The Red Barn Murder
was a notorious murder committed in Suffolk
in 1827. A young woman, Maria Marten, was shot dead by her lover, William Corder, the son of the local squire
. The two had arranged to meet at the Red Barn, a local landmark, before eloping to Ipswich
in order to be married. Maria was never heard from again. Corder fled the scene and although he sent Marten's family letters claiming she was in good health, her body was later discovered buried in the barn after her stepmother claimed to have dreamt about the murder. Corder was tracked down in London, where he had married and started a new life. He was brought back to Suffolk, and, after a well-publicised trial, found guilty of murder. He was hanged
in Bury St. Edmunds
in 1828; the execution was watched by a huge crowd. The story provoked numerous articles in the newspapers, and songs and plays. The village where the crime had taken place became a tourist attraction and the barn was stripped by souvenir hunters. The plays and ballads remained popular throughout the next century and continue to be performed today.