WILLIAM TURNER 1837 – 1879 Architect

for many years captain of the Wrexham Fire Brigade

As the name Haighton runs through the Turner family then it`s almost certain that this is William`s father. Baptism on 23 Aug 1811 at Brackley, Northamptonshire.

Richard Haighton Turner, parents Edward & Mary.

Richard made his way to Wrexham where he married Esther Brayne at St Giles on 16 August 1836. They were married by licence with consent of friends.

Richard Haighton Turner and Hester Brayne, both of the parish of Wrexham.

Wits: W’m Harrison, Tho’s Bellingham, Mary Brayne, J. Bellingham

On July 13 1837 William Turner was baptised at St Giles. Father, Richard Haighton Turner, a builder living Hope St, Wrexham. Mother Ester.

A few years later Richard and Esther were still at Hope Street, Wrexham and we can see from the 1841 census that neither Richard or Esther were born in Denbighshire, but their first two children were.

Richard Turner was a builder, he died on 15 November 1844 but hadn`t made a will, Esther his widow was appointed administrator for his goods.

Esther remained in Hope Street where she became a grocer, now we can see from the census that she was born in Hampstead, Middlesex about 1806. There were just 3 children, William Turner 13 scholar, Mary Ann 11 and Esther Haighton Turner 8.

By 1861 William aged 21 is the head of the house at 40 Lampit Street. He is a postmaster, land surveyor and architect, and two sisters are also there.

Esther his mother is a  proprietor of houses. Mary Ann is a clerk in the civil service and Esther is a post office assistant.

They have a lodger Mary Brayne, a spinster and a Retired Wine & Spirit Merchant, born New Marton, Shropshire. There are some interesting details about the Brayne`s, and they certainly seemed to be a wealthy family.

Mary is found in Kenrick Street in 1851 with her aunt Ann Brayne aged 73 who is a retired wine and spirit dealer. Ann died in 1855 and in her will she leaves  to Esther Turner  “daughter of my brother Thomas the sum of  £200” Mary Brayne is also her niece, “the daughter of  her brother John Brayne” is also left £200. Esther and Mary also get bedding, furniture and many household items. So – Esther and Mary are cousins.

In 1861 there is a notice in the  Wrexham Advertiser .

THE OLD VAULTS, CHESTER STREET, WREXHAM. MARY BRAYNE begs most respectfully to inform her numerous friends and the public, that she has disposed of the whole of her business and premises situate in Chester-street and takes the opportunity of returning thanks to those friends who have so liberally supported her. Mary Brayne died at Tai Llwyn,  Grove Park, Wrexham  on 9 February 1868.

Of course anyone local to Wrexham will know that the Vaults are better known as  the “Long Pull” and that Kenrick Street is now named Bank Street.

In 1863 the first fire brigade was formed in Wrexham, it was named Prince of Wales Volunteer Fire Brigade, the Wrexham Advertiser 18 April 1863 has an account of the first appearance of the Brigade on the occasion of the Prince of Wales marriage.

“This body, called in honour of the occasion, the Prince of Wales Fire Brigade, is composed partly of the employees of the Provincial Insurance Company and partly of inhabitants of the town, who have volunteered to form a fire brigade. Their uniform consists of a beautifully shaped Roman helmet, the front of which is a gilt Prince of Wales’s plume, the crest of the brigade. The tunic is a kind of patrol coat of blue cloth, with red collar and facings, the sleeve ornamented with a red Austrian knot, the collar on each side with gilt plume, and the buttons gilt, with the name Prince of Wales fire brigade” round the plume in the centre. The trouser is a Knickerbocker of blue cloth, coming a little below the knee with broad red stripe down the side. The rest of the uniform consists of short black leather gaiter, waist-belt for engine-key, and cross- belt with neat pouch for the axe.”

In the Wrexham Advertiser 16 May 1863 there is a list of the volunteers and their addresses. William Turner is  2nd Lieutenant, his day and night address is Post Office, Queen Street.

Later that year William married Amelia Lloyd, the marriage was announced in the Wrexham Advertiser. Marriages.

On the 1863  Dec 8th inst., at the parish church, Wrexham, by the Rev. Canon Cunliffe, vicar, Mr William Turner, Post master, abode Queen St, Wrexham, to Amelia, eldest daughter of Mr Edward Lloyd, plumber, of the same place. Her mother was Maria maiden name Hughes.

William drew the plans for at least two National Schools in Trevor and Penycae which opened about 1865,  he also is known to have  designed St James Church, Rhosddu which was built in 1874. He was also known to have planned many other buildings in the area.

In 1871 his mother Esther is at 29 Erddig Road, she is the head of the house and “living drawn from house property” also there is Charles W McKee son in law  30 Ride officer Inland revenue b Ireland, Esther McKee dau 28,  David A McKee un 20 visitor b Ireland and John R Goodie grandson 5. John is the son of Mary Ann the other sister of William.

Esther married Charles Wilson Mckee in Nov 1870 .

Mary Ann married John Banks Goodie,  a commercial traveler  in 1865.

William and Amelia lived at 1 Stanley St, and in 1871 he is an architect and borough surveyor. They have 5 children but a child Edmund Arthur Turner died aged 4 in 1873.

William Turner died in 1879, the Cemetery burial register shows that he died at Queen Street and was buried on 8 February.


