The history and families of Turvey in Bedfordshire, England

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Law and Order in Turvey

Turvey is generally a quiet, peaceful village. But like all places it has had the odd dramatic incident over the years.  Thankfully it has also had a vigilant police force.

The 'Specials'  - Turvey's voluntary

police force.

George Mardlin - Policeman of Turvey

George was the Turvey policeman for about 30 years.

He was born in 1834, in Blunham in Bedfordshire, to parents Samuel and Elizabeth Mardlin.  

In early 1856, George was married to Mary Jane Dawson from Bedford and they had 9 children:

Frederick H - born 1857

Jane - born 1859

Alfred - born 1862

Emily E - born 1865

Elizabeth - born 1867

Eliza - born 1869

George W - born 1871

Maria M - born 1875

Gertrude M - born 1877

His brother, Alfred, was also a policeman.

George died in early 1918, aged 84.

Before coming to Turvey, George served as a policeman in Leighton Buzzard.

George was Turvey village policeman in 1861, 1871 and 1881.  He retired before 1891.

By 1911 he lived with his daughter, Jane at the post office which she ran.

She had been the village telegraph clerk since at least 1881.

In 1861, George and Mary lived at 7 Abbey Square.

In 1871 and ‘81 they were living in the Police Station in Turvey.

Intruder in A Turvey House!

Thomas Shelton, lodger of William Bithrey, had a shock in 1871 when he found an intruder hiding under a cover on the sofa!

Shelton raised the alarm and soon friends and neighbours gathered to restrain the man, James Drage of Harrold.

Drage later claimed he had had “a little too much drink” and had no idea how or why he was in someone else’s house.

Constable George Mardlin testified that Drage had not appeared drunk.  As the intruder had previous convictions for stealing from houses, he was sentenced to 6 months with hard labour which would be followed by a further 7 years of police supervision.

Source: Bedfordshire Epiphany Quarter Sessions 1871

According to Quarter Session records, in 1843, Turvey petitioned that the police force should be discontinued except for the chief constable and superintendents!

A visitor to this site remembers PC Lake and PC Pickering as being Turvey policemen.

In 1876, George was involved in an infamous local murder!

Lucy Lowe was tried for the murder of her 21 day old baby girl.

I will add details of this story very soon, however there is a very detailed account on the Victorian Crime and Punishment website (animated, no less!)

On 16h October 1850, 19 year old William Crawley was tried at Bedford for the theft of 3 tame ducks, worth 4 shillings and 6 pence, from Thomas Charles Higgins of Turvey House.

In January of the same year he had been convicted of trespassing on Charles L. Higgins’ land, and served 2 months hard labour.

And two years previously he had served a month’s hard labour for breaking game laws.

Clearly prison did not stop his urge to poach.

Sometimes old crimes do seem a little humourous - but they were very serious at the time, and carried stiff penalties.

Click to enlarge.