Charles Turner of Kirkleatham, Cleveland, Yorkshire,

sometime owner of Durdans, the Dog House, and another Messuage off New Inn Lane, Epsom

At the beginning of January 1686 George, Earl of Berkeley, and his wife, Elizabeth, conveyed to Sir William Turner, Kt., alderman of London, 'a late erected Messuage or tenement, and 1 acre of land, stables, coach houses, outhouses, gardens and orchard' formerly occupied by the vendors' daughter Lady Mary Grey. Described as near to a house called the Doghouse, the premises may be identified with what became Epsom's Poorhouse on New Inn Lane. [It was sited where Epsom District General Hospital now stands on the Dorking Road.]
Epsom Poor House by Hassell
Epsom Poor House by Hassell by J Hassell,
formerly a residence of the Earl of Berkeley; The Dog House
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

On the 25 January 1689/90, George, 1st Earl Berkeley, mortgaged a number of properties, including the Doghouse, to the same Sir William Turner, Knight of London.

Charles, 2nd Earl Berkeley, sold Durdans with the Dog House in 1702 to Charles Turner of Kirkleatham, Cleveland, Yorkshire. Turner re-sold Durdans to John, Duke of Argyll, 1708, whilst retaining the Dog House described in the Deed, as the "messuage or tenement.. [known as]... Dogghouse or Dogghouse ffarme" lying near to the mansion house called Durdens.

Durdans by Knyff
Durdans by Knyff
Image courtesy of Jeremy Harte, Curator, Bourne Hall Museum (Opens in a new window)

Cholmley Turner, Charles Turner's son and heir apparent, through the Administrator of Sir William Turner's estate, sold what was evidently The Doghouse to Sir Edward Northey on 23 February 1709/10. It is assumed to have been incorporated in Woodcote House, or demolished, as part of Sir Edward Northey's subsequent rebuilding of the latter property.

Notwithstanding Charles Turner's lack of a title, he was a wealthy man by inheritance with a seat at Kirkleatham Hall, a manor acquired by the family in 1623.

Kirkleatham Hall
Kirkleatham Hall

Charles Turner's grandfather, Sir William Turner [mentioned in the opening paragraphs], knighted 1662, Lord Mayor of London, 1669, had founded Kirkleatham Hospital in Yorkshire during 1676. Sir William's son and heir was John Turner, born in Kirkleatham, Yorks, 21 August 1613, and educated at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. He entered the Middle Temple in 1634, was called to the bar in 1639, became a Bencher in 1661, Recorder of York in 1662 and King's Serjeant in 1669. John married, c 1648, Jane Pepys, daughter of John Pepys (1576-1652) of Ashtead - a distant cousin of Samuel Pepys, the Diarist. On 11 December 1666, Sam. Pepys wrote "To St. Clement 's Church to Mrs [John] Turner's lodgings, hard by, to take our leaves of her. She is returning to the north to her children, whereby I perceive that her husband hath clearly got the mastery of her, and she is likely to spend her days there". One of the children was 'our' Charles Turner, born 13 August 1652 (An elder brother, John, had been christened at Ashtead in 1648, by John Pearson, chaplain to the Berkeleys, but this son appears to have succumbed early - in the Turner family tree from The Visitation of the County of York two Johns in succession "died in infancy"). John Turner their father died 15 March 1688.*

A Marriage Licence for Charles Turner of Kirkleatham, bachelor aged about 23, to wed Ms Margaret Cholmley, spinster about 15, was issued on 27 July 1676 (her mother's consent had been alleged by Sir William Turner of London, Kt.). Two sons and 5 daughters resulted from this union. Charles died in 1719, ** and his will was proved 2 June 1720 but Chancery proceedings ensued which would have delayed administration of the estate by the Executrix, his widow Margaret.

It would appear that the interest of this line of the Turner family in Epsom was mainly financial, as investors or speculators, rather than as a place of residence. The 'late erected messuage' held from 1686 to 1695 had been let to Samuel Du Pass whilst William George occupied the Dog House between 1702 and 1710. Only the Durdans, also acquired in 1702, seems likely to have been used a one of the family homes for six years. One might infer that the later purchases could have been a means of offsetting the Berkeley's debt on 1690 mortgage.

As mentioned above, there had been a connection to Ashtead following a marriage with Jane Pepys, daughter of Samuel Pepys' cousin, John: Pepys Diary contains an entertaining account of a visit to the district on 17 July 1667. After John Pepys death in 1652, however, his property had been inherited by an only son, Edward, who surrendered the copyhold there at a Court Baron during 1656.


Brian Bouchard © 2010
Member of Leatherhead and District Local History Society


* Monument in St Cuthbert's Church, Kirkleatham
On the south wall of the chancel, within the communion rails, is a splendid mural monument, representing, in bas-relief, John Turner, Esq., in his robes as Sergeant-at-law. Beneath is the inscription: -
"To the happy memory of John Turner Sergeant at Law & very eminent in that profession : who by his Industry and God's blessing made a considerable increase of his Paternal Estate and in grateful acknowledgment thereof made his returns to God in large and Constant Distributions to the Poor: And that his charity might outlive himselfe he left a considerable sum to be paid yearly for ever: for placing out Poor Boys & Girls to honest callings. Erecting to himselfe by these and other his good works and by a truely Virtuous and Religious life a Better and more lasting monument then This which his Beloved children William and Theophila, his Executors have raised to him. He was born the 21st day of August, 1613, and died the 15th day of March in the year of our Redem'cyon 1688. He left by his only wife, Jane the daughter and coheir of n the county of Norfolk Esqr. Four children, viz : 1 Theophila, married to Sr Arthur Harris of Hayne in the County of Devon. Bart. 2 Charles who married Margaret Daughter of Sr William Cholmley of Whitby in County of York Bart. 3 Elizabeth married to William Hooker Esqr son of Sr William Hooker Knt Lord Mayor of London. 4 William who married Mary Daughter of Sr David Foulis of Ingleby Manner in the County of York, Bart."
** Monuments in Turner Mausoleum, attached to St Cuthbert's, Kirkleatham
"Here lyeth the body of Charles Turner, of Kirkleatham, in this county, Esq., who dyed the 2d day of August, 1719, in the 69th year of his age. He was truly possessed of all the vertues that can adorn a private life. His religion was sincere, his word inviolable. He married Margaret, the daughter of Sir William Cholmeley, of Whitby, in this county, Bart., by whom he had issue nine sons and five daughters, whereof only three sons and five daughters were liveing at the time of his death."

"Here lieth the body of Mrs. Margaret Turner, brought from Crake Hall to Kirkleatham, by her own request, to be deposited besides her husband, Charles Turner. She dyed the 13th of October, 1744, in the 84th year of her age. Pious and religious, she gave a general encouragement to virtue, and relief to the distressed in the several places which she inhabited. Being averse to vice of all kinds, where her example could not prevail she wou'd exert her utmost authority to discountenance it. Endow'd with extraordinary talents of sense and understanding, which were indefatigably employed in the service of her children, friends, and dependents. An excellent and plentiful housekeeper; hospitable, with so much elegance as was agreeable to the most delicate taste; with such economy as did honour, not a prejudice, to her family. Cholmley Turner, Esq., her eldest surviving son, caus'd this stone to be deposited in token of his affection, and in regard to the memory of his dear mother."


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