Turbeville Family 1202 - 1780
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this family figured so largely in Bere Regis affairs from the
13th to the early 18th centuries, exercising a powerful influence
as lords of the manor, they had entirely disappeared by 1780.
By the first half of the 16th century they had become so numerous
that it seems to have been necessary to establish new branches
at Wool and Winterborne Whitchurch, but in spite of this, male
descendants had become very scarce by the end of the 17th century.
Although this complete extinction of a family and name seems to
lend a certain air of unreality to them, it does at the same time
add interest to a study of their history for they were real enough,
particularly no doubt, to any who may have had reason to oppose
them. At the present time, perhaps, the fictional D'Urbervilles
of Hardy's well-known novel may seem more real than the factual
Turbervilles upon whom they were based.
the Turbervilles are said to have descended from Sir Payne de
Turberviile who came from France at the time of the Norman conquest
of 1066. As a reward for his services in connection with the conquest
of Glamorganshire he was granted the lordship and castle of Coity
in Wales, which remained in the possession of his descendants
until the end of the 18th century when that particular branch
became extinct. Other branches became subsequently established
in Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire early in the 13th century.
Turberville of Bere who occurs in the 13th century records is
the earliest ancestor referred to in old heraldic surveys, and
he is therefore generally considered as the founder of the Bere
Regis family, but John de Turberville is recorded in 1202 as being
one of three `viewers' or surveyors engaged in connection with
building work on King John's houses here. He may of course have
been already living at Bere, but it is equally possible that he
may have been sent here specifically for this work, and could
account for the establishment of the family here.
following notes on various members of the family are dealt with
under the heading of each successive heir or lord of the manor.
Sir John Turberville. Referred to in a document of unspecified
date during the reign of Henry III (1216-1272), and could be
the same John Turberville recorded earlier as a viewer in connection
with building work on King John's houses in 1202.
Sir Brian Turberville. Eldest son and heir of Sir John (1).
Sir John Turberville. Eldest son and heir of Sir Brian (2).
John Turberville is named as lord of the Hundred of Bere in
1274, but this could refer to his son, Sir John (4). Married
Ellen (or Elianora).
Sir John Turberville. Eldest son and heir of Sir John (3), married
Isabel. Early in the 14th century John Turberville and Isabel
his wife were jointly holding land in Bere, and were paying
an annual fine of 4 shillings due to the king each Michaelmas.
This fine had been incurred by one of his ancestors for illegally
enclosing in his own land a portion of the forest of Bere belonging
to the Earl of Hereford. Notwithstanding this, he was Sheriff
for Dorset and Somerset in 1303 and 1304, and knight of the
shire for Dorset in the parliament of 1305. He died in 1309.
Sir John Turberville. Eldest son and heir of Sir John (4). He
married Joan (or Joanna) and succeeded his father as lord of
the manor in 1309. He died at some time before 1346.
Sir Richard Turberville. Eldest son and heir of Sir John (5).
His first marriage was to Eleanor, daughter of Sir Thomas Norris
during which time his eldest son Robert was born. His second
marriage was to Cecilia, sister of John, Lord Beauchamp of Hatch,
when his daughter Juliana was born. Sir Richard is referred
to in 1346 as holding land in Bere as successor to his father,
and a Richard Turberville is mentioned in 1362 as one of two
collectors of tenths and fifteenths in Dorset. He died in 1362.
Sir Robert Turberville. Eldest son and heir of Sir Richard (6).
He was born in 1356 and succeeded his father as lord of the
manor in 1362 at the age of 6. He married Margaret, daughter
of Lord Carew of Bedington, was knighted in 1403 and died in
1424 aged 68.
William Turberville. Eldest son and heir of Sir Robert (7).
He was born in 1394, and succeeded his father as lord of the
manor in 1424 at the age of 30. His first marriage was to Joan,
daughter of Nicholas Toner during which time his four sons,
John, Richard, Hugh and Robert were born. Three further children,
Humphrey, John and Joan were born during his second marriage,
to Edith, daughter of John Newburgh. In 1434 he was "named
among the gentry of this county who could dispend £10
per annum". He died in 1451, and a floor slab formerly
in the south aisle of the church bore the fragmentary inscription
`Orate pro a'i'a' Will'i-.' It probably marked his tomb as there
seem not to have been any prominent William Turbervilles occurring
John Turberville. Eldest son and heir of William (8). He was
.born in 1431 and succeeded his father as lord of the manor
in 1451 at the age of 20. He married Alice, daughter of Hugh
Bramshott, but their only child or children died, and at his
death he was succeeded by his brother Richard. In 1485 he was
"Constable of oure castell of Corff, portershipp of the
same, tributes these posts to his nephew John (11), but this
would make him both a very young Sheriff and a very old man
at death, either of which would be unlikely, especially as such
posts were more often held by a `reigning' lord of the manor.
