Thomas Turner

The following information has been extracted from a number of sources including Alumni Oxonienses, Alumni Cantabrigienses, the Dictionary of National Biography, and the Clergy of the Church of England Database.

Thomas Turner was born in Bristol on 20 September 1645. He was the second son of Thomas Turner, Dean of Canterbury, who suffered as a Royalist during the Civil War, and his wife Margaret, the daughter of Sir Francis Windebank, Principal Secretary of State to Charles I.

He was the younger brother of Francis Turner who became Bishop of Ely, and was one of the seven Bishops who petitioned against the Declaration of Indulgence during the reign of James II, and one of the nine who refused to take the oath of allegiance to William of Orange and Mary, and, as a consequence, was deprived of all his preferments.

Thomas entered Hart Hall, Oxford on 10 May 1662, but on 6 October 1663 transferred as a scholar to Corpus Christi College, where he was awarded the degree of B.A. in 1666 and that of M.A. in 1669. In 1672 he was instituted as Vicar of Milton in Kent, and on 24 December of that year was elected a Fellow of his College. He was awarded the degree of B.D. in 1677.

On 4 November 1680 Thomas, whilst still Vicar of Milton, was collated to the Rectory of Thorley and on 20 December of that year to the Archdeaconry of Essex. On 9 May 1682 he was appointed a Prebendary of St Paul's and the following year was awarded the degree of D.D. On March 26 1686 he was additionally collated to a Prebendary Stall at Ely.

Thomas was elected President of Corpus Christi College on 13 March 1688, and on 7 May of that year collated to the sinecure Rectory of Fulham. He resigned as Rector of Thorley and Archdeacon of Essex in 1689. On 11 January 1690 Thomas was made Precentor of St Paul's. He resigned as Vicar of Milton in 1695.

As Precentor of St Paul's, Thomas was the Rector and Patron of St Michael's, Bishop's Stortford, in which capacity he presented William Polhill to the Vicarage there on 13 June 1698.

Thomas reformed Corpus Christi restoring its reputation and generously spending a considerable amount of his own money on the College, including the funding of the construction of three Fellows' buildings.

Thomas remained President of Corpus Christi, Rector of Fulham, a Canon of both St Paul's and Ely, and Precentor of St Paul's until his death on 30 April 1714. He is buried in the College Chapel. In his will he left £20,000 to the Society for the Relief of the Widows and Orphans of the Established Clergy and £50 to the Parish of Thorley to bind out some poor child and apprentice to some honest trade; the children to be always such as come constantly to Church and have learnt their Catechism there.

Philip Hargrave
March 2012


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