The Reverend Frederick Spurrell was the second son, and seventh of eight children, of Charles Spurrell and Hannah Shears (daughter of James Shears, of James Shears and Sons). He was descended from the Spurrell family of Thurgarton, Norfolk.
He was born on 2 August 1824 at 23, Park Street, Southwark. At the time, his father worked for Barclay and Perkins Ltd., who then owned the Anchor Brewery, Southwark; later the family moved to Anchor Terrace, Southwark Bridge Road, when it was built in the mid-1830s.
After completing his studies at King's College London where he became an Associate of King's College (A.K.C.), he went up to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, obtaining a B.A. in 1847 (M.A. 1850). He was ordained deacon in 1847 by the Bishop of Chichester and priest the following year, when began his work as Curate of Newhaven, Sussex. In 1848 he was among a small party that called on Louis-Philippe of France at Newhaven after the latter had escaped the 1848 revolutions in France.
From 1853 to 1898 Frederick Spurrell was Rector of Faulkbourne, Essex, where he is remembered for restoring the church in the 1880s. He was also interested in archaeology and published a number of papers on the subject; he was a member of the Royal Archaeological Society (on whose Council he served) and the Essex Archaeological Society, and an honorary member of the Sussex Archaeological Society.
On 16 February 1854, at Newhaven church, he married his cousin Frances (1827–1892), youngest daughter of John Gray (of the Gray and Dacre Brewery, West Ham) and Lydia Shears. They had three daughters and one son, Charles Henry, who followed his father into the Church, serving for many years as the Organising Secretary for the National Society for Promoting Religious Education before becoming Rector of Meesden, Hertfordshire, from 1911-1923.
The following papers were published by the Rev. Frederick Spurrell:
- On the Architecture of Fletching Church, Sussex Archaeological Collections, Vol. V
- Architectural Relics of Lewes Priory, Sussex Archaeological Collections, Vol. VI
- Inventory of the Goods of Cornelius Humphrey, of Newhaven, 1697, Sussex Archaeological Collections, Vol. VI
- Roman Remains Discovered at Newhaven in 1852, Sussex Archaeological Collections, Vol. VIII
- Examples of Mediaeval Seals. Seals Preserved at Wisby in Gottland, Archaeological Journal, Vol. VII (1855)
- Notice of a Wooden Effigy of a Priest in the Church at Little Leighs, Essex Archaeological Society Transperiodical (1867)
- Faulkbourn Church, Essex Archaeological Society Transperiodical (1878)
- Notes on the Death of King John, Archaeological Journal (1881)
- Spurrell, J. C., The life of Charles Spurrell and his family's links to the Watney and Gray brewing families, Brewery History No. 138 (December 2010)
- "Spurrell, Frederick (SPRL843F)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
Spurrell, J. C., Frederick Spurrell, published monthly in Parish News, the parish magazine of Terling, Fairstead, White Notley and Faulkbourne (2007–2008)