The discovery this week at Yarmouth of an enigmatic note referring to the murders at Stanfield Hall, near Wymondham, in 1848, has created something or a mystery for historians and others interested in this famous case.
The note was found by builders on Monday behind an alcove at Peters Cafe, King Street, which is run by Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Pretty and is now undergoing alterations and redecoration.
It was written in pencil on the blank part of an 1841 census form and reads: "This was put here by the husband of Emily Sandford in 1852. The Stanfield Hall murders originated from the barbarous conduct of the Yarmouth magistrates towards Mrs. Blyth. Signed. E. Whiteside."
A reporter who made some investigations writes:
These murders on November 28th, 1848, were the sensation of the age and are still a talking point. A newspaper of the time said that Yarmouth "has been thrown into a complete ferment by this report of the catastrophe at Stanfield Hall."
The catastrophe was the shooting of Mr. Isaac Jermy, Recorder of Norwich, and his son. Shots also severely wounded the son's wife and a servant.
Emily Sandford was the mistress of James Blomfield Rush, who was found guilty of the two murders after a six-day trial and was hanged before a huge crowd outside Norwich Castle on April 21st, 1849.
Who was Mrs. Blyth and what was her connection with Rush or the Jermys? I have scanned reference books and also the report of Rush's trial but I cannot find her name mentioned. The case for the prosecution was that Rush, a tenant farmer or Mr. Jermy, had a grudge against him over some financial arrangements.
NO LEGAL TITLE?
With the help of the Yarmouth Borough Archivist, Mr, Paul Rutledge, I found in the register of prisoners of the old Yarmouth Gaol that a Mrs. Mary Ann Blyth served six months between June and December, 1840, for assaulting and threatening her husband. Whether she is the Mrs, Blyth referred to is a matter for conjecture. Certainly, the sentence seems to have been severe even for those times.
I believe there are some people today who think that Mr. Jermy, who also had a home at Yarmouth, had no legal title to Stanfield Hall and that Rush himself had a claim on the property.
Ref: Eastern Daily Press, 10 February 1967