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The Turvey Website The history and families of Turvey in Bedfordshire, England

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Like most villages in history, Turvey has had many poor inhabitants.  Some people were born to poor families and spent their whole lives struggling to survive.  Others were made destitute through illness, accident or just circumstance.

List of the Poor to Receive the Charity left by the late Mrs. Carter & Freemans - Due at St Thomas Day - 1800

Turvey Poor People





George Bailey



Ag Lab

Henry Churchman



Ag Lab

Joseph Cotton



Ag Lab

Joseph Lineham



Sawyer’s Labourer

Mary Pearson



Lace Maker (Imbecile)

Mary Sergeant




Margaret Shelton



Needlewoman (Imbecile)

Sarah Tysoe



Lace Maker

Turvey Born Residents of Bedford Union Workhouse - 1881

Died in the Workhouse

Entries from the parish register of people who died in the Turvey Workhouse from 1771 to 1790.

Hannah, widow of Richard Johnson

      from workhouse, buried 31 Mar 1790

Thomas Marshall buried 17 Nov 1786

Robert Parrot buried 5 Nov 1786

Charles Hinde buried 20 Oct 1786

Kezia Whitworth buried 15 Sept 1786

Ann Churchman buried 15 Mar 1786

Thomas Gurney buried 6 Nov 1785

John Goff buried 3 Dec 1783

Catherine Allen buried 7 Nov 1771

Elizabeth Tysoe buried 18 Jun 1771

Do you think there was some sort of epidemic in late 1786?

Bequests to the Poor from Board Inside Turvey Church Porch

Bequest of John 2nd Lord Mordaunt AD 1571 “for Four poor Almsfolk born and living in Turvey” being a charge on land at Cardington, Beds of £6-18-8.

Bequest of a Person Unknown for “the poor Widows of Turvey” being rent of Land at Lavendon,  Bucks.

Bequest of Thomas Carter esq AD 1731 for “the most necessitous persons in the Parish” being Interest of £128

Bequest of the Lady Anne Mordaunt ad 1791 for “the poor Inhabitants of the Parish” being Interest of £128

Bequest of Charles Higgens esq AD 1792 for “Clothing Twenty poor Women” being Interest of £1,000

Bequest of John Robinson esq AD 1835 for “the necessitous Widows of Turvey” being Interest of £50. Consols.

Bequest of Miss A M Higgins AD 1838 for “providing Coals in Winter for the poor of the Parish” being Interest of £680-3-3 Consols.

Bequest of Miss AM Higgins AD 1838 for “the benefit of the Children educated in the Turvey School” being Interest of £680-3-3 Consols.

Bequest of John Higgins esq AD 1846 “to make up to £20 per annum the sum bequeathed by Charles Higgins esq to the Master of the Sunday School” being a charge on Land at Great Oaks, Turvey

Bequest of Lt Col W B Higgins AD 1878, Interest of £150 for the “benefit of the National and Infant Schools”

Bequest of Lt Col W B Higgins AD 1878 Interest of £100 for the “upkeep of the Working Men’s Room”

James Barton esq built in 1885, at a cost of £6197, the “Almshouses situated in this Parish” and transferred to Trustees £15,833-6-8 in £3% Consols for the endowment of the same

Bequest of Miss Josephine Anne Owen AD 1905 £597-3-0 being the residue of her Estate for “the endowment of the same Almshouses”

The Higgins family did lots to try and help the poor of the village survive in the 1830s.  They would buy coal during the summer when prices were lowest, store them in the old Roundhouse by the rectory and then sell them to the villagers during the winter for the original, lower price.

There was no national Social Security in the nineteenth century.  If you were too ill to work, you simply had no money to buy food etc.

To help alleviate this problem, many villages and towns had 'Friendly Societies'.  Basically these were insurance clubs.  You paid a set sum in each month and if you were taken sick, the Society would pay you a fixed sum per week.

For more on the foundation and rules of Turvey's Friendly Society, please see the Socity page.

Many poor people were employed as general or agricultural servants - please see my Servants page for more details - and names!

The board in the porch of Turvey Church - click to enlarge