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Title: Pope: His Descent and Family Connections - Facts and Conjectures
Author: Hunter, Joseph
Language: English
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                ANCESTRY, whose grace
  Chalks successors their way,



The following Tract is an enlargement of the principal portion of an
account which I propose to give of POPE, in _Poets and Verse Writers, from
Chaucer to Pope: new Facts in their History_--should the public curiosity
respecting them call for the publication of what I have collected and

OCTOBER 26, 1857.



Two persons of noble birth, who thought themselves insulted in the
"Imitation of the First of the Second Book of the Satires of Horace,"
retorted upon the Poet with a severity not wholly undeserved. Unlike Pope,
who had dismissed them both in a line or two, they composed their attacks
very elaborately, seeking out everything that could offend him,--defects
for which he must be held responsible, and those for which no man can
justly be so held.

One of these latter points was, want of _birth_. The lines,

  Whilst none thy crabbed numbers can endure,
  Hard as thy heart, and _as thy birth obscure_,

are attributed to the Lady Mary Wortley Montague; but Johnson assigns them
to Lord Hervey,[1] who attacked Pope in another poem, in which he makes it
a charge that he was a hatter's son, and insults him on the score of the
meanness of his family.

These allusions to his origin seem to have galled the Poet more than
anything else that was said of him. He was then living in what is called
high society, and it was of some importance to him not to be thought
meanly bred. Three courses were open to him. He might have assumed to pass
over the charge as unworthy his notice: he might have claimed it as a
merit to have surpassed his ancestors, and risen to distinction by his own
genius, "out of himself drawing his web;" or he might deny the charge
altogether. He adopted the last of these courses, and in this he acted
wisely and honestly.

When a defence against such a charge is undertaken, there is an advantage
in the difficulty of defining that really undefinable quality called
_birth_. There is an _absolute_, and a _relative_, want of it. A rich
mercantile family may be a good family when compared with persons of the
same class who have been less successful than they; a family owning a good
estate in the country is a good family amongst the neighbours; a race of
persons eminent in any of the professions may be called a good family. But
place these by the side of the ancient aristocracy of the country, who
have maintained this position for centuries, and what are they? and let
persons even of acknowledged antiquity and elevation be brought into the
company of kings and emperors, or even of the great families of the
Continent, and they lose something of their lustre:--

  A deputy shines bright as doth a king
  Until a king be by.

Undoubtedly, Pope could not in this respect compare himself with the
Pierrepoints and the Herveys; and _to them_ his birth would necessarily
appear obscure, if they thought at all about it, and chose to take the
unkinder view. But Pope knew that what was _relatively_ true might be
_absolutely_ untrue. He therefore took the first opportunity of claiming
publicly what in his opinion belonged to him.

In the _Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot_, which was written early in 1733, he
speaks of his birth thus:--

  Of _gentle blood_ (part shed in honour's cause,
  While yet in Britain honour had applause)
  _Each parent_ sprung--

Then follows his touching notice of his father, and of his mother (who was
then living, in her ninety-third year), not the less genuine for being
written in imitation of Horace. They are handed down for ever as people of

  Unspotted names, and venerable long,
  If there be force in virtue or in song.

To these lines this note is appended:--"Mr. Pope's father was of a
gentleman's family in Oxfordshire, the head of which was the Earl of
Downe, whose sole heiress married the Earl of Lindsey. His mother was the
daughter of William Turner, Esq., of York: she had three brothers, one of
whom was killed, another died, in the service of King Charles; the eldest
following his fortunes, and becoming a general officer in Spain, left her
what estate remained after the sequestrations and forfeitures of her

In his more formal reply to his noble assailant, he says that his father
was a younger brother,--"that he was no mechanic (neither a hatter, nor,
which might please your Lordship yet better, a cobler), but in truth of a
very honourable family, and my mother of an ancient one."

It happened that while this subject was fresh in the public mind, and
within a very few weeks after he had finished his _Epistle to Dr.
Arbuthnot_, the death of his mother occurred. This gave him a fair
occasion of publicly asserting his claim to a good position in respect of
birth. Accordingly, the following notice, which appeared in the
_Gentleman's Magazine_ for June 1733, we cannot doubt came from
himself:--"_June 8._ Died Mrs. Editha Pope, aged 93, the last survivor of
the children of William Turner, of York, Esq., who, by Thomasine Newton,
his wife, had fourteen daughters and three sons, two of which died in the
King's service in the Civil Wars, and the eldest retired into Spain, where
he died a general officer."

Pope had now said all that he proposed to make public; and accordingly we
find nothing more concerning his descent in the _Memoirs of the Life and
Writings of Alexander Pope, Esquire_, published by William Ayre in 1745,
the year after the Poet's death. He might, or might not, have been
acquainted with the letter to Curl with the signature P. T., in which a
person professing to be well acquainted with Pope's family, undertakes to
inform Curl respecting them. This letter has, strangely, been attributed
to some actual friend of Pope, and even to the Poet himself writing thus
anonymously to Curl, with whom he was at the time in open war. Who P. T.
specifically was, has, perhaps, not been discovered; but that he was a
person with whom Curl had unfair dealings respecting the collection of
Pope's letters, will be seen in Mr. Ayre's _Memoirs_, p. 300. The
information in this letter has been generally received by later writers on
the life of Pope, as worthy of the same acceptation which is yielded to
the Poet's avowed statements respecting his family; and, undoubtedly, it
proceeds from some one who was acquainted with facts in the history of the
family a little beyond those which the Poet himself had divulged. To those
facts it adds the following:--That Pope's father had an elder brother who
studied and died at Oxford: that the father was himself a posthumous
child: that he was put to a merchant in Flanders, and acquired a moderate
estate by merchandise, which he quitted at the Revolution, and retired to
Windsor Forest, where he purchased a small estate: that he married one of
the seventeen children of William Turner, Esq., formerly of Burfit Hall,
in Yorkshire: and that two of his wife's brothers were killed in the Civil

The last clause shows the carelessness with which this letter was
written. It is evidently copied from what Mr. Pope had himself written;
but then Mr. Pope's account of the matter is, that one brother was slain,
and the other died, in the service of King Charles the First. To what Mr.
Pope had said of his maternal grandfather, the writer of this letter adds,
that he was of Burfit Hall in Yorkshire. "Burfit" is the country people's
pronunciation of Birthwaite, an old seat of the Yorkshire Baronet family
of Burdet. I would not say that he may not have been a temporary
inhabitant of this house, but it can have been but a short tenancy by Mr.
Turner, whose far more proper designation was that which Pope had given
him, "of York," where he for the most part resided. The seventeen children
is but a repetition of what Pope had himself told us, and which is
supported by better evidence than the testimony of this anonymous writer.
That he acquired a fortune by merchandise is doubtless true, though,
probably, but a small one; but when he says that the elder Pope had been
put to a merchant in Flanders, this is at variance with what we are told
by a relation of the family (of whom immediately), that it was to Lisbon
that he was sent for the purpose, and that there it was that he became a
Roman Catholic. That he was a posthumous child is peculiar to this
communication. I think I shall show it to be a little uncertain, supposing
that his age at the time of his death is truly stated on his monument: of
the brother studying and dying at Oxford, also peculiar to the letter, I
have seen nothing to support or to disprove.

This will be sufficient to show that there can be no good reason to
attribute this letter to Pope himself, or to any person who had received
information from him to be given to the world in this form; and, secondly,
that in the points where this communication is at all at variance with
what Mr. Pope had himself sanctioned, or professes to carry our
information beyond what he had told us, its testimony is to be received,
if at all, with great caution.

We may, therefore, be said to receive very little more on this subject
from the Poet's contemporaries than what he himself on the one side, and
his enemies on the other, chose to communicate. It is quite insufficient
for forming a right judgment on the question. There is very little fact,
no proof, and no detail. If the point was worth raising at all, it was
worth settling: besides that, the curiosity of later times craves more
than this, when intent on studying the lives of England's greatest
worthies. Dr. Johnson is content to dismiss the subject thus:--"This, and
this only, is told by Pope, who is more willing, as I have heard it
observed, to show what his father was not, than what he was." But Johnson
lived in a century when there was little desire of minute and exact
information respecting even the most eminent of our countrymen; and in
writing of Pope as of Milton, he has certainly kept himself free from the
temptation which besets all biographers, of becoming enamoured of those of
whom they write.

The spirit of research, however, was not entirely dormant even in that
century. Editors and biographers did look around for anything that would
easily present itself: nor can what they observed be said to have been
wholly unimportant, for they brought to light one piece of evidence which
deserves to be received with the same confidence which the testimony of
Pope himself receives at our hands. This comes from a certain Mr.
Potenger, who called himself a cousin of Pope. He gave the information to
Dr. Bolton, who was Dean of Carlisle, who communicated it to Dr. Joseph
Warton, from whom we receive it. His information was to this
effect:--That the Poet's grandfather was a clergyman in Hampshire: that
the Poet's father was the younger of two sons, and was sent to Lisbon to
be placed in a mercantile house: that there he left the Church of England
and became a Roman Catholic: that he knew nothing of the "fine pedigree"
which his cousin Pope set up, and that as to a descent from the Earls of
Downe, he was confident no such descent could be proved, for if it had
been so, he must have heard of it from a maiden aunt, who stood in the
same degree of relationship to Pope and to himself, who was a great
genealogist, excessively fond of talking of her family, and who most
certainly, therefore, would have spoken of this descent if it were so.
This is the substance of Mr. Potenger's valuable information, as it has
been received and incorporated by Roscoe and others of the late writers on
the life of Pope. Mr. Potenger, however, in one respect does some
injustice to the Poet's memory. Mr. Pope nowhere says that he descended of
an Earl of Downe, but only that he was of the same family as that from
which the Earl of Downe sprang; which is quite a different thing, and
probably true.

My own researches have done something to enable me to extend the very
limited information we possess on this subject: not much, perhaps, it will
be thought, but it will be sound as far as it goes, and will be presented
in the simple guise of truth, with no intention of unduly magnifying or
unfairly weakening the claim set up by the Poet himself. He having made
the claim to be "of gentle blood," beside the interest which belongs to
the question as part of the Poet's history, his truthfulness and honour
may be said to be involved in it, points of even more importance than his
wonderful moral sagacity, and the unrivalled felicity of his numbers.

I treat of the two families apart.


Alexander Pope, the Poet's father, if he was seventy-four or seventy-five
at the time of his death in 1717, may be presumed to have been born in
1641 or 1642. He was a younger son, and is said by P. T. to have been a
posthumous child, and that while his elder brother, who inherited the
larger share of the family property, was sent to Oxford, where he died, he
was brought up to commerce. It has never been shown by whom this
arrangement was made, for before his birth, his father (of whom
afterwards), according to the letter to Curl, was dead: and if not dead,
he died when his son was quite an infant. All accounts agree that he was
sent abroad to complete his mercantile education--an expensive course,
which of itself shows that he was of no very mean stock, and that, though
the younger son of a widow, his relatives had the means of giving him a
fair start in life.

There are, as we have seen, two opposing accounts from persons who
professed to know the facts respecting the place to which he was sent, one
stating it to be Flanders, the other, with more of probability, Lisbon,
with the additional information, that at Lisbon he joined the Roman
Catholic Church, or that there, at least, was laid the foundation of the
change in his religious profession. From that time there is a blank in his
history till his thirty-fifth year, 1677, when he was living in Broad
Street, London, where many of the principal merchants of the time resided
or carried on their business. This we learn from a 12mo volume, printed
for Samuel Lee in that year, entitled _A Collection of the Names of the
Merchants living in and about the City of London_. Books of this kind are
of some rarity, being by most persons thought worthless and are
destroyed, when superseded by others of a later date. I have a copy which
has survived the general wreck, and has been long in my possession. I copy
from it the names of three Popes who occur in the list:--

     JAMES POPE, Abchurch Lane.

     ALEXANDER POPE, Broad Street.

     JOSEPH POPE, Redriff.

There can be no reasonable doubt that Alexander is the Poet's father; and
it is worth observation that this is a list of "merchants" properly so
called--persons engaged in the higher walks of commerce. The number of the
names is about 1770. Hence we must infer that the Poet's father was not,
at that time at least, pursuing any low or mean occupation, but one in
which in those days it was not unusual to place the younger sons of
gentry, and sometimes even of the nobility of the land.

He was then, or very soon after, married, not to the mother of his
celebrated son, but to a former wife, whose name was Magdalen, but whose
surname is at present unknown. This is a recent discovery of some one
whose curiosity has led him to consult the register of St. Benet Fink, the
parish in which part of Broad Street is situated, where this entry was
found:--"1679, August 12. bur. Magdalen, wife of Alexander Pope." She left
him one child, a daughter named Magdalen, afterwards Mrs. Racket, whose
sons were the Poet's heirs.

The next event (after another period marked by no incidents with which we
are acquainted) is his marriage with Edith Turner, his second wife. This
may be presumed to have taken place in 1686 or 1687, the only child, the
Poet, having been born in May or June, 1688. Authorities differ
respecting the day, and also the place, one naming Lombard Street,
another Cheapside. The father had, therefore, changed his residence, but
was still living among the trading aristocracy, and we have no reason to
believe that he had receded from his original position of a London

He acquired some additional property, perhaps considerable, with his wife
Edith. She seems to have been the favourite of her brother, the "general
officer in Spain," whatever that phrase may denote,--for Pope says, she
inherited from him what remained of the fortunes of the family, and it
must have been from him that the elder Alexander Pope acquired the
valuable interest he possessed in the manor of Ruston, near Scarborough.
They were both of mature age at their marriage. Fixing the time in 1686,
he would be, according to his monumental inscription, forty-five, and she
forty-four. This change in his position had doubtless something to do with
his retirement from business very soon after the Revolution,--perhaps as
much as his disgust at the political change which had taken place, or his
love of retirement, the motives usually assigned for the step he took.

He did not immediately establish himself in his retreat at Binfield, for
Mr. Roscoe in his Life of the Poet informs us, that he lived for a while
at Kensington. No long interval, however, appears to have elapsed between
his final departure from London, and his settlement on a small estate
which he bought at Binfield, which is on Windsor Forest, two or three
miles from the town of Wokingham.

Commerce has its vicissitudes, and the Poet's father may have had sensible
proof of this obvious fact. But there is no evidence, as far as we yet
know, that he was ever "unfortunate" in his commercial career. That he did
not attain to great wealth, like many of his contemporaries, is certain;
but neither did he, like some others of a more adventurous disposition,
sink into despondency. When one of Pope's enemies taunted him with being
the son of a person who had been a bankrupt, he calls it a "pitiful
untruth," and this at a time when there were many persons living who must
have known if it had been so, and many others who would have been glad to
propagate the libel. Hearne, who disliked Pope, inserted in his private
note-book, for future use if necessary, that his father was "a sort of
broken merchant." The truth probably is, that he saved something in his
business, and added to it by his marriage; and it is certain that he was
able to live for many years an easy disengaged life, and at his death to
leave his son £300 or £400 a year.

He made his will on February 9, 1710. I take a few notes of it from Mr.
Carruthers's recent publication. He gives to his wife Edith the furniture
of her chamber, her rings and jewels, and £20: To his son-in-law Charles
Racket and his daughter Magdalen his wife, £5 each, for mourning: All
else, including rent-charge out of the manor of Ruston, in Yorkshire,
together with lands at Binfield, and at Winsham, in Surrey, to his son
Alexander Pope, whom he makes executor. He died in 1717, and the will was
proved on the 8th of November in that year.