In 1486 John (9) would have been aged 55, which seems a reasonable
age at which to be Sheriff.
Richard Turberville. Brother and heir of John (9) and second
son of William (8). His first marriage was to Joan when a daughter,
Alice was born. During his second marriage to Joan, daughter
of Thomas Benham of Wiltshire, four further children were born
-John, Thomas, Richard and Edith. He died in 1505, and a floor
slab formerly in the south aisle of the church bore the following
fragmentary inscription - Ricardus Turbervyle arm. Quondam Dorninus
de Bere Regis, et Johana uxor eius; qui quidem"Richard
Turberville, arm bearer, lord of Bere Regis, and Joan his wife;
John Turberville. Eldest son and heir of Richard (10), he succeeded
his father as lord of the manor in 1505. He married Isabel,
daughter of John Cheverell and had 5 sons-George, James, Roger,
Humphrey, and Henry; and 3 daughters-Elizabeth ' Edith and Mary.
His second son James, born at Bere, was educated at Winchester
School, subsequently became a monk, and was admitted a fellow
of New College, Oxford in 1514, being made a D.D. in 1532. From
1521 to 1524 he was registrar of Oxford University, and whilst
prebendary of Winchester in 1555 was elected Bishop of Exeter
and consecrated as such on 5 September the same year, As Bishop
he endeavoured to recover the financial position of his church
which had deteriorated under his predecessor Goverdale, and
acquired the manor of Crediton in Devon. After opposing in Parliament
the bill to restore first fruits and tenths to the Crown, and
then refusing to take the oath of supremacy of the Sovereign,
he was deprived of office in 1559. (Queen Elizabeth was a protestant
Queen, and the Turbervilles had always been staunch catholics).
In addition, together with other bishops who had been similarly
deprived of office, he signed a letter of remonstrance to the
Queen, and as a result spent a short time in the Tower of London.
He died an ordinary citizen in 1570. John Turberville died in
1536 and ordered his body to be buried in Bere Regis church
in one of the tombs in which his father Sir Richard had been
buried. He left a farm at Winterborne Whitchurch to his fifth
son, Henry, thus starting this branch of the family.
George Turberville. Eldest son and heir of John (11), he succeeded
his father as lord of the manor in 1536. He married Audrey,
granddaughter of Sir John Matthewe, Lord Mayor of London, and
there were 4 sons and 6 daughters-Robert, Nicholas, Thomas,
William, Elizabeth, Edith, Mary, Jane, Dorothy and Lucy. Audrey
was also great niece of the martyr John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester,
who was executed in 1535. At Georges death in 1547, he left
property at Wool, including the Woolbridge manor house, to his
third son Thomas, thus starting this branch of the family.
Robert Turberville. Eldest son and heir of George (12), he succeeded
his father as lord of the manor in 1547, and died in 1559. He
married Mary, daughter of Roger Maudelyn of Nunny, Somerset
and had one son Thomas and one daughter Maudlin.
1547 the lords of the manor of Bere were entitled to only half
of the rents and profits from it, the other half or moiety as
it was called, having gone to the successive Abbesses of Tarrant
Abbey until its dissolution in 1539. In 1547, Robert Turberville
purchased the other half for £608 16s. 8d. so that from
this date the Turbervilles held the whole manor. It is perhaps
noteworthy that this point seems to mark the beginning of a decline
in the family fortunes. Before the middle of the 16th century
succession had been almost without exception by eldest son and
heir, but after this time male heirs seem either to have been
lacking or dying at an early age, and succession fell to cousins
and other relatives from Wool, until the complete extinction of
the family and name in 1780.
