meaning and origins
an occupational name which came to England with the Normans from the French tourneour meaning to turn on a lathe. A turner was someone who crafted wood on a lathe. Apparently it could also derive from the middle ages use of the word to mean a translator or a tumbler. I think our Turners are more likely sailors. The 28th most common surname in England and Wales. Oh dear.
distribution in England and Wales
in 1891 the Turners seem to be largely northern - specifically from Yorkshire and Lancashire, with the next largest groups in the Midlands and Essex and Kent.
I haven’t really thought much about this family until now. All of those I know about are from Portsmouth, and so I expect them to be sailors, shipwrights, etc. That’s what people who live in Portsmouth generally do.
Emma the first of the line was married to our second William John Richards. Turner and Richards - for such common names it has been relatively easy to trace them back at least into the eighteenth century.