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 The History of Turnham Malpas

Early in 1698 the Whitehall Palace in London, residence of English monarchs since Henry VIII, was burned down. Distressingly, the then Sir Tristan Templeton, in an attempt to raise his stature in the eyes of King William III, was at the Palace to beg an audience with him. When news of the fire got back to Turnham Malpas there was immediate consternation. If he had died who would own Turnham House? Who would be their Lord of the Manor? His wife of a few months was distraught. When they learned of his certain death in the fire and with no body to bury, the village grieved. As for the succession, seven months after his death a boy was born to his widow, resulting in a collective sigh of relief; the Templeton line would continue.

During the Napoleonic Wars three of the young men of the village decided to sign up with a local Infantry Battalion. They were Stephen Gotobed, Nathaniel Glover and Saul Wright. Nothing was heard of them for over seven years, partly because not one of them could read or write, until Saul Wright returned at the end of 1815. He had lost a leg but not his ability to spin a yarn. According to a plaque on the south side of the chancel in the church Stephen Gotobed and Nathanial Glover had lost their lives saving that of Wellington at the battle of Waterloo.


“To the glorious memory of Stephen Gotobed and Nathaniel Glover, young men of this parish, who died with glory serving their King and Country. At Waterloo they bravely commandeered a captured French horse, mounted it and the two of them raced with the greatest speed after His Grace who had become isolated from his General Staff in the furore of the battle. They fought off a small group of French cavalry who, seizing their chance, intended to kill the Duke with the greatest ferocity. Nathanial Glover and Stephen Gotobed heroically fought to the death in defence of their leader and died together, brothers on the battlefield, as the victory trumpet call sounded. These two humble English soldiers sons of this village displayed bravery above and beyond the call of duty. May they rest in peace. Anno domini 1815”


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