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 Houses  for   Higgins.

Turvey  House.

Photo by the kind  permission of Ms G Hanbury.

The largest and probably best known of the three houses, Turvey House was built by John Higgins 1740 who wealthy as he was, required a mortgage to be able to complete the building of the house. ( So some things never change ). The house was built over the site of  Turvey Old Hall.  This was built by the Morduant family when in their heyday, they were Lords of Turvey, however it ceased to be their residence in the 17th Century and was practically a ruin by the 1780's.  It was finally demolished prior to the Turvey Estates being put up for sale.

 

The new Turvey House was built on the site of the Old Hall. Initially it was smaller than the present house but was enlarged and re-modelled with the addition of the upper story in the early 19th Century. There seems to be some disagreement about exactly when this was done and by whom.

Unlike the Abbey and Picts Hill, Turvey House has remained in the Higgins family serving as their principal residence and family home until the present day.

Turvey House is a large house and a large domestic staff was required to run it.

Some of the staff would have lived in the village going home each evening, many

however would have lived in , these are detailed here from the census returns.

Photo by  Stephen Craven  CC BY SA

Photo from Google Earth

Picts Hill House.

Turvey House 1851.

At the time of the 1851 census, the Higgins family are not living at Turvey House, but it is not left empty and unoccupied. The family's Coachman, John Bamford has been left in charge of looking after the house, together with his wife Catherine acting as cook and one servant Sarah Wall.  Of interest is the fact that the Bamford family and the Purser family are connected by marriage at at least two points but more of that elsewhere.

Turvey House. 1861.

 

Once again the house is unoccupied.  Presumably this is intended as a longer term arrangement as by the time of the 1861 census there is nobody living there at all. John & Catherine Bamford are back at their previous home in Turvey High Street.

 

There is no obvious sign of Sarah Wall though her two daughters are living with the Bamfords.  They are listed as scholars so they may just have been weekday boarders going home at weekends. A common arrangement for families living a long way from their kids' school.

House 1861.jpg

Turvey House. 1871.

No longer empty in 1871 Turvey House is let to a Mr & Mrs Bartlett and their considerable staff. 

At this time the Higgins family were living in Turvey  cottage in the village.  Something of a misnomer Turvey Cottage is in fact a very substantial house.

Turvey House. 1881.  

The Higgins family are now back living in their own house. William F Higgins is boss with his wife Fanny, their two sons, Tom & Gustavus, two daughters Louisa & Adela and William's step daughter Mary Tyrringham.

Turvey House. 1891.  

The Higgins family remain at Turvey.  William F Higgins and his wife and younger children.

House 1891.jpg

Turvey House. 1901.  

 

Following the death of William F Higgins in 1899, the house is let, to the Taylor family and their substantial staff.

Widowed Fanny and unmarried daughter Adela Kathleen, moved back to Turvey Cottage.

Turvey House. 1911.  

Once again, the  house is let, this time to the Thompson family and their staff.

At the time of the 1911 Census, Widow Fanny was living at the Chantry House, so called as it was on the site of cottages lived in by the two "Chantry Priests" endowed by the Morduant family during their tenure of Turvey. The  current Chantry House was built by William F Higgins in the late 19th Century.

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Chantry House.

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Built in 1603  by the Morduant family, Turvey Abbey may not have ever been their main family home, their seat being Drayton manor, a magnificent pile in Northamptonshire.  Unfortunately as a Roman Catholic family in 17th and 18th Century England, things did not go well for them, with various fines and confiscations rendering them seriously short of cash by the mid 18th Century.  They had not been able to afford the upkeep of the Abbey and it had fallen into considerable disrepair. In 1709 it was described as " a dilapidated old hall degraded to a farmhouse". By the late 18th Century the Morduants put the Abbey up for sale together with the rest of Turvey.