So far I have had little to do but to repeat what has been previously told
by others. But now we come to the question, Who was the Poet's
grandfather, the merchant's father? This question, hitherto unresolved, I
propose to answer.

When Thomas Warton, in the Appendix to the Life of Sir Thomas Pope, the
founder of Trinity College, Oxford, and also the founder of the family of
Pope, Earls of Downe, with whom Pope claimed kindred, enters on the
consideration of this question, he admits the probability that such a
relationship existed, but professes his utter inability to ascend beyond
the father, in pursuit of the Poet's ancestors. The attempt to do so has
been made by others, who have brought far less of antiquarianism into
literary history than Warton. Mr. Carruthers can find no trace of him. And
it may be stated generally, that no one has (publicly at least) made any
approach to the determination of the question. Yet this was plainly the
first step to be taken in any investigation of the Poet's claim to be of
"gentle blood." Literary biography owes much to the Wartons--more than the
present writers in this department seem disposed to acknowledge; and it is
to a Warton, not Thomas, but his brother, Dr. Joseph Warton, that we owe
the hint upon which I have proceeded, and, as I believe, settled the
question for ever.

Dr. Warton, we have seen, in his _Essay on the Genius and Writings of
Pope_, 1780, vol. ii., informs us, that he learned from Dr. Bolton, Dean
of Carlisle, that he had heard from a Mr. Potenger, a cousin of Pope, that
Pope's grandfather was _a clergyman of the Church of England living in

This has been accepted by Mr. Roscoe, and others who have written on the
life of Pope since 1780; but, though attempts have been made, no one has
hitherto succeeded in establishing the truth of Mr. Potenger's statement,
by singling him out from amongst the Hampshire clergy of his time, and
showing his position.

In looking over the list of beneficed clergymen in the county of Hants, in
the period within which he lived, presented to us by the Book of
Compositions for First Fruits, I find _only one person of the name of
Pope_, and his name was Alexander. This of itself would be sufficient to
support Mr. Potenger's account; and to set before us the person for whom
search has before been unsuccessfully made. Then as to his residence and
position in the Church, we find in these books of Compositions:--

1. On the 31st of January, 1631, Alexander Pope compounded for the first
fruits of the rectory of Thruxton, in the county of Hants.

2. On November 23, 1633, he compounded for the first fruits of the prebend
of Middleton.

3. And on May 23, 1639, for the first fruits of the prebend of

As he held Thruxton till his death, he must be considered in the light of
a clergyman possessed of good preferment, in fact, as belonging to the
superior class of the clergy in the diocese of Winchester.

Thruxton is a rectory in the neighbourhood of Andover; and Ichen-Abbots is
in Bountesborough hundred, a few miles north of Winchester. Why this
living and Middleton are called prebends, the only livings in the county
so designated, we shall know better when the labours of some sufficient
topographer have been directed upon Hampshire.

The next step was to ascertain whether anything respecting himself or his
family could be found at Thruxton; and in this inquiry I received the most
obliging attention from the officiating minister, who examined the church
and went through the register to see whether any memorial existed of
persons of the name of Pope. The result was less satisfactory than I had
hoped: for it appears that there is no memorial of him in the church, and
the register supplies us with no information touching himself or family,
except the following entry amongst the burials:--

"1645. February 21.--Alexander Pope, minister of Thruxton, was buried."

This, however, is of value. It shows us that he held not his living long,
about fourteen years; that he probably died in middle life; and that his
son Alexander, the merchant, could have been no more than a very young
child when he lost his parent. It does not show us that he was actually a
posthumous child; but then there is a possibility that the inscription on
his monument, which is expressed in too general terms, may not be strictly
correct in setting forth his age at the time of his death. However, the
difference is not great between his being literally a posthumous child,
and an infant of two or three years old when he lost his father.

But it may be asked, since Pope must have known perfectly well the name
and highly respectable position in life of his grandfather, why he did not
come boldly forward and claim to be descended of a clergyman born in the
reign of Elizabeth, and dying in the prime of life, when occupying so good
a position? It would have been a more sufficient answer to the taunt of
obscure birth, and have shown to the world his descent, if not from a
great, yet from a cultivated, ancestry.

It is, perhaps, idle to attempt to divine the cause, but it is no
unreasonable conjecture that here his religious, or rather ecclesiastical,
opinions came into play, and that he, a Roman Catholic, would not regard
with the same satisfaction as others would, a descent from a Protestant
clergyman, _a married priest_, nor would be over solicitous that others
should know, on his authority, that his father was the offspring of such
an unhallowed union--that is, as he would esteem it.

But what if it should turn out that this clergyman was not only a
Protestant minister possessed of considerable preferment, but that he also
belonged to that section of the Church of England which was the most
remote from the Church of Rome, and which held it in especial abhorrence?
That he was either the son-in-law or the grandson of one who is always
placed in the first rank of the Puritan ministers of the reign of
Elizabeth, the noted and long-lived John Dodd, of Fawsley, in

I shall first state a few well-established matters of fact, and then the
probable inferences to be drawn from them.

I refer, first, to the will of Robert Barcroft, of Corpus Christi College,
Oxford, D.D., made on the 29th of April, 1627. He gives "to his godson,
John Wilkins, Zanchi's Works, so many as I have, to be delivered to his
father-in-law, Mr. Alexander Pope, for his use." Wilkins was then a boy;
and Wood informs us (_Ath. Oxon._ ii. 105) that he was the son of a Walter
Wilkins, a goldsmith of Oxford, and that his mother was one of the
daughters of Dodd of Fawsley, where Wilkins was born. Further, that
Wilkins was uterine brother to Dr. Walter Pope, who, in his _Life of
Bishop Seth Ward_, speaks of this relationship. Wilkins was the Bishop of
Chester of that name, and one of the founders of the Royal Society.

Wood appears not to have known, any more than his informant Aubrey, that
Alexander was the name of Pope, the father-in-law (which here means
stepfather) of Wilkins; and neither has Dr. Walter Pope, Aubrey, or
Anthony Wood, told us anything about him. The question is, Was _this_
Alexander Pope, of Dr. Barcroft's will, the Alexander Pope who died rector
of Thruxton? Was he the father of the rector, or was there, in 1627, two
Alexander Popes, both clergymen connected with Oxford, but not nearly
connected with each other? A little further light, which possibly the
records of the University of Oxford might supply, may enable some one to
dispose of these questions. All I at present venture to say is, that the
probabilities seem to incline in favour of the supposition that the
Alexander Pope who was instituted to the rectory of Thruxton in 1631, is
the Alexander Pope named in Dr. Barcroft's will in 1627, and consequently
the Alexander Pope who married the widow of Walter Wilkins. But then I
should propose a further conjecture (in questions such as these we must
allow conjectures, and bear to hear of probabilities), that there was a
second marriage of the Rector of Thruxton, of which the Poet's father was
the issue, and that Dr. Walter Pope, the poet and miscellaneous writer,
was the offspring of the first marriage.

Yet I state this dubiously; and, considering how much we know of Dr.
Walter Pope and of Bishop Wilkins, find it difficult to reconcile the want
of any trace of family connection between them and the Poet, with the
supposition that Dr. Walter Pope was half-brother to the London merchant.
Perhaps, after all, there were two Alexanders connected with Oxford, and
Dr. Walter Pope, the child of the one, father or uncle of the Hampshire

It is to be regretted that more has not been preserved of what Mr.
Potenger could have told of the Popes, from recollections of the
conversations of the maiden aunt, who must have been sister to the Rector
of Thruxton; and as she stood, as he informs us, in the same degree of
relationship to Pope and to himself, it would follow that the father or
mother of Mr. Potenger was issue of another sister or brother of the
Rector of Thruxton. This affords hints as to the course which further
inquiry should take; but I cannot pass by the indication which this fact
affords of the respectability of the Poet's paternal ancestry: the
Potengers of Hampshire and Dorsetshire being descendants of Dr. John
Potenger, the celebrated headmaster of the Winchester College School,
whose son John Potenger, born in 1647, was Comptroller of the Pipe.[2]

There were certain peculiarities which remove Dodd from the position of
one of the crowd of Puritan divines: a certain cheerfulness, hilarity, and
also good practical common sense; and certainly his descendant, Dr. Walter
Pope, an ingenious man and no mean poet, is not to be charged with over
much of the severity and strictness of the Puritan life. The later Pope,
however, would not be over forward to reveal his connection with either
Dodd or Dr. Walter; else, if he really did descend from one of the many
daughters of the Rector of Fawsley, he might have claimed to himself a
descent which, on fair evidence, can be traced to the very depths of the
antiquity of English families, the Puritan divine being well known to be
of the very ancient family of Dodd of Shockledge, in Cheshire. A long
account of him is given by Dr. Samuel Clarke.

We are now prepared to enter upon the question of Pope's descent from a
younger son of the family, which was ennobled by the Irish title of Earl
of Downe. This was all which he claimed for himself; and I should be
unwilling to think him so foolish and disingenuous as to make this
assertion without some good grounds; though possibly, if he or his father
had collected evidence, they might not have been able to show how
specifically they did so descend, with the precision now required by the
College of Arms. But probabilities are strongly in favour of the
assertion. The title of Earl of Downe did not free the family of Pope from
the obscurity in which it had lived till one member of it had become
greatly enriched by aiding in the measures which established the
Reformation in England. It will be at once perceived, by any one who may
look into what is shown respecting them, that Sir Thomas Pope had no grace
of ancestry to boast of. His father, whose will we have, is the first of
the family of whom anything is known, and the will shows that he was a man
of small possessions, living at Deddington, in Oxfordshire. Not that he
was quite of the lowest class, as he desires to be buried within the walls
of Deddington Church: in fact, he appears to have belonged to the rank of
superior yeomanry, families who placed daughters in monasteries and sons
in the Church, or sent them to make their fortune in the cities. He made
no pretension to the distinction even of a gentleman's coat-armour; for
Sir Thomas Pope, when he had acquired wealth, took a grant from Barker in
1535. Warton has traced his course with some assiduity; but we may compare
with what he says the evidence of a person who had good means of knowing
Sir Thomas Pope's circumstances. "He was the son of a poor and mean man in
Deddington, in Oxfordshire, within four miles of Banbury, and over
against Somerton, and was born there; was brought up, when a boy, as a
scribe and clerk by Mr. John Croke, one of the Six Clerks when Wolsey was
Chancellor, and so lived with Mr. Croke till after the Suppression. The
Lord Audley made a motion to Mr. Croke to help him to some ready and
expert clerk, to employ in the King's service about the Suppression
business; and Mr. Croke preferred Thomas Pope unto him, being then his
household servant in livery, which was the first step of all his following
good fortunes. This Mr. Croke was my wife's great-grandfather; and I have
heard her grandfather, Sir John Croke, often say, that at his christening,
Thomas Pope, then his father's man, carried the bason; and Sir Thomas
Pope, by his will, gave this Sir John Croke some of his best raiment as a
token of his love unto the house and family."

Previously to the time when Sir Thomas Pope made the acquisitions, the
greater part of which he disposed of so nobly in the foundation of his
college at Oxford, his family made no marriages with the higher gentry. In
short, there is nothing to interfere with the probability of the Rector of
Thruxton being of a branch of the family, nor anything in it which the
Downe family could look upon as degrading. We must not suffer the glare of
the coronet to mislead us: we are speaking of times before the Popes were

The Earls of Downe were one of the many families who rose into distinction
out of the spoils of the ancient Church; but the rank given to them, and
the wealth they possessed, to say nothing of any personal merit, would be
a reasonable defence for Pope to fall back upon under the circumstances.
The earldom, we may observe, had long been extinct. The first earl was the
son of John Pope of Wroxton, who was brother of Sir Thomas (who left no
issue). The dignity was created by Charles I. in 1628, not till then. The
first peer was succeeded by his grandson, the second earl, who died at
Oxford in 1660. This is the earl of whom Pope speaks, whose daughter and
heir married the Earl of Lindsey. The third earl was uncle to the second,
and in his son, who died in 1668, the title was lost, having existed for
forty years only.

We have Pope's direct testimony that his ancestors were of Oxfordshire,
and we find them about Oxford in the time of Elizabeth. I think I have
said sufficient to show that his claim to a distant kindred with the Popes
of Wroxton, raised _per saltum_ from the rank of yeomen, is affected with
no improbability on the score of disproportion of rank.

The surname of Pope is not uncommon, but chiefly found in the southern
counties. No other family of that name, I believe, is ever stated to have
claimed consanguinity with the founder of Trinity College and the family
of the Earls of Downe.

We proceed now to speak of the Poet's maternal descent.


  Of gentle blood, part shed in honour's cause,--
  _Each_ parent sprung.

In the note on this passage, Pope expresses a kind of preference for his
descent on the mother's side, calling the Turners an ancient family, which
means that they possessed hereditary wealth through many generations.

Families of really ancient gentry, which, like _birth_, is but a relative
term, are generally found recorded in the Visitation Books of the Heralds
for the counties in which they dwelt. Whatever antiquity may be claimed
for this family, who resided in the county of York, it is certain that no
pedigree of them was recorded at any of the Visitations of that county, of
which three were held during the time of the Turners' residence, viz., in
1585, 1612, and 1665; in which last year, too, the large list of
"Disclaimers" does not contain them. The only assistance we derive from
the labours of the heralds is this. In a manuscript lately added to the
British Museum (Additional, No. 12,482) a list of persons whom, in 1665,
the heralds summoned to appear, or intended to do so, contains the name of
"Mr. Turner, of the parish of St. John del Pike, York," who is
unquestionably the Poet's grandfather. This indifference to the advantage
of making a public record of many facts, interesting at least to their
posterity, is not peculiar to this family, but deposes rather unfavourably
to the taste and judgment of the persons in whom the representation of a
family at such a time vested. It manifests also some want of a disposition
to co-operate in an important public institution, unhappily now fallen
into desuetude.

There can be no question that the heralds of old time did sometimes record
matter, even then of early date, which will not bear the test of
comparison with contemporary evidence; but of the generations then
existing, or but just passed away, they may be taken as worthy witnesses.
And fortunate are those families who have a few generations recorded in
the Heralds' books. They are saved thereby a vast amount of research into
miscellaneous papers, which, after much labour and expense, may yield data
sufficient for the construction of a genealogical system, without security
against error. The difficulty of recovering lost portions of family
history is far greater than is imagined by those who have never made the

In the case before us, it could not be easy to ascend beyond the reign of
Queen Elizabeth, the period, emphatically, when the really ancient gentry
of the kingdom were either pushed from their pedestals, or obliged to
admit new men to share with them the honour and influence which belong to
the possession of broad lands and powerful family alliances. In the
forty-fifth year of Elizabeth, February 10, 1603, within a few weeks of
the close of her reign, a grant was made by the Crown to Lancelot Turner,
of the Manor of Towthorpe, in the county of York. He was then residing at
Towthorpe, for on the 12th of December, in that year, 1603, it was
certified by William Bainbrigg and R. Aldborough, that "Lancelot Turner,
of Towthropp, gentleman, in the wapentake of Bulmer," was for the most
part of the year preceding the taxation of the subsidy, and ever since,
residing at Towthropp with his family, and is there assessed on goods
estimated at £8.

