Biography of Colonel James Turner 1609-1664

In 1609 Colonel James Turner was born at Worcester, Worcestershire [Map].

Pepy's Diary. 10 Jan 1664. So to bed. All our discourse to-night was Mr. Tryan's late being robbed; and that Collonell Turner (age 55) (a mad, swearing, confident fellow, well known by all, and by me), one much indebted to this man for his very livelihood, was the man that either did or plotted it; and the money and things are found in his hand, and he and his wife now in Newgate [Map] for it; of which we are all glad, so very a known rogue he was.

1663 Farneley Wood Plot

Pepy's Diary. 11 Jan 1664. The general talke of the towne still is of Collonell Turner (age 55), about the robbery; who, it is thought, will be hanged. I heard the Duke of York (age 30) tell to-night, how letters are come that fifteen are condemned for the late plot by the judges at York; and, among others, Captain Oates, against whom it was proved that he drew his sword at his going out, and flinging away the scabbard, said that he would either return victor or be hanged.

Pepy's Diary. 16 Jan 1664. At noon I to the 'Change [Map] about some pieces of eight for Sir J. Lawson (age 49). There I hear that Collonell Turner (age 55) is found guilty of felony at the Sessions in Mr. Tryan's business, which will save his life.

Pepy's Diary. 18 Jan 1664. Thence home by coach to the 'Change [Map], after having been at the Coffee-house, where I hear Turner (age 55) is found guilty of felony and burglary; and strange stories of his confidence at the barr, but yet great indiscretion in his argueing. All desirous of his being hanged.

Pepy's Diary. 20 Jan 1664. So to the 'Change [Map] and walked home, thence with Sir Richard Ford (age 50), who told me that Turner (age 55) is to be hanged to-morrow, and with what impudence he hath carried out his trial; but that last night, when he brought him newes of his death, he began to be sober and shed some tears, and he hopes will die a penitent; he having already confessed all the thing, but says it was partly done for a joke, and partly to get an occasion of obliging the old man by his care in getting him his things again, he having some hopes of being the better by him in his estate at his death.

Pepy's Diary. 21 Jan 1664. So to my office and did a little business, and then to my aunt Wight's (age 45) to fetch my wife home, where Dr. Burnett did tell me how poorly the sheriffs did endeavour to get one jewell returned by Turner (age 55), after he was convicted, as a due to them, and not to give it to Mr. Tryan, the true owner, but ruled against them, to their great dishonour. Though they plead it might be another jewell for ought they know and not Tryan's.

Pepy's Diary. 21 Jan 1664. Thence to the Coffee-house, and heard the full of Turner's (age 55) discourse on the cart, which was chiefly to clear himself of all things laid to his charge but this fault, for which he now suffers, which he confesses. He deplored the condition of his family, but his chief design was to lengthen time, believing still a reprieve would come, though the sheriff advised him to expect no such thing, for the King (age 33) was resolved to grant none. After that I had good discourse with a pretty young merchant with mighty content.

Pepy's Diary. 21 Jan 1664. Up, and after sending my wife to my aunt Wight's (age 45) to get a place to see Turner (age 55) hanged, I to the office, where we sat all the morning, and at noon going to the 'Change [Map]; and seeing people flock in the City, I enquired, and found that Turner (age 55) was not yet hanged. And so I went among them to Leadenhall Street [Map], at the end of Lyme Street [Map], near where the robbery was done; and to St. Mary Axe, where he lived. And there I got for a shilling to stand upon the wheel of a cart, in great pain, above an houre before the execution was done; he delaying the time by long discourses and prayers one after another, in hopes of a reprieve; but none came, and at last was flung off the ladder in his cloake. A comely-looked man he was, and kept his countenance to the end: I was sorry to see him. It was believed there were at least 12 or 14,000 people in the street.

On 21 Jan 1664 Colonel James Turner (age 55) was hanged at St Mary Axe.