Flaxman Charles John Spurrell

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Flaxman Charles John Spurrell (6 September 1842 - 25 February 1915), the archaeologist, geologist and photographer, was born in Mile End, Stepney, London, the eldest son of Dr. Flaxman Spurrell, M.D., F.R.C.S., and Ann Spurrell (who were also first cousins). Shortly after his birth, his father moved to Bexley, Kent; later, Flaxman (junior) lived at The Priory, Picardy Road, Belvedere, now home to the Priory Conservative Club. Spurrell Avenue in Bexley was named after Flaxman (junior).[1]

In the 1860s he began to examine flint implements in and around Crayford in Kent, and over the following decades published a large number of articles for the Kent Archaeological Society (of which his father was a founding member), the Essex Archaeological Society and Royal Archaeological Society, as well as other societies and groups. In 1895 he presented a number of pre-historic remains to the Natural History Museum, and later donated material to the Norwich Castle Museum.

He was a close friend of the egyptologist William Matthew Flinders Petrie, whom he helped to record discoveries made in, for example, Naqada and Tell el-Amarna in Egypt.

Flaxman Spurrell was also interested in photography, and some of his photographs are currently held by English Heritage.[2]

Some years before his death, he retired to Bessingham Manor House in Norfolk, one of the seats of the Spurrell family, and was no longer active in the archaeological world. He died at The Den, Bessingham, in 1915, having married his cousin, Katherine Anne Spurrell, on 27 March 1912.

Flaxman Spurrell was educated at Epsom College; he was a Fellow of Geological Society from 1868 to 1905 and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries from 1899 to 1910.

He was a nephew of Rev. Frederick Spurrell and an uncle of the biologist and author Herbert George Flaxman Spurrell.


The following papers were published by F. C. J. Spurrell in the Royal Archaeological Society's Archaeological Journal:

  • Implements and Chips from the floor of a Palaeolithic Workshop, Vol. XXXVII
  • Deneholes and Artificial Caves with Vertical Entrances, Vol. XXXVIII
  • Shallow Pits in Norfolk and Elsewhere, Vol. XL
  • Early Sites and Embankments on the margins of the Thames Estuary, Vol. XLII
  • The First Passage of the Thames by Aulus Plautius, Vol. XLVII
  • Shoebury Camp, Essex, Vol. XLVII
  • Notes on a Boat found at Albert Dock, Woolwich, Vol. XLVII
  • Rude Implements from the North Downs, Vol. XLVIII
  • Some Flints from Egypt of the IVth Dynasty, Vol. XLIX
  • Notes on Early Sickles, Vol. XLIX
  • On Remedies in the Sloane Collections, and on Alchemical Symbols, Vol. LI
  • Notes on Egyptian Colours, Vol. LII
  • On Some Flint Implements from Egypt and Denmark, Vol. LIII

In Archaeologica Cantiana, the journal of the Kent Archaeological Society, he published:

  • Palaeolithic Implements found in West Kent, Vol. XV

Flaxman Spurrell also published the following articles in the Essex Naturalist:

  • Ensilage, or preserving grain in pits (1887)
  • Withambury (1887)
  • Danbury Camp, Essex (1890)
  • Hæsten's Camps at Shoebury and Benfleet, Essex (1890)

In the Proceedings of the Geologists' Association he published the following works:

  • Excursion to Erith and Crayford, Vol. IX
  • On the Estuary of the Thames and its Alluvium, Vol. XI
  • Excursion to Higham, Vol. XI
  • Excursion to Crayford, Vol. XI
  • Excursion to Swanscombe, Vol XI
  • Excursion to Grays, Thurrock, Essex, Vol. XII
  • Excursion to Dartford Heath, Vol. XIII
  • See also Visit to see F. C. J. Spurrell's collection of fossils in Excursion to Belvedere, J. Morris, Vol. II

The following was published in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society:

  • Spurrell, F. C. J. (1880). "On the Discovery of the Place where Palaeolithic Implements were made at Crayford". Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society. 36: 544. doi:10.1144/GSL.JGS.1880.036.01-04.41.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

In the Journal of the Anthropological Institute can be found:

  • On some Palaeolithic knapping tools and methods of using them, Vol. XIII

The following appeared in the Reports of the West Kent Natural History, Microscopical and Photographic Society:

  • A sketch of the history of the rivers and denudation of West Kent (1886)


  1. F. C. J. Spurrell, Kentish Antiquary and Archaeologist, Nesta D. Caiger
  2. Six Month Review, April–September 2002, National Monuments Record, English Heritage (via Wayback Machine).

See also

  • F. C. J. Spurrell, Kentish Antiquary and Archaeologist, Nesta D. Caiger, Research Report, Kent Underground Research Group 8, 1992.