The history and families of Turvey in Bedfordshire, England

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The Turvey Year

The life of a small village changed throughout the year.

Here are details of some of the special days that were celebrated or observed each year in Turvey.

Many villagers grew vegetables (or flowers) in the allotments up Carlton Road.  Here a couple survey their rather impressive looking plot.

Click the image to enlarge it.

Here are the children of the junior school celebrating May Day 1897.  They would dance around the May Pole.

The girls are wearing beautiful May bonnets and everyone is in their very best clothes.

Click the image to enlarge it.

Remembrance Day

Here are a group of World War II veteran soldiers marching to the war memorial on Remembrance Day (Poppy Day) - November 11th.

I am not sure what year this was taken, but I would reckon it is mid 1980's.

Valentine's Day

St Valentine's Day is celebrated on 14th February. Nowadays it is associated with love and romance.

This is a local song that was sung by the village children.

The words don't seem very romantic to me!

Good morning to you Valentine,

What you give me shall be mine.

Rags behind and rags before,

Pray old lady remember the poor.

We're hard up,

Hard up with out food or fire,

Have to lace our boots up with a little bit of wire.

May Day in Turvey

The first day of May was a time of celebration in the village.

Children were dressed in their best clothes and the girls were pushed around the village, on display, in a pram or wheelchair. Often the pram would be decorated in seasonal flowers.  They would try to collect a few coins from the villagers.

There was a song to go with the parading:

I've a purse in my pocket, a pretty little purse

It’s tied with a silken string, and all it wants

Is a little silver to line it well within.

I've a Bible in my hand and if you listen

I'll read you a chapter through,

And when I'm dead and in my bed,

The Lord will think of you.

My song is done, I must be gone,

I can no longer stay.

God bless you all, both great and small,

And send you a joyful May.

Harvest Time in Turvey

When the harvest was ready to be gathered in, all the village would turn out to help.

As the last carts were hauled home, the village children would sing:

Holler boys, holler boys, Harvest Home!

Three plum puddings are better than one!

So holler boys, holler boys, Harvest Home!

On the right is a donkey and cart, working the harvest at Turvey.

Click the picture to enlarge.

Cattern and Tanders

St Catherine was the patron saint of spinners, weavers and workers in cloth, and so her feast day, 25th November, was celebrated by the Turvey lace makers, who called it Catterns.

Traditional scone like cakes called Cattern cakes were baked and enjoyed by the lace makers.

Many lace makers celebrated the 30th November, as St Andrew was their patron saint.  The day was often called “Tanders”. This is where Tandy’s Close in Turvey got its name.

Mr Charles Longuet Higgins of Turvey Abbey was born on St Andrews Day, 30 November 1806. Every year he would give the villagers figs to celebrate.

There are records of parties going on in the evenings, with games such as bobbing for apples and blind man’s buff played.