This certificate is valuable, inasmuch as it enables us to decide which of
the two Towthorpes in the county of York is the one to which Pope's
ancestry in his mother's line is to be traced: Towthorpe, in the wapentake
of Buckrose, in the East Riding; or Towthorpe, in the wapentake of Bulmer,
in the North Riding. The Turners' Towthorpe is a few miles to the
north-east of York, near to Huntingdon, once the abode of Wilfrid Holme,
who left the curious metrical account of the Pilgrimage of Grace; and its
vicinity to York brought it within reach of the civilization of the
northern counties, of which that city was the chief seat.

It is just possible, though hardly probable, that we may ascend a
generation above this Lancelot; for, on January 20, 1626, the will of
Robert Turner, of Towthroppe, was proved in the court of the Archbishop of
York: its date does not appear. He desires to be buried in the churchyard
at Huntingdon. He gives to his son Anthony the two younger oxen, with
certain husbandry utensils; to his son Richard the red whie, which came
from Stockton; and to his grandchild, William Turner, the little brown
whie. He makes his wife and his younger son executors. There is no mention
of Lancelot, who was, however, dead; but the grandson William may be he
whom we shall soon meet, as the nephew of Lancelot, and the father of

In all probability this Robert was an inferior member of the same family,
a small agriculturist, Lancelot being the great man of the family, whose
connection with the Popes is quite in proof. He is described as of the
city of York, in some documents of the reign of King James. On the 10th of
October, 5 James I., 1607, Robert Harrison, Lord Mayor of York, certifies
that Lancelot Turner, of the city of York, gentleman, was residing there,
and assessed on £10, goods. A like certificate was granted on the 6th of
April, in the 8th of James, 1610, signed by Henry Hall, Lord Mayor, and
William Robinson, Alderman.

The wapentake of Bulmer is, as respects minute and accurate information,
part of the _terra incognita_ of Yorkshire. Any tolerable account of the
manor of Towthorpe would have shown us something at least of the history
of the family who possessed it, and we might reasonably have expected to
find some account of the means by which this Lancelot Turner gained the
fortune with which he made this and other purchases, and appeared in the
rank and position in which we see him by the light afforded by his last
will, for we can hardly believe that all he had, came to him by descent.
Perhaps as probable a conjecture as is likely to be made is, that he was
connected with the Council of the North, or a successful practitioner in
that court.

But we go at once to his will, which is dated December 23, 1619. He
describes himself Lancelot Turner, of Towthorpe, in the county of York,
gentleman. He was then in his last sickness, for the will and a codicil
were proved on the 17th of January, 1620, and administration was granted
to the executor named therein, on the 20th. He sets out, in the laudable
practice of the time, with a profession of faith, and then proceeds to
dispose of his temporal estate. He gives, first of all, to his sister,
Margaret Stephenson, an annuity of £30, to issue out of his lordship of
Towthorpe, and also the use (interest) of £100, which, on her death, is to
go to his niece, Elisabeth Huggeson, wife of Nicholas Huggeson. Then, to
William Turner, son of his brother Philip Turner, he leaves all the manor
of Towthorpe, and lands there; and also a rent-charge of £70 a year, which
he has issuing out of the manor of Ruston. He gives £200 to his nephew,
Thomas Martin, an apprentice in London, on condition that he release
whatever claim he may have to the testator's house in Leeds; and he gives
£30 to Margaret Moor, sister of the said Thomas, and wife of William Moor,
of Beverley; and £10 to John Hustler, son of his sister Elizabeth Hustler.

We come now to an interesting bequest:--To Thomasine Newton, daughter of
Christopher Newton, late of Kilburn, gentleman, an annuity of £50 for
life, issuing out of the manor of Towthorpe, with the household stuff at
Kilburn, of which her mother is to have the use during her widowhood,
also a livery-cupboard, and a chair, plate, and the green bed. It appears
later in the will, that the plate given to her consisted of seven silver
bowls, six gilt spoons, one round white salt, and a three-corner trencher
salt, and silver porringer to each, and a silver beer-bowl. To his nephew,
John Stephenson, he gives all his books, "_except my song-books, which I
give to Thomasine Newton_."

He gives forty shillings to Mr. William Nevil, and to his "good and worthy
friend Sir William Alford, a little clock, with a bell and a larum, which
I carry about me, and one of my best horses." To the poor of Towthorpe
forty shillings. To the poor prisoners in the castle of York, £3. To the
poor prisoners in the Kidcote, on Ousebridge, in York, forty shillings.
"To the poor of the parish where I am buried, £5." To his servant,
Catherine Wetwang, £50, which is partly due to her. To Isabel Fawcet,
daughter of Mrs. Kay, wife of Mr. Thomas Kay, of York, merchant, £10. To
Robert Siddal, of York, gentleman, forty shillings. He makes his nephew,
Willam Turner, the sole executor, who is to have two years to collect his
debts. His friend Sir William Ingram, Doctor of the Civil Laws, to be
supervisor, and to determine all questions that may arise about the
interpretation of his will.

Little more than a fortnight after, namely, on Monday next after Twelfth
Day, 1620, he revoked nuncupatively the gift of the clock to Sir William
Alford, saying, "he forgets his old friends," and gives it to his nephew
William Turner. To this were witnesses Thomasine Newton, Henry Dent, and
Alice Atkinson, who depose that William Turner reminded him that there had
been much kindness between him and Sir William. This was a few days
before his death. In this codicil he is described of York, so that it was
probably made there.

This is evidently the will of a wealthy and considerable person, without
children himself, but, having made a fair provision for his sister,
establishing his nephew and heir male, William Turner, in the possession
of the bulk of his fortune, as intent to maintain the respectability of
the family and name. The particular regard he had for Thomasine Newton, is
best accounted for by supposing that her mother was a sister of the
testator; but it is also pretty evident that it was at that time
contemplated that she should become the wife of the nephew William, which
she did not long after the death of the uncle. She was the mother of the
seventeen children of William Turner, of whom Edith, the mother of Pope,
was one. The bequest to her of the song-books is remarkable, as indicating
that she manifested thus early something of the poetical temperament, if
anything more than music-books is meant. Sir William Alford was owner of
the site of the monastery of Meaux, in Holderness. Sir William Ingram was
of the family seated at Temple-Newsome; and Mr. William Nevil, an intimate
friend of the Turners, in his will, made in 1641, names a number of
persons of distinction.

But of this will a more particular account must be given, as showing in
what rank of society the parents of Edith moved, and with how much reason
the Poet might claim for her that she was, in point of _birth_, equal to
the lady (Mary Lepell), whom his adversary, Lord Hervey, had made choice
of to be the mother of his children.

April 10, 1641, William Nevil, of the city of York, Esquire, makes his
will. To be buried in the church of St. Helen. To Mrs. Elizabeth Stanhope,
the eldest daughter of Dr. Stanhope, Bishop Hall's Works. "To my funeral
expenses, £80; to Mr. William Turner, my godson, £20; and to William
Turner, his son, my godson, £10; to Mrs. Turner, his wife, £5, and to the
rest of his children £5, to be divided amongst them." To his cousin Thomas
Bourchier, £20; to Catherine Penrose the Book of Monuments, and to her
sister Elizabeth Penrose the great Bible, and £10 to each. He leaves plate
to Lady Osborne and Dame Mary Ingram, wife of Sir Arthur. To Mr. White,
St. Bernard's Works, and "what I have of St. Augustine." To Sir John
Bourchier's eldest daughter the great gilt salt, and to the second sister
a black silk gown. He had been we see the godfather in two generations of
the Turners.

The will of Lancelot Turner gives us the name of the father of William
Turner, to whom we must now proceed. It was Philip, but beyond the name I
have not discovered anything respecting him. Of Christopher Newton, the
father of Thomasine, I can only conjecture that he was the Christopher,
son of Miles Newton, of Thorpe in Claro wapentake (by Jane his wife,
daughter of Ambrose Beckwith, of Stillingflete), who was aged one year and
three months at the Visitation of 1585. Supposing this Christopher to be
Thomasine's father, which can hardly be doubted, she would be allied,
through the Beckwiths, with several of the higher Yorkshire gentry.

William Turner, son of Philip, and nephew and principal heir of Lancelot,
is styled by his grandson the Poet, "Esquire." I cannot find that he was
ever styled more than "gentleman" in his lifetime, and certainly he does
not claim to be more in his last will. He appears to have been young, at
least unmarried, in 1620, when, by the death of his uncle, he became lord
of the manor of Towthorpe, and possessed of the rent-charge on the manor
of Ruston, and of other considerable property. His birth may be fixed with
considerable probability in the year 1600 or 1601, and it could not well
be later than 1621 that he took to wife Thomasine Newton, his uncle's
favourite, for one son of that marriage was killed in the Civil Wars, and
another died in the King's service, that is, we may assume, between 1642
and 1648. It does not appear that William Turner was brought up to any
profession, or engaged in any gainful employment. The first notice we have
of him, after the date of his marriage, is only gathered inferentially
from the history of his children, viz., from the record of the baptisms of
four of them, including Edith, in the parish register of Worsborough, in
the years 1641-2-3, and 1645.

Where he had been living up to this period, from the time of his
succeeding to the family estate, is unknown to me; it might have been at
Towthorpe, or at York; but the determination of this point is not beyond
the power of a laborious search, which might bring with it the discovery
of some particulars concerning his position and character. One thing is
certain, that his wife was producing him almost yearly a son or a
daughter, as the four children whom we have mentioned were among the
latest born of his very numerous family, fourteen daughters and three

Worsborough is a village in the southern part of Yorkshire, on the road
from Sheffield to Barnsley, as the turnpike roads formerly were. It is
seated near the stream of the Dove, which flows along a dale called
Worsborough Dale, where were several homesteads, inhabited by families of
the lesser gentry, some of whom could trace themselves from remote
ancestors living in the same vicinity. The inhabitants have long been
accustomed to point out one particular house, in which they say the
mother of Pope was born. It is called Marrow House; but, whatever may be
the evidence for the claim of this particular mansion, there cannot be a
doubt that the Poet's grandfather was for some years a parishioner of
Worsborough, where we find these entries in the Register of Baptisms:--

     1641, Nov. 20. Martha, daughter of Mr. William Turner.

     1642, June 18. EDITH, daughter of Mr. William Turner.

     1643, Sept. 1. Margaret, daughter of Mr. William Turner.

     1645, Nov. 25. Jane, daughter of Mr. William Turner.

Thenceforward we lose the benefit of the testimony of the register.

It will be observed that this was while the Civil Wars were at their
height, in which two of the sons died, being on the King's side: not that
this affords us any hint or presumption respecting the circumstances which
brought Mr. Turner to Worsborough.

Whoever may have been the P. T. who communicated to Curl the particulars
before given of the history of the Poet's father and maternal grandfather,
they contain, few as they are, one specific statement which tallies with
his residence in this part of the county, far from the districts where his
estates lay. He was, says P. T., of "Burfit Hall," in Yorkshire. This can
be no other place than Birthwaite Hall, at no great distance from
Worsborough, but in the parish of Darton. It was the seat of the family of
Burdet of Birthwaite--not that of the late Sir Francis Burdett--though
Francis was a favourite name with these Yorkshire baronets. At the period
with which we are concerned, this Yorkshire family were in great straits,
and Birthwaite, in 1643, became the property of an heir of only a year and
a half old. Furthermore, their affairs were placed very much in the hands
of their relative, Mr. Rockley, of Rockley, which is in Worsborough; and
in the absence of any positive evidence, without any choice but to fall
back upon conjecture, or be silent, I would suggest that Mr. Turner's
residence in these parts of the West Riding, might arise out of some
connection with the affairs of the Rockleys and Burdets. Rockley, like
Turner, had two younger sons in the service of King Charles I.[3] At both
these houses Mr. Turner would be only a tenant.

At what time he returned to York has not been ascertained. The next thing
we know of him is that he was living there, in the parish of St. John del
Pike, at the time of the Heralds' Visitation in 1665. Next that he made
his will, describing himself "William Turner, senior, of the city of York,
gentleman." And, lastly, that in 1671, he, or his son William, was living
in the parish of St. John del Pike, in a house with seven hearths, one of
the best houses in the parish.

Here, as is usually the case in inquiries of this nature, we gain our best
information respecting him from his will, which is of considerable extent.
It is dated Sept. 4, 1665. He was then "grown weak and infirm," but still
of sound and disposing mind and memory, "humbly imploring Almighty God to
bless and prosper these my intentions and bequests." He gives his soul to
God, hoping to be saved through the merits of Jesus Christ his Saviour,
and his body to be interred with such decency and solemnity as his
executors shall approve. He then gives all interest in his messuages in
Gotheram Gate, York, to his trusty friends Thomas Thompson, of York,
notary public, and Thomas Tomlinson, of the same city, grocer, to suffer
his dear and loving wife, Thomasine Turner, to take the issues as long as
she continues his widow and unmarried ("it being her desire to have no
further interest in them than so long as she continues my widow"), and
after her death to convey them to his seven daughters:--Alice Mawhood the
wife of Richard Mawhood, Elizabeth, Mary, Martha, Edith, Margaret, and
Jane Turner, equally amongst them. He then gives his manor of Ruston, with
its appurtenances in Ruston, Wickham, and Marton, and a rent-charge out of
the said manor, lands, and tithes, of £70, to his wife, so long as she
continues his widow, and afterwards to his only son, William Turner, his
heirs and assigns, subject nevertheless to the charge heretofore made to
my son-in-law Samuel Cooper and Christian his wife and their heirs, and to
the further charge that he shall, within a year after he comes into
possession, pay the sums hereafter mentioned, namely, to his loving
daughter, Thomasine Turner, £50, in full of her filial part; to Martha,
John, and William Haitfield, my grandchildren, £50 amongst them; and to
his wife £40, which is to be given by her among her seven daughters first
named in his will. He gives to the said seven daughters all his money,
plate, linen, woollen, pewter, brass, household stuff, goods, chattels,
and personal estate, of what kind soever (saving his wife's wearing
apparel, rings, and jewels), equally amongst them, for the better
augmentation of their portions; desiring and entreating his said wife's
great care for their advancement, "considering my kindness and love to her
by this my will." He further gives to his son-in-law Cooper and his wife,
and to his daughter Thomasine Turner, each twenty shillings, for rings, to
wear for his sake. He makes his wife executrix, and desires Thompson and
Tomlinson to assist her, to each of whom he gives a ring. The witnesses
were R. Etherington, James Tennant, and Edward Topham.

This will tends to confirm Pope's representation that two of his mother's
brothers died in early life. Towthorpe, we see, is not mentioned; probably
it had passed from the family: but, on the other hand, there seems to have
been some addition made to what Lancelot the uncle had possessed at
Ruston. This Ruston (for there are two Rustons as well as two Towthorpes
in Yorkshire) is near Scarborough, and Brompton, the ancient seat of the
Cayley family, as this will plainly shows, by mentioning as appurtenances,
Wickham and Marton, in the same neighbourhood. We have already seen that
an interest was possessed here, in 1710, by Alexander Pope, the London
merchant, and his son, who seem to have intended to sell it to the Vanden
Bempd family.[4] It was a valuable property; but we cannot but perceive,
when we compare this will with that of Lancelot Turner, that the
prosperity of the family had meanwhile declined.

