Samuel Hopkinson Turton 1810-1870
 

 

SAMUEL HOPKINSON TURTON 1810-1870 Samuel was born in Betticolo Ceylon (Sri-Lanka) on 25th July 1810 the son of an army officer.

After the death of his father on 22nd November 1816 his mother Mary(English) took her 7 year-old son back to England. He lived there until he was 22 when he married Mary Ashton , in East Retford Nothinghampshire. He & his wife came to Australia in 1839 & settled in Narellan.where his daughter Ann was born. He was the school-master in Narrelan until 1847 when he went to be Head-master of Christ Church St. Laurence, George St Sydney.

A book about the church describes him:- “Mr Lough we have already noted as the master of the school. He was succeeded by Mr Turton, who was described as" second to none” both as a scholar & disciplinarian.

Mr Turton “made” the school & held his position for 23 years; he died on 17th October 1870. In 1871 a large rose window was erected to his memory by his pupils & was still there until 1987 when it was destroyed by an arsonist setting alight to the building & destroyed most of it which had been turned into a dancing acadamy. The frame work (sandstone) of the window was not destroyed but unfortunately the glass either melted or fell out. Recently (1990) the Church Trust has started to restore the building but only clear glass will be put in place of the stained glass, the Trust say they cannot afford to replace the window as it was.

Samuel was buried in the old cemetery at Balmain on 21st October 1870. This cemetery is now a park. I (Colin Wood) contacted Leichhardt council and found the grave was 9’* 7’ & he was buried with an Ellen Tibbey who died in 1886. I assume this was his daughter. His Memorial was moved to St Stephen`s Church at Newtown and stands to the west of the main door of the church. I mentioned he was schoolmaster at Narellan, well the old schoolhouse (which is next to a modern C of E school) is restored & is looking good. He had 9 children 5 sons & 4 daughters.

 The following was sent to me by the Church wardens after I wrote to the church asking for them to support a fund raising effort to restore the window. THE FORGOTTEN HEADMASTERS When the Christ Church School closed its doors for the last time on 14 December 1934 it was the oldest of our parochial institutions, predating even the formation of the ecclesiastical parish in 1838. Its headmasters were, for the most part, as universally revered in their time as the Rectors of Christ Church. Now, however, they have been almost completely forgotten, notwithstanding the two memorials which remain today to two of the longest serving headmasters of the Christ Church Schools in the nineteenth century. The School commenced in 1830, according to the report of a speech of our first Rector, William Horatio Walsh, in the Sydney Morning Herald of 28 October 1844: He found that so far back as 1830, when the population did not amount to more than one-third of its present number, a school was established for the parish of St Lawrence, and was then the only one of any kind in that part of the city. It began with the attendance during that year of only 30; in 1831 the number was 42 ... A parliamentary return for 1840 shows one Patrick McDonnell as the teacher at theChurch of England School in the Parish of St Lawrence.

This St Laurence School (originally housed in rented accommodation) came to be known as the "Christ Church School" following the completion of a new school building in May 1845. The School was often referred to as the "Christ Church Schools", the infants school and primary school often being treated as two separate schools. The earliest headmaster of the "Christ Church School" of whom we currently have knowledge was one Mr Lough. However, it is his successor, S H Turton, who was the first of the "great" headmasters of the school. The stone tracery of the southern rose window in the upper hall, which was removed from the 1860 school building when it was demolished in 1905 and now looms over the newly constructed bridge, bears the following inscription in his honour: In memory of Samuel Hopkinson Turton Erected by his scholars AD 1871 What more do we know? Samuel Hopkinson Turton was born in Batticaloa, Ceylon in 1809. Members of his family recall that his father, Captain Samuel Turton, served for eight or nine years in Ceylon and possibly the sub continent. The captain died at the age of 32 in 1816 on the island of St Helena, within months of Napoleon`s arrival there as an exile. Educated at the Grammar School, Newark-on-Trent, Samuel junior was a grocer by profession.

