Peter Haining – Buried Passions: Maria Marten & The Red Barn Murder
Posted by demonik on June 21, 2009
Peter Haining – Buried Passions: Maria Marten & The Red Barn Murder (Neville Spearman, 1980)
The story of the murder in the Red Barn is without doubt one of the most famous melodramas in the world.
The killing of the village beauty Maria Marten by the young squire William Corder in the charming, almost isolated village of Polstead in Suffolk May 1827 has become a legend over the past one hundred and fifty years, familiar to countless thousands of people.
Peter Haining has now, however, researched history and come up with some surprising new facts. Maria was just not the virtuous village beauty callously seduced and then murdered when she had served her purpose; nor was William Corder, her lover, the black-hearted local squire bent on debauchery and crime. Such simplifications have come about for several reasons, yet notwithstanding the real facts, Maria and Corder are now regarded – wherever the tale is told – as the archetypal demure, cruelly-wronged maiden and mustachioed, unscrupulous Squire of melodrama. Indeed, many differing dramatisations take them as their models; and not a few of these plays are unashamedly based on what their authors imagined had happened under the decaying roof of the Red Barn. The facts, in this new assessment of the murder, make rather different, and perhaps even more fascinating, reading.
What the author has set out to do is to show how a basically unpleasant village killing became the crime of the last century. The facts present an amazing and melodramatic story of buried passions….
Profusely illustrated with line drawings and half-tones