Pope speaks rather magniloquently of the cause of the decline, telling us
that "his mother inherited what estate remained after the sequestrations
and forfeitures of her family." We are bound to accept this statement;
but, in the printed list of compounders, the name of this Mr. Turner does
not appear, and I have seen no evidence of any sequestration. In comparing
the wills of Lancelot and William, we must not forget that Lancelot's was
made at the close of a life passed without children, and William's after
he had portioned some of his fourteen daughters, and had others still
remaining in his house.

These children of his grandfather were the only relatives of Pope in the
preceding generation with whom he appears to have kept up much
acquaintance; and after he became distinguished in the world, no
particular intimacy existed between him and them. We must except, however,
his mother, for whom he entertained the highest respect and affection; and
who, he says, had lived with him from the time of his birth, to her death
at the age of ninety-three. She survived, as we may easily believe, all
her brothers and sisters; and of these it now remains to give such an
account as the few memorials of them which have fallen under my notice
enable me. They are in no respect interesting except as they are
connected with the life of Pope, whom it is no exaggeration to designate
one of the greatest names among Englishmen, standing, in his own
department, with Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, and Dryden,--men
of whom, and whose connections, men now desire to know all that can be

Of the two Turners, who died in the service of King Charles I., we have no
account even of their names. The other son, named William, left England to
serve in the Spanish army, which was also the course taken by one of the
young Rockleys of Worsborough, his "coetanean," and probably his friend.
He rose in that service to be what Pope calls "a general officer"; which
distinction, if it gave him rank like that of a general in the English
service, was one that, in such a controversy, Pope was undoubtedly
entitled to put forward as an honour to the family. I lament that more has
not been discovered concerning him, and more particularly that we have not
even that slender piece of autobiography, his will. We know, however, that
he retained to the time of his death some portion of the family property,
and left it to his sister, Edith Pope, perhaps then the sole survivor.

Of the fourteen daughters, it would seem that some may have died in
infancy or in very early life. The General used to speak of his _ten_
sisters, and to compare them with the five wise and five foolish virgins,
that is, five Roman Catholics, and five of the English Protestant Church;
but which, in his opinion, were the wise, and which the foolish, does not
appear in the family tradition preserved by John Charles Brooke, Somerset
Herald, who was descended of one of them.

To place them in the exact order of seniority is out of our power, though
a more thorough search in the Yorkshire parish registers might enable us
to do so.

All we can pretend to is to place them in an order approximate to the
truth; and I need not apprise the reader that where we have to deal with
so large a family, there must be a long interval between the elder and the
younger. At the birth of Pope, in 1688, his mother was forty-six, and some
of his aunts must have been sixty, or thereabouts.

CHRISTIANA is named in her father's will as the wife of Samuel Cooper. She
may be presumed to have been one of the elder daughters, her husband
having been born in 1609. He was the famous miniature-painter of the name,
and was also noted for his skill in music. His father was a professed
musician, as we are informed by Aubrey, in his _Natural History of
Wiltshire_. His science may possibly have introduced him to the family of
Thomasine Turner, to whom, as we have seen, some song-books were
bequeathed by her uncle. Walpole knew of Cooper's marriage, and tells us
that he lived long in France and Holland; also, that he died in London, on
May 5, 1672, at the age of sixty-three, and was buried in St. Pancras
Church. All this may be true; but when he says--"I have a drawing of
Pope's father as he lay dead in his bed, by his brother-in-law, Cooper,
which had belonged to Mr. Pope," he must be mistaken, as Pope's father
outlived Cooper many years. More probably it was of Pope's grandfather,
and Cooper's father-in-law, William Turner. Walpole further informs us
that the widow of Cooper received a pension from the Court of France, for
whom her husband painted several pieces on a larger scale than he usually

Mrs. Cooper survived her husband many years. We are indebted to Mr.
Carruthers for notes of her will, which was made on the 16th of May, 1693,
and proved on the 28th of August following. She desires to be decently
buried in the Church of St. Pancras, as near to her dear husband as may
be. She leaves legacies to her sisters, Elizabeth Turner, Alice Mawhood,
and Mary Turner; also to her sisters Mace (not Marc, as printed by Mr.
Carruthers) and Jane Smith. To her sister Pope she leaves her mother's
picture,--(what has become of this?)--a broad piece of gold to her
brothers Mace, Calvert, Pope, and Smith; to her nephew and godson,
Alexander Pope (then five years old), a china dish with a silver foot, and
instruments which had been used by her husband in his art; and, after the
death of her sister, Elizabeth Turner, all her books, pictures, and
medals. She makes her nephew, Samuel Mawhood, citizen and fishmonger, her
sole executor.

It appears that there is or was a monument in the Church of St. Pancras to
the memory of the Coopers, with arms of Cooper impaling those usually
assigned to the name of Turner.

Mrs. Cooper was one of the five Roman Catholics. It seems probable, though
Walpole does not state it, that Cooper was originally a musician by
profession, as his father was, who is better known by his Italianized name

THOMASINE, named in her father's will, seems to have left the paternal
mansion early; for I find a Thomasine Turner living at the west end of
Turnmill Street in 1645, when she was assessed one shilling towards the
support of Sir Thomas Fairfax's army. In 1642, a receipt had been given to
the same person for three shillings assessed upon her for the tenements
she holds of Thomas Stokes, gentleman, in the parish of Clerkenwell, for
the subsidy of £400,000; and in another receipt for a very small sum to
the same subsidy. It is incidentally noticed on this receipt, that Thomas
Stokes was a Papist. It is hardly likely that there should be two
Thomasine Turners, unmarried, living at the same time. She seems never to
have married, and subscribes her maiden name as a witness to Mr. Cooper's
will. I place her among the five Roman Catholic sisters.

ALICE is mentioned in her father's will as the wife of Richard Mawhood.
She was one of the elder children, as she was eighty-eight at the time of
her death, January 15, 1713/4, and consequently born in 1625. Her husband
resided at Ardsley, where he had a good estate, which place being near to
Worsborough, we are at no loss to account for the connection thus formed,
and may refer it to the period when the family were living at Marrow
House, especially as we find that the eldest son, William Mawhood, who
succeeded them at Ardsley, was born in 1647, being seventy-eight at the
time of his death in 1725; many persons descend from him. But, beside the
eldest son, there were eight other children, of whom Samuel, a
woollen-draper on Snow Hill, was Mrs. Cooper's executor. One only of these
children was a daughter, who lived to the age of eighty-four, dying in
1736, the widow of Thomas Brooke of Doncaster. There was another
connection of the Mawhoods with the family of Brooke of Yorkshire, William
Brooke of Dodworth having married Alice, daughter of William Mawhood, an
alderman of Doncaster (grandson of Richard Mawhood and Alice Turner) by
Margaret Mawhood his wife, daughter of William, the eldest son of Richard
and Alice. A son of that marriage was John Charles Brooke, the Somerset
Herald, a most laborious inquirer into points of genealogy, who has left a
large account of his relations, the Mawhoods, from which more might be
extracted were I not, perhaps, too sensible how wearisome genealogical
details are to many readers. His inquiries about his ancestors the Turners
were less successful. He knew the relationship to Pope, but substitutes
for William Turner of York, his contemporary, William Turner of Bilham,
near Doncaster, a person of the same rank, but of a totally different
family. Mrs. Mawhood may be considered to have remained a Protestant.

ANOTHER DAUGHTER, who must have been among those early born of this
prolific bed, seems to have died before her father, who names in his will,
Martha, John, and William Haitfield, as his grandchildren.

EDITH, baptized in 1642, is spoken of in her father's will by her maiden
name,--in her sister, Mrs. Cooper's will, in 1693, as then the wife of
Pope the elder. She died in 1733, the last survivor of the family.

JANE, baptized in 1645, married ---- Smith. Both were living when Mrs.
Cooper made her will in 1693.

ELIZABETH, is named in her father's will, 1665, and her sister Cooper's
will, 1693, as unmarried.

MARTHA, baptized 1641, and named in her father's will. Either she or (less
probably) her sister Margaret was the wife of ---- Calvert, who was living
in 1693, according to Mrs. Cooper's will. J. C. Brooke says that she was
maintained in her old age by her nephew, Captain Charles Mawhood, who
resided at Alkley, near Doncaster. She was a Roman Catholic.

MARGARET, baptized 1643. She (or Martha) married a clergyman named Mace.
There were several clergymen of that rare name living at York and in the
northern part of Derbyshire. She is named in her father's will, and, with
her husband, in her sister Cooper's.

Ten daughters have now been presented before us; but Brooke, who professes
to write from the information of the elders of the family, speaks of two
others, viz., Mrs. Tomlinson, whom we may suppose to have married in the
family of Tomlinson of York, one of the supervisors of Turner's will; and
Mrs. Corbet, who he says was one of the five Roman Catholics. She was, I
conceive, the Mrs. Corbet on whom Pope wrote what pleased Dr. Johnson most
of all his epitaphs.

One of the unmarried daughters, Thomasine, Elizabeth, or Mary, must have
been the deformed sister who lived with Mrs. Pope, and who taught her son
to read, according to the popular accounts of the Poet.

We have thus accounted for twelve of the fourteen daughters. The remaining
two we may well believe died in infancy or early youth.

Whatever excellent qualities Edith may have possessed, it would seem that
her literary education was not much superior to that of other young ladies
of her time, and inferior to that of many. This is proved by a letter of
hers, the only one I believe that is known, printed in the _Additions to
the Works of Alexander Pope, Esq._, 1776, vol. ii. p. 96.[5]

The people of York seem not to have been without a due sense of the honour
done to their city in having had the mother of so great a man residing
among them in her youth. In some verses addressed to Lady Irwin, a
daughter of the Earl of Carlisle, these lines occur:--

  York lent us Pope by th' mother's side:
  But from th' paternal, this our pride
  Gives Castle Howard: say which here
  Illumines most the natal sphere.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the whole, then, it will appear that Pope descended of a _clerical_
family, the members of it being much connected with the University of
Oxford; but that at present we can trace him only to a person of his own
name, who was rector of Thruxton and prebendary (if the incumbents are so
called) of Middleton and Ichen-Abbots, in the diocese of Winchester: that
these, being rather conspicuous pieces of preferment, place him in the
higher rank of the clergy of his time, and seem to be but the beginning of
the offices he would have held in the Church, had he not died in rather
early life, and had not the changes at that time imminent, stopped him in
his course:--that, though we cannot ascend beyond him on evidence that
would bear a close examination, there is strong presumptive evidence that
he was either identical or nearly connected with an Alexander Pope of
Oxford, the friend of Dr. Barcroft, and the son-in-law of the famous John
Dodd of Fawsley, and the father of Dr. Walter Pope, the Gresham Professor,
the Poet, and the miscellaneous writer, who was half-brother of Dr. John
Wilkins, the Bishop of Chester, who married a sister of the Protector
Cromwell:--that there is no reason to believe, on account of disparity of
rank, that he was not of the same stock as the Popes, Earls of Downe, but,
on the contrary, that nothing can be more probable than that the family
tradition was correct, which delivered thus much and no more:--that his
Oxfordshire ancestors did spring, as the Earl of Downe did, from people of
small account living at Deddington, near Banbury.

And that, on his mother's side, he sprang from persons who had possessed
land of their own at Towthorpe, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, from
perhaps an early period, but who, from the time of Elizabeth were lords of
the manor:--that one of them who died in the reign of James I. was an
opulent person, and intimate with some of the principal families in the
county:--that he left the greater part of his possessions to his nephew,
William Turner, the Poet's grandfather:--that in his hands the family
estate did not receive any material additions, and perhaps rather
decayed:--that he had the charge of not fewer than seventeen children,
nearly all of whom grew to man and woman's estate:--that of the sons, two
died during the Civil Wars, in which one of them was slain, and the other
went abroad and served in the Spanish army, and at his death gave
property, not very inconsiderable remains of the family estate, to Edith
Pope, his favourite sister.

And that, this being the case, there is nothing of exaggeration or of
boasting, when the Poet has to meet the charge of being of obscure birth,
in asserting that he sprang "of gentle blood."

LONDON; F. PICKTON, Printer, Perry's Place, 29, Oxford Street.


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  It is one of the most pleasing offices of the genealogist to trace
  the descent and to show the alliances of GENIUS.

     HUNTER'S _South Yorkshire_, vol. ii. p. 297.


"Let any one bethink him how impressive the smallest historical fact may
become, as contrasted with the grandest fictitious event;--what an
incalculable force lies for us in this consideration;--the thing which I
here hold imaged in my mind did actually occur; was, in very truth, an
element in the system of the All whereof I too form part; had therefore,
and has, through all time, an authentic being; is not a dream, but a
reality!"--CARLYLE'S _Essays_, vol. iii. p. 43.


My dear Sir,

In that section of the interesting and valuable tract you have recently
given to the world, which treats of the maternal ancestry of Pope, you
suggest the possibility of "ascending a generation above" Lancelot Turner,
the uncle of William Turner, the Poet's maternal grandfather.

Having had the good fortune to discover this higher step in the genealogy
of the Turners, and to obtain some additional information respecting
several members of the family, I beg to be permitted to communicate to
you, in this form, the facts which have come to my knowledge.

The descent of the maternal ancestors of the illustrious Poet may be
traced to a source whence many families among the present aristocracy of
Yorkshire have originally sprung,--the trade or commerce of the city of

At York, in the reign of King Henry VIII., Robert Turner carried on the
business of a wax-chandler, which, before the Reformation, when this
commodity in various forms was profusely and constantly used in the
celebration of religious services, was a lucrative and important
occupation. Had he not been a person in good circumstances, and belonging
to the higher class of tradesmen, he would scarcely have brought up his
son to one of the learned professions. In the year 1553, "Edward Turner,
skryvener," son of Robert Turner, wax-chandler, being entitled by
patrimony to be admitted to the city franchise, was duly enrolled upon the
register of York freemen.

This Edward Turner was the father of Lancelot Turner; and what you have
hazarded as a probable conjecture with regard to the son,[6] is quite true
as regards the father: he was connected with the Council of the North; and
there can be no doubt that great part of the property he possessed at the
time of his death had been acquired by the influence and emoluments which
arose from his official connection with that court.

We have decisive evidence of his having been one of the officials of the
Council of the North in a circumstance which is recorded upon the minutes
of the proceedings of the corporation of York. Being a freeman of the
city, Edward Turner was liable to serve municipal offices; and it may be
regarded as a proof of the estimation in which he was held by his
fellow-citizens, that they thought him a proper person to sustain the
dignity and responsibility of the office of sheriff of the city. In
October, 1562, he received an intimation from the corporate body, that
they intended to elect him to be one of their sheriffs for the ensuing
year. When this was made known to the Lord President and Council of the
North, Mr. Secretary Eymis "went in all haste" to the common hall where
the corporation were assembled, and told them that "Edward Turner was a
clerk to the Council, and they must not make him sheriff."

The citizens did not deem it expedient to act in opposition to the wishes
of the Council thus peremptorily expressed. They abandoned their design
of electing Mr. Turner sheriff, and he was never afterwards called upon
to bear that or any other office in the corporation.[7] It was of more
importance to him to retain the favour of the Council, than to accept a
municipal appointment which was attended with no profit, and might have
interfered with the due discharge of his official or professional duties.