His experience in teaching was initially gained in five years of Sunday School teaching in England. Following his arrival in Australia he taught at Narellan for seven and a half years. He started at Christ Church School in 1847 and lived in the master`s residence at the school. Samuel Turton had a large family who were intimately connected with both Christ Church and the School. At least two of his family were baptised at Christ Church by Walsh - Thomas Woolley Turton on 23 July 1849 and Edward James Turton on 9 March 1851. Thomas Woolley must have been named after the churchwarden Mr Thomas Woolley who was instrumental in the construction of the school building of 1845. Many Turton marriages took place at Christ Church over the years including those of Ellen in 1854, John Tapham in 1868, Susanna in 1869, Edward James in 1873 and Ann in 1876. Turton`s family were also employed variously about the schools. In 1858 Turton`s primary school assistants consisted of S F Ward (of whom more later), Ann Turton (formally Ashton - Samuel`s wife, born in Fenton, Staffordshire in 1808) and John Tapham Turton (his son, born in Narellan in 1842 - later an Army Captain). By 1863 the only other family member employed was a "Miss Turton" who was an assistant in 1864 and 1865. Presumably she is the Susanna Turton who also appears in an official list of teachers at the Christ Church School in 1867. Turton`s son-in-law, Edward Tibbey (who married his daughter Ellen in 1854) was employed as an assistant around the period 1863-1867.

Despite the lack of formal training, Turton was one of the three teachers appointed by a parliamentary select committee to the New South Wales Education Commission of 1854-5. The task of the Commissioners was to inspect 202 schools throughout New South Wales, involving a journey of around 5,000 miles in a period of ten months. Samuel Turton died on 17 October 1870 at the Christ Church school house. He was buried at Balmain Cemetery, later to be joined by his daughter, Ellen Tibbey, in 1886. In the year following Turton`s death, full tribute was paid to him at the Annual General Meeting of the St Lawrence Parochial Association: It is with much regret that the Committee record the death on the 17th Oct last of one who has fm twenty years been intimately connected with the Parochial Schools. The Committee desire to add their own testimony to that of others to the zeal and industry, the moral worth and high character the consideration and kindness towards individual scholars which were so eminently displayed by the late Mr Turton in the discharge of his responsible duties as Head Master. The loss which has thus been sustained will long be felt nor will the memory of one who had endeared himself to all with whom he had any intercourse as pupils or friends be soon forgotten. His able teaching and Christian example have in several instances exercised a happy influence upon those who have entered the business of life, and there are many of his old scholars who will always retain a grateful recollection of what they owe to his early training.

The very next entry in the Annual Report for the Parochial Association makes the following statement: The committee have full belief that in the appointment of Mr Ward to the Head Mastership the schools will maintain their position, and it must be a source of gratification to tile Local Board that he has always warmly aided the efforts of his predecessor and has taken on so great a direct personal interest in the well being of the scholars. Born in 1825 in Crockerton, Seth Frank Ward was educated at King Edward VI Grammar School, Bruton, Somerset. Having spent six years teaching at private schools he came to New South Wales in 1853 and first taught at St Tames Grammar School, Phillip Street under Rev T Druitt. He became an assistant to Samuel Turton at the Christ Church School in 1854 and continued in that position until Turton`s death in 1870. Laura Alien, in her 1939 history of Christ Church, shows the important part Ward played in the parish while preserving some valuable first hand accounts of Ward as a school master: from 1854 till his death in 1894, Mr Ward was the life and soul of most of the parish activities of Christ Church, for besides his teaching he was keenly interested in music, being choirmaster for some years; guilds and missions also owed much to his keen enthusiasm and self-sacrifice. "Daddy Four Eyes" his over-exuberant scholars called him, for, said they: "He has eyes at the back of his head as well; even if he`s writing at the blackboard he knows what a chap`s doing behind him!" Seth Ward remained a close friend of the Turton family, following the death of Samuel in 1870.

 He certainly replaced Samuel as head of the school but did he also replace him as head of the family? The three children married at Christ Church before 1870 had their father as a formal witness while those married in 1873 and 1876 both show Seth as a witness, apparently in place of their deceased father.

Seth Ward retired from the school in 1884, but by no means from involvement in the parish, continuing with good works for the church and Sunday school. He died at his residence in Arthur Street, Surrey Hills, on 7 March 1894 at the age of 69, and was buried at St Peter`s Cemetery Campbelltown. He is commemorated at Christ Church by a stained glass window at the western end of the north wall. The window was unveiled by the Primate, William Saumarez Smith on 22 December 1894 and depicts Christ blessing the little children, the good Samaritan, the conversion of the Ethiopian and David the Psalmist. The inscription at the foot reads as follows: Seth Frank Ward. AMDG & in memoriam. Died 7th March 1894. It was through the influence of these two men that the Christ Church Schools became one of Sydney`s major schools in the period before the state education system we know today was established. Their positive influence on thousands of local children can never be estimated with any accuracy. However, one measure of their success as teachers may be found in the number of Sydney`s prominent citizens who for many years could claim attendance at the Christ Church Schools in their formative years.

