James Murrell of Hadleigh (1785-1860)
Posted 29 February 2012 - 12:26 AM
Recently have been looking at The British Newspaper Archives website for any more "new" articles that have been posted since the last time I checked.
In the past, the newspaper article of 1858, Cunning Murrell in East Thorpe, and the 1900 article were found by Jeremy (froglover). Then there was another article from 1849 that doesn't mention his name but was obviously about James Murrell.
And I came across this one yesterday, another article about James Murrell printed while he was still living:
The British Newspaper Archive online at http://www.britishne...erarchive.co.uk
Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 20 February 1857
THE MAGICIAN AND THE THIEF. - Superstition it seems, is as powerful now as when ghosts walked the earth, and witches were weighed against the Church Bible. We are, says a correspondent, quite equal to the people in the days of old; for we have our magicians, necromancers, and such like, to bring the hidden things to light.
There is an old man named Murrells, a sort of quack doctor and herbalist living at Hadleigh, who has been practicing the magician for years, and in some cases successfully; and many persons are in the habit of going to him for advice and assistance. On the 2nd inst. £10 in silver, that had been carefully laid up in a brown leather bag, was stolen from the till of Golding Spearman, keeper of the canteen, Tilbury Fort. How it disappeared was a mystery to most persons there.
Even Danes, the police constable, failed to unravel it - at least could not gain sufficient evidence to fix the guilt on the thief, though strong suspicion pointed to a certain party. Other constables tried their hands at the matter, but in vain.
At last Spearman was advised to go to the cunning man at Hadleigh, a navvy assuring him that he had a brother who lost a sovereign, and Murrells had by his potent spells compelled the thief to return it - aye, and to convey it back to the vacant pocket with his own guilty hand.
The next day found Murrells at home and Spearman closeted with him. The former consulted his familiars, and told Spearman that the part of the money that was not spent would be returned to him again. Spearman paid the fee, returned home, stated to certain parties what the cunning man had told him, and there let the matter rest.
A few evenings after a soldier of the Artillery came to the bar to Spearman with an hurrah! bringing the identical bag, containing the £6. 13s. of the stolen money, stating that he had found it under the seat in the tap-room, and, of course, congratulated Spearman on the recovery of his property. Spearman, of course, was delighted, and attributed it all to the powers of the cunning man, whom he invited to his hostel.
Murrells on Monday last made his appearance at the canteen, where he became acquainted with a host of other spirits; and solemnly informed the tap-room auditory he had been hard at work for several days and nights upon the thief, and that he put such a charm or spell upon the thief, and that he could not rest until the remainder of the money was restored.
Of course the little old man in knee breeches and gaiters, and an old coat, is looked upon in the neighbourhood as more potent than a whole troop of policemen.
Posted 15 June 2012 - 11:08 PM
Posted 15 June 2012 - 11:41 PM
" The last thing you wanted a Witch to do is get bored and start making her own amusements, because Witches sometimes have erratically famous ideas about what was amusing "
Terry Pratchett Legends 1
Posted 07 October 2012 - 09:44 PM
The death of Stephen Choppen - November 1900
While searching the Old Newspaper Articles at British Newspaper Archive I came across this article on the death of Stephen Choppen.
Stephen Choppen was the man that made the Iron Witch Bottles for Cunning man James Murrell of Hadleigh, Essex.
The significance of this article, it proves true of what was said by Arthur Morrison in his article "A Wizard of Yesterday" in the Strand Magazine that was issued in the year 1900.
The article was by Arthur Morrison about himself visiting Hadleigh, Essex ten years earlier (ca. 1890) to find out more about cunning man James Murrell and among the people he visited was Stephen Choppen and Edward Murrell the son of Cunning man Murrell.
Because this article was in the Strand Magazine there are people who will say "the Strand magazine is a magazine of fictional stories" and dismiss it
By the way, the article "A Wizard of Yesterday" was found earlier by froglover of this forum.
Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 09 November 1900
FORGED THE WITCH BOTTLES
On Saturday the lifeless body of Stephen Choppen, aged 69, was found hanging to a beam in an outbuilding adjoining his picturesque cottage at Hadleigh, near Southend.
The deceased was a retired blacksmith, and suffered from rheumatic gout. Many years ago he forged the celebrated iron witch bottles for a notorious local wizard named Murrell.
