Wakefield Turner – Four Poster Suite
A stunning room bridal suite with a traditional four-poster bed, the Wakefield Turner is a fantastic combination of glamour and heritage. Make your Gretna Green wedding night perfect with a stay in this beautiful suite, and relax with a movie on your very own DVD player and flat-screen TV. As you walk into the contemporary bathroom, you will be greeted by a traditional roll-top bath and complimentary luxury toiletries; perfect for indulging in a hot soak after your Gretna wedding day.
The story behind the room
The best known of all the Gretna Green elopements is the abduction of Miss Turner and her marriage to Edward Gibbon Wakefield. The flight to Calais, and rescue there, followed by a trial and condemnation with a special act of parliament to annul the marriage, make a most romantic story. Wakefield was 30 years of age and a widower with a young family. He held an appointment at the British Legation and was living in Paris where society chatter spoke of a beautiful young heiress, Miss Ellen Turner. Ellen, still at school in Liverpool was reputed to be the wealthiest heiress in Cheshire. If only Edward could make her fall in love with him! A conspiracy was formed between Edwards’s brother William and their stepmother to persuade Ellen to marry Edward. On the 7th March 1826, a private coach arrived at Ellen’s school run by Miss Danby. A letter was handed over which resulted in Ellen getting into the carriage and travelling to Manchester to meet Wakefield. Edward had explained, falsely, that her father had suddenly lost a great part of his fortune and was being pressed by his creditors. He stated that the Wakefield family had loaned Mr. Turner £60,000 pounds to clear his debts on the condition that Edward could marry Ellen. Ellen saw that she could save her father from ruin, allowing him to keep the family home of Shrigley Park and readily agreed. Witnesses along the journey to Scotland said she was seen to have no fear or dislike of the expedition. On their arrival at Carlisle, a chaise was ordered to take them to Gretna Green They were married here at Gretna Hall on the 8th March 1826. Ellen believed her father was in Calais and the new Mr. And Mrs. Wakefield made their way there. The marriage was announced in the newspapers of the 11th March and it was this that alerted Miss Danby and Mr. Turner of the deception. Accompanied by a Bow Street officer, Mr. Turner made his way to France and Wakefield was arrested. The trial that followed showed the validity and strength of Scottish law. Edward and Ellen were legally husband and wife and the only thing that Wakefield could be charged with was abduction of a minor for which he was sentenced to three years imprisonment in Newgate. It took a special act of Parliament to annul the marriage in April of 1827. Ellen was heartbroken. Although she had been duped into marrying she had been quite taken with the handsome widower and the flight to Gretna Green. It was whilst in prison that Edward turned his thoughts to the colonisation of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. On his release he went on to become a respected statesman; a portrait of him hangs in Christchurch, New Zealand and a marble bust was presented to Whitehall in 1875. Ellen’s story does not have such a happy ending. At 17 she married Thomas Legh who was the wealthy owner of Lyme Park and a near neighbour of the Turners. Thomas was 36 and an exceedingly eligible bachelor. It was said that Thomas Legh fell in love with Ellen at the Wakefield’s trial. By marrying they ensured that any child would be heir to a vast fortune. In 1830 Ellen gave birth to a daughter, Ellen Jane Legh, and, for a while, life was very sweet but tragedy was just around the corner. Another child was about to be born in 1831 but sadly both Ellen and the baby died in childbirth. Ellen had seen much of life in her short 20 years.