The Mr. Secretary Eymis who is here spoken of, was Thomas Eymis, Esq., one
of the chief functionaries of the great Court of York for nearly thirty
years. A gentleman by birth, and, doubtless, a lawyer by profession, he
was first constituted a member of the Council of the North, and appointed
to the important office of its secretary, by the commission under which
the Earl of Shrewsbury was made Lord President in the 4th year of King
Edward VI. After the accession of Queen Elizabeth, under the commission
which appointed the Earl of Rutland Lord President, and under the
subsequent commissions issued in that reign, he continued to hold the
office of Secretary, and was also Keeper of the Queen's Signet.

From the alarm shown by Mr. Secretary Eymis when he heard that the
efficiency of Edward Turner's services as clerk to the Council was in
danger of being impaired by his advancement to civic honours, it seems
probable that the appointment he held was that of one of the clerks of the
seal,[8] the duties of which would be more immediately under Mr. Eymis's
superintendence. It is obvious, however, that the office, whatever name it
bore, was of great respectability, and placed the holder of it upon a
footing of friendly intercourse with numerous persons of family and
distinction, members of or connected with the Council, who at that period
constituted the highest class of society in York.

Edward Turner's place of residence was in the centre of the city. The
house in which he lived and died, stood in that part of the parish of
Saint Helen Stonegate, which was then called Stayngate, but is now known
as Saint Helen's Square. This and an adjoining mansion occupied by Lady
Beckwith (the widow of Sir Leonard Beckwith, Knight, one of the Council of
the North), and several other houses situate in the adjacent streets, were
his property. Some of them he had most probably inherited from his

In the year 1562, when the corporation of York contemplated making him
sheriff, Edward Turner was a married man, and the father of a family. The
earliest register book of the parish of Saint Helen Stonegate, which
commences in the year 1568, records the baptism of two of his younger
children: "Lucy Turner, daughter of Edward Turner, gentleman," was
baptized on the 24th of February, 1569, and a son, named Edward, on the
12th of August, 1570. Another son, named Martin, of whom he speaks in his
will as his youngest son, must have been born a very short time before the
death of his mother, an event which is thus entered in the same
register:--"Mistris Turner, wife of Edward Turner, gentleman, buried 13th
June, 1571." I have found no clue whatever to the discovery of the name of
this lady, or of any other particulars relating to her.

A few months after the usual period of mourning had passed, the widowed
husband took unto himself a second wife. On the 22nd of September, 1572,
"Mr. Edward Turner and Mrs. Jane Fale" were married at the church of the
parish of Saint Michael le Belfrey, in York. Mrs. Jane Fale was the widow
of Mr. Thomas Fale, who for more than twenty years was town-clerk of York,
and died in the month of March, 1571.

In the year 1573, Mr. Turner purchased of William Wentworth, of
Killingwicke, a plot of ground near to his own residence, which had been
the churchyard of the demolished church of Saint Wilfred.[9]

Of thirty householders of the parish of Saint Helen Stonegate, who, in the
year 1574, were assessed to the relief of the poor, Edward Turner paid the
highest rate. The amount, when compared with modern experience, seems
ridiculously small: it was no more than fourpence. But this was in the
very infancy of poor-rates, and, with one or two exceptions, the aldermen
of the city were the only persons who contributed so large a sum as

A few years later, Mr. Turner had to lament the loss of his early friend
and patron, Mr. Secretary Eymis. He died on the 19th of August, 1578; and
in his last will we find a token, although it be but a slight one, of his
regard for the person who had so long shared his official labours.

During his long tenure of the influential and lucrative office of
Secretary to the Court at York, Mr. Eymis had accumulated great wealth. He
appears to have participated largely in the distribution by the crown of
the ecclesiastical property in Yorkshire which was confiscated at the
Reformation. His estate at Heslington, near York, where he built for his
own residence a stately mansion, consisted chiefly of lands which had
belonged to the Hospital of Saint Leonard and the Priory of Saint Andrew,
two of the religious houses at York. He had possessed himself of the
estates belonging to a collegiate foundation at Lowthorpe in the East
Riding. He was lessee under the church of York of the prebend of Bugthorpe
in the same riding, and owner of the manors of Bugthorpe and other
adjacent places; and he had obtained a grant from the crown of the tithes
of Clifton, near York, which belonged to the rectory of Saint Olave in
Marygate. He must have been remarkable for the state and splendour of his
domestic establishment, having a house in the Minster Close at York, and
another in the Savoy at London; and two country houses, one at Bugthorpe,
and the other at Heslington.[10]

The last will of Mr. Eymis was executed on the first day of the year in
which he died. In this document the name of Edward Turner occurs twice:
first, in his disposal of a house and close of land, without Monk Bar,
York, which he states that he had purchased of "Edward Turner, gentilman";
and secondly, in a bequest of which I must speak more at length. The
testator gives a life interest in nearly the whole of his estates to his
wife Elizabeth; but he does this by means of numerous separate devises,
intailing the various parts of his property, after her death, upon his
nephews, Thomas Eymis, William Eymis, Richard Eymis, John Eymis, William
Thynne, and Sir John Thynne, Knight,[11] varying the order of succession,
and introducing into some of the limitations the names of the younger sons
of his nephew, Sir John Thynne, and his brother-in-law, Sir Henry Neville,
Knight, and of two or three other persons, of whom Edward Turner is one.

The tithes of Clifton, which the testator states that he held for a term
of years by a grant from the Queen, he gives, after the death of his wife,
to five of his nephews for their lives successively; and if they all die
before the expiration of such term of years, he bequeaths the same tithes
to "Edward Turner, gentilman, and his assigns, during the residue of the
years then to come, if he live so long;" and if not, then "to my friend
Robert Man, gentilman," in a similar manner, with the ultimate bequest to
"Henry Pulleyne, my servant." The will was proved at York, on the 20th of
March, 1578-9, by the testator's widow, Elizabeth Eymis, the residuary
legatee and sole executor.[12]

Mr. Edward Turner did not long survive his patron and superior in office,
Mr. Secretary Eymis. He died in the month of December, 1580, and was
buried in the church of the parish of Saint Helen Stonegate, of which he
had been for many years one of the principal inhabitants. A few weeks
before his death he executed his last will. It is dated the 27th of
November, 1580, and was proved by Lancelot Turner, the eldest son and one
of the executors, on the 31st of January, 1581. After the usual pious
introduction, the testator, who describes himself "Edward Turner, of the
cittie of Yorke," without any addition, gives to his wife, Jane, for her
life, all such lands, &c., as she had already set forth for her jointure.
He then proceeds to make the following disposition of his real estate:--

"To Lancelot Turner, my son, all my lands in possession and reversion,
except a tenement and garthinge in Stanegate, to him and his heirs males;
with remainder to Phillippe Turner, my son, and his heirs males; with
remainder to Thomas Turner, my son, and his heirs males; with remainder to
Martyn Turner, my son, and his heirs males; with remainder to my own right

The following bequests show that the testator's personalty was of a costly

"To my son, Lancelot Turner, my dolphyn of gold; to my wife, all such gold
rings and gold tablets as she hath in possession; to Phillipp Turner, my
son, my ring hoop of gold; to Thomas Turner, a ring of gold, with a graven
death's head in it, weighing about 40_s._; to Martyn Turner, a gold ring,
with a death's head of stone in it; to Margaret Willowbie, a round gold
ring of 12_s._ price, which lieth in my study amongst other my rings; to
Elizabeth Martyn, a gold ring in a purse, in my far study; to Katherine
Turner, a ring of an angel weight; to Margaret Willowbie, 100 marks in
consideration of such reckoning as is between her and me; to Elizabeth
Martin, £10 over and beside £6. 13_s._ 4_d._ which I owe of the 100 marks
that I promised to her husband for her marriage goods; to Katherine
Turner, £30 over and besides her child's portion; to Johan Willowbie,
40_s._, and to Anne, Elizabeth, and Thomas Willowbie, 20_s._ each; to my
wife, the tithes of corn and hay at Bishopthorpe during her life; to
Martyn Turner, my youngest son, twenty marks yearly, out of the annuity of
£20 granted unto me from William Chamberlayne, Esq., and Leonard his
son,[13] for his bringing up at the University, and I commit him to the
tuition of my wife, to be ruled and ordered by her, who I trust will be
his good mother, and see all his things ordered for his most benefit; to
my son, Lancelot, my years in the tithe of Braken-on-the-Wold, by grant
from the Queen's Majesty; to Thomas Turner, the tenement and garthing in
Stanegate; to my son, Philip Turner, my years in my lands in Clifton which
I have by grant from the Queen, and my right in the Howe close without
Walmgate Bar; to my well-beloved cousin, Mr. Henry Maye, the moiety of my
leasehold lands in Kexbie township, for that he in truth did disburse the
one half of the money for the obtaining of the leases--the other moiety I
give to my children, Edward, Martyn, and Katherine Turner; to my daughter,
Margaret Willowbie, my years in a close in Scoreby, paying out of it to my
sister, Alice Hall, widow, 40_s._ yearly; to Lancelot Martin, my
son-in-law, a gold ring of the value of 40_s._ I will that all the
'waynescott, sealings, portalles, binkes, cundetts for conveying of
water,' &c. in my now dwelling-house, and within the house of the Lady
Beckwith, be heirlooms. To my wife, a stoke of corn which I estimate to be
twenty quarters of barley; £30 from one Hunter, for the fine or gressam of
a tenement and lands of my said wife in Tockwith; and a grey ambling nag
which she useth to ride upon, and calleth her own nag, which I esteem at
the value of £4. To the right worshipful and my singular good mistress,
Mrs. Eymis,[14] one old ryal; to my good friend Mr. Thomas Sandes, my
cousin Henry Maye, and his wife, an old angel each; to my cousin Thomas
Jackson, and my niece Jane Crosethwaite, each a French crown; to each of
the children of my late brother-in-law, John Hall, 5_s._; to Edmund Fale
and his wife, 5_s._ each; to Mrs. Maltus, an English crown; to Mrs. Wood,
of Kilnwick, a gold ring, or two old angels; to Agnes Walker, of Saint
Nicholas, 3_s._ 4_d._ The residue to my wife, and Lancelot Turner,
Margaret Willowbie, and Elizabeth Martin, my children, whom I make
executors; my very good friend, Mr. Thomas Wood of Kilnwicke,[15] Robert
Man, Thomas Blenkharne, John Stephenson, and Thomas Smithson,

It does not appear that the testator's wife, who survived him, had borne
him any children. By the aid of his will the issue of his previous
marriage may be placed in the following order:--

     1. LANCELOT, the eldest son. For copious information respecting him,
     we are indebted to your researches.

     2. PHILIP, the grandfather of Edith Pope.

     3. THOMAS. In the year 1580, "Thomas Turner, goldsmith, son of Edward
     Turner, gentleman," was admitted to the city franchise.

     4. MARGARET, married, in her father's lifetime, to a person of the
     name of Willowbie. After his death she married John Stephenson,[16]
     one of the supervisors of her father's will.

     5. ELIZABETH, married to Lancelot Martin at the Church of Saint Helen
     Stonegate, on the 17th of July, 1580. Thomas Martin, the London
     apprentice, to whom Lancelot Turner gives a legacy of £200, was their
     son. It appears from the will of Lancelot Turner, that she was
     afterwards the wife of a person named Hustler.

     6. KATHARINE, a minor at the time of her father's death. She
     afterwards married Thomas Blenkarne, another of the supervisors of
     his will.

     7. LUCY, baptized 24th of February, 1569. As she is not named in her
     father's will, she most probably died young.

     8. EDWARD, baptized 12th of August, 1570.

     9. MARTIN, the youngest child, about nine years old when his father

Mrs. Jane Turner lived several years after she became the widow of Edward
Turner. Her last will is dated the 11th of December, 1588. The bequests it
contains, are very numerous, and I will mention only such of them as seem
to be pertinent to our present inquiry.

"To my god-daughter, Jane Newton, the wife of Miles Newton,[17]
gentleman, one angel." Jane Newton was one of the daughters of Ambrose
Beckwith of Stillingfleet, the brother of Sir Leonard Beckwith, whose
widow, Lady Beckwith, was the neighbour and tenant of Edward Turner. You
have shown us that Thomasine Newton, Edith Pope's mother, was the
grand-daughter of Miles Newton and Jane Beckwith.[18]

"To my son-in-law, Martin Turner," 5_s._, and a tablet of gold which was
his father's. "To Phillip Turner and Edward Turner, my sons-in-law,"
20_s._ each. "To my daughters-in-law, Elizabeth Martin, wife of Lancelot
Martin, and Katherine Blenkarne, wife of Thomas Blenkarne," gold rings.
"To John Stephenson, my son-in-law, and Margaret Stephenson, my
daughter-in-law," small legacies; and "to my sister, Alice Hall, an angel
and my black gown furred with cunny."

Among the other legatees are the following persons of distinction, then
resident in York and the neighbourhood:--

Mr. Henry Slingsby, afterwards Sir Henry Slingsby, Knight, Vice-President
of the Council of the North; and Mrs. Frances Slingsby his wife, daughter
of William Vavasour of Weston, Esq., by Elizabeth, sister and coheir of
Roger Beckwith, Esq., eldest son and heir of Sir Leonard Beckwith.

Mrs. Jane Wood, widow of Thomas Wood of Kilnwick Percy gentleman (of whom
I have previously spoken), and Mr. Barney Wood, their son.

Mrs. Hilliard, wife of William Hilliard, Esq., Recorder of York,
afterwards Sir Wm. Hilliard, Knt.

Mr. John Jenkins (whose son was afterwards Sir Henry Jenkins, Knight), and
his wife, and Margaret, their daughter.

Mrs. Darley, the wife of Mr. John Darley of York.[19]

Lady Beckwith, and her son-in-law and daughter, Mr. George Harvie,[20] and
Mrs. Frances, his wife.

The testatrix appointed John Darley and William Allen,[21] draper,
executors, and Mr. William Bushell and Mr. William Hilliard, supervisors
of her will, which was proved at York on the 30th November, 1589. She was
buried on the 9th of September preceding, in the church of Saint Michael
le Belfrey; it being her testamentary wish to be interred near to her
first husband.

I now pass to the third generation of the Turners; and I will speak first
of Philip Turner, who was the second son of Edward Turner, and the direct
ancestor of the great Poet.

In the year 1586, Philip Turner was admitted to the franchise of the city
of York, as the son of Edward Turner, gentleman. In the register of
freemen he is called a merchant, implying that he was a member of the
chartered company of Merchant Adventurers, which was then constituted of
the highest class of York citizens.

On the 18th of January, 1590, at the church of Saint Helen Stonegate,
"Phillippe Turner and Edeth Gylminge was maryed." This lady was the mother
of William Turner, in remembrance of whom he gave to his daughter Edith
her pretty Saxon christian-name, and it cannot be uninteresting to inquire
a little about the family to which she belonged. The name of Gylminge is
of rare occurrence in our local annals. In Mr. Drake's volume it appears
only once; but I believe that the "William Gylmyn" whom the historian[22]
places at the head of a list of the freeholders of York who were present
at the election of two representatives in Parliament on Oct. 28, 1584, was
the father of Edith Gylminge who married Philip Turner, as he
unquestionably was of Christian Gylminge, who, at the same parish church,
on April 9, 1599, became the first wife of George Ellis, Esq., afterwards
Sir George Ellis, Knight, a member of the Council of the North.