In these bottles were placed blood, water, finger-nails, hair, and pins. When screwed up air-tight, these bottles were set on fire by means of a "charm" against witches, and frequently burst, thus signalising the destruction of the latter's diabolical influences.
Choppen told an anecdote of the first bottle, which he said refused to be welded until Murrell arrived and blew the fire, when all went well.
Deceased was a superannuated member of the Hearts of Oak Benefit Society. He slept with his grandson, William Choppen, aged eight years, on Friday night, and when he got up on Saturday morning he told the child he was going outdoors. A little later the boy went in search of his grandfather and found him hanging as described.
George Goodall cut the body down, and Dr. Cosmo Grant pronounced life extinct. P.c. Totterdell reported the facts to Mr. Edgar Lewis, coroner, who held an inquest. It was stated that deceased had suffered great pain in the head.
Verdict - "Suicide whilst of unsound mind."
My relevent articles on the website:
James Murrell (1785-1860)
Edward Murrell (1824-1903)
Posted 17 October 2012 - 06:24 AM
This article mentions a "Mrs Eves" who Murrel regarded as a powerful witch and the Moriarty so to speak to his Holmes; and Bill the Exile did what he does and tracked the lady down. The same article mentions that a wizard (in this context meaning the male equivalent of a witch, as in Harry Potter) of nearby Rayleigh boasted of having killed Murrell _with a witch bottle_. Of course, you can only kill someone with a witch bottle if they put a spell on you to start with. Morrison records that Murrell's admirers stressed that he "took off" only, he didn't "put on". But Morrison's own researches showed that this was not quite true, he found evidence in Murrell's papers of a spell against a young man over a breach of promise issue.
And at least some people in the area regarded his spells as of the same type as witches used, with the same countermeasure available. If, as Maple records, someone was going around boasting of having killed him with a witch bottle then Murrell would seem to have not merely had enemies amongst the gentry.
Another interesting point is his wife Elizabeth Button. Correct me, Bill, if my memory fails me but she was a relative of the reputed witch Nellie Button, wasn't she?
Maple, by the way, was as much a local as an outside folklorist, as his obituary in Folklore shows. Maple's family came to Essex from Gravesend when he was a child, and there was a connection between Gravesend (rouhgly where Kent meets London) and the Rochford area of Essex. Old George Pickingill of Canewdon was living in Gravesend when he married. Morrison records that Murrell had clients in London an as far away as Kent....I would bet any money that by this he meant Gravesend and environs.
A few random thoughts.....but what I am getting at is that although Murrell is often said to be a witch hunter rather than a witch this may be misleading. There was noting unusual in witches and wizards being deployed agaisnt each other....the "witch master" Murrell is likely I think to have shared more of a common culture with witches and wizards like Pickingill and Button than some recent discussion has suggested...
Posted 17 October 2012 - 12:09 PM
"This article mentions a "Mrs Eves" who Murrel regarded as a powerful witch and the Moriarty so to speak to his Holmes; and Bill the Exile did what he does and tracked the lady down."
I did track her down but never got to type up the full detail about her. Will do soon.
"Another interesting point is his wife Elizabeth Button. Correct me, Bill, if my memory fails me but she was a relative of the reputed witch Nellie Button, wasn't she?"
This research is stalled in a couple of points, It is most likely that James Murrell did married Elizabeth Frances Button in London. But just for the sake of proving out right that is the correct marriage (because it took place in London and not in Hadleigh, but it occurs at the time when James Murrell was in London) I need to have a second source that connect Elizabeth Button who married James Murrell in London is the same as the Elizabeth Button that was born in Hadleigh, Essex. To me me I think it is the same person. But for the sake of being able to say with 100 % certainy, I need to verify with other records.
I was not able to find the baptism of Nellie Button's father-in-law, I think off my head a Samuel Button. So i'm stuck on that point of proving the connection.
However, the name of Zachariah Button appears in both families so I believe there is some relationship. Nellie's husband was a Henry Zachariah Button while Elizabeth Button of Hadleigh had a brother named Zachariah Button. there were some more known Zachariah Button in the deeper past so i believe they came from the same family.