The Abbey formed part of the estate purchased by Charles Higgins in the 1780;'s,  at the time it was partly inhabited and Charles could do little to the building until the tenant died in 1797.  Sadly by this time Charles was also dead having left the Abbey and its associated farm to his nephew John Higgins 1768. Once he had vacant possession of the Abbey John Higgins undertook the major repairs and extension needed to bring the house close to the extant building.

Various generations of Longuet-Higgins' lived at the Abbey until 1928.  At this time Henry's widow Gertrude Mary Longuet Higgins and her daughter Gertrude Maud L Higgins were living at Turvey Abbey but found it too large for just them. They both  moved to Vine cottage in the Village and the Abbey was let. This seems to imply that Gertrude Maud did not marry, there being no sign of a husband in any records I have so far found. In the 1939 mini-census she is listed as single, so even if she had subsequently married it is unlikely that she would have had any children to complicate matters, as she was aged 48 by this time.

 

In 1950 the family sold Turvey Abbey, it went through a few owners until 1980 when it was bought by an order of Benedictine Nuns who hold it to this day. As well as the convent, a small monastery of Monks has been conveniently been built in the grounds. I shall draw a discreet veil across any prurient conclusions some may draw from this !!

Turvey Abbey 1841.

At the time of the 1841 Census the ageing John Higgins and wife Theresa lived at Turvey Abbey with their son Charles Languet Higgins and daughter Mary.  Theresa's maiden name had been Languet and subsequently most of their descendants adopted the name of Languet-Higgins, This was just an affectation not a legal name-change  their legal surname remained plain Higgins and appeared as such on anything official or financial.

Turvey Abbey 1841.jpg

Turvey Abbey. 1861.

 

Following the death of John Higgins, Charles Languet Higgins inherited the Abbey, surrounding lands and the Title Lord of the Manor that was attached to Turvey Abbey, not the Jonny-come-lately Turvey House. 

Abbey 1861.jpg

Turvey Abbey. 1871.

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Turvey Abbey. 1881.  

Charles and Helen still live at The Abbey in glorious isolation with just their servants, they remained thus until Charles' death in 1885. At 79 this was a good age at the time.

Abbey 1881.jpg

Turvey Abbey. 1891.  

Charles Longuet Higgins' widow Helen Longuet Higgins continues to live on her own with just a few servants until she herself dies in 1902.

Abbey 1901.jpg

Turvey Abbey. 1901.  

 

As above Just Helen L Higgins.

Abbey 1901.jpg

Turvey Abbey. 1911.  

The house has been let to Mr & Mrs Alloton who were resident bat the time of the census. However they were probably only very recent tenants as they were newly married Turvey Abbey being their first home together.

As Therese Longuet Higgins had died in 1902 it is likely that the house would have had other tenants prior to the Allotons.

Picts Hill House.

Picts Hill House was built around the beginning of the 19th Century by William Bartholomew Higgins 1799-1878. He was the son of the Bartholomew Higgins who was left a considerable amount of land by his uncle  Charles Higgins. W.B.Higgins lived in Picts Hill House until his death in 1878, he did not marry so had no children. After his death Picts Hill ceases to be lived in by any Higgins though so far I can not identify if it was sold out of the family, let or lived in by whoever WB left it to in his will.

Turvey Cottage.

The house known as Turvey Cottage is poorly named, it is a substantial house and

anything but a cottage!  For some quite long periods in the 19th Century Turvey House was let or just empty, whilst the Higgins family lived at Turvey Cottage.  Why would they ave done this ? We can only guess, the obvious reason would be financial, if they were short of cash the smaller Turvey Cottage would have been much cheaper to run and rental income from the Big House would no doubt have been useful.  There could of course be other reasons, perhaps the house was in a poor state of repair and was undergoing remedial work, who knows?

The Chantry House.

Chantry House_edited.jpg

Chantry House is an amalgamation of three cottages into one substantial house. Records say that was built in the late 19th Century by William F Higgins, then proprietor of Turvey house. It is not totally clear if this refers to the conversion of the three cottages into one, or the original building of the houses.  I suspect the former as it looks older than late Victorian, though this is the only picture I can find that I can legally post.

