TURNER, Sir John (c.1631-1712), 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



Mar. 1679 - Jan. 1681
1685 - 1687
1689 - 1702

Family and Education

b. c.1631, 1st s. of Charles Turner, attorney, of Whissonsett, Norf. by his w. Elizabeth.  m. Jane (d. 1689), da. of John Syms, wid. of Edward Allen, vintner, of Cambridge, s.psuc. fa. 1681; kntd. 30 June 1684.1

Offices Held

Freeman, King’s Lynn c.1675; common councilman c.1676; alderman by 1683–June 1688, Oct. 1688–d.; mayor 1678–9, Mar.–Sept. 1692, 1702–3.2


After his re-election for Lynn in 1690, Turner was classed as a Tory supporter of the Court by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†). In December Carmarthen forecast that Turner would support him in the event of a Commons attack on his ministerial position. In April 1691 Robert Harley* listed him as ‘doubtful’. By 1696 Turner had gone over to the Whigs, probably as a result of his family’s close association with Robert Walpole I*, whose daughter had married Turner’s nephew Charles*. Turner was classed as ‘doubtful’ for the divisions on the proposed council of trade on 31 Jan. 1696. He signed the Association in February, and voted the following month for fixing the price of guineas at 22s. On 25 Nov. he voted for the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. He was included among the Court party in a list of September 1698 and voted against the third reading of the disbanding bill on 18 Jan. 1699. On 4 Apr. he was given leave of absence.3

In February 1701 Turner was forecast as likely to support the Court over continuing the ‘Great Mortgage’. On 17 Mar. he was first-named to the drafting committee on a bill for a workhouse at King’s Lynn, but responsibility for its parliamentary management lay with his nephew Charles Turner and Robert Walpole II. He retired at the next election, another nephew writing beforehand from King’s Lynn:

Truly I cannot think it advisable for Sir John (upon whom old age and infirmity begin to grow) to put himself upon the inconveniency and fatigue of a winter’s campaign, ill diet and worse lodging, so that [I] do believe he will give it quite over, as it is generally taken for granted in the town.4

Turner described himself in his will, dated 13 Dec. 1711, as ‘in perfect health and of sound mind and memory . . . yet subject to a mortality whereby I am daily drawn to the consideration of the uncertainty of this transitory life’. He died on 14 Feb. 1712, aged 80. His heir was a nephew, John Turner, the son of his brother Charles.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Blomefield, Norf. ix. 264.
  • 2. B. Mackerell, King’s Lynn, 120, 239–40, 278; Cal. Freemen King’s Lynn, 186.
  • 3. Blomefield’s Norf. Supp. ed. Ingleby, 35–39.
  • 4. PCC 38 Barnes; Camb. Univ. Lib. Cholmondeley (Houghton) mss, John Turner* to [Robert Walpole II], 8 May 1702.
  • 5. PCC 38 Barnes; Mackerell, 120.