Wrexham Guardian 8 February 1879.

DEATH OF MR. TURNER. – After a somewhat protracted illness, Mr. William Turner, architect and surveyor, departed this life in the 42nd year of his age, on Tuesday. Mr. Turner was, as most of our readers are aware, captain of the Wrexham Fire Brigade, a post which he held for the last six years. His comrades intend to give him a fireman’s funeral (today Saturday), when his mortal remains will be borne to the New Cemetery on the fire engine drawn by four horses. Mr. Turner was acknowledged to be a skilled architect and surveyor, and many public buildings in the town and district are monuments of his ability as a designer. From 1867 to I872 he was surveyor to the Wrexham Town Council, and in other capacities he rendered good public service. His death will be regretted, we feel sure, by a large circle of friends, many of whom will no doubt take part in the funeral cortege today.


Wrexham Guardian. 15th February 1879.

“FUNERAL OF THE LATE MR. W TURNER. The body of the late Mr. William Turner, for many years captain of the Wrexham Fire Brigade, was placed in the grave on Saturday last amidst many proofs of public respect. The fact that the Fire Brigade would attend and the body be conveyed on the engine created an unusual interest in the solemn ceremony, but the inclement weather prevented a large attendance of the general public. The cortege left the deceased’s villa in Hightown a little before twelve o’clock. The private carriage of Dr. Eyton-Jones, containing the Doctor and Mr. J. Lewis, led, succeeded by the following friends of the deceased:  Messrs. Howel Davies, T. Heywood (2), F. Richards, E. Rowland, Bunn, W. Jones, J. Davies, V. Pierce, and J. Gummow. Then came the engine, bearing the coffin, on which was placed the deceased’s helmet, side arms,” belt, &c. The engine was drawn by four horses, the out-riders being Messrs. Loxham and James Davies Messrs. Chadwick, Randles, Thompson, and Alfred Davies, each sided a horse Messrs. Vaughan, Knight, Ed. Evans, and J. W. M. Smith, walking by the coffin; and behind it were Messrs. Theo. Jones, Thomas Stevens, Young, and Ashton, all wearing their fire dress. Following these were the mourning coaches. The first contained two sons of the deceased, and Messrs. J. Lloyd, E. Lloyd, and John Lloyd; second carriage: Messrs. Robinson, Gill, and E. Smith. Carriage: Messrs. Robinson, Gill, and E. Smith. On arriving at the cemetery, Messrs. Chadwick, Randles, Thompson, and Alfred Davies acted as bearers, the pall being held by Messrs. J. W. M. Smith, Knight, Vaughan, and Edward Evans, the other firemen following in couples. The Rev. Meredith Hamer (in the absence of the Vicar) officiated. The inner coffin was of oak, and on the outer shell was the following inscription “Wm. Turner, died Feb. 4th, 1879; aged 42.” It also bore circlets of immortelles and forget-me-nots. The whole of the arrangements were successfully made by Mr Ed. Smith, High-street, and the undertaker”.

Amelia died later that year aged 33 at Stanley Street; she was buried with William on 13 September 1879. She left seven children. Esther Maria b 1864, Richard Edward b 1866,

William Haighton Turner b 1867, Emma Amelia b 1868, Joseph Hudson b 1872, John Turner b 1876 and Robert Gill b 1877.

In 1880 the Wrexham Advertiser announced the death of William`s mother Esther who died on 8 February at Cambridge-terrace, Talbot-road, Wrexham.

“Esther, widow of the late Richard Haighton Turner, builder, of this town, aged 74 years.”

Esther Turner is buried in Wrexham cemetery in the plot next to her son, also in the same grave is her daughter Mary Ann Goodie who died at 15 Wilson St, Ardwick in 1896 aged 55.

Headstone at Wrexham Cemetery 22/03/2018

What happened to the Turner children?

In 1881 the seven children are at Stanley St, they are described as niece and nephews to Mary E Lloyd and Emma Lloyd but because of their ages they are more likely to be cousins.

Mary E. Lloyd 22, Emma Lloyd  26.

By 1891 Esther has left but the remaining six are still together and living in Salisbury Road.

In 1899 William Haighton Turner married Mary Jackson who was also from Wrexham  and two years later they are in Wallasey where William is a foreman joiner.

From at least 1885 William Haighton played for Wrexham football club and also played for Everton a few times. His brothers Richard Edward and Joseph Hudson also played until about 1892, when  they  were all International players for Wales.

They were all awarded caps, William Haighton Turner 5,  Richard  Edward  2  and Joseph Hudson Turner 1 .

It looks like Richard Edward also tried his hand at fishing.

Wrexham Advertiser. 23rd July 1892

A fishing contest  in connection with the Wrexham Angling Association, took place in the Dee at Eyton. Mr R. E. Turner secured the second prize, The all-round angler,” with 31bs. 5ozs .

By January 1895 two of the brothers were members of the Prince of Wales Volunteer Fire Brigade, which their father had joined many years before, they were named as Firemen R. E. Turner and  W. H. Turner. In December 1895 R E Turner is the Secretary.

The Turner family did a lot for the town of Wrexham.


Credit must go to “ Kingsley-eastsussexred”  for the Wrexham Football information.

Annette Edwards. April 2018. Photographs Graham Lloyd.