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churchyard which was mentioned by Sir Walter Raleigh. Grinling Gibbons, the famous wood carver, was employed to adorn the woodworking inside. A model of the church as restored by Wren is preserved in the Vestry. Following WW I there was discussion of pulling down the church for the sake of its site value and combining the parish with others, but parishioners vetoed this plan.


By 1719, some 42 years following the Great Fire, the human condition in the parish was


just as bad as before the fire. It is here that we find James Spurgeon and his brother William caught up in the conditions about them.37


James was held 25 February 1718/19 at Newgate Prison in London for trial, being


transported from Clerkenwell Prison, Middlesex. Though his age is not given in the minutes of his arrest record, he would have been about 22 years old, given his baptism and birth date in the parish register of St. Dunstan’s Church, Stepney. About Newgate Prison is written: “The condition of the prisoners in Newgate was long most deplorable. They were but scantily supplied with the commonest necessaries of life. Light scarcely penetrated their dark and lonesome dun- geons ...all classes and categories of prisoners were herded indiscriminately together: men and women, tried and untried, upright but misguided zealots with hardened habitual offenders ... The gaol at all times was so hideously overcrowded that plague and pestilence perpetually ravaged it, and the deadly infection often spread into the neighboring courts of law.”38


It is further said of


Newgate: “After arrest by the parish constable, a suspect would be carted to the ‘hold’ at Newgate where all prisoners, convicted or awaiting trial, were kept. The room, dark with a floor of stone, was entered by a hatch measuring fifteen by twenty feet … As soon as prisoners entered the jail, heavy iron manacles were clapped on their hands and feet unless they were prepared to buy ‘easement’ from the turnkey … In Newgate and other jails, poor inmates were allowed to beg for food and other necessities from charitably inclined passersby in order to supplement the poor rations allowed them.”39


Upon conviction for his crime, James was transported40 County, Maryland,41 to the Port of Oxford, Talbot


received on board 11 May 1719, 44 passengers from Newgate ....”42 James was sold as an indentured servant43


in America aboard the ship Margarett, “Captain William Greenwood, in September 1719, along with William in August 1719 to Richard


37A notation in the 1992 IGI shows a James Spurgeon, as James Spurgin Birth, St. Mary Matfallon. The FHC did not have a copy of the actual register, but I consulted a computer printout but could find no James born in 1805. There was a baptism for an Eliz. Spurrier, daughter of James and Elizabeth, christened 27 Oct 1715. There are, therefore, no other known references to another James Spurgeon in either parish being born, baptized, or buried in the time period checked from 1690-1710. 38Arthur Griffiths, “The Chronicles of Newgate,” (New York, 1987), Dorset Press, p. 2. 39Peter Colham, “Emigrants In Chains, 1607-1776,” (Baltimore, 1992), Genealogical Publishing Company, p. 20f. 40“Middlesex Sessions Records, Goal Delivery Trial Book,” GBB/306/29. 41Peter Coldham, “Emigrants in Bondage,” P.R.O. Ref. No. T 53/27 p. 220-21. 42Ibid., p. 187. 43Peter Coldham, “English Convicts In Colonial America [London: 1656-1775],” (New Orleans, 1976), Vol. II, p. 188; also published under the name “Bonded Prisoners to America,” (Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, Maryland).


© 1993 Spurgeon Family History by Dr. Gary Alan Dickey, 1546 Devonshire Avenue, Westlake Village, CA 91361 • p. 18


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