaunt, son of Eustace, held this property in 1278–9. (fn. 12) William Mordaunt, probably the heir referred to above, received recognition of his right to land in Turvey from Thomas Wood in 1313–14. (fn. 13) He was living two years later, but by 1346 had been succeeded by his son Robert Mordaunt. (fn. 14) The next lord of this manor of whom mention has been found is Edmund Mordaunt, probably a son of Robert, of whom it is stated in an inquisition taken in 1372 that on the Sunday before the Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude in that year, being seized with homicidal mania, he killed his wife Ellen and drowned himself on the same day in a pool in Turvey. (fn. 15) Robert, his son, who according to Halstead united in one the hitherto separate manors of Mordaunts and Ardres, died some time before 1397, (fn. 16) and was followed by his son Robert Mordaunt, who was 'during the Civil Broils of his own Country, an assertor of the Claim and Interest of the House of York.' He died in 1448 after having considerably impoverished the family estates, (fn. 17) and his son William Mordaunt together with his wife strove 'by a provident and frugal proceeding to repair those breaches the over-liberal ways of his Father had made in the Fortunes of his Family. Their endeavours did succeed, and as an approbation thereof, and a blessing thereupon, Providence sent them to enjoy the Fruits of their worthy Cares, Three Children, whose merits from their Natures and Good Education, made them all have (as well as deserve) excellent Fortunes.' (fn. 18) Of these Sir John Mordaunt the eldest succeeded to Turvey Manor about 1475. He was wounded on the Lancastrian side at the battle of Barnet, and was one of the commanders at Stoke in 1487. He was made king's sergeant in 1495, and is said to have been instrumental in arranging a marriage between Margaret daughter of Henry VII and the King of Scotland. (fn. 19) He died in 1504, and his son John Mordaunt rose high in favour at the court of Henry VIII. He was knighted in 1520, and the same year accompanied Henry to the Field of the Cloth of Gold. In 1533 he was created Baron Mordaunt of Turvey. (fn. 20) He received Anne Boleyn at the Tower when she came to be crowned, and took part in her trial three years later, and in 1537 carried the banner at Jane Seymour's funeral. He died in 1562, when his son Sir John Mordaunt succeeded to Turvey Manor. (fn. 21) He had been among the first to take the side of Queen Mary on her accession, who conferred on him the dignity of Privy Councillor, and according to Halstead 'so much favour she had for him, and the Lady Joane his second wife, that had God afforded her a longer life, there was no advancement he might not expected under her Countenance and Government.' (fn. 22) Lewis Lord Mordaunt, his son, who succeeded to his father's title and estates in 1571, took part in the trial of Mary Queen of Scots 'unto whose sentence he did most unwillingly occur'; he was also a judge in the trial of Thomas Duke of Norfolk.
He died in 1601, when his property passed to his son Henry, (fn. 23) who was a Roman Catholic, and was sent to the Tower under suspicion of being concerned in the Gunpowder Plot. He was released after the imposition of a heavy fine to the Star Chamber. The long imprisonment is said to have affected his health and hastened his death, which took place in 1608–9. (fn. 24) His will, which is dated 6 February 1608, contains the following clause, 'and for the clearing of my conscience before God and Man, and to give a public satisfaction to the World, concerning such and those Imputations, which lately have been laid upon me, and for which I have in a high degree been censured, I mean the late Gunpowder Treason; … I do solemnly protest before God and his Angels, and that without all Equivocation or Duplicity whatsoever, that I am innocent of that fact, and Guiltless of all Foreknowledge thereof.' (fn. 25) John, who at his father's death succeeded to his title and estates, was raised to the dignity of Earl of Peterborough in 1628, but took the Parliamentarian side in the early days of the Civil War. He was made General of Ordnance and Colonel of a regiment of Foot under the command of the Earl of Essex in 1642, and died in the same year. (fn. 26) His son Henry second Earl of Peterborough was a distinguished Royalist, who raised a regiment at his own expense, and was wounded at Newbury, and several times imprisoned. His estates were sequestered in 1648, and