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Juan Ignacio Blanco  

 

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William CORDER

 
 

 

 

 

The scene of the murder, the Red Barn, so called because of its half red-tiled roof, which can be seen
to the left of the main door in this sketch. The rest of the roof was thatched.

 

 

Maria Marten. Her sister Ann, who was said to be very similar to Maria, was the model
for this sketch which appeared in Curtis' account of the case.

 

 

Maria's ghost points to her grave. Ann Marten's claim that she dreamt about the location
of her grave added to the appeal of the case for the public and press.

 

 

Corder shooting Maria Marten

 

 

 

 

 

 

This "penny dreadful" from 1833 shows Maria's burial and Ayres and Lea arresting Corder.

 

 

William Corder

 

 

William Corder awaiting trial.

 

 

The execution of William Corder.

 

 

Catnach's broadside sold well over a million copies.

 

 

Another broadside, issued by T. Birt, include images and Corder's last letter to his wife.

 

 

 

 

Moyse's Hall Museum in Suffolk

 

Corder's bust

Moyse's Hall holds a copy of William Corder's death bust, now one of Bury's star attractions. It was kept for many years at the old West Suffolk Hospital. Offered to the museum, it was rejected by the then curator as "too macabre" and thrown away. A passer-by rescued it from the rubbish tip. He offered it to a later, less squeamish, curator, who gladly accepted.

People often comment on the bust's apparently negroid features. These are a side effect of the hanging. Corder's head was engorged with blood, as the prominent veins suggest and the autopsy report confirms. As far as we know, Corder was of Suffolk stock.

The bust was made by Mr Child of Bungay, a well-known Suffolk printer who also had a talent for making death masks and busts.

 

 

Corder's scalp

Corder's corpse was dissected at the West Suffolk Hospital. The surgeon, George Creed, kept and preserved the scalp, with the right ear attached. He also retained and tanned a part of the skin.

Stubble can still be seen on the scalp, giving rise to tales that Corder's hair grew mysteriously after his death. The truth is more prosaic. After shaving, a small length of the hair shaft remained below the skin. The scalp shrank during the tanning process, but the hair was not affected and protruded above the surface

 

 

The book bound in Corder's skin

Visitors to the museum often ask to see the bible bound in Corder's skin. We don't have one - but his skin was used to bind a book. It is a copy of Curtis's account of the murder, and once belonged to George Creed, the surgeon who conducted the dissection. Creed inscribed it thus:

"The Binding of this book is the skin of the Murderer William Corder taken from his body and tanned by myself in the year 1828. George Creed Surgeon to the Suffolk Hospital"

 

 

Death mask

The death mask in Moyse's Hall is a copy, made in 1945, of an original in Norwich Castle Museum. The mould for the original was made by a Mr Mazzotti of Cambridge at the same time that Child took moulds of Corder's head for the bust.

 

 
 
 
 
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