Ann Marten was fed up with the terrible dream. Now she'd woken twice after her terrible visions had been killed and buried by her stepdaughter Maria, who was under the dusty floor of a barn half a mile from the cabin Ann shared with her husband Thomas in Polstead, England. At first, Ann thought it was just a bad nightmare – interpreting it differently was an irrational gossip – but when the dream returned, she began to think.
One day, she approached Thomas and asked him to bring her peace of mind. "I think if I were in your place, I would examine the Red Barn," she suggested.
Confused, Thomas asked why. "I dreamed a lot about Maria," Ann said, "and I had dreamed twice before Christmas that Mary was murdered and buried in the Red Barn." She would have told him earlier, Ann said, but was afraid
The Red Barn was a prominent landmark in Polstead, a picturesque corner of Suffolk County, England, and named after a unique red-tiled roof, the Barnfield Hill building was the last known meeting place between Maria Marten and their lover, William Corder, who had used the stable as a meeting place before appearing to be taken to Ipswich on May 1
Maria's family had not heard from her for eleven months, since the Martens often wrote letters Maria never replied, but whenever Corder returned to Polstead, he apologized again and again with apologies as to why Mar ia did not write: she was busy, her mail had gotten lost, she had hurt her hand and could not write back. But he assured them that Mary was happy and basically okay.
But when his wife started having bad dreams, Thomas Marten decided to dutifully check the Red Barn for signs of misconduct. He putted around the building and carefully removed the waste from the ground – and then noticed an unusual collapse in the dirt. According to a report, Thomas, a molehaw catcher by profession, began to loosen the ground with a mole-thawing spine, and as he raised the tool, he opened a chunk of rotted human flesh.
Thomas did not have to dig more than two feet to discover that his wife's prophecy could be true: in a shallow hole lay a crumbled human skeleton wrapped in a sack. He had long hair and a green handkerchief around his neck.
When Thomas saw the body, he refused to dig further. He started for home.
When he found his wife, Thomas asked if she remembered Maria wearing a handkerchief the day she left, and if so, what color it was.
Ann searched for her memories and nodded. Maria had worn a bandana William Corder had given her. "A green one," she said.
William Corder was a troublemaker. The son of a wealthy farmer, the man of the sly lady (nicknamed Foxey ) was known to fake checks and steal animals from neighboring farms. On one occasion, he abducted his father's pigs and pocketed the money from the sale.
According to some reports, this was not the life the young man sought: Corder allegedly wanted to become a teacher or a journalist, but when his father refused to financially support these efforts, Corder kept his bank account with the fruits of petty crime instead ,
Whatever Corder's motivations were, nothing to him meant his forerunner, Maria Marten, a 24-year-old single mother. Her first child (whose father was Corder's older brother) had died prematurely, but her second child (born to a member of the Gentry who had no interest in marrying the daughter of a downy mildew-catcher) was still alive. This second father regularly sent money to help the child, but otherwise Mary's life was missing. When William Corder returned to Polstead in 1825 to help his family's farm, Maria quickly fell in love with the cunning speaker.
Finally, Corder showed that he could handle some responsibility. In the same year he returned to the city, his father died and two of his brothers were permanently hammered by tuberculosis, leaving the young Corder as one of the last capable men of the family who could lead the court. By the time he took on these duties, a romance began to blossom between him and Mary.
At first, the couple tried to keep their relationship a secret, but life had other plans. In 1826 Maria became pregnant for the third time. Corder suggested that they marry shortly after the baby was born.
Tragically, the baby died in Maria's arms just two weeks after birth. Maria's father and stepmother carefully put the lifeless infant in a box and wrapped it in a napkin. Corder promised to bury it in a safe place.
Corder also promised that he still wanted to marry Mary, child or not. There was only one condition, he said: It had to happen soon. According to Corder, rumors swirled that the policeman would punish Maria for having a third illegitimate child. Called a bastard, the crime was punishable by public flogging.
In other words, they had to flee.
On May 18, 1827, at noon, Corder walked to the Marten Hut and told Maria it was time to leave. The constable was ready to arrest her at any moment. Maria started to sob. Meanwhile, Mary's sister Ann noticed that the young man wore a gun. "[He] told me not to interfere with it because it was loaded," she recalls.
To avoid capture, Corder told Maria to dress her up and handed her a men's vest, a hat, a pair of pants, and a green bandana. He put the rest of her clothes in a bag and told her to meet him in the Red Barn, where she could put on her own clothes. After that, they fled to Ipswich and got married.
Corder slipped out of the front door, and Maria – in a manly costume – left her back. She was never seen again.
Eleven months after their departure, the police found that William Corder was married to another woman and ran a boarding school in West London for girls. When the police approached him, they asked if he had ever known a woman by the name of Maria Marten.
"I never knew such a person, not even by name," he replied.
The crime immediately aroused people's attention and imagination: Here was the story of a poor country girl, a single mother seduced and betrayed by a wealthy kad who took her into the Death had lured with the promise of marriage. No less astonishing was the fact that the body of the poor woman was allegedly discovered thanks to a dream. For newspapers, the story was a pure catnip.
"I have never known or heard of a case in my life that has been flooded with so many extraordinary events as the present," said Judge Wyatt. "It really seems to be a romance rather than a story of ordinary life."
