(Bishop of Exeter)

Died: 1 Nov 1559

Buried: Exeter Cathedral

Father: John TURBERVILLE (Esq.)

Mother: Isabella CHEVERAL

Descended of the ancient family of that name, settled at Beer Regis, in the county of Dorset, was the second son of John Turberville, Esquire, by his wife Isabella Cheveral. Having distinguished himself in the College at Winchester, and at New College, Oxford, he took the degree of Doctor of Divinity, and was a Prebendary of Winchester when King Felipe and Queen Mary, on 10 Mar 1555, issued their congé d'élire to the Dean and Chapter of Exeter for his supplying their vacant see. On 6 May the elect was allowed its temporalities from the Michaelmas last past, and he was consecrated at St. Paul's, London, by its Bishop, Edmund Bonner, in the company of Hugh Curwen, elect of Dublin, and William Glynn, elect of Bangor, on 8 Sep 1555. Early in the ensuing Mar he reached Exeter, and on 16 Apr received from Cardinal Pole, the Primate, and Legate of the Holy See, ample power to make the visitation of his diocese. To Queen Mary's honour be it said, that she released the clergy from the payment of tenths and first-fruits to the Crown, whose livings did not exceed the yearly value of twenty marks ('Heylin's Hist.' p. 53), a concession which her sister and successor, Queen Elizabeth, withdrew four years later (Heylin's 'Hist. Queen Elizabeth,' p. 108). She also restored to the see, on 18 Jul 1556, the borough and manor of Crediton ('Act Books of the Chamber,' p. 84).

Bishop Turberville must have also gained possession of the favourite residence of his predecessors at Clist, for we find him holding some small ordinations in its chapel of St. Gabriel on 13 Mar 8th and 11 Jun and 18 Dec 1557; on 26 Mar 1558, and 3 Sep that year. His other ordinations were held in St. Mary's Chapel, within the palace of Exeter, on 8 and 11 Jun and 18 Sep 1557, and again on the eves of Easter and Trinity Sundays, 1558, and in the church of the Holy Cross at Crediton, on 16 Sep in the last mentioned year. His Register proves his moderation of conduct, and diligent attention to his episcopal duties; and to those who have examined the wills proved during his short pre-eminence, it must be gratifying to witness a reviving spirit of commendable zeal to contribute to the beauty of God's house, and to provide for the wants and comforts of the poor. On 18 Mar 1557/8, he blessed a spot of ground at Ringswell, given by John Petre, Esq., for the interment of executed criminals, and which was inclosed by the charitable widow, Mrs. Joan Tuckfield.

About Michaelmas 1558, he left the diocese for London. The Queen's dissolution was rapidly approaching, and she expired on 17 Nov 1558, aged 42. Queen Elizabeth, on 5 Dec, summoned the Bishop to attend the new Parliament to be holden at Westminster on 23 Jan 1559: but as his conscience would not suffer him to subscribe to her Majesty's supremacy in all spiritual and ecclesiastical causes as well as in civil, he was subjected to the penalty of deprivation of office on 18 Jun that year, and at once committed to the Tower. Hoker says, "he was soon enlarged, but commanded to keep his house in London, where he lived a private life; and in the end, there died".

He was certainly living on 23 Jan 1560, but the precise date of his death we have looked for in vain. In Izacke's manuscript, in the 'Archives of the Mayor and Chamber of Exeter', it had been originally written "he was buried at Beer Regis, Dorset"; on a subsequent revision, a stroke was drawn through the words as above, and the following substituted, "in the body of the choir of his own church". The Cathedral Register of Burials, commencing full thirty years later, can throw no light whatever on the subject. Heylin, in his 'History of the Reformation' (Part ii. p. 114), merely states, that he was permitted "to enjoy his liberty; and being by birth a gentleman, could not want friends to give him honest entertainment". Yet Dr. Nicholas Sanders, in his treatise 'De Schismate Anglicano', numbers Turberville amongst the Bishops "who died either in prison, or exile", and Dr. Bridgewater, towards the end of the 'Concertatio,' writes as follows: "Rmus Turbevilus Eps Exoniensis obiit in vinculis". Godwin relates "cum per multos annos privatus vixisset, in summâ libertate defunctus". But Mr. T. Duffus Hardy, in his 'Fasti Ecclesias Anglicame, 1854,' vol. i. p. 378, believes that "he died 1 Nov 1559, and was buried in Exeter Cathedral. Letters of administration to this Bishop were granted so long after his death as Apr, 1667! See the Calendar of that year".

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