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The Murder of Maria Marten
Last updated: 11.10.23
I knew a play of this title (or something like it The Murder at the Red Barn) having seen it at the Worcester Swan Theatre back in the late 1960's. It was only when coming across it Folk Songs of the British Isles that I became aware that it was based on this splendid ballad.
According to Andrew Gant, The text and melody was collected by R.A. Gatty (1907). Maria Marten was born in Suffolk in 1801, had several illegitimate children, the last by William Corder. He promised to marry her, but instead murdered her and buried her beneath the floor of her father's barn, going on to marry a lady he had met via a newspaper advertisement. There is a suggestion that Maria's stepmother's dream about the site of the burial was prompted by her own complicity in the crime. The tune is almost identical to the middle section of "Dives and Lazarus" (also known as The Star of the County Down) and is closely related to "Brigg Fair".
This is marvellous ballad to sing, a typical "Come all ye, ......":
  Issue Instruments Performer
  DBE MP3 Sample    
audiodbemp315.gif Manifold Love Voice, Concertina Geoff Grainger
     Performer CD Title Supplier
cd15.gif Shirely Collins No Roses CD(s) & MP3 Album(s) flag15us.gif flag15uk.gif flag15de.gif flag15fr.gif flag15ca.gif flag15it.gif flag15es.gif
cd15.gif Geoff Grainger Manifold Love flag15uk.gif flag15de.gif flag15fr.gif flag15it.gif flag15es.gif dbe15.gif
cd15.gif Various Artists Troubadours Of British Folk: Vol. 2 flag15us.gif flag15uk.gif flag15de.gif flag15fr.gif flag15ca.gif flag15it.gif flag15es.gif
     Title Performer Composer
youtube15.jpg The Murder of Maria Marten (7:24) Shirely Collins