William Gylminge was a vintner,--in modern phrase, a wine-merchant. In the
sixteenth century the vintners were among the most opulent of the York
tradesmen, no person being permitted to sell wine without having an annual
license from the Lord Mayor and Aldermen. In the year 1583, William
Gylminge was one of the eleven persons to whom this privilege was
exclusively granted. Henry Maye, whom Edward Turner names in his will as
his cousin, and who was an alderman, and lord mayor in 1586, was another
of these eleven vintners.

William Gylminge died in the year 1591. In his will, dated Jan. 28,
1590-1, he mentions his son James, and his daughters Joan and Christian.
The name of his daughter Edith does not appear; and I can only account for
the omission, by supposing that she had received her child's portion
twelve months before, when she became the wife of Philip Turner. Robert
Gylminge, a merchant and goldsmith at York, was the brother of William
Gylminge. He died in the year 1580; and from his will[23] it may be
inferred that he was engaged in large commercial transactions, as he gives
to his wife and children all his goods "on this side the sea, or beyond
the seas."

Soon after the marriage of Philip Turner to Edith Gylminge, I find him
living in the parish of All Saints Pavement in York, a part of the city
which was then inhabited by many of its principal merchants. In this
parish he continued to reside several years, and became the father of a
numerous family. The baptismal register contains these entries:--

     1592, Oct. 3.--Lancelot, son of Philip Turner.

     1593, Nov. 3.--Frances, daughter of Philip Turner.

     1594, Feb. 26.--Martha, daughter of Philip Turner.

     1796, April 14.--Katherine, daughter of Philip Turner.

     1597, June 7.--WILLIAM, son of Philip Turner.

     1598, Oct. 9.--Philip, son of Philip Turner.

     1603, Dec. 4.--John, son of Philip Turner.

In the spring of 1604, that dreadful scourge, the "Pestilence of the
Plague," which, in the preceding year, had almost desolated the
metropolis, made its appearance at York, and continued to rage with
unabated violence in every part of the city for several months.[24] Edith,
the wife of Philip Turner, and three of his children, were victims of this
fatal visitation. The mother died first: the register of All Saints
Pavement records her burial on July 9, 1604. The death of her daughters,
Martha and Katherine, quickly followed. Both were buried on the 23rd of
the same month. John, her infant son, did not long survive his mother; he
was buried on the 19th of December.

After this period I have not met with the slightest trace of Philip
Turner, or of any of his surviving children, except William, who, we now
discover, was not his first-born son. From the christian-name given to
Philip's eldest boy, it is pretty certain that he was the godson of his
uncle Lancelot, and had he lived to the age of maturity would have been
preferred to his younger brother. We must conclude, therefore, that his
early death made way for William to become the oldest surviving son of his
father, and the heir presumptive of his uncle, who, as we learn from your
pages,[25] having no children of his own, ultimately by his will
established this nephew in the possession of the bulk of his fortune.

It was but a short time previous to the occurrence of the calamity which
deprived Philip Turner of his wife and three of his children, that
Lancelot Turner became the owner of Towthorpe.

An acute critic,[26] who has taken great interest in all matters connected
with the genealogy of Pope, suggests, as "more than probable, that
Lancelot Turner himself acquired the property which enabled him to make
the purchase of the manor of Towthorpe." But the fact seems to be, that he
had obtained the means of making that purchase by converting into money
part of the property bequeathed to him by his father, in the sale of which
he had prevailed upon his brother Philip to join. Prior to the year
1602,[27] they had sold to Robert Watterhouse, Esq., the ancient
churchyard of Saint Wilfred, and the buildings that stood upon it; and in
January, 1604, "Lancelot Turner and Philip Turner of York gentlemen, sons
of Edward Turner late of York gentleman, deceased," conveyed to John Smith
and John Sharpe, two York tradesmen, all the remaining property which had
belonged to their father, situate in the parish of Saint Helen Stonegate,
consisting of nine dwelling-houses which stood in the several streets of
Stanegate, Ald-Conyng-strete, Blake-street, and Davygate.

About this time Lancelot Turner was making purchases of copyhold cottages
and land at Towthorpe; and from his having sold his paternal property in
York, to enable him to become the lord of the manor of Towthorpe, and from
his manifest desire to enlarge the borders of his domain there, it might
be reasonably inferred that he had some ancestral attachment to that
place. There can be no doubt that a family of the same name, who were
small landed proprietors, had long been settled there. The baptism of
John, son of the Robert Turner, of Towthorpe, of whose will you give some
account,[28] is entered in the parochial register of Huntington, on Jan.
11, 1600-1. Robert, the testator, was buried at Huntington on Sept. 30,
1626. In April, 1642, Richard Turner, doubtless the son and executor of
Robert, surrendered copyhold land at Strensall, the manor to which
Towthorpe is appendant, to William Turner, doubtless his son, and the
grandchild to whom Robert bequeaths "the little brown whie."

Nothing can be more probable than that Robert of York, the father of
Edward and the grandfather of Lancelot, sprang from this respectable if
not opulent family of Turner of Towthorpe, and, according to a practice
very common in those days, had been transplanted from the country to be
brought up to a trade in the town.

I have now to bring to your notice a remarkable circumstance which
occurred in the earlier part of the life of Lancelot Turner.

You need not be reminded of the bitter persecution of Nonconformists that
prevailed in the northern counties whilst the Court of York was under the
presidency of the Earl of Huntingdon; and the strict watchfulness which
the civil authorities were specially required by the Government to
exercise over all persons suspected of any attachment to Popery. At the
commencement of the year 1594, the magistrates of York were called upon by
the Lord President and Council of the North, acting in obedience to
instructions received from the Privy Council, to make diligent inquiry as
to the number of gentlemen resident within their jurisdiction who were
sending, or had sent, their children abroad under colour of learning
languages. In the answer which the Lord Mayor and Aldermen returned to the
communication from the Lord President, they certified that Martin Turner,
son of Edward Turner of York gentleman deceased, went over the seas about
three years before--that he was then at Venice at the University, and
learning of languages there--and that he was relieved and maintained by
one Lancelot Turner of York gentleman, his brother.[29]

The curious facts thus disclosed appear to me to admit of only one
explanation. We discover that in the year 1591, about twelve months after
the death of Mrs. Jane Turner, his father's widow, Lancelot Turner took
the extraordinary step of sending his brother, a youth of nineteen, into
Italy. We have seen the desire of the father, as shown by the testamentary
provision he made for his son Martin, whom he probably designed for one of
the liberal professions, that this his youngest boy should be brought up
at the university. His solemn injunction to his widow, that she should be
"a good mother to the boy and see all things ordered for his most
benefit," was, no doubt, piously fulfilled. We cannot imagine, that when
Edward Turner, an officer of the Council of the North, spoke of the
university, he had the most remote idea of his son being brought up at a
Popish college. Yet we find that Lancelot Turner, the moment he became the
youth's natural guardian, sent him abroad, and placed him at the
University of Venice, which was then notorious for being the very centre
and hotbed of Jesuitism.[30]

The conclusion seems inevitable, that Lancelot Turner was himself a Roman
Catholic, and adopted the most effectual method of having his brother
Martin educated and established in the same faith.

Nevertheless, we have some evidence that at a later period he outwardly
conformed to the religion of the State. One of the important facts you
have brought to light concerning him is, that the royal grant of
Towthorpe was made to him just before the Queen's death. Had he then been
an avowed Roman Catholic, or even suspected of recusancy, he would
scarcely have obtained such a grant from the Government of Elizabeth. The
documents you refer to, showing his residence at York after the accession
of James I., testify that he then stood well with the municipal
authorities. I may add, by way of corroboration, that in January, 1612,
when the royal treasury was empty, and the Ministers of James resorted to
the expedient of raising money for the necessities of the State, by
sending privy seals into the country, Lancelot Turner was one of "twenty
able commoners" of York, whom the Lord President and the Lord Mayor, upon
private conference, selected as persons of sufficient ability to lend
money to the Crown upon that security.

The touching incident recorded in the nuncupative codicil made by Lancelot
Turner in his dying moments,[31] shows the close personal friendship
which must have subsisted between him and Sir William Alford; and this
gives plausibility to a conjecture, that their families were connected by
some tie of relationship: possibly the first wife of Edward Turner was an
Alford. The christian name of Lancelot, which Edward Turner bestowed upon
his eldest son, and which was afterwards given to his eldest grandson, had
been a favourite name with the Alfords. The first occupier of Meaux Abbey,
after the dissolution of monasteries, was Lancelot Alford, Esq., who died
in 1562, and was succeeded by his nephew, Sir Lancelot Alford, who
obtained a grant of the site of the monastery in 1586, and was knighted by
King James I., at York, in 1603.[32] He was the father of Sir William
Alford, Lancelot Turner's friend. But another and perhaps the more
probable conjecture is, that the intimacy between these two persons had
arisen from a community of feeling upon the all-important subject of
religious faith; for there can be little doubt that Sir William Alford was
a Roman Catholic.

In a petition presented by the House of Commons to King Charles the First,
in the year 1626, numerous persons are named, holding places of trust and
authority, whom the petitioners accuse of being either Popish recusants,
or justly suspected of being such. They do not scruple to charge the Lord
President of the North himself[33] with being ill affected in religion;
and, among other instances, they allege--first, that in the preceding
year, the Lord President being certified of divers Spanish ships-of-war
upon the coast of Scarborough, his lordship went thither, and took with
him the Lord Dunbar, Sir Thomas Metham, and Sir William Alford, and lay at
the house of Lord Eure,[34] whom he knew to be a convict recusant, and
did, notwithstanding, refuse to disarm him, although he had received
letters from the Privy Council to that effect; and secondly, that he gave
order to Lord Dunbar, Sir Thomas Metham, and Sir William Alford, to view
the forts and munition at Kingston-upon-Hull, who made one Kerton, a
convict recusant, and suspected to be a priest, their clerk in that

It is well known that Lord Dunbar and Sir Thomas Metham were Roman
Catholics. Had Sir William Alford not been of the same religious
persuasion, he would scarcely have acted as their colleague on these

The estrangement of which Lancelot Turner complained, when he revoked his
gift of the clock to his "good and worthy friend," may possibly have been
occasioned by Sir William's dislike of that outward conformity to
Protestantism, which Lancelot had found it convenient to assume in his
latter days.

Like other country gentlemen, Lancelot Turner had a town-house for his
occasional residence, as well as his manor-house of Towthorpe. You show us
that in December, 1619, when he executed his last will he is described of
Towthorpe; but you think that the codicil, which is dated a few days
before his death, was probably made at York.[36] There is no doubt that in
his last illness he was residing in Goodramgate, in the house which his
nephew afterwards occupied. Part of the street called Goodramgate is in
the parish of Saint John del Pike, which was then, as it is now, united to
the parish of the Holy Trinity Goodramgate; and I find in the
register-book of the united parishes, an entry of the burial of "Mr.
Lancelot Turner" on Jan. 16, 1620.

Upon the death of his uncle, William Turner made Towthorpe[37] his
principal perhaps his only place of abode, and exactly two years after
that event, viz., on Jan. 14, 1621-2, his marriage to Thomasine Newton
was solemnized at the little church of the parish of Huntington, in which
the township of Towthorpe is situate. The extreme youth of the lady was
most probably the cause of the postponement of the marriage (which, as you
observe, had evidently been contemplated by the uncle) until the
expiration of two years after his death. At that time she could not have
been more than fifteen years old. Her father, Christopher Newton, was not
of age in 1604, when his father, Miles Newton, died;[38] and it is pretty
certain that he was not then married.

In what creed either of the parents of Edith Pope was educated, we have
no means of ascertaining, but we may reasonably suppose that their
religious faith would take its colour from that which was professed by him
of whom they were the adopted children. If the Roman Catholic tendency
were less manifest in them, we see it abundantly developed in their
numerous offspring, of whom a considerable proportion, we are told, were
avowedly members of the ancient church.

The origin of that particular regard which Lancelot Turner had for
Thomasine Newton remains inexplicable. His having "household stuff at
Kilburn," which he bequeathed to her by his will, would indicate that he
had occasionally resided at the house of her parents at that place. The
will of either of them might have thrown some light upon these points; but
such documents, if they exist, have hitherto eluded our researches.

About thirteen months after the marriage of William Turner and Thomasine
Newton, their first child was born. "Christian Turner,[39] daughter of
William Turner of Towthorpe gentleman," was baptized at Huntington on Feb.
19, 1622-23. The second child was a son. On March 30, 1624, "George
Turner, son of William Turner of Towthorpe gentleman," was baptized at
Huntington. This was doubtless one of the youths whose "gentle blood was
shed in honour's cause." About two years afterwards, the second daughter
was born--Alice, of whom you speak as the wife of Richard Mawhood,[40] was
baptized at Huntington on the 23rd of March, 1625-6. After this time the
parochial register of Huntington ceases to yield any information relating
to William Turner or his family.

In the same year in which he was married, William Turner made a purchase,
with what specific object it is now in vain to inquire, of a house in
Stonegate, York. In the deed (dated Nov. 5, 1622) by which the property
was conveyed to him he is described "William Turner of Towthropp in the
county of York gentleman." Whatever may have been his motive for
purchasing a house in York, he did not long retain the ownership of it. By
a deed dated June 5, 1626, "William Turner of Towthropp gentleman, and
Thomasine his wife," transferred all their interest in the property to
William Scott of York merchant, and John Lasinbye of Huntington yeoman. It
maybe surmised that Scott and Lasinbye were not purchasers, but merely
trustees for effecting some charitable or other purpose not strictly
legal, which had soon afterwards been brought into litigation or dispute.
On June 3, 1630, William Turner, who was then at York, joined with William
Scott and John Lasinbye in an absolute conveyance of the property to
Robert Hemsworth and Thomas Hoyle, aldermen, and several other persons,
also members of the corporation of York. This conveyance is stated to have
been made in performance of a decree of the Court of Chancery, dated Feb.
20 preceding, in accordance with an act of Parliament passed in the 43rd
year of Queen Elizabeth, intituled "An Act to redress the Misemployment of
Lands and Tenements theretofore given to Charitable Uses." Of this
transaction I will not venture to offer any further explanation.

A chasm of ten years now occurs in my chronology. I do not again meet with
the name of William Turner until the year 1640, when he was once more a
resident in York, most probably occupying the same house in Goodramgate in
which his uncle Lancelot lived and died. The register of the united
parishes of Saint John del Pike and Holy Trinity Goodramgate, contains
entries of the baptism of "Judith, the daughter of Mr. William Turner," on
July 16, 1640, and of the burial of the same child on Aug. 3 in the same
year. The removal of the family from York must have taken place soon
afterwards. For an account of the circumstances attending their residence
in the West Riding, I need only refer to your valuable tract.[41]

I am unable to give any assistance towards dispelling the obscurity in
which that period of the history of William Turner is involved, that
extends from the month of June, 1626, when he is described "of Towthrope,"
until the birth of his daughter Judith at York in the summer of 1640. It
is clear that he was at York in June, 1630; but I have met with nothing to
show where he passed the preceding four years or the following ten years.
During these fourteen years his wife presented him with two sons and seven
daughters; but I have failed to discover the entry of the baptism of any
of these children, either at York or at Huntington.