Within days of the body's discovery, Polstead became a bustling place, "literally crowded with strangers from all over the neighboring country, for the news of this appalling discovery that had reached the remotest parts of the kingdom," reported the journalist J. Curtis in his book, An Authentic and Faithful History of the Marvelous Murder of Maria Marten Corder was imprisoned, Polstead had been organizing his most visited summer fair for a long time, with pleasure, including moving ballad singers and theatrical productions, all
At the beginning of the Corder trial in early August, the whole country knew the twisted story, with thousands of people flocking to Polstead to witness the events and almost all the inns and public houses in the county did not have rooms anymore. (Am Ta Many visitors had no beds to sleep in before the trial.) The demand for the procedures was so high that tickets were required.
The crowd outside the courthouse counted thousands. The scene was so tight that the ticket recipient – even members of the court – had difficulty reaching the front door. When the sheriff arrived, he could not crowd through the crowd. The Lord Chief Baron had to be "put on his way from the coach to the bank," writes Curtis. It was a mess.
"Counselors, judges, jurors, etc. & c. were wedged together, and two of the former gentlemen had hung off their forensic wigs, and one was actually not possessed. Some lost their hats, others their paperbacks, and others their money – and quite a few the sleeves of their coats, "says Curtis.
As soon as anyone who could fit into the courthouse settled down, William Corder attacked All Ten of them including shooting, stinging, and choking, a model of the Red Barn was put on a table in the courtroom, and the Crown's legal advisor began to sue the young farmer.  The evidence was certainly damning, with Mary's stepmother In the room, when Corder and Maria had plans to meet in the Red Barn, Corder, investigating the coroner shortly after the corpse's discovery, denied Corder that he had an arrest warrant for Maria's arrest: Corder He had been in constant demand when asked about Mary's whereabouts, and in Corder's London home the police had issued a French passport nden – a suspicious indication that he might have planned to flee the country. [19659002MitzitternderStimmeverteidigteCorderseinenNamenundbeschuldigtediePressedasserseinenRufverleumdetundseinSchicksalbesiegelthabeNacheinerschriftlichenErklärungerklärteer"DurchdiesenmächtigenMotordiePressediedieMeinungsovielerPersonenindiesemLandregeltunddiezuoftistfürchteichobwohlunbeabsichtigtdenVerleumderundZerstörerderUnschuldichhattedasUnglückgehabtindengedemütigtstenundabstoßendstenCharakterendargestelltzuwerdenIchwurdevondieserPressealsdasverdorbensteallermenschlichenMonsterbeschrieben!"
Corder further claimed that he had actually argued with Maria in the Red Barn, but he did not kill her, but she had shot you make. The young man claimed that he had panicked and "buried Maria as well as I could".
The jury deliberated only 35 minutes before returning a verdict. Corder was almost down when the judge read his sentence.
"My advice to you is not to flatter yourself with the slightest hope of mercy on earth …" the judge said. "That you will be taken back to the prison from which you came, and that you will be sent to a place of execution there next Monday and that you will be hung there by the neck until you are dead. and that your body should be dissected and anatomized afterwards; and may the Almighty God, God, his infinite goodness, be merciful to his soul! "
Days later, on August 11, 1828, a crowd of at least 7,000 people gathered around the gallows and observed a visibly weak rim on which he kicked the scaffold. Earlier this week, he'd confessed to a jailer, claiming he and Maria had been involved in a quarrel – possibly because of her dead baby, who had never received a proper Christian funeral – and accidentally shot her in the face during a run.
When Corder stared at the crowd, the air became still. "I'm guilty …" he said shakily. "My sentence is simple – I deserve my fate – and may God have mercy on me!"
Then a cap was hung over his face, a rope tied around his neck and the rest by gravity.
The corpse of William Corder gently swung for an hour in the wind before being torn down and taken to a nearby shed where the surgeon had cut his chest and flattened his skin, to show the muscles of the muscles chest. Then the doors were opened to the public. Thousands of spectators marched with a file on Corder's remains.
The next day, the corpse became the center of an autopsy involving doctors and medical students from all over the county. Corder's organs were removed and inspected, and his body was robbed of the skin, which was tanned and wrapped around the cover of a book in which his misdeeds were recorded.
In 1846, the Punch Journal would cynically joke that "murder is undoubtedly a very shocking offense; since what is done can not be undone, let us put our money into it In fact, over the next century, the Red Barn murder intrigued the public and became a profitable haven for artists and entertainers to write songs, poems, plays, and cheap penny-dreadfuls about the incident – a special one from the printer James Catnach published broadside sold more than a million copies.
Polstead would become a macabre pilgrimage site where tourists – about 200,000 people – visited the city alone in 1828 – eventually bare the Red Barn (The wood was allegedly used as a toothpick sold). Even the poor Polstead resting place Maria Marten suffered under the grubby hands of souvenir hunters, the mercilessly knocked her gravestone off until he was little more than a stump.
Interest in the murder was so great that there is little physical evidence of the horrific event. However, the book bound in Corder's skin is still preserved at Moyse's Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. And the Cock Inn, where Polstead's investigative magistrate was researching the skeleton of Maria Marten, is still in operation. If you drink a beer and grab a beer, you might hear people sing a sinister ballad that is now a canon.
Come and see all the bold young, thoughtless men.
And remember my unfortunate fate of being hanged on the tree.
My name is William Corder, I explain to you, I have courted
Maria Marten, the most beautiful and beautiful.
I promised I would marry her on a particular day,
Instead, I was determined to take her life.
I went to her father's house on May 18th
. My dear Maria, we will fix it the wedding day.
If you will meet me in the Red Barn, as surely as I have the life,
I will take you to the city of Ipswich and there make you my wife;
I went home then I got my gun, my pickaxe and my spade. I went to the Red Barn and dug her grave there.