Contempory Records

 

Sources:

R.W. Billings, "Architectural Antiquities of Durham", 1846

DRO = Image provided by permission of the Incumbent of the Parish of Merrington and by permission of Durham County Record Office.

DUA = Used by Kind Permission of Durham University Archives and Special Collections 

Spennymoor Town Council, A.J. Coia, "Millennium Memories"

 

All records, images, etc are copyrighted to the respective owners, unless otherwise stated

 

Parish of Merrington

 

 

The original design of Kirk Merrington Church, in 1846, before its  R.W. Billings, "Architectural Antiquities of Durham",  

 

John, Jane and Elizabeth Brass

  

“Jane, daughter of John Brass of Ferryhill, baptised Feb 22, 1662” (EP/Mer 1)

“John, ye sonne of John Brass of Ferryhill, baptised Aug 29, 1665” (EP/Mer 1) (Extract Above)

“Elizabeth, daughter of John Brass of Ferryhill, baptised Feb 13, 1672” (EP/Mer 2)  

Merrington Parish Register (Picture Courtesy of DRO, EP/Mer 1)

 

 

The Murders

 

DUA, Shelfmark SB+0454

Used by Kind Permission of Durham University Archives and Special Collections 

  

  

Jacob Bee’s Diary, 1683

Available in publication form in "Six North Country Diaries", edited by J.C. Hodgeson (The Surtees Society) 1910 

DUA, Ref: PG, Special. Shelfmark: XL942.06 BEE  "Jacob Bee, his booke, given him the 29th of August, 1681" 

Used by Kind Permission of Durham University Archives and Special Collections 

  

  

“John Brasse, Jane Brasse and Elizabeth Brasse, 

the son and daughters of John Brasse of Ferryhill, all 

3 murdered in their father’s house, by one Andrew Mills, 

and were all three buryed, XXVI [26] of January, 1682/3”.

Merrington Parish Register (Courtesy of DRO, EP/Mer 2)

 

 

Life and Death of John Brass, Snr, and Margaret, his wife

 

There are some small amount of records which tells us of the life of John Brass after the death of his children.  

In Easter 1690, he was chosen as churchwarden and an overseer for the poor for Kirk Merrington Church.  

 

"Church-wardens chosen in ye year 1690

Merrington - Ralph Rawling

Ferry-hill  - John Brasse

Chilton - Ruth(?) Bruck

Hett - John Adamson

Overseers for the Poor and  ----- of high-ways

[same names as above]"

Merrington Parish Register - Vesty Minutes and Account Book  (Courtesy of DRO, EP/Mer34)

Available on microfiche at Durham County Council County Record Office. 

   

John Brass is mentioned again as a churchwarden in 1696.

"May ye 13th: 1696.  The Churchwardens of ye

Parish of Church Merrington did agree with Henry

Richardson of ye old bailey in Durham, Plummer, to repaint

the [seeds?] of ye parish Church of Church Merrington, for which he is to have

Twenty five shillings.  And for after six years next following, he is to uphold and keep ye said seeds

(fo far as belongs to ye said parish) ......

for which he ye Henry Richardson is to have

sixteen shillings every year.  In witness 

with ye Churchwardens an ye Henry Richardson

have [subscribed] their names ye day and year

...... about.

 

Martin White

John Brass    Churchwardens"

 

Again in Easter 1713, he was again chosen as churchwarden.

 "Church-wardens chosen on Easter Tues 1713

Merrington - Martin White

Ferry-Hill - John Brasse

Chilton - Thomas Dunn of West Close

Hett - George Jackson..."

Merrington Parish Register - Vesty Minutes and Account Book  (Courtesy of DRO, EP/Mer34)

Available on microfiche at Durham County Council County Record Office. Burial of Margaret Brass appears in Microfiche EP/Mer 2 

 

 

1703.  "Margaret, the wife of John Brass of Ferry-Hill, Buried December 16th". 

Merrington Parish Register  (Courtesy of DRO, EP/Mer2)

Available on microfiche at Durham County Council County Record Office. Burial of Margaret Brass appears in Microfiche EP/Mer 2

 

 

Exactly five months following the death of Margaret, John Brass married Elizabeth Humble at the church of St. Mary-le-Bow at Durham City.

1704.  "John Brass of Ferry-Hill, yeoman, and Elizabeth Humble of the same place were married at Durham with a License.  May 16th".  

Merrington Parish Register (Courtesy of DRO, EP/Mer2)

Available on microfiche at Durham County Council County Record Office. Burial of Margaret Brass appears in Microfiche EP/Mer 2  

 

 

    

Photograph by Darrell S. Nixon, 2006

 

John Brass was buried with his first wife in 1722.  Elizabeth Humble, now Buston, joined her husband in 1758. Their alter-tomb reads as follows:

1703. Margaret Bras, wife of John Brass,

In peace therefore lie downe will I

Taking my rest and sleep

For Thou only wilt me, O Lord,

Alone in safety keep.

                                    Dun By Me, A. Kay.

Here lieth the body of John Brass of Ferryhill,

Who departed this life Jan 22nd day 1722

Here lieth the body of Elizabeth Buston,

Who departed this life Nov 19th A.D. 1758. Aged 86. 

Epitaph Inscription, St John’s Church, Kirk Merrington

 

 

The Gibbet of Ferryhill, called "Andrew Mills Stob"

  

The Gibbet where Andrew Mills was 'hung in chains' existed a mile north of Ferryhill, between Ferryhill and Thinford. 

DUA, Shelfmark: NSR Planfile C 19/3/1-4  "Jeffreys Map of Durham, 1758" 

Used by Kind Permission of Durham University Archives and Special Collections 

 

 The Great North Road, from the book "Millennum Memories" , by A.J. Coia (by kind permission of Spennymoor Town Council)

 

The Children's Grave

 

If you visit Kirk Merrington Church on a Sunday  you can enter inside the church and see a fragment from the original tomb before its restoration.

 

Photograph by Darrell S. Nixon, 2006

 

If you enter the Churchyard, you can see the alter tomb after ifs restoration. Although weathered, you can still make out the inscription:

 

Here Lies The Bodies

of JOHN, JANE and ELIZABETH

Children Of

JOHN and MARGARET BRASS 

Who were Murdered the 25th January 1683.

By Andrew Mills, their father’s servant,

For which he was executed and hung in chains.

 

Reader, remember, sleeping

We were slain;

And here we sleep till we must

Rise again.

Who so sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall

His blood be shed.

Thou shalt do no murder.

 

Photograph by Darrell S. Nixon, 2006

 

 Continue to...

The Devil Within - A Film of the Brass Murders of 1683