"Maple, by the way, was as much a local as an outside folklorist, as his obituary in Folklore shows. Maple's family came to Essex from Gravesend when he was a child, and there was a connection between Gravesend (rouhgly where Kent meets London) and the Rochford area of Essex. Old George Pickingill of Canewdon was living in Gravesend when he married. Morrison records that Murrell had clients in London an as far away as Kent....I would bet any money that by this he meant Gravesend and environs."
Will need to dig deeper in that section.
"A few random thoughts.....but what I am getting at is that although Murrell is often said to be a witch hunter rather than a witch this may be misleading. There was noting unusual in witches and wizards being deployed agaisnt each other....the "witch master" Murrell is likely I think to have shared more of a common culture with witches and wizards like Pickingill and Button than some recent discussion has suggested... "
To me these people were like two faced. They were witches to some while a witch doctor to others. They just use there powers to what they see as a advantage to themselves.
Posted 24 January 2014 - 12:27 AM
Progress on the Murrell family
Rechecking church registers that I have looked at in the past and new ones that are now available online for me to check.
In Rayleigh, Essex
Found some stuff for the Dockrells.
Then found the baptism and family of James Scott. He was later the butcher in Canewdon and who married Martha Pickingill.
Also in Rayleigh was the marriage of Edward Button and Rebecca Fenner and the baptism of their first child. They are most likely the father and mother in law of James Murrell.
In May 2010, I found the baptism of Cunning man James Murrell and then with that the names of the parents and where he was living in his youth.
People been writing about cunning Murrell in the past several times in the last hundred and twenty years but it was in 2010 with my findings that we know more about him.
Even that I cracked the mystery, to me I didn't feel it was complete because even that I did got the parents names it became a dead end again. Because I also wanted the grandparents names.
In every person's life, the traditional zone of family influence includes yourself, your parents, and grandparents, your Uncles and Aunts, and cousins.
James Murrell's parents were Edward Murrell and Hannah Dockrell. A while back, I found the marriage of the parent in Canewdon 1783. They then lived in Hawkwell, Essex.
Did not find the Dockrell family yet in the searches, but by checking nearby churches, I found some information on who may been Hannah Dockrell's brothers (or cunning man James Murrell's uncles)
In Rayleigh, Essex, I found the 1784 marriage of a Joseph Dockrill and Mary Camper, the document mentioned that Joseph Dockrill was from Hawkwell, Essex. That was where Edward Murrell and his wife Hannah Dockrell lived.
Joseph Dockrill and his wife later lived in Eastwood, Essex where they had some children born there (James Murrell's cousins)
In Ashingdon, Essex, I found the 1787 marriage of a William Dockrell and Rebecca Fryer, the document mentioned that William Dockrell was living in Hockley, Essex and that Ed. Murrell was one of the witnesses.
So far haven't found the baptisms of Hannah, Joseph, and William Dockrell which would give us the names of James Murrell's grandparents.
But in Rayleigh, there was an entry
Elizabeth & Matthew Daughters of Richard & Sara Dockerel of the Parish of Ickl[ ]ington* Cambridgeshire Baptized November 13 1747
* Ickleton in Cambridgeshire at the border of Essex.
Don't know if this was the same family or another one but will keep the info in case later it proved to be connected to the same family.
EDWARD MURRELL married HANNAH DOCKRELL on September 30, 1783 in Canewdon, Essex.
From the parish register of Canewdon:
The Banns of Marriage between Edd. Murrel Batchelor of the Parish of Hawkwell & Hannah Dockrell of this Parish Spinster were published three several Sundays according to act of Parliament -- Blakiston Jr
The above Edd Murrill & Hannah Dockrell were married this thirtieth day Septembr one thousand seven hundred & eighty three -- by me Blakiston Jr
This Marriage was solemnized between us
The Mark X of Edd. Murrell --- The Mark of Hannah Dockrell
In the presence of John Chapman Hannah Chapman
JOSEPH DOCKRILL married Mary Camper on 9 April 1784 in Rayleigh, Essex.
From the parish register of Rayleigh:
Marriages 1784 - No. 168
Banns of Marriage between Joseph Dockrill & Mary Camper were publish'd three several Sundays
Joseph Dockrill of the Parish of Hockwell, Bachelor and Mary Camper of this Parish Spinster were Married in this Church by Banns this ninth Day of April in the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty four by me Danl. Halloway, Curate
This Marriage was solemnized between Us
The Mark X of Joseph Dockrill
The Mark X of Mary Camper
In the Presence of
WILLIAM DOCKRELL married Rebecca Fryer on 11 January 1787 in Ashingdon, Essex.