Turberville's floor tomb slab still exists in the south aisle
of the church, but the brass plate originally fixed to it has
now been removed to a safer position on the wall nearby. It bears
this latin inscription engraved in gothic lettering:
iacet Robertus Turhervyle Armiger qui tempore suo procuravit alteram
dimidiatam partem huius manerii de Bere Regis (post dissolutionem
Abbatie de Tarrant) et eandem adjecit ac univit hereditario patrimonio
antecessorum suorum ad longa tempora dominorum huius manerii.
Qui quidem Robertus obiit quinto die Aprilis Anno Domini 1559.
Cuius anime propicietur clementissimus Christus Jesus. Amen.
TRANSLATION: Here lies Robert Turberville, arm bearer, who in
his time united the part of the manor of Bere Regis belonging
to Tarrant Abbey before its dissolution, to the part which he
had inherited from his forefathers who had been lords of this
manor from ancient times. Which said Robert died 5 April, 1559.
Be merciful Christ Jesus. Amen.
Thomas Turberville. Only son and heir of Robert (13), he succeeded
his father as lord of the manor in 1559. He married Thomasin,
daughter of Robert fitz James of Redlinch, Somerset, and died
in 1587. There were no children and he was succeeded by his
cousin John from Wool.
John Turberville. Cousin and heir of Thomas (14), being the
eldest son and heir of Thomas of Woolbridge and grandson of
George (12). He was born in 1557 and became lord of the manor
of Bere in 1587. He married Lady Anne Howard, daughter of
WHO DECEASED THE FIRST OF JANVARY 1633 AND A'vTv HIS WIFE DAUGHTER
TO THOMAS LORD HOWARD VICOVAT BIKDON WHO DECEASED THE 21 OF
NOVEMBER 1633. There were no children and he was succeeded as
lord of the manor by his great nephew.
Sir John Turberviile. Great nephew and heir of John (15) being
a great grandson of the original Thomas of Woolbridge. Born
in 1614 or 1619 he succeeded his great uncle as lord of the
manor in 1633. He married Joan, daughter of Thomas Strode in
about 1640 and was knighted at some time between 1655 and 1666,
probably in 1660 as he was a staunch royalist and would therefore
not have been popular with the parliamentary government in power
before 1660. He was Sheriff of Dorset in 1652 and died in 1672.
Again, there were no children and he was succeeded by his brother.
During the civil wars and commonwealth (1642-1660) the Turberville
family ac a whole, who had always been catholics, were decidedly
on the king's side, and the manor house at Woolbridge was in
1644 said to have been used as a garrison for the king's forces.
On 18 January, 1644 the parliamentary forces set fire to a house
belonging to Mr. Turberville, and the king's forces retaliated
by setting fire to the house of Sir Walter Erle, a staunch parliamentarian.
The house of Mr. Turberville referred to could have been the
manor house at either Wool or Bere, but it was probably the
latter, as according to Hutchins the rear portion of the Bere
house bore the date 1648 denoting that this portion had been
rebuilt in that year. In such troubled times no building work
would have been carried out unless in the nature of urgent repair
work, such as might have been necessary after a fire. By 1648
the parliamentary forces had virtually gained control, and those
who had entirely supported the king were brought to trial, and
were in most cases heavily fined or their property was sequestered.
In November 1648 John Turberville of Bere was accused of `having
supported the king's cause by taking up arms himself, and providing
four men and horses besides; to have caused Lulworth Castle
to be made a royal garrison, to have led a foot company and
to have quartered there: to have been in arms at Sherborne and
incited others to join the king's side; and to have raised a
horse troop in 1645 and to have served in Wareham garrison'.
He was said at that time to be worth £600 a year, and
£200 a year unsequestered. In June 1651, presumably on
being pressed for further payment, he claimed that he had already
paid £300 in 1643, and £400 since in cattle, corn
and other goods. He was questioned by the County Commissioners
on matters relating to the first war, was discharged and said
to have lived quietly afterwards. His official discharge was
granted on the 20 May, 1652. After Charles II had been restored
to the throne in 1660, an order of Knights of the Royal Oak
was proposed as a reward for those who had remained loyal to
the king, but the scheme did not materialise. Altogether 617
men were to have been given this honour, of whom 13 were from
Dorset. This 13, the annual value of whose estates ranged from
£600-£5000, included Sir John Turberville, knight,
of Bere Regis, whose estate was said to be worth £1500
Thomas Turberville. Brother and heir of Sir John (16). Born
in 1621 he became lord of the manor in 1672. He married Elizabeth,
daughter of Thomas Baskett of Dewlish, and there were three
children-Thomas, Robert and Elizabeth. He was patron of the
incumbency of Milborne St. Andrew in 1680 and Sheriff of Dorset
in 1686. In 1692 he was a churchwarden of Bere Regis, and it
appears from the accounts of that year that he overspent by
some £19 during his term of office, when a large amount
of repair work was carried out on the church. He died in 1701.
