James Blomfield Rush, is the natural son of the daughter of a farmer, near
Wymondam, by a farmer residing near the parish in or near where she lived, to
whom she was engaged. From some cause the engagement was called off, and an
action was brought by her for breach of promise of marriage, and heavy damages
obtained. Mr Rush, of Aylsham, not long afterwards married the prisoner's
mother. From this year until 1834, Rush's father occupied a farm at Felmingham,
the property of the late Rev. George Preston, and subsequently of the late Mr
Jermy, where he died, his death having been attended by somewhat extraordinary
circumstances. He was found dead in the kitchen in the day time, with a shot
wound behind his ear, a discharged gun lying near him. Several aspects were
spread respecting this affair, and among them, one that a number of persons had
been summoned to the house by the son, and when the Coroner arrived, he found
his jury as it were ready to his hand. The verdict was Felo-de-se.
The accused was brought up by his mother's husband, and put to school with
Mr Nunn, at Eye, in Suffolk. In 1834 he commenced farming at Aylsham, under the
Rev Samuel Pitman, from whom he rented for about four years, 120 acres of land.
In 1828 he married the second daughter of a highly respected yeoman, in the
neigbourhood of Aylsham, and took the Wood Dalling Hall farm, under W.E.L.
Bulwer, Esq., where, he expended a considerable sum in improvements.
The husband of Rush's mother held a farm at Felmingham, under the Rev.
George Preston. Times were very hard for farming, and he often talked of giving
up his farm, and he said I should have what part I liked when he did so, but
should prefer my taking the whole; in the mean time, one of his tenants at
Felmingham would not hold under him any longer; he wished me to take that, he
did so, under an agreement for 18 years, from Michaelmas, 1835 at £110 per
He took the Stanfield Hall farm for 12 years, at £500 per annum; in
1837 Rev. George Preston died; Mr Jermy, his son, the late Recorder, discovered
the leases were not legally made, and this was the beginning of disputes between
Mr Rush and Mr Jermy.
At the latter part of his occupation of Wood Dalling Hall Farm, Rush
commenced and continued the business of valuer and auctioneer, in which he met
with some success.
The Potash Farm, which was the property of Mr Calver, was for sale, and as
it lies between the Stanfield Hall and Hethel properties of Mr Jermy, that
gentleman had a wish to possess it, as it would have made the property a compact
whole. Rush consulted Mr Jermy about its purchase, and the latter deputed him to
buy it at a certain sum. However, the estate was run up to a higher sum than Mr
Jermy had directed Rush to bid, and Rush bought it for himself. The price was
about 130l above Mr Jermy's bid. Rush informed Mr Jermy, that although he (Rush)
had purchased it, he did not possess the means to pay for it and requested Mr
Jermy to pay for it, and requested Mr Jermy to lend him the sum he required on
mortgage. 3500l was advanced, for which interest was to be paid. After this two
more sums were advanced, making 5000l, which was not to be called on until ten
years later. This term expired two days after the murders.
The daughter of the prisoner, whose decease was confidently reported on
saturday, had an interview with her father; she and the rest of the family are
as well as under the melancholy circumstances can be expected. Miss Rush, and
the younger branches of the family are still at Felmingham; with the exception
of one son who with his eldest brother, Mr Jas. Rush, is at Potash. The prisoner
has 9 children.
This morning the above unhappy malefactor paid the forfeit of his life to
the offended laws of his country. No execution of late years has attracted so
large an assemblage of spectators, some thousands being present. About nine
o'clock he took some refreshment, and shortly afterwards the sheriff arrived at
the castle, and immediately proceeded to the condemned cell. The usual
melancholy preparations having been completed, Rush was brought to the room
where he was to be pinioned. He appeared quite calm and collected, and walked
with a firm step. The melancholy procession then proceeded to the scaffold,
which he mounted without any assistance, and in less than a minute the drop
fell, and the wretched culprit was launched into eternity.
O Lord! Receive my sinful soul, have mercy on my guilt;
The blood of Christ have made me whole, for me that blood was split;
All you that do around me stand, may this a warning be;
Unto the word of God attend, and shun bad company;
You see me here a wretched man,but short will be my stay;
Yet on my Saviour, I'll depend, to wash my sins away.
Pray for my soul, good people all, and pity my sad fate;
A moment hence the drp will fall, I have not long to wait;
And may the blood of Jesus Christ atonement for me make;
On his dear name my comfort rest, he did for sinners sake.
WALKER, PRINTER, CHURCH STREET, ST MILES, NORWICH