Unsolved Murders

Annie Farquharson

Age: 14 days old

Sex: female

Date: 14 May 1908

Place: Martello Tower, Pevensey Bay

Source: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Annie Farquharson was found drowned on the beach by the Martello Tower in Pevensey Bay.

When a woman was arrested she was reported to have said 'It is my child. I put it into the water and left for Aberdeen.'

The woman was tried for its murder but it was not proven that the child was hers and she was acquitted.

The woman had been confined in her house on 25 April1908 when she was attended by a doctor.

She had told her sister 2-3 days before she gave birth that she was pregnant and that she intended to take the child to a woman in Aberdeen.

On 14 May 1908 she took the child to Polgate to register it and returned about 10.30, and showed her sister the certificate. She then dressed the baby and her sister gave her two bottles of milk.

She then left saying that she was going to catch the 12.55pm amat Pevensey Bay Halt to catch the 2.26pm train from Eastbourne to London Bridge and then on to Aberdeen.

Her sisters husband gave the woman £2 who then left with the baby in a small tin box.

The woman sent a postcard from Aberdeen which the sister got on 16-17 May 1908 which said, 'Dear sister, arrived safe in Aberdeen and have just had dinner with a friend. She sends her love to you. Now dont worry, and how is the baby. Shall stay here till tomorrow.

Later on 18 May 1908 the sister when to see a dead baby at the Castle Inn in Pevensey but didnt recognise it as that of her sister's. She said that the child was very small and dark and had thrush which was noticeable on its arms and body.

An errand boy who lived in Pevensey Bay said that he saw the woman at about 1am at the bridge at the railway crossing, saying that she was sheltering under the bridge because of the rain and waiting for a motor. He said that she didnt have a baby or tin box with her and was alone. He said he said, 'Goodbye' as he knew her and that she said 'Be sure to fetch the womans water. I will send you the pair of socks I promised you when they are made'.

Later, a chauffeur who had known the woman for 4 years said that he saw her on the morning of 15 May 1908 in Aberdeen and said that she had no luggage or any baby with her.

A plumbers apprentice said that on the morning of 15 May 1908 he was walking along the bottom of the beach near the Martello Tower at Pevensey between 7.30-8.00am when he saw the body of a baby just washed in and out at the edge of the water. He added that the tide was coming in. He said he picked the body up and carried it to the top of the beach saying that it was quite naked and that there were no injuries on its body.

A coast guard that then went to see the body said that it was a female child and that he didnt think it had been in the water for more than 3-4 hours at most adding that it was about a week old.

A doctor who examined the child said that it was about a fortnight old and well nourished. He said that it had died from drowning but was quite fresh and could not have been in the water for more than a few hours.

The police later went to see the woman in Ballater at a farm in Sluievannchie and asked her about her baby and she said that she had given it to a woman that she met in the street at London Bridge. She said that she didn't know the womans name or address but said that the woman had promised to send her a letter but she had not. However, when the policeman told her that they had found a baby on the beach at Pevensey Bay she said, 'I will tell the truth. I was told to say the lies, the child is mine'. She then got her tin box and the certificate of the registration of birth.

The police said that it would take 7-8 minutes to walk from Pevensey Villas to where the child was found and 19 minutes to walk from Pevensey Halt to where it was found and back again.

When the police from Pevensey Bay went to see the woman in Aberdeen and told her that they had found a dead baby the woman said, 'It was my child found drowned at Pevensey Bay. I put it in the water the same morning as i left for Aberdeen.

When the baby was born it was nicknamed, 'The Little Berkshire Pig', because of all the hair on it, however, the baby found on the beach did not have the type of hair described.

The woman was acquitted by the jury of murder and released.


*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.


see Aberdeen Journal - Tuesday 30 June 1908

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Friday 05 June 1908

see Aberdeen Journal - Tuesday 30 June 1908