he compounded for his Turvey property in 1655 for the sum of £5,106 15s. (fn. 27) On the Restoration he was made a member of the Privy Council, and conducted the negotiations for the marriage between the Duke of York (afterwards James II) and Mary of Modena. He became a Roman Catholic in 1686–7, and in 1689 was impeached of high treason 'in departing from his allegiance and being reconciled to the Church of Rome.' (fn. 28) The dissolution of Parliament, however, caused the proceedings to be dropped and he was released. He employed the later years of his life in compiling Halstead's Succinct Genealogies, a history of his own family, of which a notice will be found elsewhere, and died at an advanced age in 1697 without male issue. His daughter Mary inherited the barony of Mordaunt of Turvey, but at her decease in 1705 it became attached to the earldom of Peterborough, (fn. 29) which had passed to Charles Mordaunt, nephew of the late earl, who had been created Earl of Monmouth in 1689. (fn. 30) He has made his mark on history as General of the allied forces in the Spanish War of Succession. His eccentric conduct during the campaign led to his trial by Parliament, but he was eventually vindicated, and in 1710 he received a vote of thanks from the House of Lords for his great and eminent services. He died in 1735 without issue surviving, when his grandson Charles Mordaunt succeeded to the family title and estates. He died in 1779, leaving a son Charles Henry Mordaunt fifth and last Earl of Peterborough. He made a settlement of Turvey Manor in 1782 and again in 1783, (fn. 31) and finally in 1786–7 sold this property, including Turvey Abbey, to Charles Higgins, Sheriff of London in that year. (fn. 32) He died in 1792, when his nephew John Higgins succeeded, under his will, to the manor of Turvey and Turvey Abbey, (fn. 33) whilst part of his estate passed to a distant cousin John Higgins, who built Turvey House. Henry Longuet Higgins, grandson of the John Higgins first named, is at present lord of Turvey Manor, whilst Gustavus Francis Higgins, great-grandson of the other John Higgins, owns Turvey House.
In 1786, the same year as Turvey Manor was sold to Mr. Higgins, William Fuller purchased from the Earl of Peterborough two farms, Turvey Hall and Turvey Lodge and the advowson of Turvey. (fn. 34) As in the case of the advowson (q.v.), these farms were purchased by Mr. T. C. Higgins, whose grandson Mr. Gustavus Francis Higgins at present owns them.
A second owner of land mentioned in Turvey at the time of the Survey is Count Eustace, who held I hide there. (fn. 35) This overlordship should be found later attached to the Boulogne honour, but, owing perhaps to some confusion from the union of two properties of which this was the smaller, no mention has been discovered of this overlordship, and TURVEY or ARDRES MANOR is found later held in the same way as Mordaunts Manor (q.v.).
Ernulf de Ardres was tenant of Count Eustace at Domesday, and the manor passed subsequently to Robert de Ardres, who, as stated under Mordaunts Manor, married Sarah de Alneto some time prior to 1221. His estate in Turvey henceforth becomes merged in that moiety which he received of Turvey Manor as his wife's dower, and which he held conjointly with Eustace Mordaunt. Before 1254–5 Robert de Ardres had been succeeded by Richard, probably his son, who in that year received quitclaim from Simon Borchard for certain free tenements in Turvey. (fn. 36) Hugh de Ardres held a share of Turvey Manor in 1302, (fn. 37) and the next owner of whom mention has been found is John de Ardres, who died in 1361 seised of a messuage, 200 acres of land and 5 of meadow in Turvey. (fn. 38) In 1365–7 Isolda, his widow, was allotted her dower in Turvey Manor, which was to include all rooms on the east side of the hall, with one-third of the kitchens, the lesser grange next to the room which was called 'le Kinghouse chambre,' one sheep-cote, one pigsty, together with free entrance and egress in the chapel and dovecote of the manor. (fn. 39) Thomas de Ardres, her son, who was under age at this date, at a much later date (given by Halstead as 1422) transferred his property in Turvey to Robert Mordaunt. This alienation certainly took place before 1440, for in a charter of that date, now in the possession of Mr. Page Turner, Robert Mordaunt granted £8 from his manors of Mordaunts and Ardres to John Hampden of Kimble. (fn. 40) Its history is henceforth to be found under the former manor.
