The history and families of Turvey in Bedfordshire, England

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Here are details of some of the many Rectors of Turvey Church.  There is also a name list going back to 1150 and lots of information on Turvey’s most famous rector - the best-selling author, Legh Richmond.

Most of the Rectors lived in the beautiful Turvey Rectory.

This is a very unusual building, and worth looking at in more detail.

Rev. Legh Richmond The Rectory List of Rectors Turvey Church Turvey Rectory

Rev. George Frederick Woodhouse Munby

was the rector

Was the rector of Turvey Church for 35 years  from 1869 to 1905.  He was a much respected Turvey resident.  Together with Thomas Wright of Olney he wrote the popular history of Turvey called “Turvey and the Mordaunts with some account of Legh Richmond”.

I have republished this book as it is a fascinating read.

These postcards show him as a dignified gentleman, with his white sideburns and chimney-pot hat.

Rev Munby was a Yorkshire man, born in 1834.  He had an MA from

Cambridge. His wife was called Harriet Louisa and she  came from

Diddington  in Huntingdon.  They had children called Henry (b. 1875),

Ernest  (b. 1876 and killed in action in 1915) & Florence (b. 1879).

He left the Rectory on 8th February 1905, having been presented with gifts from his parishioners.  He wrote an open letter to the Parishioners, obviously touched at how many had written to him asking him to stay in their parish.

Harriet was buried on 22 April 1926, aged 81, George had died in 1924.

Rev. Erasmus Middleton

Middleton was born in 1739.  He was rector of Turvey from 1804 until his death in 1805.

He started studying at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University in 1767 but was expelled  in May 1768, along with five other members of the Hall, for publicly praying and preaching.

He published a best-selling book called 'Biographia Evangelia'.

The engraving on the left was made around 1789.

Rev. Legh Richmond was probably Turvey's most well-known rector.

He was a best selling author and very famous in his day.

He was rector from 1805 until 1827, when he died.

Rev. Legh Richmond

The wonderfully named Rt. Rev. Sir Lovelace Tomlinson Stamer, 3rd Baronett, Bishop of Shrewsbury who lived from 18 August 1829 to 29 October 1908 is pictured on the right.

He was born in York and was named after his father (Lovelace) and his mother’s maiden name (Tomlinson).  He went to the famous Rugby School, then to Trinity College in Cambridge, getting his BA (1853), an MA (1856) and a DD (1888).

He came to Turvey from Clay Cross in Derbyshire in 1854 and served as curate for a year. He married Ellen Dent after leaving Turvey.

He was the first Anglican Bishop of Shrewsbury from 1888 until his death in 1908.

One of his five sons, the Rev FC Stamer, donated a photograph of Rev Lovelace Stamer to Turvey in 1926, it was placed in the Vestry.

Reverend Butler was Rector from 1959 until 1969.  He had three daughters called Jane, Ann and Katy and he always wore a long black cloak.

Rev Peter Jeffery was rector from 1969 until 1999.  He was unmarried and was a very popular rector.

Rev Richard Cecil was rector in 1829 and again several years later following a ministerial post in Ongar.

He was the nephew of the famous minister of Bedford Row Chapel in London, after whom he was named.

Turvey Rectors

Rev Claude Albert Bloomfield Allen was rector from 1935-1950.  His son Christopher was a Royal Marine who sadly died during the War, aged just 19.

Click here to read the Memorium to Mrs Munby from Felmersham Rural Deanery Parish Magazine June 1926


The Rev. John Webster Hawksley was another of the distinguished gentlemen to serve as rector of Turvey.

Hawksley came to Turvey in 1827 and was there until his death in 1856.  He was also the rector of Souldrop-cum-Knotting from 1792 until 1856.

Born in 1768, he graduated from St. John’s, Cambridge with an MA on 11 June 1804.

He was well known for his many writings on political and farming related subjects.

He is particularly remembered for his open letter to Dr. John Lee, the chairmna of the Bedfordshire Agricultural Society, in 1833.  Entitled “Brief remarks on small farms and cottagers’ spade husbandry”, Hawksley felt that his parishoners were suffering from the fact that large companies were buying up small freeholds and cottages.  The parishoners did not earn enough to have a chance to compete against these big bodies, resulting in their losing their chances to own land, and that this had many negative knock-on effects in the society.   He suggested that large farms should instead be owned by the parish and let off to the parishoners for sums they could afford.

Hawksley also wrote a popular poem called “The Antidote: A Political Poem Humbly Inscribed to the King”, in

Rev. William Breighton Russell

Russell was the rector of Turvey from 3 May 1856 until 1905.

He was born in Yorkshire in 1798 and was married to a Lancashire lass called Margaret (born 1809).

They had 3 daughters, Margaret, Emily and Gertrude.

Canon Peter Mackenzie was rector until the end of 2014.

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Two postcards featuring the Rev. G. F. W. Munby.

Click either image to enlarge it.