Lordship Title of Turvey or Mordaunts ID13871

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There is no mention of a tenant holding in Turvey in 1086, but the family of Mordaunt is found holding this manor from the early 13th century. Halstead, the authenticity of whose early charters is doubtful, claims in his Succinct Genealogies that Eustace Mordaunt acquired this manor by marriage with Alice sister and co-heir of Hugh de Alneto, and that Sarah, another sister and co-heir, married Robert de Ardres, thus leading to the formation of the two manors of Mordaunts and Ardres held conjointly for some time. The cartulary of St. Neots certainly furnishes evidence that the de Alnetos preceded the Mordaunts in Turvey, for their name constantly recurs as benefactors to the priory. On one occasion there is mention of three generations when Hugh de Alneto (brother of Alice) confirmed the grants of Hugh his grandfather and William his father of land in Turvey. Therefore it seems likely that an intermarriage did take place, especially as in 1225 an assize of mort d'ancestor was summoned between Eustace Mordaunt and Robert de Ardres and John Trailly their overlord concerning 3 carucates of land, of which each was awarded 1½ carucates. The heir of William Mordaunt, son of Eustace, held this property in 1278–9. William Mordaunt, probably the heir referred to above, received recognition of his right to land in Turvey from Thomas Wood in 1313–14. He was living two years later, but by 1346 had been succeeded by his son Robert Mordaunt. The next lord of this manor of whom mention has been found is Edmund Mordaunt, probably a son of Robert, of whom it is stated in an inquisition taken in 1372 that on the Sunday before the Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude in that year, being seized with homicidal mania, he killed his wife Ellen and drowned himself on the same day in a pool in Turvey. Robert, his son, who according to Halstead united in one the hitherto separate manors of Mordaunts and Ardres, died some time before 1397, and was followed by his son Robert Mordaunt, who was 'during the Civil Broils of his own Country, an assertor of the Claim and Interest of the House of York.' He died in 1448 after having considerably impoverished the family estates, and his son William Mordaunt together with his wife strove 'by a provident and frugal proceeding to repair those breaches the over-liberal ways of his Father had made in the Fortunes of his Family. Their endeavours did succeed, and as an approbation thereof, and a blessing thereupon, Providence sent them to enjoy the Fruits of their worthy Cares, Three Children, whose merits from their Natures and Good Education, made them all have (as well as deserve) excellent Fortunes.' Of these Sir John Mordaunt the eldest succeeded to Turvey Manor about 1475. He was wounded on the Lancastrian side at the battle of Barnet, and was one of the commanders at Stoke in 1487. He was made king's sergeant in 1495, and is said to have been instrumental in arranging a marriage between Margaret daughter of Henry VII and the King of Scotland. He died in 1504, and his son John Mordaunt rose high in favour at the court of Henry VIII. He was knighted in 1520, and the same year accompanied Henry to the Field of the Cloth of Gold. In 1533 he was created Baron Mordaunt of Turvey. He received Anne Boleyn at the Tower when she came to be crowned, and took part in her trial three years later, and in 1537 carried the banner at Jane Seymour's funeral. He died in 1562, when his son Sir John Mordaunt succeeded to Turvey Manor. He had been among the first to take the side of Queen Mary on her accession, who conferred on him the dignity of Privy Councillor, and according to Halstead 'so much favour she had for him, and the Lady Joane his second wife, that had God afforded her a longer life, there was no advancement he might not expected under her Countenance and Government.' Lewis Lord Mordaunt, his son, who succeeded to his father's title and estates in 1571, took part in the trial of Mary Queen of Scots 'unto whose sentence he did most unwillingly occur'; he was also a judge in the trial of Thomas Duke of Norfolk. He died in 1601, when his property passed to his son Henry, who was a Roman Catholic, and was sent to the Tower under suspicion of being concerned in the Gunpowder Plot. He was released after the imposition of a heavy fine to the Star Chamber. The long imprisonment is said to have affected his health and hastened his death, which took place in 1608–9. His will, which is dated 6 February 1608, contains the following clause, 'and for the clearing of my conscience before God and Man, and to give a public satisfaction to the World, concerning such and those Imputations, which lately have been laid upon me, and for which I have in a high degree been censured, I mean the late Gunpowder Treason; … I do solemnly protest before God and his Angels, and that without all Equivocation or Duplicity whatsoever, that I am innocent of that fact, and Guiltless of all Foreknowledge thereof.' John, who at his father's death succeeded to his title and estates, was raised to the dignity of Earl of Peterborough in 1628, but took the Parliamentarian side in the early days of the Civil War. He was made General of Ordnance and Colonel of a regiment of Foot under the command of the Earl of Essex in 1642, and died in the same year. His son Henry second Earl of Peterborough was a distinguished Royalist, who raised a regiment at his own expense, and was wounded at Newbury, and several times imprisoned. His estates were sequestered in 1648, and he compounded for his Turvey property in 1655 for the sum of £5,106 15s. On the Restoration he was made a member of the Privy Council, and conducted the negotiations for the marriage between the Duke of York (afterwards James II) and Mary of Modena. He became a Roman Catholic in 1686–7, and in 1689 was impeached of high treason 'in departing from his allegiance and being reconciled to the Church of Rome.' The dissolution of Parliament, however, caused the proceedings to be dropped and he was released. He employed the later years of his life in compiling Halstead's Succinct Genealogies, a history of his own family, of which a notice will be found elsewhere, and died at an advanced age in 1697 without male issue. His daughter Mary inherited the barony of Mordaunt of Turvey, but at her decease in 1705 it became attached to the earldom of Peterborough, which had passed to Charles Mordaunt, nephew of the late earl, who had been created Earl of Monmouth in 1689. He has made his mark on history as General of the allied forces in the Spanish War of Succession. His eccentric conduct during the campaign led to his trial by Parliament, but he was eventually vindicated, and in 1710 he received a vote of thanks from the House of Lords for his great and eminent services. He died in 1735 without issue surviving, when his grandson Charles Mordaunt succeeded to the family title and estates. He died in 1779, leaving a son Charles Henry Mordaunt fifth and last Earl of Peterborough. He made a settlement of Turvey Manor in 1782 and again in 1783, and finally in 1786–7 sold this property, including Turvey Abbey, to Charles Higgins, Sheriff of London in that year. He died in 1792, when his nephew John Higgins succeeded, under his will, to the manor of Turvey and Turvey Abbey, whilst part of his estate passed to a distant cousin John Higgins, who built Turvey House. Henry Longuet Higgins, grandson of the John Higgins first named, is at present lord of Turvey Manor, whilst Gustavus Francis Higgins, great-grandson of the other John Higgins, owns Turvey House. In 1786, the same year as Turvey Manor was sold to Mr. Higgins, William Fuller purchased from the Earl of Peterborough two farms, Turvey Hall and Turvey Lodge and the advowson of Turvey. As in the case of the advowson (q.v.), these farms were purchased by Mr. T. C. Higgins, whose grandson Mr. Gustavus Francis Higgins at present owns them. Manor courts are still held, and court rolls dating from 1664 are preserved by the lord of the manor.
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