In 1086 Robert de Todeni held 2 hides 1 virgate of land in Turvey, which had formerly belonged to Osulf, a thegn. (fn. 41) Robert de Todeni's possessions, known as the honour of Belvoir, passed on his death in 1088 to his son William, (fn. 42) who, for some inexplicable reason, and according to Dugdale, assumed the title of Albini Brito. This is noteworthy in connexion with Turvey, because William de Albini, Pincerna (holder of the Daubeny honour (fn. 43) ), also held a small property in this parish. References to the Belvoir overlordship in Turvey are scanty, and not found later than the 14th century. In 1278–9 William Hotot paid scutage for ward of Belvoir Castle, (fn. 44) and in 1347 Juliana Hotot held her land of this barony, (fn. 45) but no subsequent trace of the exercise of the overlordship has been found.
Two knights, whose names are not mentioned, were tenants of Robert de Todeni at Domesday, and from one—probably the larger—of these two shares originated a manor later known as DUDLEYS or TURVEY MANOR. It is, of course, impossible to connect the nameless knights of Domesday with the family of Hotot, who held in Turvey from the 13th century, but members of this house were certainly holding land under Robert in Leicestershire in 1086. (fn. 46) In 1254–5 the right of Thomas Hotot to lands in Turvey was recognized by Richard de Ardres, Simon de Holwell and others. (fn. 47) Before 1278–9 he had been succeeded by his son William, who at that date owned 1½ hides in Turvey. (fn. 48) Robert Hotot son of William (fn. 49) held Turvey Manor (here so called for the first time) in 1313–14, at which date his sister Joan quitclaimed all right in the manor to him. (fn. 50) Robert Hotot held by knight's service in 1346, (fn. 51) and appears to have died the same year, for an inquisition was made into the possessions of his widow Juliana in 1347. She was found to hold in Turvey a messuage, a windmill, 237 acres of arable land and 3 acres of fallow meadow. Her heir was her son Robert. (fn. 52) Robert Hotot had a daughter Joan, who married Robert Dudley, and Turvey Manor thus passed into the family from whom it acquired its distinctive title. (fn. 53) Its history during the next two centuries seems to be clear, though the materials for it are very scanty. Between 1467 and 1472 William son of Richard Dudley and grandson of Joan claimed lands in Turvey from William Armingston, whom his father had appointed as trustee, and who now refused to render up his trusteeship. (fn. 54) William Dudley appears to have brought his suit to a successful issue, for four generations later, in 1608, his direct descendant Edward Dudley died seised of Dudley Manor in Turvey. (fn. 55) He left a son Edward, who died in 1608, (fn. 56) and his son Edward held this manor until 1632, when he died, leaving five sons, Edward, William, Thomas, Gamaliel and Augustine, of whom Edward the eldest succeeded to the Turvey property. (fn. 57) His death took place in 1641, and his heirs were his four daughters, Elizabeth, Alice, Anne and Frances, all under age at the time of their father's death. (fn. 58) In 1649 Alice (then the wife of John Fortescue) and Elizabeth Dudley conveyed their two-fourths in the manor by fine to William Dudley, (fn. 59) their uncle. Anne Dudley, who came of age in 1654, and Frances, who came of age in 1655, both transferred their fourths to William Dudley, who thus acquired the whole manor. (fn. 60)
He was created a baronet in 1660, and was Sheriff of Northamptonshire the following year. In 1662 he conveyed the manor in trust to Gabriel Bedell and Thomas Collins. (fn. 61) This may have been preliminary to a transfer of the property to the Mordaunts, for Lysons, writing of this manor, says, 'This estate came afterwards to the Mordaunts, who possessed the whole landed property of the parish. Its name has been long forgotten.' (fn. 62)
As stated under Dudley Manor, two knights held of the Belvoir honour at Domesday, and though the property of the second knight never attained the status of a manor, its history is traceable from the 13th century until its absorption in the Mordaunt property. In 1277–8 Hugh de Willey held a capital messuage, 60 acres of land and 2 acres of meadow, and the whole meadow called Edwinsmede, of the Belvoir honour, for 7½d. yearly rent, homage and relief. (fn. 63) His son Roger succeeded him, and was holding in Turvey as late as 1318–19. (fn. 64) In 1346 the fraction of a knight's fee which had formerly belonged to Roger de Willey was declared to be held by Robert Mordaunt, (fn. 65) and the last mention which has been found of this property before its final absorption in the Mordaunt estates is in 1373, when Edmund Mordaunt held a dove-house and 60 acres of land in Turvey by knight's service of Sir Thomas Reynes, the representative of the Belvoir overlordship in this parish. (fn. 66)
