Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1870 & 79

Right Rev. William Turner DD (1799 - 1872)

 William Turner became the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Salford from 1851 until his death in 1872. He was buried at Weaste Cemetery, but in 1876, upon the opening of St Joseph's RC Cemetery in Moston, his body was transferred there along with five Roman Catholic Priests.

He was born in 1799 at Whittingham Hall, Goosnagh, near Preston, Lancashire and baptised there on 26th September 1799. His father was George Turner, a Solicitor and his mother was Betty Turner. William's early education was in Preston, but he was destined for the priesthood. From 1813 to 1819 he studied classics at St Cuthbert's RC College at Ushaw near Durham. On completing the classical portion of his education William was sent to Rome where he studied at the English College and was ordained a Deacon on 18th December1824 and ordained a Priest on 17th December 1825.

In 1826 William was appointed to the Mission in Rochdale in Lancashire, where he established the Chapel of St John. In 1832 he was appointed as Assistant to Dr Crook at St Augustine's, Granby Row, Manchester. When cholera struck down the Catholic clergy in Leeds, William volunteered to assist the poor people of that town for several months. In 1837 he was appointed to Rock Street Chapel in Cheetham, Manchester, (which later became St Chad's Church). In 1841 he was appointed senior Priest at St Augustine's, Granby Row and Vicar General for the Hundreds of Salford and Blackburn (then under the Holy See of Liverpool).

When Pope Pius IX re-organised the Catholic hierarchy in England, the building of a cathedral for Salford was commenced in 1844 and completed in 1848. It was the first cruciform Catholic church to be built in England since the Reformation. Dr William Turner was appointed the first Bishop of Salford and was ordained on 25th July 1851 at St John the Evangelist R C Cathedral in Salford. As a new Bishop he had to manage the influx of hundreds of desperate Irish people who had fled the Potato Famine in Ireland in 1845 – 1852. This problem was added to by the deaths of a tenth of the Priests of the Diocese from fever contracted whist tending the sick. These problems were followed by the Cotton Famine unemployment crisis when the supply of raw cotton from the US southern states dried up due to the American Civil War (1861-65).

Nevertheless, Bishop Turner was able to create the basis of the network of parishes and schools, and also two religious congregations. These were the Sisters of the Cross and Passion, and the Franciscan Missionaries of St Joseph (the Rescue Nuns).

The Right Reverend Dr William Turner, died at his residence in Marlborough Square, Salford on 13th July 1872 of angina pectoris. He was aged 72. His body lay in state at the Cathedral until Saturday 17th July and after a solemn service (attended by Archbishop Manning) he was interred in a vault in A5 RC plot of Weaste Cemetery.

On 25th August 1876, shortly after the Right Reverend William Tuner's remains were removed to the recently opened St Joseph's Catholic Cemetery in Moston, a special ceremony and requiem mass was held in the presence of Bishop Herbert Vaughan.