Adolphus Hilgrove Turner

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Adolphus Hilgrove Turner


The Hilgrove-Turner mausoleum at La Croix Cemetery, Grouville, built by Adolphus Hilgrove Turner in memory of his mother

Sir Adolphus Hilgrove Turner (1846-1911), Attorney-General was the only son of Adolphus Turner, British Chargé d'Affaires at Montevideo and Eliza McNeill of Cushenden, County Antrim, and grandson of General Sir Tomkyns Hilgrove Turner, Lieut-Governor

The stained-glass window in the La Croix mausoleum, created by Henry Thomas Bosdet

Born in Grouville on 5 September 1846, Adolphus Hilgrove Turner was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, taking honours in Law and History. He was President of the Union in 1870. In early life his favourite sport was mountaineering.


In 1881 he was called to the Jersey Bar, and the same year he became Deputy of Grouville, being re-elected in 1884. While Deputy he was one of a deputation sent by the States to England to submit the historical evidence which proved the Ecrehous to be British territory. He drew up the memorandum himself. In 1887 he received the thanks of Lord Salisbury for a "very able Reply" to the Report of the French specialists on this question.

He had been appointed Solicitor-General in 1884, and was made Attorney-General in 1899.

In 1894 he received the silver medal of the Royal Humane Society for saving the lives of two visitors at Plemont. He was knighted among the Coronation honours in 1911.

He was a devoted churchman, always interested in education, and a keen horticulturist. His gardens at Gouray Lodge, where he lived with his mother, were charming. He never married. He died suddenly of heart failure on 13 December 1911. He had not been well, and had been abroad for his health, but was able to lecture on his travels to the St Helier Literary Society two days before his death. He is buried in La Croix Cemetery, Grouville.

Further information

From Grouville Gazette, the parish magazine

In the far corner of the older section of La Croix Cemetery is one of the most fascinating buildings in Jersey. Built in 1905 by Adolphus Hilgrove Turner, in memory of his mother, the mausoleum is modelled on a Romanesque chapel with a semi-circular apse, three small windows at the east end and a doorway under a Norman arch at the west end.

Inscribed over the dressed granite arch are the words In Memoriam Matris Dilectissimae - 'In Memory of a Most Delightful Mother'.

There is a stained glass window by Henry Thomas Bosdet in the central light of the apse, depicting the Virgin Mary and Holy Child, below which stands a small wooden altar and cross. A large two-sided trapdoor on the floor covers a flight of steps leading down to the vault where the coffins of Elizabeth Turner, Adolphus’ mother, her unmarried sister Mary O’Neill, and Adolphus himself are laid.


Adolphus' maternal family, the McNeills, were Irish gentry 'blessed with ample means' and lived at Daisy Hill. His paternal grandfather was General Sir Tomkyns Hilgrove Turner, long thought to be a Jerseyman, who succeeded General Don as the Island’s Lieut-Governor in 1814, but actually born in England.

The Hilgrove Turner family home was Gouray Lodge, which the General built and later retired to, and where Adolphus later lived with his widowed mother. Born in 1846, he was an only child. He was president of the Oxford Union, called to the Jersey Bar and elected Deputy of Grouville in 1881; re-elected in 1884, appointed Solicitor-General the same year and Attorney-General in 1899, famously drawing up the memorandum of historical evidence to defeat the French claim to Les Ecréhous, for which he received the thanks of the Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, in 1887.

He was courageous, receiving the silver medal of the Royal Humane Society in 1894 for saving the lives of two visitors at Plemont and intrepid to the point of fearless judging by the accounts of his mountaineering exploits recalled by Dr R R Marett in the latter’s autobiography A Jerseyman at Oxford.

He never married, was a devoted Churchman, and was knighted in 1911. He died of heart failure later that year. In accordance with his will his executors bought a field called Clos de Jutize, in Grouville, which they transferred to the Parish on Christmas Day 1912, in order to provide income for the maintenance of the chapel (now occasionally still used for funerals before burials in the cemetery, La Croix Cemetery and to assist the poor. Thus the Hilgrove Turner Trust started in Grouville and today is remembered by the Hilgrove Turner Hall in Gorey Village and by Gouray Church.

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