George Purcell1

#53708, b. 18 December 1827

21 times in the Yarmouth Borough Gaol. 5 years for housebreaking

Individual's Timeline

Christening18 December 1827George Purcell2
Birthbefore 1828George Purcell3
Death18 September 1854William Postle4
Marr RegMarch 1856George Purcell5
Death18 April 1862Harriet Sewell6

Primary events

  • Christening: George Purcell was christened on 18 December 1827 in St Nicholas' Church, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England.2
  • Birth: He was born before 1828 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, assuming he had to be over 20 to have been a 'witness' on a death certificate.3
  • (present at death) Death: In 1854 George Purcell was listed on the death certificate of William Postle as being present at his death; Witnessed by George POSTLE, who lived in Row 19. Note this cannot be the son as he was only 7 at the time.4
  • Marr Reg: The marriage of George and Harriet Sewell was registered in the quarter ended March 1856 in the Great Yarmouth registration district.5
  • (Widow) Death: In 1862, at the age of 34 years and 4 months, George was left a widower by the death of Harriet Sewell.6

Secondary circumstances

  • Occupation: George was a fish hawker.
  • Name Variation: He was also known as George Postle.3
  • Residence: In September 1854 George lived in Row 19, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England.
  • Description: At the age of 47 years, 2 months and 11 days George Purcell was described as 5" 5" labourer. He had tattoos, Cruxifix, stars, bust of a man, woman, Brittania, and cross pipes on his right arm. A star on his left arm. G POSTLE and M ROOKE on his left arm.

Census details

  • In 1841 in Great Yarmouth George Purcell was included in the census schedule of Children's Hospital School. He was aged 13 years. George was a 13 year old pupil (named as PURCELL).
  • In 1851 in Great Yarmouth George Purcell was included in the census schedule of The Workhouse. He was aged 23 years. George was an inmate.
  • In the census taken on the night of 7th April 1861, George was the head of the household and Harriet was his wife. The address was 8 Row 5, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. Their children Naomi, Caroline and George were living with them.
  • In 1871 in Great Yarmouth George Purcell was included in the census schedule of The Workhouse. He was aged 43 years. George was back as an inmate, He was a fish hawker.
Brushes with the LAW

In 1863 George was acquitted of stealing a featherbed from Ann Page. In 1864 he was fined £2, or in default 2 months hard for breaking glass in the London Tavern in Charlotte Street.

He was deaf and Dumb (or at least pretending to be) when he was sentenced to 3 month's imprisonment for imposing on the charitable in 1865.

1866 saw the culmination of George's criminal exploits. He was given 5 years for breaking and entering. The severity of the sentence was partly due to the fact that between 1844 to 1865 George had been convicted some 25 times, and rehabilitation was thought to be unlikely.

The newspaper report of the trial says that George broke into Edward Marshal's house in Runham and stole 3 coats that were valued as 30 shillings. Edward was a market gardener and had been at the market all day. A little before 3 pm George was seen walking towards Edward's house and within 30 mins was seen walking away with a dark bundle upon his head. The coats turned up in a pawn shop, pawned by George in his own name. George then sold the pawn tickets to Mr Killett, who retrieved the coats from the pawn shop.

George represented hisself, and appears to have been articulate. He said he found the coats by the side of the road, and pointed out that he would never have broken into a house daylight, and would never have pawned goods in his own name, if he had been guilty.

By 1871 he was a ticket of leave man, in the Workhouse for the census, and in the newspapers ~ again, for assaulting the Master. I think he got 2 years, but then he is not heard of again.

All the records say that he would read and write well.

The highlight though is earlier than the above - in 1859 he was sentenced to 21 days for beating his wife Harriet. They were living in British Lion Alley, and the newspaper report says his behaviour was of a very brutal nature.7

Anecdote - Musings and Reasonings

Research note (complicated): Criminal records, which were all in the name of George POSTLE, in 1876, show he was given 7 years for breaking into a dwelling house. Prison records show that he was in Pentonville 28th Jan 1876. This does not gell with the fact he was in Yarmouth workhouse in 1871 though. There is also an entry to show he was transferred from Norwich Castle to Brixton on 9th October 1876 (after being sentenced to 7 years in Norwich 5th Jan 1876 (but nothing found in the papers). An earlier entry is shows that he was discharged 18th October 1872, destination Great Yarmouth. A previous sentence is noted in the register, 5 years in July 1866, which he seems to have served, at least prtially, in Portsmouth. In 1871, when he had his licence revoked he was a 38 year old widower with 2 children, whose mother was Mrs POSTLE living in Ferry Boat Row, White Horse Plain, Yarmouth.8