The priory of St. Neots owned a manor in Turvey distinguished in the 16th century by the name of LE PRYORS or LE MONKES MANOR. The cartulary of St. Neots furnishes abundant evidence of numerous small grants of land from the various landowners in Turvey during the 12th and 13th centuries; the de Alnetos, Mordaunts, Maunsells, le Eyrs are all found as benefactors. (fn. 67) In 1278–9 the prior held in all 100 acres of land of which the jurors declared they had not been able to discover the mode of acquisition and tenure. (fn. 68) The prior claimed view of frankpledge in the manor in 1331. (fn. 69) An inquisition taken in 1602 states that in 1536 the prior, John Randes, and the monks of St. Neots conveyed their manor and divers lands, tenements and hereditaments in Turvey to John Lord Mordaunt and his heirs. (fn. 70) The date of this transfer is a little later than that in which the returns for the Valor were made, under which returns Turvey Manor was given as belonging to St. Neots, the rent being valued at 100s. (fn. 71) The manor as well as the advowson (q.v.) certainly seems to have come into Lord Mordaunt's possession at this time, though there may have been some irregularity in the method of acquisition, for it was this Lord Mordaunt who induced the Prioress of Harrold and her 'foolish young folk' to break open the coffers containing the charters of the priory, and to seal a writing in Latin of which they did not understand a word, but were told it was merely the lease of an impropriate benefice. (fn. 72) One further mention has been found of this manor after 1602, when, as described above, it was in possession of Lewis Lord Mordaunt. This is in 1621, when the whole of the St. Neots property, that is to say, the manor, the advowson, and moiety of the rectory, was granted by letters patent to Sir Henry Spiller, Robert Treswell and Christopher Vernon, possibly as trustees for Lord Mordaunt, whose right may have been challenged. (fn. 73) In Court Rolls of 1705 and later reference is found to these lands under the name of 'the Priory Division.'
In 1086 Walter the Fleming held 1 hide in Turvey, (fn. 74) which is subsequently found attached to the barony of Wahull (q.v.). (fn. 75) The last mention found of it in connexion with this honour is in 1428. (fn. 76)
The Domesday tenant of Walter the Heming was named Hugh, and had followed Levenot, a thegn who held this land in the days of Edward the Confessor. (fn. 77) By the 13th century the land had passed to a family called Maunsell. Sampson Maunsell held half a fee in Turvey some time previous to 1278–9, (fn. 78) at which date his son William Maunsell owned 1 hide there, of which 2 virgates were in demesne and 2 virgates held by tenants. (fn. 79) In 1302–3 William Maunsell held one-fourth of a fee in Turvey, (fn. 80) and in 1346 William Maunsell, probably a son, rendered feudal service. (fn. 81) By 1428 this fee is declared to have passed to Robert Mordaunt, and thus became absorbed in the larger manor, no further mention having been found of it. (fn. 82)
Another holder of land in this parish at Domesday was Nigel de Albini, who owned 1 hide ½ virgate. (fn. 83) This land is found later attached to the barony of Cainhoe (see Clophill), (fn. 84) the last mention of it occurring in 1373 when Edmund Mordaunt was declared to have held land in Turvey of Emery St. Amand. (fn. 85) This fee appears to have been split up amongst various tenants during the 13th century. Thus Simon of Holwell and Philip Serviens together held one-fourth of a fee, whilst Ralph son of Roger held one-third of a fee of the same honour. (fn. 86) In 1373 Edmund Mordaunt had acquired part of the property, (fn. 87) of which no subsequent mention has been found. (fn. 88)
A sixth holder of land in Turvey at the Survey was Hugh de Beauchamp, who owned 1 hide there. (fn. 89) This hide became attached to the barony of Bedford (q.v.), the last mention of the overlordship occurring in 1373 when it was held by Elizabeth Latimer. (fn. 90) Warner was a tenant of Hugh de Beauchamp at Domesday. (fn. 91) In 1278 William Munchesny held this land himself in right of his wife (née Beatrice de Beauchamp), having various free tenants holding of him, (fn. 92) whilst in 1373—when the last mention has been found of this Beauchamp property—Edmund de Mordaunt had acquired a messuage, a dove-house, two cottages and land in Turvey held of the barony of Bedford, which henceforward became absorbed in the principal manor which he owned in Turvey. (fn. 93)
The seventh owner of land in Turvey in 1086 was Alwin, a priest who held one-third of half a hide for the service of performing a mass every week on the second day for the souls of the king and queen. (fn. 94) It is probable that this is part of the hide of land that Newnham Priory (which succeeded in 1166 to the endowments of secular canons of St. Paul's, Bedford) held during the 13th century. The remaining half hide which Newnham held in Turvey may have its origin in the property of Lambert Sellator, who owned half a carucate here in serjeanty a little earlier, (fn. 95) and it seems likely from his name of sellator or saddler that this was the half hide which Newnham Priory held of the king in 1284–6, rendering to him a pair of white saddle bows ('unum par arsonum alborum ad unam sellam'). (fn. 96) The Hundred Rolls mentions that Newnham Priory owned 1 hide 'of the gift of Henry III' in Turvey, but that the method of tenure was unknown, (fn. 97) and no mention has been subsequently found of the priory holding in this parish.
