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 The History of Turnham Malpas

To digress, hiding the church silver in Turnham House occurred for a second time in 1940 when the invasion of England by the Germans during the Second World War was imminent. The then rector, the Reverend Simon Whittaker-Cosham, carried the silver to Turnham House at dead of night in his Austin 12 where it was secreted inside a cupboard which was boarded over and panelled to match the room it was in.


The silver, because of the death of both the Rector and Sir Bernard Templeton in the war, lay hidden until it was discovered in the early 1990s when the current owner Henry Craddock Fitch was having alterations done to the house. He disputed the ownership of the silver; though it was blatantly obvious it belonged to the church because of the engravings on it. The villagers rose up and in a cold, calculating show of solidarity demonstrated their disapproval of his decision to sell it and keep the money for himself. Eventually Mr Fitch realised he was up against dark forces which even modern business practice could not overcome, and graciously returned the silver to the Church. It is now on display in the Church on high days and holy days.

The Civil War, beginning in 1642, brought strife to Turnham Malpas. Sir Ralph Templeton was a Royalist and recruited volunteers from his tenants to fight on the King’s side. This was not what the majority of the villagers wanted. They saw the arrival of Oliver Cromwell as a means of sweeping away ancient practices which would enable a freer and more benign administration to become a reality and one more in keeping with the newly-embraced Protestant faith of the village.


Victor Gotobed organised the Roundhead opposition. There were several local and very bloody skirmishes, after which the two opposing forces each linked up with their main armies at the battle of Winchester, when the Roundheads beat the Royalists and occupied the city. This left the Royalist cause of Turnham Malpas in disarray and with the loss of so many of his supporters Sir Ralph Templeton disbanded his forces and retired to the village to await the result of the Civil War. Descendents of Victor Gotobed were still living in the village in 1914, as were the descendents of Sir Ralph Templeton.


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