Turner, Thomas

, dean of Canterbury, was the son of Thomas Turner of Heckfield in Hampshire, alderman and mayor of Reading in Berkshire; and was born in the parish of St. Giles’s in that borough, in 1591. In 1610 he was admitted on the foundation at St. John’s college, Oxford, and had for his tutor Mr. Juxon, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury. His application to learning was assiduous and successful, and having entered into holy orders, he immediately distinguished himself as a divine of merit. Ira 1623 he was presented by his college to the vicarage of St. Giles’s in Oxford, which he held with his. fellowship, but relinquished it in 1628. Laud, when bishop of London, made him his chaplain, and in 1629, at which time Mr. Turner was B. D. collated him to the prebend of Newington in the church of St. Paul, and in October following to the chancellorship of the same church, in which also he was appointed by Charles I. a canon-residentiary. The king likewise made him one of his chaplains in ordinary, and gave him the rectory of St. Olave, Southwark, with which he held the rectory of Fetcham in the county of Surrey. In 1633, when Charle> I. resolved on a progress to Scotland for his coronation, Turner was commanded to attend his majesty; previous to which he was, April 1, 1633-4, created D D. by the university of Oxford. In 1641 he was preferred to the deanery of Rochester, and on the death of Ur. Eglionby to that of Canterbury, but of this last he could not obtain possession until the restoration. After the death of the king, to whom he had adhered with inflexible loyalty and attachment, he shared the fate of the other loyal clergymen in being stript of his preferments, and treated with much indignity and cruelty. On the | restoration, in August 1660, he entered into full possession of the deanery of Canterbury, and might have been rewarded with a mitre, but he declined it, “preferring to set out too little rather than too much sail.” Instead of seeking further promotion, he soon resigned the rectory of Fetcham, “desiring to ease his aged shoulders of the burthen of cure of souls; and caused it to be bestowed upon a person altogether unacquainted with him, but recommended very justly under the character of a pious man, and a sufferer for righteousness.

Having enjoyed an uninterrupted share of good health, during thirty years, he was at length attacked with that severe disease the stone; the sharpness of which he endured with exemplary fortitude and resignation. Nor did the “innocent gayety of his humour,” which made his company so agreeable to all, forsake him to the last. He reached the age of eighty-one, and died in Oct. 1672, with “the greatest Christian magnanimity, and yet with the deepest sense imaginable of godly sorrow, working repentance unto salvation not to be repented of.” He was buried in the dean’s chapel in Canterbury cathedral, and his funeral sermon, since printed, was preached by Dr. Peter du Moulin, prebendary of the church, who gives him a very high and apparently very just character. It is not known that dean Turner published more than a single sermon on Matt. ix.

13. mentioned by Wood. Prynne censures him as an Arnrinian, yet Du Moulin, who enters so fully and so affectionately into his character, in all respects both as a man and as a divine, was a zealous Calvinist.

Dean Turner married Margaret, daughter of sir Francis Windebank, knt. secretary of state to Charles I. By her he had three sons, each of whom attained distinguished situations, and of whom some account will now be given. 1

1 Todd’s Account of the Deans of Canterbury. Funeral Sermon by Du Moulio.