Neither have I succeeded in my attempts to ascertain at what time, or
under what circumstances, William Turner disposed of the manor of
Towthorpe. John George Smyth, Esq. of Heath, near Wakefield, M.P. for the
city of York, is the present owner of the estate, which was purchased, in
the early part of the last century, by one of his ancestors, from Sir
Charles Dalston, Bart., to whom it had descended from his grandfather,
Sir William Dalston, the first baronet of that name. The Dalstons were a
Cumberland family, and Sir William had most probably acquired the
Towthorpe estate by his marriage with Anne Bolles, the eldest daughter and
coheir of that singular person, Lady Bolles of Heath Hall, the Baronetess,
whose curious history is narrated in your interesting "Antiquarian Notices
of Lupset, the Heath, and Sharlston."

You state that William Turner was living in the parish of Saint John del
Pike at the time of the Heralds' Visitation in 1665, and was one of the
persons whom they summoned to appear.[42] The visits of the heralds at
York took place in the months of August and September in that year; and
perhaps you would not have imputed blame to him for having neglected that
opportunity of recording his genealogy, had you been aware that he was
then in his last illness, awaiting a more solemn summons. He died within a
month after the date of his will, and was buried in the church of the Holy
Trinity Goodramgate, on Oct. 3, 1665. Had the heralds made their
visitation at York a few months sooner, we should doubtless have
possessed their testimony, that the Turners were entitled to take rank
among the gentry of York. But it will now, perhaps, be admitted that no
such testimony is requisite.

It has been shown by unimpeachable evidence that Edward Turner, the
great-grandfather of Edith Pope, was the son of a substantial citizen of
York, who flourished in the reign of King Henry VII.; that, having
advanced a step higher in the social scale, he maintained during great
part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth the rank of a gentleman, and
associated upon a footing of equality with the best of the inhabitants of
a city which was then "the glory of the North"; that, in addition to the
property he inherited in the city, he acquired lands of considerable value
in the county, and these he transmitted to his descendants; that his
eldest son, Lancelot Turner, by means of his paternal fortune, was
enabled, at the commencement of the seventeenth century, to purchase the
manor and estate of Towthorpe, and thus attain the _status_ of a country
gentleman; and in that position, dying childless, was succeeded by his
nephew, William Turner, who "made choice of, to be the mother of his
children,"[43] of whom Edith Pope was one, a lady who was not only herself
of good family, but was (as you have remarked[44]) allied with several of
the higher Yorkshire gentry.

That genealogical critic must indeed be fastidious, who would deny the
Poet's right to assert that his mother was of _gentle blood_ and of an
_ancient family_.

The baptismal register of William Turner, by which his birth is placed
only two or three years earlier than the date you have conjecturally
assigned for that event, shows that he was in his sixty-ninth year when he
died. His wife survived him nearly sixteen years. "Mrs. Turner, widow,"
was buried in the church of the Holy Trinity Goodramgate, on Sept. 11,
1681. Administration of the goods of "Thomasine Turner of York," who died
intestate, was granted by the archbishop's court to her daughter Mary
Turner, spinster, on Dec. 2, 1681. From the circumstance of Mary being the
sole administratrix it may be inferred that the only surviving son,
William Turner, was then absent from York, and that Mary was the oldest of
the unmarried daughters who had remained at home.[45] But there is no
reason to suppose that she had remained there alone. We may presume that
Edith was one of her companions, and took part in administering to the
comforts of their mother's last hours--in assisting to "rock the cradle of
reposing age."

Assuming it to have been soon after the Restoration that William Turner
returned to York, his daughter Edith was then just entering into
womanhood, so that for nearly twenty years of the bloom of her life she
was domesticated with her family within the walls of our venerable city.
Their residence stood under the very shadow of the towers of our
cathedral, the parish of Saint John del Pike being usually regarded as
forming part of the Minster-close. The neighbourhood in which they lived
was crowded with the stately mansions of the dignitaries of the church,
the higher officers of the ecclesiastical courts, and many of the wealthy
families of the county. We cannot doubt that the Turners moved in the best
society of which the city could at that period boast; not so brilliant and
dignified as when it shone with the splendour of the vice-regal court of
the Lords Presidents of the North; but still aristocratic, refined, and
intellectual,--a society in which Edith Turner might receive that
training which fitted her to hold converse in after-life with
Bolingbroke, and Congreve, and Swift.

When, upon the death of Mrs. Turner, the daughters who had remained under
the maternal roof at York had to seek a home with their married sisters in
other parts of the kingdom, it was Edith's lot to remove to London, where
she became the wife of Alexander Pope, and the mother of the Poet, whose
name you justly designate "one of the greatest among Englishmen."

       *       *       *       *       *

It now only remains for me to offer to you my cordial thanks for the
valuable information and suggestions with which you have favoured me in
the progress of my investigation; and to assure you that I shall feel
highly gratified if the additional facts I have brought to light
satisfactorily blend with or prove to be in any measure illustrative of
those contained in your more important narrative.

       *       *       *       *       *

I must not conclude without gratefully acknowledging the kindness of my
York friends,[46] who have, with the utmost readiness and liberality,
given me free access to the records and documents which form many of my

  I am, my dear Sir,
    with much respect,
      most faithfully yours,

  _April, 1858_.

LONDON: F. PICKTON, PRINTER, Perry's Place, 29, Oxford Street.


[1] Johnson is probably in the wrong. They are printed as Lady Mary's in
the collection entitled _The Poetical Works of the Right Honourable Lady
M--y W--y M--e_. Dublin: 12mo, 1768, p. 26.

It is rather remarkable that we should find in private documents two
ladies whom Pope had made the subject of his severest satire, both
manifesting curiosity about the contents of his will. Lady Hervey (Mary
Lepell) writes on the 20th July, 1744, respecting one clause in it; but
she writes darkly, and the editor of her Letters has not cleared away the
obscurity. Lady Mary's curiosity is expressed in letters perhaps not so
well known; at least I copy from the originals. They are addressed to her
intimate friend the Countess of Oxford.--"_Avignon, Aug. 10, 1744._--I
hear that Pope is dead, but suppose it is a mistake, since your Ladyship
has never mentioned it. If it is so, I have some small curiosity for the
disposition of his affairs, and to whom he has left the enjoyment of his
pretty house at Twict'nam, which was in his power to dispose of for only
one year after his decease." Again:--"_Avignon, Oct. 15._--I am surprised
Lord Burlington is unmentioned in Pope's will. On the whole, it appears to
me more reasonable and less vain than I expected from him." It was from
Lady Oxford that she had received a copy of the will. In another letter
(not of this series) Lady Mary speaks of having converted an old ruined
windmill on the heights of Avignon into a belvedere, from which she says
there was commanded the finest land prospect she had ever seen; then
recollecting what were perhaps the happiest months of her life (for her
happiness is to be counted by months, not years), she adds, "except
Wharncliffe." This "belvedere" must have been on the hill on which still
stand the cathedral and the Pope's palace, now barracks. The prospect,
though magnificent, does not naturally recal the forests and moors of
Wharncliffe. No traces of the "belvedere" are discoverable.

[2] See _Private Memoirs of John Potenger, Esquire_, edited by his
Descendant, C. W. Bingham, M.A. 12mo. 1841. The editor confines himself
very much to the one member of the family to whom the memoirs relate; and
we have no notice of any connection with the name of Pope, or of any
collateral branches of the Potengers. The Mr. Potenger, the friend of the
Dean of Carlisle, is reasonably supposed to be Mr. Richard Potenger, who
was elected three times member for Reading--1727, 1734, and again in 1735,
when he was re-elected, having accepted a Welsh judgeship. Beatson informs
us that on November 28, 1739, a new writ was ordered on his death.

[3] See, for the Rockleys and Burdets, the _History of the Deanery of
Doncaster_, vol. ii. pp. 285 and 376.

[4] I infer this from the following letter of Pope's, possibly the only
letter of dry business written by him which has been preserved, printed in
the book entitled _Additions to the Works of Alexander Pope, Esq._, 2
vols. 8vo, 1776, vol. ii. p. 30:--"To John Vanden Bempden, Esq., present.
Thursday. Sir,--Upon what you told me when I was last to wait on you, I
deferred treating further for the rent-charge till you could be more
certain what sum you could conveniently raise in present towards the
purchase. If there were only three of [_q._ or] four hundred pounds
wanting, we would take your bond; for, as to a mortgage on the
rent-charge, my father is not qualified to take it, for by an act of
parliament he cannot buy land, though he may sell. However, if you desire
to make the purchase soon, I believe I have a friend who will lend you the
£1000, on the same security you offer us. If you have any scruple, you'll
please to tell it me fairly; but, if this purchase be convenient to you,
we shall think of treating with no other, and be ready upon your answer;
since I think what I here propose, entirely accommodates all the
difficulty you seem to be at. I am, Sir, your very humble servant, A.
POPE." I conclude this relates to Ruston, the Vanden Bempd's being then
accumulating the estate now enjoyed by their descendant, Sir John Vanden
Bempd Johnstone, Baronet, whose beautiful seat is at Hackness, near to

[5] The collection of these pieces is usually attributed to Steevens. But
I am in possession of a copy which belonged to a person who claims to be
the editor. It is handsomely bound, and has this note in his own
handwriting on a fly-leaf of the first volume:--"These collections were
made by me from the London Museum, &c., and the Preface written by me, W.
C." Lowndes gives this account of the book, "culled, says Mr. Park, by
Baldwin, from the communications by Mr. Steevens in the _St. James's
Chronicle_, and put forth with a Preface by William Cooke, Esq." There is
an account of Cooke in the _Biographia Dramatica_, 8vo. 1812. p. 147.

[6] "Perhaps as probable a conjecture as is likely to be made is, that he
was connected with the Council of the North, or a successful practitioner
in that Court."--_Pope Tract_, p. 29.

[7] Another person of the same name was sheriff of York in 1571.

[8] Among the numerous officers of whom the court consisted were two
called Clerks of the Seal.--TORRE'S _MSS._

[9] The mansion in the street now called Lendal (formerly
Aldconyngstrete), which was built by Dr. Wintringham, an eminent
physician, in the early part of the last century, and is now appropriated
to the use of the judges at the assizes, stands upon part of the ancient
churchyard of Saint Wilfred, which in the sixteenth century was the
property of Edward Turner.

[10] In his houses at York and Heslington the rooms were hung with costly
tapestry, and the buffets laden with gold and silver plate. He states in
his will, that his plate weighed 759 oz. The Heslington mansion, a short
distance from York, was standing nearly as Mr. Eymis left it, until a few
years ago, when it was almost wholly rebuilt by the late owner, Yarburgh
Yarburgh, Esq. The principal front still remains without much alteration,
and presents an admirable example of the sumptuous style of domestic
architecture that prevailed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

[11] The testator was the son of Thomas Eymis, Esq., of Church Stretton,
in Shropshire, by Joyce or Jocosa, sole daughter and heir of Humphrey
Gatacre, of Gatacre, in the same county, esquire of the body to King Henry
VI. The testator's only sister, Margaret Eymis, married Thomas Thynne,
Esq., and was the mother of William Thynne, and Sir John Thynne, Knight.
She appears ultimately to have become the heir of both her father and her
brothers, and thus to have carried all the wealth of the Eymis's and
Gatacres into the family of Thynne. From Sir John Thynne, the nephew of
Mr. Eymis, who built the magnificent mansion of Longleat, in Wiltshire,
the Marquesses of Bath are lineally descended.

[12] On a plain tomb in York Minster was once this epitaph:--

+ "Here lyeth the body of Thomas Eymis, esquier, one of her Majesty's
counsell established in the north parties, and secretary and keeper of her
Highness signett appointed for the said Counsell, who married Elizabeth,
one of the daughters of Sir Edward Nevill, Knight, and departed out of
this life to the mercy of God the XIXth day of August, An. Dom.
1578."--_Eboracum_, p. 496.

[13] These Chamberlaynes were a younger branch of the ancient Oxfordshire
family of that name. It appears from the pedigree they recorded at the
Heralds' visitation in 1584, that the William Chamberlayne named in Edward
Turner's will was the first who settled at Thoralby, in Yorkshire. It is
very probable that he, or his son Leonard Chamberlayne, was in some way or
other connected with the Council of the North, which might account for the
circumstance of their having granted an annuity to Edward Turner. Thoralby
Hall is in the parish of Bugthorpe, of which Mr. Secretary Eymis was the
proprietor. Francis Chamberlayne, Esq., the eldest son of Sir Leonard
Chamberlayne, Knight (as he is styled in the pedigree), by his first wife,
the daughter of Sir William Middleton, Knight, of Stockeld, near Wetherby,
was living at Thoralby in 1584. Sir Leonard's second wife was Katherine,
daughter of Roger Cholmeley, Esq., of Brandsby, a sister of Lady Beckwith,
the tenant of Edward Turner.

[14] Few persons who have visited our noble Minster will have failed to
notice, affixed to the south side of one of the massive piers which
support the central tower, a monumental brass engraved with the
portraiture of a prim old lady in the starched ruff and pinched-up coif of
the days of Queen Elizabeth. The inscription beneath it informs us that
this is the effigy of Elizabeth Eymis, widow, late the wife of Thomas
Eymis, Esq., deceased, who was one of the gentlewomen of the Queen's privy
chamber, and daughter of Sir Edward Nevill, Knight, one of the privy
chamber to King Henry the Eighth. Mrs. Eymis, "the singular good mistress"
of Edward Turner, did not long survive him. In her last will, which is
dated the 31st of January, 1584-5, she desired, if she died at York or
Heslington, to be buried in the Minster of York, nigh her late husband;
and she ordered her executors to provide a stone of marble to be set upon
a platt, with superscription of her descent, and also the arms of her late
husband and her own, graven thereupon. Had her injunctions been implicitly
obeyed by her executors, her monument would have shared the fate of that
of her husband, and of numberless others which have long since disappeared
from the nave and aisles of York Minster. Her epitaph, being written in
brass instead of marble, has escaped the wear and tear of nearly three
centuries. It is not irrelevant to my subject to introduce here a few of
the bequests contained in her will. To "my good Lord of Huntingdon" she
gives "one portingue of gould"; to "my good ladie his wife," her best
silver tankard, double gilt; to her brother, Sir Henry Nevill, Knight, she
gives her great goblet of silver with a cover, and to her brother, Edward
Nevill, Esq., her "jewell of gould with the unicorne horne in the same,
maid licke a shippe, and a gilt canne of sylver"; to her sister
"Frogmorton, my best tuftafitie gowne"; to her very good friend, Mr.
Pailer, "a tankard of silver, parcel gilt"; to Alice Hall, "one morning
gown" and 20_s._; and to her god-daughter, Elizabeth Darley, one silver
spoon. The residuary legatees and executors are Robert Man, and Francis
Nevill, the son of Edward Nevill. Witnesses--William Payler, Anne Payler,
Thomas Wanton, Alice Darley, John Stevenson, Katherine Blenkarne. We have
here one or two facts showing the intimacy that subsisted between the
families of Edward Turner and Mrs. Eymis. Alice Hall, one of her legatees,
was the widowed sister of Edward Turner; Robert Man, her executor, was one
of the supervisors of Edward Turner's will; Katherine Blenkarne, one of
the witnesses of Mrs. Eymis's will, was a daughter of Edward Turner; John
Stevenson, another witness, was most probably the person of that name who
married Margaret Willowbie, another daughter of Edward Turner.

