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Haddenham's Real 'Murder Mystery'

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Most local residents are well aware that Haddenham has featured as a fictitious village location in several 'Midsomer Murders' TV productions. But you may not be aware that Haddenham wrestled with its own genuine murder mystery, way back in 1828.

The Haddenham Murder Mystery of 1828

Phil Davies drew our attention to a short video on Youtube which presents an insight into the mysterious goings-on when one William Edden was found dead in a field close to the village on 25th October, 1828.

Edden, a local dealer, was travelling in his pony and cart back from Aylesbury, through Haddenham, to his home in Thame. Subsequent investigations and a criminal trial ended in the conviction and execution by hanging of two men, Solomon Sewell and Benjamin Tyler. However, there has always been a doubt in some people's minds about the correctness of the verdict.

The video on Youtube presents a re-enactment by local 21st century thespians of the manner in which the body of Willam Edden was discovered.

A longer version of the video can be viewed at the Haddenham Museum.

The video was the work of Mike Stephens, a professional film maker, and provides a fascinating insight into the tragic events. It is narrated by professional actor, Bruce Alexander, who is probably best known for his role as Supt. Stanley Mullett, alongside David Jason in the TV show "A Touch of Frost"

The shortened video that is featured on Youtube was used to open a live theatre production in July 2009 when, for three successive evenings, a joint production by Haddenham Players and Haddenham Museum of a specially written play was staged in the Tythe Barn at Manor Farm.

'The Haddenham Murder Mystery of 1828', researched by Alan Rose and written by Margaret Watkins, enacted the true story of the murder.

The three performances were fully sold out and the audiences were greeted by members of the cast in costume mingling with them before the performance and during the intervals. The play was performed in the highly atmospheric Tythe Barn and the audience was invited to act as jury at the end of each performance.

This was a true local story acted by cast of Haddenham villagers in a historic venue and proved a talking point for all who enjoyed watching or and participating in the production.

For those interested to learn more, a review written by Michael Pegge (as featured in the Haddenham Chronicles, Volume Eight) can be read by clicking on the PDF featured below the image on this page.

Particular thanks are due to Alan Rose, Steve Sharp and Alan Watkins for providing the information for this article, and to Phil Davies for highlighting the Youtube video.

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