Research Notes

  • Research note 01: I wonder if the he was the 84 year old single man named George PURCELL who died in South Australia 27th october 1912. He is buried in the West Terrace Cemetery, Section: Road 5 Extension, Row Number: C11, Site Number: 3. There are 3 other who died in Nov 1912 in the plot - Carl Frederick ZOBELL, aged 57, ALexander WILSON aged 33 and Elizabeth SIMS aged 30. I am thinking this may be a pauper's grave?.9

Children of George Purcell and Harriet Sewell

Citations

  1. International Genealogical Index (IGI), https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J9PH-JFD
    Name: George Purcell
    Gender: Male
    Christening Date: 1827
    Christening Place: YARMOUTH, ST. NICHOLAS', NORFOLK, ENGLAND
    Birth Date:
    Birthplace:
    Death Date:
    Name Note:
    Race:
    Father's Name: John Purcell
    Father's Birthplace:
    Father's Age:
    Mother's Name: Ann
    Mother's Birthplace:
    Mother's Age:
    Indexing Project (Batch) Number: C00024-7
    System Origin: England-VR
    GS Film number: 1526328
    Reference ID: - 2:35XBTVD
    Collection: John Purcell in entry for George Purcell, "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975."
  2. International Genealogical Index (IGI), Image 22 and
    https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J9PH-JFD
    Name: George Purcell
    Gender: Male
    Christening Date: 1827
    Christening Place: YARMOUTH, ST. NICHOLAS', NORFOLK, ENGLAND
    Birth Date:
    Birthplace:
    Death Date:
    Name Note:
    Race:
    Father's Name: John Purcell
    Father's Birthplace:
    Father's Age:
    Mother's Name: Ann
    Mother's Birthplace:
    Mother's Age:
    Indexing Project (Batch) Number: C00024-7
    System Origin: England-VR
    GS Film number: 1526328
    Reference ID: - 2:35XBTVD
    Collection: John Purcell in entry for George Purcell, "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975."
  3. Copies of original certificates and docs: William POSTLE death certificate.
  4. Copies of original certificates and docs.
  5. Free UK BDM index from 1837, online http://freebmd.rootsweb.com, Larn      Harriet            Yarmouth      4b     11     
    POSTLE      George            Yarmouth      4b     11.
  6. Free UK BDM index from 1837, online http://freebmd.rootsweb.com,      Norfolk
    Place     Great Yarmouth
    Church     St Nicholas
    RegisterNumber     1887
    BurialDate     22 Apr 1862
    Forename     Harriet
    Relationship     
    Rel1MaleForename     
    Rel1FemaleForename     
    Rel1Surname     
    Surname     POSTLE
    Age     36
    Abode     Yarmouth WH (Cemetery)
    Notes     
    FileNumber     36203.
  7. Find my past web sites, online http://www.findmypast.com or http://www.findmypast.com.au, Norfolk Chronicle 03 January 1863
    Norfolk Chronicle 30 January 1864
    Norfolk News 22 July 1865

    Norfolk Chronicle 20 August 1859.
  8. Find my past web sites, online http://www.findmypast.com or http://www.findmypast.com.au, First name(s)      George
    Last name      Postle
    Occupation      -
    Age      52
    Birth year      -
    Year      -
    Place      -
    Court      Norwich
    Series      PCOM2
    Source      Portsmouth Prison, Hampshire: registers of prisoners
    Piece number      128
    Page number      416
    Record set      England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935
    Category      Institutions & organisations
    Subcategory      Prison registers
    Collections from      United Kingdom.
  9. Find my past web sites, online http://www.findmypast.com or http://www.findmypast.com.au, First name(s)      George
    Last name      Purcell
    Gender      Male
    Status      Single
    Birth year      1828
    Death year      1912
    Death date      27 Oct 1912
    Age at death      84y
    Residence      Adelaide
    Place      Adelaide
    District      Adelaide
    State      South Australia
    Country      Australia
    Registration number      369/461
    Notes      Person died in an institution i.e. hospital, nursing facility or religious community
    Additional information is on the certificate but not recorded in this index
    Record set      South Australia Deaths 1842-1972
    Category      Life Events (BDMs)
    Subcategory      Deaths & burials
    Collections from      Australia & New Zealand.