From the parish register of Ashingdon:
Marriages 1787 - Page 2 No. 3
William Dockrell of the Parish [ ] Hockleigh in this County Bachelor and Rebecca [---]yer of this Parish, Spinster were Married in this Church by Banns this eleventh Day of Janury [ ] Lord one thou[ ] Seven Hundd. & eighty seven by me Jos. Wise, Curate.
This Marriage was solemnized between us
William Dockrell X his mark.
Rebecca Fryer X her mark.
In the Presence of
Ed: Murril X his mark
Sorry about the long post
Edited by The Exile, 24 January 2014 - 12:28 AM.
Posted 28 January 2014 - 12:11 AM
Are you planning to continue moving backward in history with your research? I need you to keep going into and before the 1700s.
I am scanning your research, looking for a connection. I figure that eventually your research just may cross my Tree. LOL!
Posted 28 January 2014 - 12:44 AM
Will do Jevne.
On the Murrell family and the Pickingill family it is sort of stuck on the parents generation, we don' know who was the parents of Charles Pickingill the father of George. I'm still checking this parish and that parish and hopefully will have a breakthrough.
And do want to go beyond the 1700s to see if they have any interesting ancestors and perhaps links to french huguenot families.
Also will try to go back on Monica English's mother's side of the family who were English (her father was from ireland)
Posted 02 February 2014 - 11:20 PM
Gah you remind me again! Let me see ifn I can get five mins together and I will scan those pics I have on this ....
Posted 03 February 2014 - 01:02 AM
Thank you, in advance, Scott. I would very much like to see them.
Posted 03 February 2014 - 02:27 AM
Interest to see what pictures/scans you are referring to.
Currently I'm almost done updating the article on Rev.William Atkinson of Canewdon. Earlier I finished the article on the witch Widow Lodwick (whose sister married Rev. Atkinson and was said to be a witch too)
Then will be doing a big update on James Murrell.
Posted 03 February 2014 - 11:59 PM
Some stuff for all here (figured I'd put it all in here so everyone interested could see it for themselves)
First are some old blog posts with assorted bits and bobs from the past ...
Also a nice pic (artist impression) of Cunning Murrell is at: http://www.controver...ing Murrell.htm (If you track that pic back to another site there is a pretty awful sound file for tourists .. worth listening to so you can say you heard it and then never do so again! lol)
Pics/Scans are from
1. Cunning Murrell pic from Ghosts Witches and things like that ... by Roderick Hunt, Oxford University Press, 1984, ISBN 0 19 278108 1
2. Old George pic and article from LAST LEGENDS OF ESSEX WITCHES - Witch lore of Canewdon By Eric Maple (Part 2) ... The Essex Countryside Volume 10, No 58, November 1961 - Page 44
3. Cunning Murrell pics and info from pgs 92,93 An Illustrated History of Witchcraft by Peter Haining, New English Library, 1975, ISBN 45002409 1
4. Granny Garner and article from "Canewdon" from Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology - An illustrated encyclopedia of witches, demons, sorcerers and their present day counterparts - Introduction by Hans Holzer. Octopus Books 1974 ISBN 0 7064 0395 9
These are all rather interesting and it has made me start thinking about connections that are not so obvious.
Consider that Granny Garner had the pic of George and that that wound up with Howard (now at the Museum if I am not mistaken). Sooo ... either Maple (for those clever sorts making a collection see pic at: http://www.controver...com/James 2.gif) had the George picture (or a copy of it) or someone with the Essex Countryside had a copy of it too if it is in the article didn't they? That also was not the time of swapping scans .. more a difficult situation back then. This means contacts - at the slightest. Provenance becomes an issue - and presumably bolsters some ideas and of course forges its own trail as well.
Posted 04 February 2014 - 01:32 AM
Thanks for sharing these articles and pictures Scott. Some of them you sent to me by email a few years back.
Hope you don't mind me adding the picture of Granny Garner (Lillian Garner) to the page when I update her page.