The Bishop of Bayeux held 1 hide of land in Turvey in 1086, (fn. 98) which lapsed to the Crown on his death in 1097, and is afterwards found held in chief.' (fn. 99) In 1284–6 this property was declared to be held by knight service, (fn. 100) but in 1320, and again in 1347, it was said to be held by petty serjeanty. (fn. 101) In 1362, when the last mention occurs of the overlordship, the land was held of the king by service of 5s. a year. (fn. 102)
In the reign of Edward the Confessor a man of Alwold of Stevington had held this land which in 1086 Herbert held of the bishop, and which Wimund held of Herbert, one of the few isolated examples in the Survey of this county of an under-tenant having an under-tenant himself. (fn. 103) This property reappears in 1278–9 when the heirs of John le Reve or Rowe held 4 virgates of land (the 1 hide of the Domesday Survey) in Turvey. (fn. 104) The heirs alluded to in the Hundred Rolls were his daughters Agnes, Alice and Joanna, who held land in Turvey in 1284–6. (fn. 105) In 1320–1 Agnes, who was the wife of William Halibred, appears to have acquired her sister's portions, which together amounted to two messuages and 10 acres of land only. (fn. 106) In 1340 William Halibred alienated this land to John son of Robert le Hilier, (fn. 107) who died in 1347, leaving a son John, aged two years. (fn. 108) This son appears to have died in infancy, for in 1362 the heir to this property was declared to be Margery daughter of John son of Robert le Hilier. It had diminished by this time to a messuage, 8 acres of arable land, 1 acre of pasture, ½ acre of meadow and ½ acre of wood, and no further trace has been found of its descent. (fn. 109)
The Prior of St. John of Jerusalem claimed view of frankpledge in Turvey in the 14th century, as appurtenant to his manor of Bedford. (fn. 110) In 1540–1 the priory owned free rents to the value of 2s. 4d., of which 1s. 4d. was paid by Lord Mordaunt. (fn. 111)
The abbey of St. James, Northampton, owned lands in Turvey and Harrold in the 14th century, which were worth 56s. (fn. 112) In the reign of Henry VIII the abbot's 'tenement' is described as west of a tenement in the High Street belonging to the Priory of St. John of Jerusalem. (fn. 113)
One mill is mentioned in Turvey at Domesday which was attached to the Bishop of Coutances' property. (fn. 114) In 1278 (fn. 115) there were two water-mills belonging to Mordaunts Manor, and they are named in an extent of the manor in 1668. (fn. 116) A windmill belonged to Dudley's Manor in the 14th century, (fn. 117) but there is only one (water) mill in Turvey at the present day.
A free fishery in the Ouse 'from Landimareswell to Budewell' belonged to the lord of Turvey Manor in 1278–9. (fn. 118) It is referred to at various times in connexion with the manor, and in 1787 Mr. Charles Higgins purchased from the Earl of Peterborough along with Turvey Manor free fishery in the river from Newton Blossomville to Carlton. (fn. 119)
In 1278 an inclosed park of 40 acres belonged to the de Ardres moiety of Turvey Manor, (fn. 120) and in 1297 William Mordaunt received a licence to inclose as a park 'his wood of Woolsey and his field called Turvey Lees, with his wood of Mancels Grove.' (fn. 121) A park is mentioned as appurtenant to the manor in various extents during the 17th century. (fn. 122)
The park of Newton Blossomville in Buckinghamshire, which adjoins Turvey, included some 20 acres in this parish, and various references have been found concerning them. (fn. 123)
A history of Turvey parish would be incomplete without some reference to that remarkable work Halstead's Genealogies, published in 1685, under the nom de plume of Robert Halstead. It is the work of the second Earl of Peterborough, assisted by his chaplain Richard Rands, rector of Turvey, and is extremely rare, the edition having consisted of twenty-four copies only. (fn. 124)
The church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel 42 ft. 2 in. long by 20 ft. 10 in. wide, with a north vestry, a nave 62 ft. 3 in. long by 21 ft. 3 in. wide, a north aisle 13½ ft. wide, a south aisle 18 ft. 2 in. wide (both continuing eastward of the chancel arch to form chapels), a south porch and south-west vestry, and a west tower 16 ft. 4 in. square.
