TURNER, John (1668-1739), of King’s Lynn, Norf.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



7 Apr. 1712 - 1713

Family and Education

bap. 30 Dec. 1668, 3rd s. of William Turner, attorney-at-law, of North Elmham, Norf.; bro. of Charles Turner*.  m. lic. 19 May 1691, Anne, da. of Thomas Allen, Vintner, of St. Martin’s, Ludgate, London, 1s. 3da.  suc. bro. Charles as 2nd Bt. 22 Nov. 1738.1

Offices Held

Freeman, King’s Lynn 1691, alderman by ?1704, mayor 1704–5, 1715–16, 1734–5.2

Customer, King’s Lynn 1733–d.3


Turner kept Robert Walpole II’s seat warm during his brief exclusion from the House. A moderately wealthy merchant, he was a loyal henchman of his brother and Walpole at King’s Lynn, but was sometimes a liability to them. Sir Charles Turner warned Walpole in 1702

not to be too free with my brother Jack. I am sure you cannot but know how impossible it is for him to govern or to keep anything, for your cousin Rolfe’s sending up the petition for a convoy to the recorder [of Lynn, Daniel Bedingfield*] . . . contrary to the direction . . . to you . . . Jack took occasion to fall upon cousin Rolfe at Samuel Tayler’s, among all the recorder’s friends too, and used him most shamefully, told him that he had betrayed his trust, and a great deal more to that effect, in so much that cousin Rolfe told him at last that, though he had a respect for you and myself, yet he was enough to provoke any man to be an enemy, and did believe that nothing could prejudice us in the corporation, but that great liberty which he took, and truly I am but too much of cousin Rolfe’s opinion.

Turner’s politics as shown in his letters to Robert Walpole II were fervently Whig, and he was a passionate believer in the war against ‘the French king-devil’. He wrote in December 1702, in connexion with the voting of supplies, ‘in St. George’s name how come you with your damned unseasonable frugality when everybody else is in the giving humour’; and in the following February:

I have not had time [nor] patience to read your damned long-winded address or remonstrance. Truly, if matters were as well proved as attested, the best portion the Commons ought to expect weeping and gnashing of teeth. But if impartiality had been in fashion they might have added, one cause of the excessive interest money then paid, and consequently of the debt upon the nation, is the clamour that these present angels of light made against the war, and their obstruction of taxes till sometimes the latter end of May which was now passed before Christmas, their giving the land banks and tobacco taxes, the one came to nothing, the other would not pay the collection, their refusing to bring the lords to trial after they had clamoured them, which would have been more satisfaction to the nation than making a noise, but I presume that is the chiefest business now in hand.

He is not known to have spoken in the House, though on 18 June 1713 he voted against the French commerce bill.4

Having succeeded to his brother’s baronetcy only in November 1738, Turner himself died 6 Jan. 1739. His son John, the 3rd baronet, sat for King’s Lynn 1739–74.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Carthew, Hundred of Launditch, iii. 129–30; Blomefield’s Norf. Supp. ed. Ingleby, 161.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. and Pprs. 1731–4, pp. 411, 524; 1739–41, p. 199.
  • 3. B. Mackerell, King’s Lynn, 279.
  • 4. Carthew, 131; Camb. Univ. Lib. Cholmondeley (Houghton) mss, (Sir) Charles Turner to Robert Walpole II, 7 June 1702, Turner to same, 16 Dec. 1702, 19 Feb. 1703.
  • 5. Carthew, 129–30.