Mrs. Eymis had reason to be proud of her descent. Her father, Sir Edward
Nevill, a younger brother of George Nevill, Lord Abergavenny, was a
distinguished ornament of the court of Henry VIII. in its palmiest days.
He was one of "the noble troop of strangers" who formed the royal masquing
party when the King visited Wolsey, and first saw Anne Boleyn. A few years
after that event, he incurred the displeasure of the suspicious Henry, and
was brought to the scaffold upon a charge of being implicated in the
pretended conspiracy of Cardinal Pole and his brothers.

[15] A monumental brass to the memory of the testator's "very good friend,
Mr. Thomas Wood," is still preserved in the church of Kilnwick Percy, near
Pocklington, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, where he was buried in the
month of October, 1584. The inscription has not, I believe, been

  "Thomas Wood Gentilman, who in warfare hath be,
  He fought in Scotland, in Royall armyes thre,
  Lyeth now buried, in this grave hereunder.
  Of Bulloign when it was English, Clerk comptroller;
  Of the Ward Court, sixe and twenty yeres together
  Depute Receyvor; of Yorkshire once eschetor;
  Clerke of the Statut, in London noble cytye;
  Collector of Selby, with tenne pound yerely ffe.
  For thought wordes or deeds which to God or man were yll,
  Of bothe he askt forgyveness with glad hart and will.
  He buylt th'owse hereby, and this churche brought in good case:
  God grant his wyfe and sonnes to passe a godly race.--Amen."

In the seventeenth century, Mary Wood, the grand-daughter of this Thomas
Wood, and the niece and heiress of his eldest son, Barney Wood, married
Sir Edmund Anderson, Baronet, and carried the estate of Kilnwick Percy
into that family, by whom it was long enjoyed.

Kilnwick Percy is now the beautiful seat and domain of Admiral the
Honourable Arthur Duncombe, M.P. The Rev. M. A. Lawton, vicar of Kilnwick
Percy, has obligingly favoured me with a copy of the above inscription.

[16] John Stephenson was the owner of a "capital messuage" in
Coney-street, York, which was occupied by himself and Ralph Rokeby, Esq.,
one of the secretaries of the Council of the North, and which was at one
time distinguished by the sign of the Bear, and afterwards of the Golden
Lion. In 1614, Margaret Stephenson and her son, John Stephenson (the
nephew to whom Lancelot Turner bequeathed all his books, except his
song-books), sold the messuage to Thomas Kaye, who established there an
hotel which he called the George Inn, a name it retains to this day.

[17] Miles Newton was the name of the town-clerk of York who died in 1550,
and was succeeded in that office by Thomas Fale, the first husband of the
testatrix. He was very probably the same person who is named in the Newton
pedigree of 1585 as the grandfather of the Miles Newton who married Jane

[18] _Pope Tract_, p. 32.

[19] Mr. John Darley, of York, and of Kilnhurst in the West Riding, was a
younger son of William Darley, Esq., of Buttercrambe, near York. His wife
was Alice, daughter of Christopher Mountfort, Esq., of Kilnhurst. Mr. John
Darley bought the manor of Kilnhurst of his wife's brother, Lancelot
Mountfort, Esq. _Vide_ Hunter's _South Yorkshire_, vol. ii. p. 49. Mr.
Darley's town residence was in Coney-street, and it is very probable that
he was officially connected with the Council of the North. His daughter,
Elizabeth, the god-daughter of Mrs. Eymis, married, for her second and
third husbands, Sir Edmund Sheffield and Sir William Sheffield, sons of
the Earl of Mulgrave, who was made Lord President of the North upon the
accession of James I.

[20] George Hervey of Merks in the county of Essex, Esq., married Frances,
one of the daughters of Sir Leonard Beckwith.

[21] William Allen married Jane Beckwith, sister of Sir Leonard Beckwith.
He was an alderman of York, and Lord Mayor in 1572.

[22] _Eboracum_, p. 358.

[23] The will of Robert Gylminge is dated April 20, 1571. "I bequeath my
soule to Almightie God and to all the celestial company of Heaven." He
makes his wife, Nicholas his son, Mary, Agnes, Meriall, and Jane, his
daughters, his executors; and his brother William Gylminge, and William
Alleyne, draper, supervisors. Proved June 25, 1580.

[24] Mr. Drake states, that in the year 1604, the number of persons who
died of the plague in York, was 3512. _Eboracum_, p. 121. The parish of
All Saints Pavement lost more than one-third of its population.

[25] _Pope Tract_, p. 31.

[26] See _Athenæum_, Nov. 21, 1857.

[27] In his will dated 8th Dec. 1595, Thomas Buskell of York, Esquire,
speaks of his "house wherein I do now dwell, which I purchased of Lancelot
Turner of York gentleman."

[28] _Pope Tract_, p. 28.

[29] Corporation Archives.

[30] It appears that during the latter part of the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, many of the Roman Catholics of York and the neighbourhood chose
the city of Venice for their place of refuge. In the year 1581, a person
named Richard Collinge or Cowling, and his brother Thomas, the sons of
Ralph Cowling, a York tradesman, who was a Popish recusant, were sent over
sea, and ultimately Richard Collinge found his way into Italy. Several
years afterwards he returned to this country, and, apparently whilst he
was visiting his friends and relatives in Yorkshire, corresponded with a
person abroad, whom he addresses thus:--_Al Molto Magnifico Signori il
Signore Giulio Piccioli, a Venezia_. One of his letters to this person,
supposed to have been written in the year 1599, which was intercepted by
the Government of Elizabeth, and is now preserved in the State-Paper
Office, contains the names of several persons connected with York and
Yorkshire. The most remarkable passage relates to the arch-conspirator
Guye Fawkes, who must have been sojourning at Venice at that time. "I
entreat your favour and friendship for my cousin-germane Mr. Guydo Fawkes,
who serveth Sir William, as I understand he is in great want, and your
worde in his behalfe may stande him in greate steede. -- -- he hath lefte
a prettie livinge here in this countrie, which his mother, being married
to an unthrifty husband, since his departure I think hath wasted awaye,
yet she and the rest of our friendes are in good health."

The writer's relationship to Fawkes was most probably through the
Harringtons, of whom he also speaks:--"Let him tell my cousin Martin
Harrington that I was at his brother Henry's house at the Mounte, but he
was not then at home; he and his wife were all well, and have many pretty
children." By "the Mounte" is meant Mount St. John, near Thirsk, where a
branch of the family of Harrington was then resident, one of whom, William
Harrington, a seminary priest, was executed at Tyburn, Feb. 18, 1594.
_Chaloner_, part i. p. 304. Mrs. Ellin Fawkes, the grandmother of Guye,
was a Harrington. By her will in 1570, she bequeaths a gold ring to
William Harrington, her brother Martin's son. Collinge names several other
persons then at Venice to whom he is commissioned by their relatives in
England to send messages; some of whom, one cannot doubt, had emigrated
from that part of the kingdom to which he himself belonged. He makes
special mention of D. Worthington, "whose brother hath sent a letter unto
him;" and of D. Kellison, who he wishes to know that "his brother
Valentine is in good health." Dr. Worthington, one of the translators of
the Douay Bible, and Dr. Kellison, were successively presidents of the
English College at Douay. The letter, which is without date, is subscribed
"Yours in Christe, Richarde Collinge." I am indebted to my friend Mr. John
Bruce, V.P.S.A., for acquainting me with the existence of this document,
which Mr. Lemon, of the State-Paper Office, very obligingly allowed me to

Guye Fawkes was not the only native of York who was implicated in the
Gunpowder Plot. Edward Oldcorne the Jesuit, who assumed the name of Hall,
and was the companion of Father Garnett at Hendlip and in the Tower, was
the son of John Oldcorne, a bricklayer at York. He was sent abroad about
the year 1584, and was first placed at the College of Douay whilst it was
stationed at Rheims. He was afterwards at Rome, where the General of the
Jesuits admitted him into their society. _Chaloner_, part ii. p. 485. He
was executed at Worcester, April 7, 1606, as a partaker in the Gunpowder
Plot conspiracy. _Jardine_, p. 210. A name in Collinge's letter, partly
obliterated, seems meant for Oldcorne, and renders it probable that he was
then one of the English residents at Venice.

We may be sure that when Lancelot Turner despatched his youthful brother
to Venice, he knew that he was not consigning him wholly into the hands of

In the list of the Romish Priests and Jesuits resident in and about London
in 1624, the name of Turner occurs once.--MORGAN'S _Phoenix
Britannicus_, p. 437.

[31] "On Monday next after Twelfth Day, 1620, he revoked nuncupatively the
gift of the clock to Sir William Alford, saying, 'he forgets his old
friends,' and gives it to his nephew, William Turner. To this were
witnesses, Thomasine Newton, Henry Dent, and Alice Atkinson, who depose
that William Turner reminded him that there had been much kindness between
him and Sir William. This was a few days before his death."--_Pope Tract_,
p. 30.

[32] _Collectanea Top. et Gen._, vol. iv. p. 178.

[33] Emanuel Lord Scrope, afterwards Earl of Sunderland.

[34] At Malton.

[35] _Parl. Hist._, vol. vii. p. 286.

[36] _Pope Tract_, p. 31.

[37] At a court held by the lords of the manor of Strensall, in April,
1622, William Turner was called as a copyholder of Towthorpe; and again in
April, 1624.

Towthorpe is an insignificant and very secluded village, about four miles
north of York, a little off the high road from thence to Sheriff-Hutton.
Nothing is now left of the old manor-house; but near to the spot where it
may be supposed to have stood, a not uninteresting object still remains,
to carry the mind back to the days when Lancelot Turner and his nephew
William were the proprietors. This is a sort of pleasance upon a small
scale--a quadrangular plot of ground, about fifty yards square, surrounded
by a rather broad moat, and thickly planted with fruit-trees arranged with
some approach to symmetry--two or three of the outer rows being nut or
filbert trees, the rest apple, pear, and plum. The nut-trees are obviously
of great age, their stems being strangely contorted, and having attained a
thickness seldom seen in this part of the country. The other trees have a
less aged appearance; and probably a temple or summer-house may have
formerly been placed upon the centre of the little island. A building of
this kind, with its accompanying moat, was a favourite ornament in the
quaint pleasure-grounds of the Elizabethan mansion. The moat would
doubtless form a useful _piscaria_, especially valuable to persons to whom
fish was, at certain seasons, an indispensable article of diet. At
present, instead of seeing carp and tench, as in former days, quietly
gliding through its waters, on approaching the island our ears were
greeted with the harsh croaking of innumerable frogs and toads, the sole
inhabitants of the moat.

Whilst viewing this now solitary memorial of the past, it was impossible
to avoid giving a little license to the imagination, and peopling the tiny
pleasance with the forms of William Turner and Thomasine Newton in the
happy hours of their courtship and early married life, which were spent at
Towthorpe,--she musing over one of the song-books of their uncle Lancelot,
which were so significantly reserved by his will for her especial use.

What a contrast is the dull and uninteresting and most unpicturesque plain
of the ancient forest of Galtres, in which the countryhouse of Edith
Pope's parents stood, to the glorious vale of the Thames, where her
illustrious son solaced himself with his trim garden, his grotto, and his

[38] Miles Newton, of Thorpe, in the county of York, gentleman, made his
will on May 18, 1604. He desires to be buried in the church of Rippon. He
gives to his eldest son Richard the bedstead which was his grandfather
Thomas Collins's. To his son Christopher, a bedstead which was his (the
testator's) father's. He names his wife, Jane Newton; his son, Henry, and
his daughters, Katherine, Johanna, Rebecca (to whom he gives the better of
the cushions which was her grandmother Beckwith's), Dorothy, and
Elizabeth. He makes his children, Richard Newton and Christopher Newton,
executors; and his brother Leonard Beckwith, and George Mallory,
supervisors. Proved at York, by Richard Newton only, April 8, 1605.

Richard was the testator's son by his first wife, Eleanor, daughter of
Thomas Collins. Christopher and Henry were the sons of his second wife,
Jane Beckwith. According to the pedigree of the Newtons, recorded at the
visitation of 1585, the grandmother of Miles Newton, was one of the
distinguished family of Roos, of Ingmanthorpe.

[39] Afterwards the wife of Samuel Cooper. Your supposition that she was
one of the elder daughters, is thus shown to be correct.--_Pope Tract_, p.

[40] _Pope Tract_, p. 42.

[41] _Pope Tract_, pp. 34, 35.

[42] _Pope Tract_, p. 26.

[43] Vide _Pope's Letter to a Noble Lord_.

[44] _Pope Tract_, p. 32.

[45] The two daughters who became Mrs. Mace and Mrs. Tomlinson, most
probably formed their matrimonial engagements at York during their
mother's widowhood. These are the names of highly respectable York
families. The Tomlinsons belonged to the trade aristocracy of the city.
The Rev. Henry Mace was sub-chanter of York Minster from 1661 to 1680;
Thomas Mace, the author of that curious book, _Musick's Monument_,
published in 1676, was his brother. There cannot be any reasonable doubt
that the clergyman named Mace, who married one of the daughters of William
Turner, either Martha or Margaret, was the Rev. Charles Mace, one of the
sons of Henry Mace, the sub-chanter, who had himself a son baptized by the
name of Charles, at the collegiate chapel of the sub-chanter and vicars
choral, near Goodramgate, in York, on Oct. 29, 1682. Christiana Cooper, in
her will made in 1693, mentions her nephew Charles Mace, although she does
not give us the christian-name of his mother. _Athenæum_, July 18, 1857.
Of the death of the Rev. Charles Mace the father, Thomas Gent, the old
York printer, in his _History of Hull_, tells an affecting story. It was,
he says, about the year 1711, when the Rev. Charles Mace, Sen., departed
this life. "He died in the pulpit; for as he was preaching in York Castle
to the condemned prisoners who were to be executed the day following, one
of them was so hardened as openly to interrupt and even defy him in that
part of his discourse that hinted at his crime. Which unparalleled
audacity so deeply pierced the tender minister to the heart (whose melting
oratory was pathetically employed in moving the unhappy wretches to repent
of their crying sins, whereby to obtain divine mercy), that he instantly
fainted away, dropped down, and departed this life, to the great sorrow of
all those persons who were witnesses of his holy life and innocent
conversation." _Annales Regioduni Hullini_, by Thomas Gent; 1735, p. 194.
Charles Mace, the son, was also a clergyman, and was chosen vicar of the
Holy Trinity Church at Hull, Dec. 3, 1716.

[46] The Rev. Canon Hey, vicar of St. Helen Stonegate; the Rev. Thomas
Myers, vicar of Holy Trinity Goodramgate; the Rev. B. E. Metcalfe, vicar
of Huntington; the Rev. James Raine, Jun., M.A.; William Hudson, Esq., and
Joseph Buckle, Esq., Registrars of the Court of Probate at York; William
Richardson, Esq., Lord of the Manor of Strensall; and Henry Richardson,
Esq., my worthy successor in the office of Town Clerk of York.

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