The three west bays of the nave represent an aisleless pre-Conquest nave, the upper parts of whose north and south walls remain, showing on the south the heads of two double splayed windows. The chancel of this date has entirely disappeared. Aisles were added to the nave in the first half of the 13th century, the south aisle being the earlier, and the west tower is also of this date, the present chancel and two east bays of the nave being now entirely modern, built by Mr. Charles Longuet Higgins of Turvey Abbey in 1852–4. The history of the east end of the church is thus in part lost, but it seems that about 1270 the south aisle was rebuilt and widened and lengthened as far as the east wall of the then chancel. About 1320 the north aisle was widened, but apparently not carried eastward like the other till the 16th century. The vestry, of two stories, at the west end of the south aisle is either contemporary with it or perhaps a later rebuilding, as the date 1593 over the south-west door suggests, and the south porch, though an addition, but little later. In the 15th century the aisle walls and porch were heightened and embattled, the clearstory added and the upper part of the tower raised and rebuilt.
The modern chancel is well designed in 14thcentury style, the east window being of three lights with geometrical tracery. On the north side is a modern vestry, and a masonry screen with richly carved capitals and open tracery opens into the organ chamber, which is formed out of the north chapel. Between the chancel and south chapel is a large tomb with the alabaster effigies of John first Lord Mordaunt and Elizabeth Vere his wife on an alabaster sarcophagus. The tomb is of two stages, with the same elevation towards chancel and chapel; the upper stage has a conical pediment carried by caryatides, and a large panel of the Mordaunt arms, of sixteen quarters with crest and supporters. The lower stage has a Roman Doric cornice with pairs of fluted shafts and a round panelled arch over the effigies with seated Victories in the spandrels. The tomb dates from late in the 16th century, but the persons commemorated died some 100 years earlier, and their effigies show, especially in the kennel headdress of the lady, an attempt to reproduce the costume of their day.
The nave has arcades of five bays, of which the eastern two are modern, in 14th-century style; the three west bays on the north side are of the 13th century, in two chamfered orders, with a label springing from octagonal shafts with moulded capitals, which have all been either renewed or scraped. The opposite three arches are of earlier date in the same century, the middle one having two deeply moulded orders, the others having the outer orders moulded and the inner chamfered; they rest on octagonal columns with moulded capitals. The bases on both sides seem to be modern. Above each arcade is a range of 15th-century clearstory windows, six on each side, of two cinquefoiled lights; the eastern two on each side are modern.
The east end of the north chapel contains a modern window of three intersecting cinquefoiled lights, and in the north wall are two 16th-century windows of three uncusped lights under a square head. The quoins of the 14th-century aisle remain at the junction with the chapel, and the north windows of the aisle, two in number, are of two trefoiled lights, with very good 14th-century geometrical tracery. Near the west end is a pointed doorway of two chamfered orders, and in the west wall is a trefoiled light with tracery over. In the chapel is a large alabaster monument with eight Doric columns supporting a tester with strapwork ornament and bosses on the soffit; under the canopy is the effigy of John second Lord Mordaunt, and on each side at a lower level are his wives, Eleanor Fitz Lewis and Joanna Farmer. On the top of the tester on the south side is a strapwork frame containing a shield quarterly of twelve which has evidently been repainted, so that several of the quarters are almost unrecognizable: (1) Mordaunt; (2) Danno; (3) uncertain; (4) Brooke; (5) Pyrott; (6) Argentine; (7) Lestrange; (8) Latimer; (9) uncertain; (10) uncertain; (11) Drayton; (12) Mauduit, impaling Fitz Lewis with five quarterings. On the north side of the monument the same shield impales Farmer quartered with Brown.
