The history and families of Turvey in Bedfordshire, England

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Rev. Legh Richmond was one of Turvey's most famous rectors.

He was born in Liverpool on 29 January 1772, one of six children of Henry Richmond MD and Catherine Atherton of Walton Hall, Liverpool. He injured his left foot in a childhood accident and was left with a lifelong limp.

He left Cambridge University in 1797.

He served on the Isle of Wight for many years, at Brading and Yaverland parishes. There is a plaque to his memory in Brading's beautiful church.

In 1805 he accepted the appointment of Chaplain to the Lock Hospital in London, but only stayed there for a few weeks.

In October 1805 he moved to Turvey where he remained for the next 22 years.

People flocked to his services from miles around and he worked incredibly hard for the villagers, including founding the Friendly Society to help the poor (and donating significantly to its coffers).

He had a laboratory for his children to use and encouraged them to do experiments at home. However, he discouraged them from mixing with the village children or from going to school.

His children, Nugent and Wilberforce predeceased him and he himself left this earth on 8 May 1827.  He is buried in Turvey churchyard.

Places on the Isle of Wight with Connections to Legh Richmond

Brading - church where Richmond was curate

Brading - cottage & grave of 'Little Jane' Squib

Shanklin Chine - referred to in 'The Young Cottager'

Arreton - cottage and grave of Elizabeth

Sandown - referred to in 'The Negro Servant'

Richmond published a number of books which were, in their day, incredibly best sellers.  These include 'The Dairyman's Daughter',  'Little Jane' and 'The Negro Servant'. These titles were originally published in  The Christian Guardian (1809, 1810 & 1811)and were then united in one volume entitled 'The Annals of the Poor'.

He also wrote 'The Fathers of the English Church' between 1807-1812.  Which was not at first financially successful - it was a very large and expensive tome.

Theophilus became a Doctor and went to Calcutta in 1837 on the SS Hesperus to fetch hill coolies for the sugar plantations of British Guiana, following the freeing of the slave labour there. He was concerned with the health of the coolies and reported to the Gladstone family who had commissioned the voyage.  WE Gladstone referred to him as the 'able' doctor.  

Although Theo managed to contain a horrific outbreak of cholera on the voyage, 9 died and 2 were washed overboard, but died of yellow fever two months after arriving in Demerara.

Henry was Rector of Wyck-Reslington.

Nugent went to sea in 1814, but the ship was wrecked. Nugent survived, having jumped ship at Colombo.  He fell in love with a girl in Calcutta and took to the sea again to make enough money for a wedding.  Unfortunately he returned to find her dead from a fever.  He set off for home in despair in 1824, only to die on the voyage.  The news reached his family nearly a year later.

Wilberforce had been destined to follow his father into the church.  However, he caught tuberculosis (TB) and died in January 1825, aged just 18.  This broke the Rev. Legh's heart, compounded all the more when the news of Nugent’s death reached him later in the year.

Four of his daughters (not Katherine) were to become the wives of Rectors and Vicars.

The Fascinating Family of Rev.Legh Richmond

Thank you to Rev. Richmond's great-great-granddaughter, Brigid Wells, for the fascinating information about her ancestor and his family which she has kindly allowed me to include here.

Richmond’s Children

Nugent - died aged 26

Wilberforce - died aged 18

Henrietta Anne died 28 September 1828

Theophilus Pelatt - 1815 -  5 July 1838

Legh Serle died 13 March 1862

Katherine died 9 March 1869

Henry Sylvester died 4 July 1872

Mary Catherine died 8 October 1876

Fanny died 28 December 1886

Charlotte Elizabeth died 20 October 1890

In 1893, Turvey rector, GFW Munby and Olney author, Thomas Wright, wrote a book about the history of Turvey - and included chapters on Legh Richmond and his life.

I have republished this book , combining both editions of the original.

Legh Richmond of Turvey

Rev Richmond lived in this house in Turvey High Street.  It was the Rectory at the time.

It dates from the mid 1700's and is made of coursed limestone rubble.  

Richmond is said to have hated the gothic windows.

It has been a Grade II listed building since 1987 and is now called Richmond House.

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