In the churchyard of Saint Mary’s Denham, behind the vestry is a recumbent gravestone for the Marshall family. Buried beneath it are Emanuel Marshall and six others.
Passage of time has weathered the slab but a helpful plaque is maintained by somebody, it reproduces the odd words on the grave.
BENEATH THIS STONE LAY THE REMAINS OF EMANUEL MARSHALL, AND CHARLOTTE, HIS WIFE, ALSO MARY ANNE, HIS SISTER, AND MARY, THIRZA AND GERTRUDE, HIS CHILDREN. WHO TOGETHER WITH HIS MOTHER MARY MARSHALL, WERE ALL BARBAROUSLY MURDERED ON SUNDAY MORNING MAY22nd 1870 BY JOHN OWENS, A TRAVELLING BLACKSMITH, WHO WAS EXECUTED IN THE COUNTY GAOL AT AYLESBURY AUGUST 8th 1870
We learn more about the murderer than about the poor souls interred there. In my mind it raises doubts. With all those heavy tools I’d have thought a blacksmith wouldn’t travel to find work. They were barbarously murdered, but is there any other kind? Anyhow John Owens was hanged , seventy-eight days later, not much time for a judicial decision on a capital crime back in those days.