Long Melford and Polstead pub murder tales retold in new crime book

The Cock Inn at Polstead. eadt pic John Kerr

The Cock Inn at Polstead. eadt pic John Kerr

Suffolk and Essex’s links to pub crimes have been revealed in a book considered the UK’s first ever ‘pub murder guide’.

Moyses Hall Museum. One of William Corder's guns.

Moyses Hall Museum. One of William Corder's guns. - Credit: Archant

Murder at The Inn: A History of Crime in Britain’s Pubs and Hotels, written by James Moore and published by the History Press, covers bloody cases from the two counties’ past.

The book reveals where to find more than 250 hostelries across the country linked to cases of murder and mayhem, including the grizzly cases that included the Cock Inn in Polstead and The Bull in Long Melford.

In 1828, the inquest into Maria Marten, the victim of the Red Barn Murder, took place in the Cock Inn.

During the inquest, it was found she had been shot, with evidence pointing to her former lover William Corder.


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After the inquest the local constable, Mr Ayres, and a detective from London, James Lea, teamed up to find Corder. They eventually discovered him living in West London, and found a pistol assumed to be the murder weapon, along with a passport.

He was taken back to Suffolk to be tried at the Shire Hill in Bury St Edmunds, returning via Colchester.

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Mr Moore writes that it was here Ayres tried to have Corder shut up in the local prison for the night, but the governor demanded to see a warrant specifying his commitment to a particular gaol. When Ayres couldn’t produce it, he refused so Corder spent the night in the George Inn, in Colchester, with one arm tied to a bedpost and the other tied to the constable.

Corder’s trial began on August 7 and lasted two days.

The book says up to 20,000 spectators turned out to see his execution by hanging, with another 5,000 queueing up to see his slit-open body in the Shire Hall.

The Moyses Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds still holds his death mask and pistols.

The book also tells the story of how The Bull in Long Melford was the scene of a murder after a heated debate in 1648.

Roger Greene stabbed Richard Evered in the entrance hall after a row over politics.

Following the murder, Greene was swiftly tried and executed.

It is said Evered still haunts the pub to this very day.

The book also tells the story of the naming of the Ipswich pub The Margaret Catchpole, who escaped from the jail in the town using a clothes line in the 18th Century.

Mr Moore said: “The history of Britain’s pubs, inns and hotels has gone hand in hand with the history of crime.

“Now, for the first time we link pubs that can still be found today with captivating and sometimes horrifying tales from their past.”

Murder at the Inn by James Moore is published by The History Press priced £9.99.

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