Thomas Turberville. Eldest son and heir of Thomas (17). He succeeded
his father as lord of the manor in 1701, and married Mary, daughter
of Thomas Trenchard about 1695. His four sons all died at an
early age-Thomas in 1699, John and Robert in 1701 and George
in 1702, but his three daughters Mary and twins Frances and
Elizabeth survived him. He died on 3 February, 1704.
Mary, Frances and Elizabeth Turberville. Daughters and coheiresses
of their father Thomas (18). Mary married Major William Duckett
in 1721, and died in 1749. In the churchwardens' accounts the
rates of parochial duties customarily received from the lord
of the manor are, after 1704, attributed to "The Widow
& Coheirs of Esqr Turberville". Neither of the twins
Frances and Elizabeth married and they were never known to have
lived apart. They (including their sister Mary) sold the manor
to Henry Drax in 1733 and later the twins moved to London, probably
in 1739 on the death of their mother. They died within a day
or two of each other, aged 77, at Pursers Cross, Fulham, and
were buried together at Putney on the same day in February,
so ends the Turberville saga. Although in the foregoing notes
the name has been spelt Turberville-as used by later members of
the family-in earlier times when spelling was as individual a
matter as handwriting, it appeared in a variety of forms: Turbervill
and Turbelvill (1186), de Turbvill (1202), Thorberisle (1297),
Townberfyld (1552), Turbervyle (1559) and other variants.
you can see 2 more Turberville Coat of Arms; both for Thomas Turberville
(Goldsborough (l) & Knight (r))
early times the Turberville family as lords of the manor used
the south aisle of the church as their family chapel, and were
buried in the vault beneath it. They were probably responsible
for the 14th century rebuilding and enlargement of the aisle,
some parts of which still remain. There are two canopied altar
tombs of the 16th century, the brasses of which situated in the
south aisle and are undoubtedly Turberville memorials. The floor
slabs which exist, and those that are known to have previously
existed have already been dealt with under the notes on the individuals
concerned, but there is a large stone floor slab some 7 feet (2.1m)
by 3ft. 6in. (1.05m) bearing this inscription in incised Roman
SEPULCHRI ANTIQUAE FAMILIAE TURBERVILLE
OF THE SEPULCHRE OF THE ANCIENT FAMILY OF
Turberville, younger brother of Thomas (18) the last lord of the
manor, seems to have outlived his brother and was probably the
last to be buried in the family vault in 1710.
the extinct Turbervilles of Bere Regis owe much of the interest
subsequently taken in them to Hardy's novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles
which has already been referred to. In the novel, Tess's father,
John Durbeyfield, a poor north Dorset carrier, is told by his
vicar who had been studying the derivation of surnames, that the
name Durbeyfield had probably derived from D'Urberville (the fictitious
form of Turberville) and that he is probably a descendant of that
once powerful Kingsbere (Bere Regis) family. This thought so intrigues
John Durbeyfield and his family that they become convinced that
they have some real affinity with the D'Urbervilles in their "gr't
family vault at Kingsbere," and go to Kingsbere with a vague
idea of claiming some sort of inheritance. This idea in the novel
is based on actual instances where the names of once powerful
but now extinct families have persisted in corrupt form. In fact,
in the middle of the 19th century there was a poor family of Torevilles
living in Bere Regis, one of whom, believing himself to be a rightful
heir of the Turbervilles, was said to have insisted on calling
himself "Sir John".
is a tradition concerning the bricked up doorway in the south
wall of the south aisle of the church. It is said that a Turberville
when lord of the manor had a difference of opinion on some matter
with the vicar at the time, and as a result vowed that he would
never again enter the church doors. But they later became reconciled,
and the lord of the manor, in order to resume his attendance at
church and at the same time not to break his vow, arranged for
a new door opening to be made. More probably the opening was a
"mason's door", made as a temporary opening to facilitate
some extensive building work.
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