TURNOR (TURNER), Arthur (c.1588-1651), of Great Parndon, Essex and the Middle Temple, London; later of Serjeants' Inn, Chancery Lane, London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press




Family and Education

b. c.1588, 2nd s. of Edward Turnor (d.1623) of Great Parndon and the M. Temple and Anne, da. of James Morice† of Chipping Ongar, Essex, att. of the Ct. of Wards 1589-97.1 educ. Christ’s, Camb. 1603; New Inn; M. Temple 1606, called 1613.2 m. by 1616, Anne, da. of John Jermy of Gunton, Norf., chan. of Norwich dioc., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 1da.3 suc. bro. 1632.4 d. 1 July 1651.5

Offices Held

Freeman, Derby, Derbys. 1614;6 recvr. of returns, Bucks. and Norf. 1617-d.;7 bailiff of Hanslope Park, Bucks. 1618-?d.;8 commr. sewers, Mdx. 1627, Essex and Herts. 1628;9 j.p. Essex 1632-d., Herts. 1637-at least 1641,10 Glos., Herefs., Mon., Oxon., Staffs. 1648-?9;11 commr. oyer and terminer, Home circ. 1637-?d.12

Reader, New Inn 1623-4;13 bencher, M. Temple 1633-7, reader 1634;14 sjt.-at-law 1637;15 just. assize, Home circ. summer 1646, Northern circ. winter 1647, Oxf. circ. winter 1648, summer 1648;16 treas. Serjeants’ Inn, Chancery Lane 1647-50.17


Turnor’s family originated in Haverhill, on the Suffolk-Essex border, but subsequently settled at Great Parndon, near Harlow, following the marriage of Turnor’s grandfather.18 Turnor’s father was retained by his kinsman, the 1st earl of Suffolk, ‘as counsel in divers matters’, and not surprisingly, therefore, Turnor followed him into the legal profession. He probably owed his election for Derby in 1614 to the influence of Suffolk’s son, Henry Howard*, who was returned to the same Parliament for Derbyshire. The first of his family to sit, Turnor left no trace on the records of the Addled Parliament.

Howard’s death in 1616 ended the family interest in Derbyshire, and Turnor’s chances of benefiting from Suffolk’s own patronage were terminated by the latter’s disgrace in 1618 and a quarrel between Suffolk and Turnor’s father.19 Turnor subsequently attached himself to Sir Thomas Coventry*, whom he described as ‘my honourable and true Maecenas’.20 By the early 1630s he had grown so prosperous that he was able to spend £4,000 on a purchase at Haverhill.21 In addition, he enjoyed some sort of financial interest in the East India Company, which had been assigned to him by his brother, although he seems never to have joined the Company himself.22 He contributed to the cost of the First Bishops’ War,23 but avoided taking sides in the Civil War. However, evidence he supplied was used in the impeachment of Archbishop Laud.24 By the late 1640s Turnor was earning over £400 a year from his practice, which mainly centred on the Court of Common Pleas.25 He also served as an assize judge, and was nominated by the Lords to be a commissioner of the great seal in September 1646 and baron of the Exchequer in August 1648, on both occasions unsuccessfully.26 He died aged 63, and was buried in the Temple Church on 4 July 1651. No will or grant of administration has been found. His son Edward represented Essex under the Protectorate and served as Speaker in the Cavalier Parliament.27

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Virginia C.D. Moseley / Ben Coates


  • 1. W. Berry, County Gens.: Peds. of Fams. in County of Suss. 368; W. Dugdale, Origines Juridiciales (1666), p. 177.
  • 2. Al. Cant.; M. Temple Admiss.
  • 3. Oxford DNB sub Turnor, Sir Edward; Vis. Norf. (Norf. Arch.), i. 108; P. Morant, Hist. and Antiqs. of Essex, ii. 496.
  • 4. PROB 6/14A, f. 80.
  • 5. Dugdale, 177.
  • 6. HEHL, HA5458.
  • 7. C66/2135/17.
  • 8. C66/2182/2.
  • 9. C181/3, ff. 213v, 253v.
  • 10. C231/5, pp. 86, 256; Names of JPs (1650), p. 21; C66/2859.
  • 11. C231/6, ff. 109-10.
  • 12. C181/5, f. 64.
  • 13. Readers and Readings in Inns of Ct. and Chancery ed. J.H. Baker (Selden Soc. suppl. ser. xiii), 213.
  • 14. MTR, 811, 812.
  • 15. Order of Sjts.-at-Law, 541.
  • 16. J.S. Cockburn, Hist. of English Assizes, 272-3.
  • 17. Order of Sjts.-at.Law, 541.
  • 18. Morant, ii. 495-6.
  • 19. C2/Jas.I/S26/8.
  • 20. W.R. Prest, Rise of the Barristers, 37.
  • 21. C78/361/9.
  • 22. C2/Jas.I/S26/8.
  • 23. CSP Dom. Addenda, 1625-49, p. 604.
  • 24. Works of Abp. Laud ed. J. Bliss, iv. 256.
  • 25. Prest, 38.
  • 26. LJ, viii. 482; x. 442.
  • 27. Dugdale, 177; Order of Sjts.-at-Law, 541.