**William Turner was born at Guisborough in 1615. In 1623 his father bought the Kirkleatham Estate and built Kirkleatham Hall. William moved to London as a young man where he made his fortune, wholesaling fabrics as a merchant tailor.
He was knighted by Charles II in recognition of his many public works. In 1668, two years after the Great Fire of London, Sir William was the City's Lord Mayor. His management ability was highly praised as he worked with Wren the architect to rebuild the city. A decade later, Sir William built his Almshouses at Kirkleatham.**
On his death in 1692 aged 77, Sir William left £3000 to build a free school at Kirkleatham. In 1709, Cholmley Turner, his great-nephew, built the school opposite the almshouses at Kirkleatham. The building now houses the Kirkleatham Hall Museum.**