The History of Turnham Malpas
The visit of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) to the village in 1887, as part of the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of his mother Queen Victoria, has been recorded in great depth by the Museum in Culworth. Copies of menu’s can be seen, pictures of the Prince with the “bag” for the day when out shooting, and a walking stick purported to have been left behind by the Prince. He stayed at the Big House for two nights and attended Matins at the Church on the Sunday morning (note the plaque commemorating his visit). Some uncharitable local leaders spread the word that Sir Tristan Templeton was trying rather too desperately for a Dukedom or some such. In fact the Prince had invited himself for the shooting (it being August) and to sample the renowned cooking of Sir Tristan’s French chef.
World War One brought death to the village as to almost every town and village in the country. The family worst hit were the Glover family. Five boys and three girls lived with their parents in one of the tiny cottages right on the Green (a descendent of the Glovers still occupies the cottage). The eldest four boys got their calling up papers and were drafted to France in a matter of months. In the space of three weeks all four of the boys had been killed. Other families lost a son here and there, but none were so deeply affected as the Glover family. Rumour has it that the four Glover brothers had extracted, by force, a pound each from the Charity Fund which the Rector administered so when they died the Charity Fund curse came into the village consciousness. The Rector at the time died when his carriage overturned, the verger’s daughter died of scarlet fever, the verger committed suicide and in modern times the bank manager, while attempting to clear up the Fund account, died of a heart attack. Peter Harris the current Rector came close to death in a traffic accident only because, they said, he was contemplating how to use the accrued money for the benefit of the Church.
Due to the fierce opposition of the villagers to the use of the money in their village, the accrued money was finally given to charity. Through the years there have been several attempts by both the council and private individuals to get street lighting and a one way system for the road around the village green. But these ideas have been fiercely resisted, and, despite a major initiative by the Council at the end of 1999 to bring the village into the twenty first century, it is still without street lighting, without a one way system for the roads, without part-time traffic lights and without numbers for the houses.
The Post Office attempted to introduce numbering to ease the work of the local postmen but this was rejected. Consequently the village houses have names not numbers. In their defence, the Post Office pointed out the confusion of Orchard House and Orchid House within yards of each other, but to no avail.