The History of Turnham Malpas
Though the plaque is still there, word has it that the pair died in a drunken brawl outside a bawdy house in Islington, having deserted only a year after joining up. The real hero, one understands, was Saul Wright himself who lost a leg in the battle of Leipzig when attempting to rescue a friend who was seriously wounded. Saul lived to a ripe old age. Having been banned for life from the Royal Oak Inn for insulting behaviour, he was most often to be found outside sitting on the bench waiting for someone to take pity on him and buy him a drink. To this day the bench is always known as Saul’s bench.
The size of the village increased notably during the nineteenth century. Greater prosperity meant houses were built down Shepherd’s Hill and a long stretch of houses down both sides of the Culworth Road. This increased the numbers in the village. During this century the only village to have a shop was Turnham Malpas, so when the idea of a school was mooted by Sir Tristan in 1852 it was built in Turnham Malpas, giving it even more prominence.
The school was built with due consideration to all the modern requirements of education at the time and has served the villages faithfully ever since. The celebrations of its one hundred and fiftieth year were well attended. Nothing but the serving of the villages’ educational needs is seen in the school log book, faithfully kept by each succeeding head teacher.
One shattering event, though, was the murder of the headmaster’s wife in 1990 by an ex-pupil. This tragedy reached the headlines of national newspapers and put Turnham Malpas very definitely in the news. The murderer, a young woman of some eighteen years, kept an elderly person hostage in her own home for twenty four hours until she decided to make a break for it. Climbing a wall, she slipped and fell on the carving knife she’d taken with her for her defence, and she died before anyone could help her.
A generous local benefactor has kept the school very much at the leading edge of computer education by providing and updating the equipment available to the pupils. This has led to several of the pupils making excellent careers in electronics.