From one of the articles in your blog in the article "Canewdon and its Witches by Harold Adshead":
"In local folk-lore there is a saying that as long as Canewdon church steeple lasts there will always be six witches in Canewdon, three in silk and three in cotton, one being the parson's wife and one the butcher's wife."
Glad to find where that was mentioned.
As we know that the butcher at the time was James Scott and the wife... Martha Pickingill
Posted 04 February 2014 - 01:50 AM
Yup - it is reasons like that which led me to just putting the page scans in .. that way people can see for themselves just as it was. (If anyone wants scans of the others in the blogs give me a hoy and I will sort that out)
As with all of it the fact remains that it is things like that - a word repeated here or there .. who was in contact with who ... who lived near who and worked with who ... these are what makes for the path to trace - not the sort of silly expectations a lot go on with these days ... *BG*
Posted 09 February 2014 - 03:35 PM
actually, Cunning Murrell was related to my wife, however its so many years ago now, she feels uncomfortable by it - where I am not; since my father was born on 20th April 1895, and my Mother was born on 12th September 1901. When I was twelve my father was in his fifties - and how about this, I fathered my son when I was fifty! He is twenty two now whilst I am seventy-two. We have no connection with Murrell's past other than a great-aunt on my Wife's Mother's side - oh and the fact that my wife followed in his footsteps in becoming a part of our clan and now runs it co-equally with me. In the winter I take centre stage. In the summer from Beltaine, my wife takes centre stage. that way no one person can get the upper-hand or get big-headed. We are just doing what comes natural to us. Do I need to be grandiose or haughty. No, indeed not! We each of us have to make our own way in life. we can't make claims because some ancestor was this or that. we have to make our own success or failure. That's the way it is.. When I was young i was a drummer in a band - I play guitar now - not perfectly but adequate for my part. I'm a demon on the Blues Harmonica (gob-organ). I learnt the Recorder at school but advanced to a B flat Clarinet and flute later on and of course the gob organ. when I was in the US as a child I saw some guys playing a hurdy-gurdy, a guitar and a squeeze-box accordian. It sounded sort of French-Spanish in style and I loved that music. We were in New Orleans at the time and I remember the delicious taste of mud-critters (Cray-fish)and the sauce they put on it. America has a lot of things going for it such as every state is different, they all have their own way in the world. Las Vegas has its Gamblers and hookers, but Cali has its Stars, actors, Musicians, child-actor of (Lassie), Gay-lib and Les-lib - you really have to see the Gay Parade in San Francisco to appreciate the fierceness of their pride hence (Gay Pride), and you also have to see the Carnival that happens in the Deep South when everyone lets lose down and dirty and have a fun time at Fiesta! Now that sums up what I like about America. Some say its brash, but who can point the finger at someone else when three of your fingers are pointing back at YOU! Cheers! foxman
Edited by foxman, 09 February 2014 - 03:40 PM.
Posted 09 February 2014 - 03:56 PM
Great information Scott, Thanks...
I'm a demon on the Blues Harmonica (gob-organ). Cheers! foxman
Edited by LdyShalott, 09 February 2014 - 03:56 PM.
Most witches don’t believe in gods. They know that the gods exist, of course. They even deal with them occasionally. But they don’t believe in them. They know them too well. It would be like believing in the postman. T.P.
In order to understand the living.. you have to commune with the dead..
You are a tiny little soul carrying around a corpse.-- Epictetus
All experience is an arch wherethrough gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades for ever and for ever when I move.
Posted 09 February 2014 - 04:43 PM
I can't play Piano - I wish I could! Some of the great - Hell Man! Great Pianists on Blues Piano have my feet going like the hammers on the upright piano! At times when I'm enjoying this music, I can almost smell the Mud Critters in the pan - and the Appalachian Musicians tuning up for the next piece of stupendous music! See! I took the trouble to find out what the kind of music was called - I don't think I'm going to make it back over to Stateside, but if I could - I think I would go on the Ridge-back Mountains from Virginia and speak to the Conjures, Crooked Path Magicians and Root-witch Musicians and get my gob-organ out and have a real shin-dig! Who gives a damn about Foxman - he's just an old bugger anyways! lol Music is the language of Intelligence...Foxy
Edited by foxman, 09 February 2014 - 04:51 PM.