A local newspaper’s specially published account of a sensational 19th century Norfolk murder trial. Part of a lot sold by Keys of Aylsham for £1400.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Bid to £1400 in a recent Aylsham sale was a collection of reports, court documents and other material relating to an extraordinarily complex murder trial.

It was one that became a cause celebre and long-remembered piece of Norfolk history.

Part of that lot in a Keys (20% buyer’s premium) sale of August 29-30 was an 1849 (4th edition) of a special Norfolk News publication that in its long title neatly sums up the outcome if not the complexity and attempted deceptions it involved.

This was the Life, Trial and Execution of James Blomfield Rush, for the Murder of Isaac Jermy, Esq., and of Jermy Jermy Esq his son….

The trial and its outcome got Rush early into the Madame Tussaud’s Chamber of Horrors and, almost a century on, the events on which it was based provided the inspiration for a 1939 novel by Marjorie Bowen (writing as Joseph Shearing) called Blanche Fury. Eight years later it was filmed as such at Pinewood Studios.

Highest price

Sold for £6000 in this East Anglian sale was a collection of letters relating to diplomatic service in Constantinople and Egypt in the latter part of the 19th century.

It comprised in part a group of 23 letters written by the Liberal politician and diplomat Henry Lytton Bulwer, 1st Baron Dalling & Bulwer, while he was serving as Ambassador Extraordinary at Constantinople from 1858-65.

Some were sent to notable members of his acquaintance but nine were addressed to his private secretary, Henry Phillips.

On Bulwer’s return to England, Phillips secured a position as private secretary to Nubar Pasha, an Egyptian-Armenian politician who was in 1878 to become the first prime minister of Egypt.

The 33, often extensive and very informative letters in Phillips’ hand, however, date from the 1850s-72 and are mostly addressed to his parents.

Fiske provenance

Sold at £5800, as previously noted in ATG No 2408, a profusely extra-illustrated and finely bound copy of Westall & Owen’s ...River Thames which was part of the vast collections of the late Ron Fiske of Morningthorpe Manor in Norfolk dispersed in recent years by Keys.

Bid to £3800 was another big Fiske lot: an exceptional example of the Rev Daniel Lysons’ Environs of London& of 1791-1807 that had been extended from five to nine volumes to contain some 700 views, plans and plates, along with a few original artworks.

It was formerly in the ‘extra-illustrated’ collections of Charles Crowe of Dalham Tower in Cumbria.


A rare three-decker first of Richard Jefferies’ Restless Human Hearts sold at £500.

Sold for £500 in Aylsham was a three-decker first in original cloth of Restless Human Hearts of 1875. Only the second published work of the novelist and writer on nature, Richard Jefferies, this is a book that appears to have no other presence in auction records.