TURPIN, John (d.?1591), of Huntingdon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

m. Elizabeth, prob. at least 2s.

Offices Held

Bailiff, Huntingdon 1574.


Little is known about this Member. The town records of Huntingdon and other local sources contain the name from the middle years of the sixteenth century until the reign of Charles I. While this span of time suggests that more than one John Turpin lived there—perhaps father and son—it is impossible to differentiate between them. Unfortunately no pedigrees have survived to clear up the problem, which is further complicated by the abundance of Turpin families in the east Midlands during the years in question.

It is likely that the Member for Huntingdon in 1572 was the John Turpin who died intestate in or just before 1591. He was evidently a prominent man in the town and an active participant in its civic life, serving as bailiff on at least one occasion. If Turpin died in 1591 it is most unlikely that he was the man who entered Lincoln’s Inn in 1520, but no doubt he would be the person whom the bishop of Lincoln described as ‘earnest in religion’ in 1564, when he was an ‘ancient’ of the borough. This favourable report, however, does not appear to have resulted in a place on the list of local justices. As a bailiff of Huntingdon in 1574 he was sued, with his colleague, in the duchy court over the claim of the adjoining borough of Godmanchester to exemption from tolls imposed by the county town. In 1588 he was one of those summoned to defend the county against Catholic uprising or foreign invasion.

Whatever his profession Turpin’s fortunes seem to have prospered, for after 1574 he purchased several small plots of land in Huntingdon, usually with a house or barn attached. The only record of his selling land, in 1589-90, contains a reference to his wife Elizabeth, who died in 1604. Her family background is unknown. There may have been at least two sons of the marriage, the younger John, also prominent in Huntingdon, and Henry, who lived in Bassingbourne, Cambridgeshire. In his will, proved in 1618, the latter refers to his brother, John Turpin of Huntingdon, and leaves him a ring.

Hunts. Wills (Brit. Rec. Soc. Index Lib. xlii), 114, 150; Cal. Feet of Fines, Hunts. (Camb. Antiq. Soc. Pubs. oct. ser. xxxvii), 167, 180, 181, 197; E. Griffith, Huntingdon Recs. 101; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 29; DL1/104/K3; W. M. Noble, Hunts. and the Armada, 35, 46; Add. 34394, f. 14; PCC 103 Meade, 91 Skinner.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: M.R.P.