by Price Holland
Whilst browsing through a bookshop in London during the 1950's, Stewart Valdar came across a hand written manuscript entitled "Rush". Looking through the book he realised that it was an account of the murders at Stanfield Hall in November 1848, and the subsequent trial of James Blomfield Rush. The book was made up of 87 pages of writing connecting together a number of short sections from newspaper articles. It was signed by the author, Price Holland, and dated 28 September 1909.
Despite attempts by Stewart Valdar to learn more about the author, no information could be found. The Norwich City Librarian reported in August 1957 that "I can find no reference to Price Holland. He does not appear as a writer in any source such as English Catalogue of Books, nor does his name occur in local directories etc., for the early part of this century."
With the benefit of modern computerised databases and online census returns it has been possible to find out something about Price Holland: The 1891 census for Court 12, Padford Street, Sheffield, shows the family of William and Sarah Holland, together with a son Price, aged 6, with four other siblings, all of whom were born in Sheffield. The father William, aged 35, is stated as being a "buck knife hafter". The 1881 census for 2 Neepend Lane, Brightside Bierlow, Sheffield, shows the same couple, with William being listed as a "table knife cutler". The 1901 census shows the same family, with Pryce aged 16, listed as a "file forger". There is a birth registration for a Price Holland in September 1884 in Sheffield, which fits with the age of Price in the 1891 census, and there is a marriage registration between a William Holland and a Sarah Brown in June 1877, also in Sheffield, which also seems to fit in with the other known facts about his parents.
The origin of the Christian name Price (also recorded as Pryce) is not entirely clear, but presumably it is the maiden name of one of his ancestors. There is a marriage of a James Holland to a Sarah Price on 25 November 1816 in Eccelston, Lancashire, and these could possibly be the grandparents of William Price of Sheffield?
Why Price Holland wrote this book is a much more difficult question to answer. There is no obvious link between the Holland and Jermy families, but there were a number of Jermy families living in Sheffield between the census periods of 1881 and 1901. Perhaps Price went to school or was friends with one of the Jermy children, and heard about the Stanfield Hall murders?
Regardless of the motivation, it is clear that the author was well educated and had gone to the trouble of locating copies of the relevant newspaper articles on which to base his story. His book contains sections of these original papers pasted into it, so either they were still available 50+ years after being published, or were part of a family legacy or collection. He was approximately 24 years old when he wrote the manuscript.
It would appear that Pryce Holland married Lily Bradshaw on the 1st January 1907 at Ecclesall Bierlow, Sheffield and they had six children. There is a death registration for Pryce, aged 62, in Sheffield in December 1946. Presumably his family subsequently gave his manuscript to a book dealer?
Click on a thumbnail image to load the full picture of the Title page and Forward of the book.
Below is a link to an Adobe Acrobat file that contains the transcript of Price Holland's book Rush. (It is 140kb in size)Rush - by Price Holland