In 1683, one of the most infamous incidents of mass murder in the region’s history took place at Brass House Farm (now High Hill House Farm) a little to the west of Ferryhill. It was committed by teenage servant Andrew Mills, who killed his master’s three children…
1682/3 Jan.25 – A sad, cruel murther committed by a Boy about 18 or 19 years of age, nere Ferryhill, nere Durham, being Thursday at night. The manner is by report:- When the Parents were out of dores, a young man, being Sone to ye house, and 2 Daughters, was kil’d by this Boy with an axe, having knockt ym in ye head, afterwards cut their throats; one of ym being asleep in ye bed, about 10 or 11 yeares age; the other Daughter was to be married at Candlemas. After he had kil’d the Sone and the eldest Daughter, being above 20 years of age, a little Lass her sister, about ye age of 11 yeares of age, he drag’d her out of bed and kil’d her alsoe. This Andrew Millns, or Miles [Mills] was hanged in irons upon a gybett, nere Ferryhill, upon the 15th day of August, being Wednesday this yeare, 1683.
[from the diary of Jacob Bee, resident of
] Durham City
Mills was hanged at
, and his
body suspended in chains upon a gibbet – reportedly a mile north of Ferryhill
and within sight of the scene of his terrible deed. Durham