But that is a story in itself. References: A R Fraser, "The Authorship of the Final Report of the NSW Education Commission 1854-5" (1966) 52 JRAHS 169; L M Alien, A History of Christ Church S Laurence, Sydney (Finn Bros, Sydney 1939)p 160; St Lawrence Parochial Association, Minutes, 7 February 1871 (Annual Report); Sydney Morning Herald, 28 October 1844, p 4; 18 October 1870, p 1; 12 March 1894, p 5; 24 December 1894, p6; NSW Legislative Assembly V & P: Statement of Expenditure on School established before 1837, 1840; Return of Denominational Schools in NSW, 1859; Denominational Scho Reports, 1863, 1864, 1865; Return of Teachers Under the Council of Education, 1867.]

More from The church (Christ Church St Laurence) website

Samuel Hopkinson Turton (1810-1870)

Samuel Hopkinson Turton was born in Batticaloa, Ceylon in 1809. Members of his family recall that his father, Captain Samuel Turton, served for eight or nine years in Ceylon and possibly the sub continent. The captain died at the age of 32 in 1816 on the island of St Helena, within months of Napoleon's arrival there as an exile. Educated at the Grammar School, Newark-on-Trent, Samuel junior was a grocer by profession. His experience in teaching was initially gained in five years of Sunday School teaching in England. Following his arrival in Australia he taught at Narellan for seven and a half years. He started at Christ Church School in 1847 and lived in the master's residence at the school.

Samuel Turton had a large family who were intimately connected with both Christ Church and the School. At least two of his family were baptised at Christ Church by Walsh - Thomas Woolley Turton on 23 July 1849 and Edward James Turton on 9 March 1851. Thomas Woolley must have been named after the churchwarden Mr Thomas Woolley who was instrumental in the construction of the school building of 1845. Many Turton marriages took place at Christ Church over the years including those of Ellen in 1854, John Tapham in 1868, Susanna in 1869, Edward James in 1873 and Ann - who married Charles Wood, father of Cecil Turton Wood, my Grandfather - in 1876.

Turton's family were also employed variously about the schools. In 1858 Turton's primary school assistants consisted of S F Ward, Ann Turton (formerly Ashton - Samuel's wife, born in Fenton, Staffordshire in 1808) and John Tapham Turton (his son, born in Narellan in 1842 - later an Army Captain). By 1863 the only other family member employed was a "Miss Turton" who was an assistant in 1864 and 1865. Presumably she is the Susanna Turton who also appears in an official list of teachers at the Christ Church School in 1867. Turton's son-in-law, Edward Tibbey (who married his daughter Ellen in 1854) was employed as an assistant around the period 1863-1867.

Despite the lack of formal training, Turton was one of the three teachers appointed by a parliamentary select committee to the New South Wales Education Commission of 1854-5. The task of the Commissioners was to inspect 202 schools throughout New South Wales, involving a journey of around 5,000 miles in a period of ten months.

Samuel Turton died on 17 October 1870 at the Christ Church school house. He was buried at Balmain Cemetery, later to be joined by his daughter, Ellen Tibbey, in 1886.

In the year following Turton's death, full tribute was paid to him at the Annual General Meeting of the St Lawrence Parochial Association:

It is with much regret that the Committee record the death on the 17th Oct last of one who has for twenty years been intimately connected with the Parochial Schools. The Committee desire to add their own testimony to that of others to the zeal and industry, the moral worth and high character the consideration and kindness towards individual scholars which were so eminently displayed by the late Mr Turton in the discharge of his responsible duties as Head Master. The loss which has thus been sustained will long be felt nor will the memory of one who had endeared himself to all with whom he had any intercourse as pupils or friends be soon forgotten. His able teaching and Christian example have in several instances exercised a happy influence upon those who have entered the business of life, and there are many of his old scholars who will always retain a grateful recollection of what they owe to his early training.


 

 


 


 

 

Betticoloa Sri- Lanka (formally Ceylon)

St Michaels church Retford Notinghamshire UK

Narellan School house (centre) where S H Turton was schoolmaster from 1839 till 1847 after which he went to Christ Church St Laurence

 

The original School building of Christ Church St Laurence before it, and the window was relocated because of Central Railway extensions

The Turton Window before it was destroyed by fire (it was about 3 metres across).  As far as I know this is the only photograph.  It was taken by Colin Turton Wood

.

All  That's left of  "The Turton Window" destroyed by

fire in  1987. It's about 40cm across.

The S H Turton Memorial at church of England St Stephen`s Church at Newtown

The churchyard, Turton memorial left/centre.

St Stephen`s Church at Newtown