TURBERVILLE, Sir Robert (1354-1420), of Bere Regis, Dorset.
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Family and Education
b. Bere Regis, 17 Aug. 1354, s. and h. of Sir Richard Turberville† by Eleanor, da. of Sir Thomas Norris. m. between 1367 and 1377, Margaret, da. of Sir Nicholas Carew† of Beddington, Surr. by Lucy, da. and h. of Sir Richard Willoughby, 1s. Kntd. by Nov. 1380.1
Commr. of array, Dorset Mar. 1380, Apr. 1385, Mar. 1392, Dec. 1399, July 1402, Aug. 1403, July 1405, Mar. 1419; inquiry Nov. 1380 (wastes at Corfe castle), May 1384 (poaching), Oct. 1395 (misdemeanours of the controller of customs), Feb. 1408 (decay of Melcombe); arrest June 1384; oyer and terminer Feb. 1390; to make proclamation of Henry IV’s intention to govern well May 1402.
J.p. Dorset 16 May 1401-Feb. 1407, 6 Nov. 1417-Feb. 1419.
Tax collector, Dorset Mar. 1404.
Turberville was a minor when his father died in December 1361, and remained in his mother’s custody as her ward until he was able to render proof of attaining his majority in September 1376. His mother was entitled to retain a considerable part of his estates as her jointure and dower, but in June 1377 she relinquished to him all right in the manor and hundred of Bere, initially in return for a rent charge of 80 marks a year and then for a pension of half that amount. In the same year Turberville entailed Bere on himself and his wife and their issue.2 Turberville’s inheritance from his father lay entirely in Dorset and included, besides Bere, the manors of Winterbourne Anderson and Combe, along with property at Sturminster Marshall, Lytchett Minster and Hamworthy. To this he added, in 1393, land in Winterborne Kingston. His holdings were reckoned, in 1412, to be worth £50 a year, but he was unable to realize the full amount as the manor-house at Bere, which had recently been totally destroyed by fire, had not yet been rebuilt. At his death his estates were valued at no more than £46 6s.8d. p.a.3
In 1367, young Turberville’s marriage had been purchased from the Crown for £40 by Sir Nicholas Carew, who was to be made the first lay keeper of the privy seal (1371-7). Carew was, according to Tout, ‘not a man of great mark’ and ‘apparently too pliant or insignificant’ to have been a partisan and, in any case, the marriage of his daughter to Turberville cannot have had much political significance for the latter’s career. It was, however, of some financial advantage, for Sir Nicholas, in his will, left his daughter the sum of 100 marks. Turberville’s public life was largely centred on Dorset, though his only regular work for the Crown seems to have been on commissions of array. His first assignment was particularly detailed: in 1380 danger of invasion threatened the Isle of Purbeck, and special watches were to be kept and beacons manned at Swanage and along the coast. Three years later Turberville received special orders to reside near the sea and arm his household, again because of invasion alarms. The fact that he lived near Poole probably accounts for his appointment in 1395, along with Chief Justice Clopton and the apposer of the Exchequer, to inquire into irregularities in the accounts of the controller of the Dorset ports. It was not until 1401 that he was named on the commission of the peace, but in the same year he was summoned to attend a great council as one of the four representatives from Dorset.4
Turberville was not always law-abiding. In July 1388 Thomas Faringdon† complained that he had ‘come armed to Fernham (Berkshire), bringing fire, and broken his close, houses, gates, doors and windows, assaulted him, pierced his beds with swords, and taken away goods and chattels and £25 in money’. Turberville had sat in the Merciless Parliament which had met at Westminster in the previous February and been dissolved on 4 June, and Fernham, just off the Oxford road, could well have been on his route home, though if he had any other motive than simple robbery there is no hint of it. A similar complaint was levelled against him by his near neighbour, the abbess of Tarrant, in May 1402. A strong commission, including three judges, was appointed to inquire into her allegation that Turberville and his men had broken into her property at Bere, ‘entered and hunted in her free chase and warren there, cut down trees and underwood, fished in her fishery there and at Hyde, carried off fish, trees, underwood, deer, hares, rabbits, pheasants and partridges, and assaulted her servants’. Sir Robert’s quarrel with the abbess was, however, one of long standing, and concerned disputed rights of free warren at Bere.5
Turberville died on 6 Aug. 1402, leaving as his heir his son, William.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. CIPM, xiv. 296; O. Manning and W. Bray, Surr. ii. 523. Dorset Vis. Add ed. Colby and Rylands, 13, is incorrect in giving Sir Richard Turberville’s 2nd wife as Cecily, sis. and coh. of John, Lord Beauchamp of Hatch, for she was married to Sir Gilbert Turberville of Coity, Glam.
- 2. CIPM, xi. 444; xiv. 296; CCR, 1374-7, p. 390; 1377-81, pp. 75, 326; Dorset Feet of Fines, 184; CFR, vii. 211.
- 3. Feudal Aids, vi. 423, 633; CCR, 1381-5, p. 515; 1385-9, p. 292; 1422-9, pp. 275-6; Dorset Feet of Fines, 219-20.
- 4. CFR, vii. 346; T.F. Tout, Chapters, v. 44-45; CPR, 1377-81, p. 474; 1392-6, p. 653; CCR, 1381-5, p. 278; PPC, i. 161.
- 5. CPR, 1385-9, p. 547; 1401-5, pp. 126, 428; CCR, 1385-9, p. 600; VCH Dorset, ii. 89.
- 6. C139/27/17.