As with Turvey Cottage, the Chantry House was a bolt hole for the Higgins family when for whatever reason they were living in Turvey but not in Turvey House. Chantry House seems to have superseded Turvey Cottage once it was available after the conversion.

The name Chantry House comes from where it stands. In much earlier times when Turvey was owned by the Morduant family, one Morduant secured two priests to say masses and prayers for his dead Father's soul. He built a small chantry onto the church for this and housed them in a cottage on Chantry Yard. This is the site built on by W Higgins to build his house.

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HOUSEHOLD STAFF. 1851

With the family at Tunbridge Wells.

Mary Eliza Lay...21...Governess...Born...Hackney

Sarah Nates........24..Servant........Born...Leicestershire

Helen Bull..........16.. Servant........Born...Turvey

Mary Monkton...28.. Servant.......Born....Sussex

Sarah Haines......22..Servant........Born...Bedford

Left at Turvey House.

John Bamford...51.. Coachman... .Born...Wooton

Cath Bamford...50.. Cook..............Born....Turvey

Sarah Wall........25..Servant...........Born.....Gloucester

HOUSEHOLD STAFF. 1861

With the family at Turvey Cottage.

Susan Blunt......30..Servant...Born...Northamptonshire

Eliza Yallop.......25..Servant...Born...Suffolk

Emma Clifford..16.. Servant...Born...Warwick

Turvey House....Empty.

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HOUSEHOLD STAFF. 1871

With the family at Turvey Cottage..

Fred Wheelet.....26...Servant.......Born...Wiltshire

Mary Capen.......32...Servant........Born...London

Eliza Sinfield......16.. Servant........Born...Turvey

Mary Kentisber...28.. Servant.......Born...Turvey

HOUSEHOLD STAFF. 1881

With the family at Turvey House.

John Richards.....42..Butler..............Born...Cornwall

James Clare..........21..Footman...........Born...Turvey

Alfred Griffiths.....18.. Servant...........Born...Woburn

Ellen Bailey...........24.. Nurse.............Born...Turvey

Emma Bailey.........16..Under Nurse...Born...Turvey

Josephine Luhn....42..Governess.......Born...Germany

Mary Large............28..Servant...........Born...Turvey

Susannah Barnes...16.. Servant..........Born...Bucks

Mary Lantsbery.....24.. Servant..........Born....Turvey

Sarah Drury...........21..Kitchen Maid..Born...Turvey

Ada Rayner...........16.. Laundry Maid Born....Turvey

Agnes Surtees.......16...House Maid.....Born...Turvey

Emily.Jeffries.......18.. Servant.............Born...Ascot

Mary Smith...........21..Scullery Maid...Born...Bedford

Will Robinson.......28..Groom..............Born....Turvey

HOUSEHOLD STAFF. 1891

With the family at Turvey House.

John Richards......52..Butler..................Born...Cornwall

Joseph Beron........19..Footman.............Born...Derby

Joseph Chambers..25..Footman............Born...Turvey

Thomas Clarke......28.. Servant.............Born...Turvey

Susannah Frost.....30.. Cook..................Born...Turvey

Maude Jones.........30..Kaundry Maid...Born...Turvey

Annie Smith..........25..House Maid.......Born...London

Fanny Easton........23..House Maid.......Born...Northamps

Clara Fletcher........21..House maid........Born...Bucks

Clara Chamberlain.19.House Maid.....,...Born..Northamps

Sophia Williams.....18.Kitchen maid.......Born...Staffs

HOUSEHOLD STAFF. 1901

With the family at Turvey Cottage.

Ellen Roberts........16..House Maid.......Born...Towcester

Charlotte Leader...34..Parlour Maid.....Born...Norfolk

Julianna How........26..Cook..................Born...Essex

Bertha Wallis.........23..Ladies Maid......Born...Hampshire

Ann Izzard.............21..House Maid.......Born...Banbury

Lily Rodd................20..Kitchen Maid....Born...Windsor

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