BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

18 June 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
Legacies - South-West Scotland

BBC Homepage
 UK Index
 South-West Scotland
Your stories
 Site Info
 BBC History
 Where I Live

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

Myths and Legends
Frontispiece to the Newgate Calendar
Sawney Bean: Scotland's Hannibal Lecter

Alexander “Sawney” Bean was purportedly born in East Lothian, far away from the remote Ayrshire coast where he achieved infamy. The son of a hedger and ditcher, he followed in his father’s footsteps, but soon discovered an aversion to hard work and absconded from his parents to Ayrshire. It was here he fell in with a woman as disinclined to honest living as he was, Black Agnes Douglas.

Legend puts it that they had settled in Ballantrae until Black Agnes was denounced as a witch, whereupon the couple left the town and took up inhabitance in a remote cave on the coast north of Ballantrae. This cave was to become their home for the next twenty-five years, as they began their murderous career. Their plan involved ambushing travellers on the road, robbing them of their possessions, murdering them and eating their remains.

Pages: [ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ] Next

Your comments

Print this page
Look back into the past using the Legacies' archives. Find nearly 200 tales from around the country in our collection.

Read more >
Internet Links
Scottish Archives Network
–Visit the knowledge base for information on Sawney Bean
Gazetteer for Scotland
Local history weblinks from Ayrshire libraries
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Web sites.
South Yorkshire
The rotting corpse of Spence Broughton
Related Stories
Witch finder general
Spring Heeled Jack
The gibbetting of Spence Broughton

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy