Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The Brass House Farm Murders (NZ273327)


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 Durham, 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.

Website devoted to story here, and expanded contemporary account here.

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