William Godwin's Diary


Timothy Marr, his wife of eighteen months, Celia, his shop-boy, and his four-month old baby were found brutally murdered in his shop on Ratcliff Highway,near the new London docks, Middlesex. The murders were of a particularly violent nature and robbery does not appear to have been the motive. Public interest was high as evidenced by the offer of a £500 reward by the government and one of £100 by the Prince Regent for information leading to the capture of the perpetrators. Some days later further murders occurred in the same location. Mr and Mrs Williamson, proprietors of the King’s Arms public house in Old Gravel Lane just off the Ratcliff Highway, along with their maidservant, Bridget Harrington, were murdered in the same brutal fashion. John Williams, an Irishman and former shipmate of Timothy Marr, was accused of the murders and hanged himself in custody.

See DNB, The Times, 9, 13, 21 and 27 December 1811, and Donald A. Low, The Regency Underworld, (Stroud: Sutton, 1999), pp. 23-5.