At the west end of the north aisle is an altar-tomb with a black-painted alabaster pall and black marble slab. It is to Lewis third Lord Mordaunt, 1601, and at the back is the coat quarterly of 12 with crest and supporters. At the foot of the monument is the same coat impaling Davey with four quarterings for Elizabeth Davey his wife.
The south aisle, under the east end of which has been a charnel, has three stepped sedilia and a piscina, the highest seat being now some 3 ft. from the floor; the arches have moulded trefoiled heads and rest on detached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. To the west is a coeval recess, probably sepulchral, having a segmental moulded arch, and containing a very interesting and well-drawn wall painting of the Crucifixion with our Lady and St. John; the work can be little later than the recess, and is carefully protected by glass. The east window is of three intersecting cinquefoiled lights under a pointed head; the tracery is modern, but the jambs are original. In the south wall are three windows, all with original jambs and rear arches: the middle window has three-light 15th-century tracery inserted in it and its outer label worked in imitation of the original section. The other two windows have original uncusped tracery of three lights; and in the west wall is another three-light window of the same date, set close to the north-west angle to avoid the west vestry. The south doorway has a beautiful deeply-moulded continuous arch, and retains its original doors in two leaves, with very fine ironwork and handles. West of it, inside the church, is a holy water stoup intact. At the east end of the aisle is a late Gothic panelled tomb of Purbeck marble, with the alabaster effigies of a man with a mantle and collar of SS, and his wife in a gown and mantle, with a netted headdress; the tomb is without inscription or heraldry, but commemorates Sir John Mordaunt and his wife Edith Latimer. The font at the west of the south aisle has its bowl formed of four large volute capitals, looking like early 12thcentury work, and resting on four attached shafts set at the angles of a square pier, three faces of which have trefoiled panels. The bases and capitals of the shafts look like late 12th-century work, and this is probably the date of the whole font.
The porch was designed for a vault, of which the springers still remain and rest on head corbels; the south doorway is of two chamfered orders, having above it a narrow light and a small trefoiled niche; there are plain square-headed lights on the north and south.
The tower is in four stages, of which three are 13th-century work and the top stage 15th-century, with an embattled parapet and pyramidal modern roof; on each side of the top stage are two pointed windows of two trefoiled lights with tracery. The west window of the ground stage is modern, but on the north and south sides are narrow lancet windows; there is a stair-turret at the south-west angle. The tower arch is 13th-century work much restored, and over it is a modern traceried opening to the ringing floor, a blocked square-headed doorway to the north of it formerly leading to the old nave roof, and over it the weathering of that roof before the clearstory was added. The nave roof is 15th-century work divided into six bays with carved bosses at the intersections, angels on the intermediate rafters, and other figures on the corbels below the tie-beams, difficult to identify from below. The south aisle has a good deal of 15th-century work in its roof re-used (1900). The roof of the north chapel is of 16th-century date and that of the north aisle is modern. All seats and other fittings are modern.
In the south aisle are several brasses, one of a priest in hood, alb and cassock, c. 1470; another is that of Alice wife of Richard Bernard, daughter of John Chubnoll of Astwood, 1606, with a shield of six quarters. A third is that of a civilian, c. 1500, and at the corners of the slab are indents for shields; the inscription recording his name has disappeared, but a scroll bears 'Quisquis eris qui transieris, sta perlege plora. Sum quod eris fueram que quod es [pro] me precor ora.' Under the east window of the same aisle is a brass plate of the Mordaunt arms with crest and mantling quartered with Lestrange, Brooke and Danno. In the north chapel floor are slabs to two rectors—Richard Rands, 1699, and Erasmus Middleton, 1805. Near the south boundary wall of the churchyard are several early coffin lids. In the vestry is an old weathercock with the pierced date 1630, and on the jambs of the east window of the south aisle are some funeral helms, gauntlets, spurs and swords.
There are eight bells: the first and second are by Mears & Stainbank, 1900; the third by G. Mears, London, 1864; the fourth and fifth by Henry Bagley, 1682; the sixth by J. Eayre, St. Neots, 1750; the seventh by W. J. Taylor, 1839; and the eighth by R. Taylor, 1815.
