The Turner-Dumbrell Foundation was founded in 1983 by Dr Richard Wainwright Duke Turner. He endowed it with land and investments in order to make grants to local charitable organisations.
The land and property of the Turner-Dumbrell Foundation originally belonged to Miss Dumbrell. Because he had bought the old bowling green at the foot of Lodge Hill to protect it from building development, she gave Lodge Hill and North End Farm, Ditchling to Dr RWD Turner. She thought he was a trustworthy person who would uphold the wish, expressed in her will, 'that the same shall be used for agriculture only only and shall not be built upon or used as a recreation ground.' After owning the land for some 25 years, Dr Turner set up the Turner-Dumbrell Foundation with the same objective. With help from the Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas (COSIRA) he established the TDF Workshops as an alternative use for what had become redundant farm buildings.
In 1987 Dr Turner added Lodge Hill and the Bowling Green to the Foundation's land, and the Trustees then permitted access to members of the public to walk over the hill. He believed that exercise in a green environment contributes to the prevention of heart disease.
The Turner Family
The Turner family, a long established local family had land in both Keymer and Ditchling. In 1637, Thomas Turner of Oldland, Keymer bought the tithes of Ditchling Church and was the first member of the family to be buried in the chancel in 1671.
Cotterlings in West Street had, until recently, long been in the ownership of the Turner Family.
Dr Richard Turner lived in this house after his retirement in 1974.
Dr Richard Wainwright Duke Turner FRCP, FRCPE, the founder of the Turner-Dumbrell Foundation,was a physician, cardiologist and author. He was born in Purley in 1909, the grandson of Sir James Wainwright, and died in Ditchling in 1992. As written on his headstone in St Margaret's Churchyard 'he loved this village'
Richard Turner was trained at St Thomas’ Hospital and served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was appointed as Physician in Charge at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh where he collaborated with Andrew Logan to carry out the first Mitral Valve Replacement in the UK. Dr Turner introduced up-to-date methods for investigation and treatment and was responsible for the diagnosis of cases of valvular disease of the heart and the selection of those suitable for operation. He followed up the progress of patients for months or years to assess the success or failure of the operations. Dr Turner retired to Ditchling in October 1974.
The Dumbrell Family
The Dumbrell family were first tenant farmers later becoming landowners in Ditchling. After the death of James Dumbrell in 1877, to ensure their livelihood his wife Sarah opened a school in the family home, North End farm, with her three daughters, Harriet, Edith and Mary as teachers.
Over the next few years, the farmhouse was substantially extended to provide classrooms and sleeping accommodation for pupils and from this beginning developed North End House School, later known as Dumbrell’s. When Mary, the youngest of the Miss Dumbrells died in 1962 the school continued under the headship of Helen Knowles but her will stipulated that North End Farm be left to her distant cousin, Dr Richard Turner.
North End Farm
From the mid 1800s to 1962, North End Farm was linked to three generations of the Dumbrell Family.
In 1924, Jack Holman, (portrait on left by Arthur Knighton-Hammond) became the tenant farmer of North End Farm and built up a pedigree Guernsey herd making twice daily deliveries of un-pasteurised milk to Ditchling and Westmeston. Before the Second World War all the milking was done by hand and ploughs were horse-drawn. However in 1938 the Holmans bought their first tractor and milking machines. Jack Holman’s son, George, took over the farm in 1956. In 1973, the demand for fresh milk had fallen and he produced only the thick cream which could be bought direct from the farm dairy When George retired in 1982, the Turner-Dumbrell Foundation was created. Part of North End Farm was sold to raise funds to settle bequests from Mary Dumbrell’s will and the residue funded the conversion of the farm buildings - the dairy and five barns - into small workshops to be used by local craftsmen and artists.