The Turnbull's hail from the border area between Scotland and England. The area and people were quite different from the Highlander which is the typical "Scot" portrayed by the media. A really good book about the borders and their lifestyles is "SteelBonnets" by George Macdonald Fraser. Our home of old on the Borders is called Bedrule and stretches up to Jedburgh. Keep in mind Turnbulls like many Border families wandered where ever they wanted. It's not uncommon to see their name just about everywhere along the border and history trail.
According to the story, William Roule of Bedrule saved Robert The Bruce ca. 1300 from a wild bull that was charging. The story says that William jumped in between the bull and the King and proceeded to turn it down to the ground and break it's neck. Robert was so gratified that he dubbed William Turn-E-Bull and gave him the barony of Bedrule and area. William Roule Turnbull assumed the motto " I Saved The King "
Our family has been located in Newcastle, Northumberland on the English side of the border. There is significant evidence both DNA and circumstantial to suggest there is a connection to the Turnbull's of Bedrule but that elusive connection is yet to be found.
Albert Turnbull writes of Newcastle below.
The walls of Newcastle were built in 1265, in order to keep out the marauding Scots. The town was divided into 24 wards, with each ward having its own Tower. As the walls were 7ft thick and up to 25 feet high in parts, a great deal of maintenance was required. Every householder had their own specified parts to defend and fortify.
One of the wards was, and still is known as the Close. It was the nearest ward to the river Tyne. The first recorded Turnbull on Tyneside was a Robert, who was named as a witness to the ownership of property in the Close on 12 Dec. 1412.
Then came the case of Turnbull and White, his associate, who were jointly accused of stealing a grey mare, the property of Sir Lancelot Ogle. Justice was swift in those days, for when each of the men accused the other of the theft, the judge ordered them to fight in the courtyard. Fortunately for any of his descendants, Turnbull won the fight and was released. Poor White was later hanged for his trouble.
On 14th Feb.1525 a Henry Turnbull, "took a messuage and lands, arable and meadow," for the sum of £1:5s:5d,formerly appertaining to the late Robert Milnes, a parcel of the Barony of Benwell. ( A Messuage was old English for a dwelling house containing outbuildings and land. A nook or niche identified an area belonging to someone.)
The area is just outside the walls of Newcastle, less than 1 mile from the Close. It is reasonable to assume the Henry was related to Robert. possibly even his grandson.
This is verified on 9th Dec 1585, when Henry Anderson, settled property on his son Bertram including; "All that field at Elwick, outside the Westgate to a tenement of William Turnbull on the east.
William's son Henry married Jane Anderson, daughter of the tithe holder in 1567 and after his death in 1616, Turnbull's nook was sold by his widow Jane. Although Henry was the last Turnbull owner of the property, some 200 years later the area was still identified on maps as Turnbull's Nook.
The next Turnbull reference comes with a census or headcount, in 1665,of all families living within the Newcastle walls which included St Nicholas Church, There were 7 Turnbull householders living within the walls and their areas of responsibility were as follows;
John Turnbull; ( 1628- 1697) Stank Tower Ward; East Gallowgate, Denton Chare, Iron Market to St. Nicholas church. John was a direct descendant of Henry of Turnbull's Nook.
Thomas Turnbull; Gunner Tower Ward. Dean St. to Quayside to Dog Leap Stairs (still there).
John Turnbull; Westgate Ward. West of Westgate Rd. including St. John's churchyard to Denton Square (this area included Turnbulls Nook.
Cuthbert Turnbull; ( born 1646) Morden Tower. St Nicholas Square and Town Hall. ( Cuthbert is the direct ancestor of Brian Turnbull).
Mark Turnbull; ( c. 1616 ) Northumberland St. and Pilgrim St. to High Friar Lane ( Father to Cuthbert above).
George Turnbull: Nuns Gate . Newgate St. Lowe Friar St. to Percy St.
Charles Turnbull; St. Nicholas Square to Cloth Market To High Bridge.
The population within the walls in 1665 was 12,000, with up to 50 of them Turnbulls. Many of the marauding Scots were of the Turnbull Clan from Roxburghshire. For this branch of the Turnbull's to be entrusted with the upkeep of the walls suggests that they had lived in the area for some considerable time. Probable descendants of Robert 1412 and/or Henry c. 1500.