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  • Writer's pictureJessica Feinstein

Alfred Turner, plasterer

Alfred Turner was Ari’s 4x great-grandfather, and he was a plasterer. He was born on 7 August 1823 in Warminster, Wiltshire, and baptised six months later at Common Close Independent Chapel. (The meeting house in Common Close had been licensed in 1720 and in the 1820s had a flourishing Sunday school and a large congregation.)

The 1841 census shows Alfred living in Back Street, Warminster, with his parents John (also a plasterer) and Mary, his older brother Charles, younger brothers Edward, Thomas and Harry, and younger sister Mary. Back Street is now Emwell Street, and “excavations in June 1979 revealed evidence which suggested the town’s origins could be traced back to a nearby late Roman or early Saxon farmstead. Emwell Street was a back street to the early urban quarter of the town, with activities in the mediaeval period including the smelting of iron, butchery, leather work and potting.” “Emwell Street was formerly known as Back Street because it ran behind the houses of Silver Street.” (

Six years later, Alfred married Ann Waters, who had been working as a servant in Silver Street. The 1851 census shows Alfred and Ann in Back Street, with their young sons Charles (3) and Harry (five months). By 1861 they had moved to Frome Road. Alfred was now 38, and Charles a plasterer’s labourer at 13. Another two children had been born and one (Harry) had died. Mary Ann (10) and John (6) were at school.

The family moved again, and in 1863 Alfred was living in the parish of Corsley. We know this because he appeared in the papers twice that year:

Frome Times, 11 March 1863. Image © The British Library Board.

Warminster Herald, 5 September 1863. Image © The British Library Board.

This was the 4th Marquess of Bath, John Thynne (1831–1896).

John Thynne, 4th Marquess of Bath ('Statesmen. No. 175.') by Carlo Pellegrini, chromolithograph, published in Vanity Fair, 13 June 1874. NPG D43644. © National Portrait Gallery, London.

In 1871, the census shows Alfred at Middle Whitbourne, seen below in the middle distance.

Alfred died from heart disease and bronchitis at Sturford Lane in Corsley on 15 March 1878. He was 54, and his son John was in attendance. The burial took place a week later at St Denys in Warminster.

Ari, this is how you are related to Alfred:

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