The church of Turvey was granted to the Prior of St. Neots by William de Alneto or Daunay in Stephen's reign (1135–54). (fn. 125) In a bull dated 1194 Celestine III confirmed the church to St. Neots, stipulating in return that the monks, whose convent was situated close to a thoroughfare and much-frequented road, should spend the revenues of the church for the use of guests and strangers, bestowing on them meat and drink for the love of God. The Bishop of Lincoln, to whom the bull is addressed, is further admonished to defend the monks from deans and archdeacons, and from the insults of officials. (fn. 126) The church was appropriated in 1218, on the admission of Richard Weston to the vicarage. (fn. 127) At the time of the Taxatio the value of Turvey Church was £8 13s. 4d. (fn. 128)
It would appear that some little time before the dissolution of St. Neots Priory an arrangement was made with the priory by which the patronage of the living was transferred to Lord Mordaunt, for the latter presented in 1534 and again in 1536, (fn. 129) and the advowson from this time until the 18th century follows the same descent as Turvey Manor. (fn. 130) Lord Peterborough presented in 1764, (fn. 131) and in 1786 the advowson was sold to Mr. Fuller, (fn. 132) in whose family it remained until 1826, when it was transferred by sale to Mr. T. C. Higgins, whose grandson Mr. G. F. Higgins of Turvey House now holds the right of presentation. (fn. 133)
In the Valor Turvey rectory was valued at £16 5s. 3d., of which £5 was appropriated to St. Neots Priory. (fn. 134)
The larger moiety of the rectory followed the same descent as the advowson, but the tithes held by St. Neots became Crown property, and were the subject of various grants until in 1600 they were finally transferred to the Bishop of Ely. (fn. 135) In 1709 they were valued at £70. (fn. 136) Harvey, writing about 1872, says that the tithes were then held under lease of the bishop by Mr. Higgins.
There is an ancient annual payment of £6 18s. 8d. issuing out of lands in the parish of Cardington belonging to Brasenose College, Oxford, supposed to have been given by the second Earl of Peterborough. The money is regularly received, and is divided between four old men at the rate of 8d. each per week.
In 1731 Thomas Carter gave £100 for the poor, and in 1791 Dame Ann Mordaunt bequeathed £100 for the poor. These gifts are now represented by £256 12s. 11d. consols, the dividends of which, amounting to £6 8s. 4d., are applied in the distribution of coals, which are sold to the poor at reduced prices during winter.
In 1792 Charles Higgins by will, proved in the P.C.C., bequeathed £1,000, the annual interest to be laid out in clothing for twenty poor women in December, now represented by £1,184 11s. 10d. consols, producing £29 12s. a year.
In 1838 Miss Ann Maria Higgins by will, proved in the P.C.C. 24 December, left a sum of money, now represented by £681 17s. 10d. consols, the dividends amounting to £17 0s. 8d. to be distributed in coals in the winter months.
The charity of James, Mary and Louisa Barton.
In 1884 James Barton by deed conveyed a site for a Memorial Hall and almshouses for the relief of twenty-four persons, inhabitants of this parish and of the borough of Bedford, and endowed the same by deed poll of 1885. In 1908 the capital sums exceeded £19,000 lent out on mortgage of properties in Bedford, Watford, Great Yarmouth and Folkestone; after payment of salaries and repairs, a sum of £319 17s. was paid in pensions to the inmates.
In 1792 the above-mentioned Charles Higgins likewise bequeathed £300, the income to be paid to any person for instructing children belonging to the Sunday school, provided that the salary of the schoolmaster was made up to £20 a year. This legacy is now represented by £355 6s. 5d. consols, producing £8 17s. 8d. a year; the difference of £11 2s. 4d. has hitherto been made up by a charge on a field known as Ball's Pasture Field.
In 1838 Miss Ann Maria Higgins above mentioned made a similar bequest of £681 17s. 10d. consols, the dividends, amounting to £17 0s. 8d., to be applied for the benefit of children at Turvey School in such manner as the trustees should think fit.
The several sums of consols are held by the official trustees, who also hold a sum of £157 17s. 6d. consols for keeping the National schools in repair, and a sum of £105 4s. 10d. consols for keeping in repair the Working Men's Room arising under the will of Lieut.-Colonel William Bartholomew Higgins.
In 1887 a sum of £100, being part of the amount raised by public subscriptions in memory of the late Mr. C. L. Higgins, was settled as a fund for the repair of the organ of the parish church. The trust fund is secured by a mortgage at 4 per cent.