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HIS MATERNAL ANCESTRY.
BY ROBERT DAVIES, F.S.A.,
IN A LETTER TO MR. HUNTER, AUTHOR OF THE TRACT ENTITLED “POPE:
HIS DESCENT AND FAMILY CONNECTIONS."
It is one of the most pleasing offices of the genealogist to trace the descent and to show the alliances of GENIUS.
HUNTER's South Yorkshire, vol. ü. p. 297.
36, SOHO SQUARE.
“Let any one bethink him how impressive the smallest historical fact may become, as contrasted with the grandest fictitious event; what an incalculable force lies for us in this consideration ;-the thing which I here hold imaged in my mind did actually occur; was, in very truth, an element in the system of the All whereof I too form part; had therefore, and has, through all time, an authentic being ; is not a dream, but a reality!"-CARLYLE'S Essays, vol. iii. p. 43.
MY DEAR SIR,
In that section of the interesting and valuable tract you have recently given to the world, which treats of the maternal ancestry of Pope, you suggest the possibility of “ascending a generation above” Lancelot Turner, the uncle of William Turner, the Poet's maternal grandfather.
Having had the good fortune to discover this higher step in the genealogy of the Turners, and to obtain some additional information respecting several members of the family, I beg to be permitted to communicate to you, in this form, the facts which have come to my knowledge.
The descent of the maternal ancestors of the illustrious Poet may be traced to a source whence many families among the present aristocracy of Yorkshire have originally sprung,—the trade or commerce of the city of York.
At York, in the reign of King Henry VIII., Robert Turner carried on the business of a waxchandler, which, before the Reformation, when this commodity in various forms was profusely and constantly used in the celebration of religious services, was a lucrative and important occupation. Had he not been a person in good circumstances, and belonging to the higher class of tradesmen, he would scarcely have brought up his son to one of the learned professions. In the year 1553, “Edward Turner, skryvener," son of Robert Turner, wax-chandler, being entitled by patrimony to be admitted to the city franchise, was duly enrolled upon the register of York freemen.
This Edward Turner was the father of Lancelot Turner; and what you have hazarded as a probable conjecture with regard to the son,* is quite true as regards the father: he was connected with the Council of the North ; and there can be no doubt that great part of the property he possessed at the time of his death had been acquired by the influence and emolu
* “Perhaps as probable a conjecture as is likely to be made is, that he was connected with the Council of the North, or a successful practitioner in that Court."-Pope Tract, p. 29.