John Turner of Emmer Green
Charles Turner was the son of John Turner, a carpenter, and Mary Watson, of Swallowfield Berks, a village just to the south of Reading. The couple married at St Giles Church on 21 January 1813. Mary was 21 at the time and she would give birth to 11 children over a span of 18 years. Her parents were Joseph Watson and Mary Phelps, who had six children including a son named William who appears to have been a good friend of John Turner’s. John witnessed William’s 1822 marriage to Ann Morris in Caversham. Although William was quite a bit younger than John, I think this friendship might explain why John left the carpentry trade in 1825 and went to work as a baker in Emmer Green: William was also a baker in Emmer Green and it’s very possible that the two set up shop together. John was the son of William and Ann Turner, and was baptised in Caversham, on 23 October 1782. John was born into a family of established carpenters and we know from the baptism entries of his first few children that he worked in the building trade in his twenties. Maybe John, at 30, was growing weary of construction work or needed a larger income. He and Mary already had seven children at that point and perhaps John felt the bakery business would offer more financial security for his growing family. I also wonder if Mary and William’s father might have been a baker who’d recently passed away and left them a business to run. By 1827 William was already considered a “journeyman” or master, so he might have trained under his father while growing up.
All eleven of John and Mary’s children were baptized at St Peter’s in Caversham. The register entries for the first seven, including our Charles, noted that John was a carpenter. Somewhere between Louisa’s baptism in the Spring of 1824 and Caroline’s in the Spring of 1826, the family moved to Emmer Green and John opened his bakery.
At the age of 72, after 43 years of marriage and a long career as a baker, John took suddenly ill with some sort of hernia and died 12 hours later on 2 Jul 1856. Mary appeared as a widow on the 1961 Caversham Census, living at West Cottage in Emmer Green. It must have been a large cottage, as there was room for 2 of her daughters, Lucy and Emily, 4 lodgers, and a servant. Lucy and Emily were both unmarried and working as dressmakers. Mary suffered from heart disease for many years, no doubt exacerbated by marriage to a baker! Still, she lived another 10 years after the death of John and passed away on 15 December 1866. She was buried at St Peter’s seven days later.
1877 Emmer Green. Courtesy of Margaret Ormonde , reprinted with permission.
Margaret Ormonde of the Emmer Green Residents’ Association very kindly marked up this early map showing the location of Mary Turner’s home at West Cottage as well as the location of the Smithy. Her records show David Turner lived at 1 School Street, which is the small building directly across the street from the school. John Turner’s bakery is believed to have been next door to the Smithy. She also sent me a copy of the 1844 Tithe Map which placed the original Black Horse Inn next to Surley Row. The Inn that originally stood next to the Smithy dated from the 16th century and was known as the White Horse Inn.
Kidmore End, Emmer Green. Reprinted with permission from Margaret Ormonde
This early photo of the intersection of Kidmore End and Peppard Roads shows the Smithy on the left. The bakery which belonged to John Turner was most likely on the left just past the Smithy, as the buildings on the right weren’t built when John was alive. The white building in the distance on the right side of the road is the Black Horse Inn. Emmer Green Past and Present reveals what became of John’s bakery after the Turners gave it up:
‘In 1881 Edward Allnut was recorded as baker and grocer and lived above the premises with his wife and three children. Ten years later the grocery had been taken over by a widower Mr Taylor (three of his five children helped in the store). The main bakery was one one side of the Black Horse pub and the grainary on the other. The grain was stored on the upper floor and the entrance for the horse and cart was underneath. There were also stables at the back of the bakery, with access from the pub yard. From the 1920s the bakery was run by Howards of Caversham’ 
The birth and baptism records of John and Mary’s children all describe John as a baker, but I suspect that over the years John’s shop evolved into something more of a bakery/grocery shop combination as described above. Evidence supporting this idea includes the 1852 marriage certificate  of his daughter which recorded John’s profession as a grocer, as well as the 1861 census which listed the widowed Mary’s occupation as a grocer, although it’s not clear if she was still running John’s shop or if she had moved the business to West Cottage.
 LDS, “International Genealogical Index,” database, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 14 April 2009), England, Berkshire, entry for John Turner, married 21 January 1813, Reading St Giles; citing FHL microfilm 1,040,567 for batch M017644. (Reading St Giles extracted marriages, 1813-1837).
 Henley, Oxfordshire, death certificate for John Turner, 1856; given at GRO, citing Henley, Jul-Aug-Sep, vol. 3a:299
 “1861 England Census,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 March 2009), entry for Mary Turner, Caversham, Oxfordshire; citing TNA Microfilm RG9, piece 883, folio 30, p. 5.
 Henley, Oxfordshire, death certificate for Mary Turner, 1866; given at GRO, citing Henley, Oct-Nov-Dec, vol. 3a:358. Copy held by author.
 Private email from Margaret Ormonde…..
 Crickdale, Wiltshire, marriage certificate for William Crook Gale & Matilda Turner, 1852; given at GRO, citing Crickedale, Jan-Feb-Mar, Vol. 5a:27. Copy held by author.