Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Turner, Richard (d.1565?)

TURNER, RICHARD (d. 1565?), protestant divine, born in Staffordshire, was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, of which he became a fellow. He graduated B.A. on 19 July 1524, M.A. on 12 July 1529, and B.D. on 27 Jan. 1535–6, and supplicated for D.D. in 1551–2. On 25 Jan. 1535–6 he was elected to a perpetual chantry in the king's college at Windsor. He also became curate to Ralph Morice [q. v.], Cranmer's secretary, at Chatham (not, as often stated, Chartham) in Kent, where he distinguished himself by his neglect of catholic rites, and was appointed by Cranmer, to whom he was chaplain, one of the six preachers in Canterbury Cathedral (Strype, Mem. of Cranmer, 1812, p. 147). In 1543 a bill of accusation was presented against him and others of Cranmer's chaplains and preachers at the sessions for not complying with the statute of the six articles; this attack was in reality levelled against Cranmer himself, who was assailed in person a little later. He, however, possessed the favour of the king, and the indictments in consequence came to nothing. Turner was at that time living in the family of Ralph Morice. He was a staunch supporter of the royal supremacy, and through the influence of Morice and the archbishop was able to avoid the dangers besetting an ecclesiastic under Henry VIII. On 1 July 1545 Turner was instituted to the vicarage of St. Stephen's-by-Saltash in Cornwall, and he has been doubtfully identified with the Richard Turner who was appointed rector of Chipping Ongar in Essex in 1544, and vicar of Hillingdon in Middlesex in 1545. In July 1549, during some popular commotions in Kent against the reforming party, Turner proceeded to the rioters' camp and preached against them, narrowly escaping being hanged for his boldness (ib. p. 395). On 24 Dec. 1551 he was appointed to a prebend at Windsor, and he also about this time obtained the vicarage of Dartford in Kent (Strype, Eccles. Mem. 1822, II. i. 518). In the following year he was recommended by Cranmer for the archbishopric of Armagh, which, however, he declined, chiefly on the ground of his ignorance of the Irish language (Strype, Cranmer, pp. 393, 398, 906). On the accession of Mary he fled to Basle, where he delivered lectures on the epistles to the Hebrews and to the Ephesians, and upon the general epistle of St. James, which were ‘fit for the press,’ according to Wood, in 1558, but were not published (ib. p. 395; Strype, Eccles. Mem. III. i. 232). In 1555, while at Frankfort, he joined with other English refugees in publicly repudiating Knox's principles in regard to civil government. They took exception to several passages in Knox's ‘Faythfull Admonition unto the professours of Gods Truthe in England,’ assailing Mary, Philip, and the emperor Charles V. They drew the attention of the town authorities to Knox's sentiments, and he was in consequence expelled (ib. p. 406). Turner returned to England on the accession of Elizabeth, and in 1559 was restored to the vicarage of Dartford. In the following year he was selected by Parker as a visitor to reform abuses in the two Kentish dioceses. He probably died in 1565, when he was succeeded as vicar by John Appelbie.

Turner suggested to John Marbeck [q. v.], organist at Windsor, the compilation of his concordance of the English Bible which appeared in July 1550.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. i. 277; Foxe's Actes and Monuments, ed. Townsend, viii. 31–4; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Archæologia Cant. xviii. 395; Macray's Reg. of Magdalen College, Oxford, 1897, ii. 54.]

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