"Turner, Ald. Sir William, kt 1662 (1615-93). Younger brother of John, the lawyer. A draper (both Pepys and Tom Pepys had accounts with him), Master of the Merchant Taylor's Company 1661-2, 1684-5; prominent in the R. Africa and E. India Companies. Sheriff 1662-3: Lord Mayor 1668-9; M.P. for the city1690-3. In 1668 he claimed and was awarded £400 from the King -- a gift traditionally made to bachelor Lord Mayors -- and gave it towards the rebuilding of Guildhall. A Puritan, who headed each page of his accounts *Laus Deo*, he founded a hospital and free school at Kirkleatham, Yorks., in 1676." L&M Companion, 460.
Sir William Turner (12 September 1615 – 9 February 1693) was an English Sheriff, Lord Mayor and M.P. of London.
He served as the president of the Bethlehem and Bridewell Hospitals from 1669 until his death. He was a director of the East India Company for several years (1670–1, 1684–5, 1687–8, 1690–1).
He devoted much of his fortune to establishing a hospital in his home village of Kirkleatham in 1676, known as Sir William Turner's Hospital (or Almshouses) and now an independent retirement home. After being largely rebuilt in 1742 it has been occupied ever since. The attached chapel contains his death mask.
Sir William Turner was a relative by marriage of the Pepys family, being the brother of John Turner, Jane's husband. The proof is that both were sons of John and Elizabeth (nee Colthurst) Turner, of Kirkleatham in Cleveland, North Yorkshire.
Sir William died childless, and the heir to his great loot was Cholmley Turner, Jane Turner's grandson via her son Charles, whose wife was Margaret, daughter of Sir William Cholmley Bt., of Whitby, Yorkshire.
According to Alderman Sir William Turner's House of Commons biography, he lived near St. Paul's Churchyard. Since that area burned in the Great Fire, we can't count on his living there during all of the Diary years.
Turner found great commercial success as a woolen-draper in the capital, and by 1660 boasted an estimated annual income of £2,000.
The Restoration proved the making of his civic career, and he was cited as one of ‘the King’s sheriffs’ after his promotion to the shrievalty by the Corporation Act commissioners. He was knighted in 1662. Pepys regarded him as ‘a sober, considering man’, and such qualities recommended Turner for inclusion in 1667 in the Brooke House committee which reviewed the public accounts for the recent second Anglo-Dutch war. (Always good to have a relative do your audit.)
Archbishop Gilbert Burnet thought this appointment was subsequently vindicated by Turner’s ‘wise and just administration’ as lord mayor 1668-69, and several pamphlets praised Turner for presiding over the reconstruction of the City following the Great Fire. However, his mayoralty was by no means free from controversy, one opponent accusing him of having ‘espoused the interest of the Nonconformists’ when in office.
Leading Dissenters allegedly held ‘frequent consultations’ at his home in the summer of 1669 in order to co-ordinate an abortive campaign for Turner’s re-election as mayor, and reports of his lenience towards conventicles circulated in May 1670 and March 1675.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.