©2015 Deborah Richardson
A statue called Jonah stands in the mill pond. He was placed there on 15 April 1844. He originally stood in the grounds of Ashridge House, Hertfordshire, a Bonhommes monastry.
Since 1953 he has had a companion known to many locals as Eve (far right photo).
Mr Dashwood, the then owner of the Mill, found Eve’s body was found in a barn behind the mill, but was missing a head! Someone found a suitable head and it was added, and she was placed in the mill pond to keep Jonah company. However Eve’s head is clearly that of a bearded man in a three cornered hat!
Eve is often referred to as “Jonah’s wife”.
The statues are easily viewed from Turvey Bridge and are well known and very well loved local landmarks.
Turvey Bridge about 1916.
Jonah stands guard over the Mill Pond.
Click the image to enlarge
An anonymous poem about Jonah, probably written around 1895.
Dear friends, when a visit to Turvey you pay,
If long you may tarry, or short be your stay,
Remember one object among other views,
The “statue” of Jonah, that stands in the Ouse.
It looks like an ancient old figure I know
And stands where the waters all round him doth flow
But if you would see him, you'll find him alone,
But quite interesting, though only of stone.
If both his figure you let your eye glide,
The mouth of the fish will see open wide,
And then on the top of its head will see,
That firm and secure, there is planted his knee.
The storms they may gather, and on him may beat,
Yet still from his standing, he will not retreat,
The sunbeams of summer, may fall on him hot,
But Jonah will never complain of his lot.
The water it runneth always round his base,
But one day it nearly rose up to his face,
Yet great was the blessing, he did not get drowned,
For the waters very soon abated all round.
But well we remembered that once he fell down,
But as it so happened he broke not his crown,
Some friends went to help him, and wheeled him away,
And he for a while at the Abbey did stay.
They gave him a cleaning and structural repair,
Two year they kept him abiding up there.
They placed him again on much firmer ground
And now on the bank, our Jonah is found.
He looks an old figure, quite ancient you know,
And stands where the water all around him doth flow.
But if you see him all standing alone
Turvey’s main attraction, but made only of stone.
Jonah is a 10 ft tall statue of a man, kneeling on a “whale” . It has also been called a “dolphin” and a ”fish”.
However... he is also a Grade II “listed building” with English Heritage Building ID: 430904. He was listed on 27 August 1987.
This photo dates from the early twenties when Jonah stood further out of the water than he does now.
View of Jonah and Turvey Mill (above) and close up of Jonah’s right side (below). Taken 2010.
Click on images to enlarge.
Jonah during a flood, about 2002
Click on image to enlarge.