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Exsuperius Weston Turnor (1831–1909) was a British land agent.

Contents

Biography

Born Abbot's Bromley, Staffordshire 1831 and died Stafford 1909. Son of Michael Turnor, Land Agent to the Lane Family in King's Bromley, and Mary (née. Armishaw) married Rugeley 29 September 1828.

On the basis that the 1851 Census shows his brothers George and William working as assistants to their father, it can be assumed that Exsuperius also first worked as an assistant to Michael Turnor on the Lane Family Estate. Exsuperius does not appear in the 1841 Census, but the 1851 Census lists him as “Exnperins Wilton Wilton”, a twenty year old ‘Landsurveyor Clerk’ at Pool Park, Bodyngharad Ucha, Llanfwrog, Denbighshire. His relationship to the head of the household, Edward Jones, is given as nephew. Also listed in the same household is Hannah Turnor, sister-in-law to Edward Jones and the probable widow of Richard Turnor, Park Keeper at Sedgley.

It is worth noting that Denbighshire and parts of Staffordshire are linked via the Bagot family. Sir William Bagot, 6th Baronet, represented Staffordshire in Parliament as a Tory from 1754 to 1780. His grandson, the third Baron and also named William, sat as Conservative Member of Parliament for Denbighshire. It is probably through the Bagot family that Exsuperius came to be employed at Bodyngharad Ucha, and also where a possible family link exists with Henry Turnor, Park Keeper at Bagot's Bromley in the 1861 and 1871 Census returns.

By 1871, Exsuperius is living back with his parents at 48 Brereton Road, Brereton, Rugeley. In the Census for that year, Exsuperius’ occupation is given as ‘Estate Agent’, the same as given for his father Michael, despite the latter now being 79 years of age. Also still in the parents' house are surviving but still unmarried children – Frances, Lucy and William, the latter a Captain in the Army “on half pay”.

Following the death of his father, Michael, in late 1871 and mother, Mary, in early 1880, Exsuperius and his sisters Fanny and Lucy stay in the family home in Brereton through the 1881 Census. By the time of the 1891 Census, Exsuperius is living with his sister Lucy and brother William, at The Green, Castle Church, Stafford, and his occupation is still that of Land Agent. The situation remains the same for the 1901 Census.

Exsuperius Weston Turnor died in Stafford in 1909, his sister Lucy died (probably) in Dudley in 1913, and his brother William in Stafford in 1916.

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Michael Turnor (father)

Michael Turnor was born in Hanbury, Staffordshire, in 1792, and was employed as the Land Agent and Surveyor for the Lane Family Estate at King's Bromley Manor in Kings Bromley, Staffordshire. Michael Turnor’s correspondence and other papers are held at Stafford Record Office, and these include descriptions of the route of Manchester and Birmingham Extension Railway through Armitage, the proposed canal route with sketch plan for the area from Fradley Heath to Streethay Wharf, as well as more general and various plans and accounts.

Michael Turnor married Mary Armishaw in Rugeley in 1828, and raised five children in Abbot's Bromley between 1830 and 1835. Michael Turnor’s first child, born 1824, may be from an earlier marriage for which no record can be found.

The 1841 Census for Abbot's Bromley also includes two other Land Agents with the Turnor surname, Thomas Turnor born about 1793 and George Turnor born about 1806. This may indicate a ‘dynasty’ of Turnor Land Agents, although no family tree has been established yet.

Similarly, it has not been possible to connect the family of Michael Turnor with those of Richard Turnor, Park Keeper at Sedgley, Staffordshire (1841 Census) or Henry Turnor, Park Keeper at Bagot's Bromley, Staffordshire (1861 and 1871 Census returns).

Dartmouth Park, West Bromwich

In the late 1870s, Exsuperius Weston Turnor advised the Earl of Dartmouth and local benefactor Alderman Reuben Farley on the design of what was to become Dartmouth Park in West Bromwich. Turnor described the 20.2ha of the Dartmouth Estate identified as the site for the new park as[1]: "...naturally so fine a situation, with such good views and beautifully undulating varieties of the ground and has already such great advantages from containing so any trees which give it at once a park-like character…".

Following a design competition advertised in Gardener's Chronicle [2] and which attracted seven entries, Turnor supported the appointment of John Maclean, a landscape gardener from Castle Donington, Leicestershire, to the task of setting out the new park on a budget of £2,500. Dartmouth Park was formally opened on 3 June 1878.

“The day was observed as one of general holiday and rejoicing.... Starting at noon, there was a procession from the Town Hall to the Park via Reform Street "headed by two Fire Engines fully horsed and equipped" and attended by all and sundry from far and wide. Once at the park, "the ceremony commenced by the vast assemblage singing the Old Hundredth Psalm...the reading of various documents by officials setting forth the conditions of the deed of dedication of the Park in trust for the use of the public". The ceremony concluded with the National Anthem.”

In the evening there was "a grand pyrotechnic display" and "as a finale a fine figure of his Lordship was exhibited, in coloured fires..." before an ugly rush for the gates, people being thrown down and trampled upon, "screams and cries for help" from the "injured and affrighted... struggling in the mass... terrible catastrophe."[3]

References

  1. ^ Sandwell MBC
  2. ^ Commissioners Minute Book 1877
  3. ^ Thomas Woollaston, ‘Review of Dartmouth Park’ 1889

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