A History of The Jolly
Sailor at Newton Green
The Turpin brothers
came from Lincolnshire. Frances Turpin was the landlord of the Jolly
Sailor, which was an inn, grocers and blacksmith. John Turpin was
a sea captain who commanded a sailing sloop that ran their trade from
South Wales to the coast of France, Portugal and Spain. Most of the
inhabitants of the small hamlet of Newton were members of the Turpin
They dug a tunnel from the Jolly Sailor under Newton Church to a pub
on the beach by Newton Point called the Red House. I used to play
in the ruins of the pub as a child.
Off Newton Point is a large flat rock (Tusker Rock) where John Turpins
sloop would tie up. They would land their cargo onto the rock, then
long boat it to the shore, into the Red House and up to the Jolly
Sailor. The cargo would then be transported to Cardiff and sold.
The Turpin gang themselves built the Red House from the stones of
When a cargo was landed, John Turpin would come up from the Red House,
climb the wall of Newton Church, where the yew tree is and look up
into the window of the Jolly Sailor. If there was a red light in the
window it indicated that there were boarders at the inn, and it was
dangerous to approach the Jolly Sailor. The window that they used
to show the red lamp was in the house where Mrs. Williams used to
live. The same house that the present landlord John davies found the
entrance to the tunnel.
The noise of men and barrels being rolled along the tunnel alerted
the Vicar of Newton church, who when he first heard these noises coming
from under his church, thought his church was haunted.
The Vicar brought the sound of the noise to the attention of the Bishop,
who in turn went to the authorities and the gang was smashed.
John Turpin was hanged at Cardiff. In those days if you were hanged,
you landed up in a lime pit. Somehow the Turpin family managed to
get hold of his body and he is buried under the yew tree. His name
was added to his family tomb long after his death.
In Newton there is a new tomb stone on the grave, and the layout of
the writing on the stone is exactly the same as on the old one. It
"Here lies the body of John Turpin, Mariner born in Lincolnshire
(let no man move his body)".
It is said that he went to the gallows without betraying the rest
of the gang.
Note: The yew tree at Newton is not more than 200 years old, so the
planting of the tree is about the same time as the legend.
It was the Turpins themselves who planted the yew tree. The yew is
a mystical tree, it is the wood that made the long bow (the Welsh
invented the long bow). The spirit of the green man is supposed to
live in the tree.
The Turpins coming from Lincolnshire thought themselves to be the
'Robin Hoods' of their day, as they helped the poor of Newton. Robin
Hood dressed in Lincoln green and the Turpin gang really were men
in Lincoln green.
A small crown garrison was established on Newton green, where Crown
House now stands. The old building has long gone, but the name Crown
House has lived on.