The Legend of Sawney Bean

The Legend of Sawney Bean

This is the story of Sawney Bean

A man who lived by the sea

With his wife and children they shared a cave

Back in the sixteenth century

Forteen children shared this dismal dwelling

Twenty two more would follow as well

Cause’ they all had incestuous relationships

That would add to this family from hell

Now the life this clan lived was very hard

Because food it was in short supply

So he robbed any passing travellers

Then he killed them, and I’ll tell you why

You see the Bean family, they were cannibals

Human flesh was their cravings and perversions

For many years they hid in their cave

Where they butchered more than one thousand persons

But those missing travellers had kinsfolk

And soon search parties would come on the scene

Where the cave and Bean clan where discovered

It was the end for the evil Sawney Bean

So it was hung drawn and quartered for Sawney

And his wife shared a similar end

The men were cut up, the woman burned alive

A stout message the townsfolk would send

But lets travel back to four hundred years

And be careful before you condemn

Because how would you act if you lived in that cave

Do you think you could turn out like them?

Gerald J Tate.

Sawney Bean

Sawney Bean is a very famous character in history. He and his incestuous family killed and cannibalized hundreds of men, women and children in Scotland in the dark middle ages.

Swaney Bean

Although little is known about this fiend it is said that he hailed from East Lothian and was a tanner by trade. The second half of his life is better known. He moved to Ayrshire in the mid-13th century and was wed.

The Cave

Sawney and his wife moved into a huge damp sea cave. It was called Benane and it had many, many miles of cold hard rock tunnels that crisscrossed the land deep beneath the local’s feet.

Also, twice a day at high tide, the mouth of the cave would flood making the cavern a fabulous hideout from unwanted attention.

The best part of the cave was the many side caverns and tunnels. It was the perfect place to raise a grimy incestuous family, a family of brothers impregnating sisters and Uncles impregnating their Nieces.

It was a true Sodom on the coast of Scotland and the depravity lasted over 20 years.

You see, old Sawney had to make some money to support his growing family, so he fell to robbing the travelers that used a nearby trail to get too and from a town that was close by.

Sawney’s family not only loved to prey on unsuspecting travelers, but, they also loved their tender meat…

they also loved their tender meat


Yes, the family was also cannibals.

The Sawney clan lived for many years in their dreary domicile, eating their fill of long pig and filling their coffers with ill-gotten goods. Until, in their sloth they got a little too greedy and a lot too careless.

They attacked a young couple and their small child in a stroller. The problem was that this young man was a skilled fighter and was able to defend himself and loved ones until another group of hikers stumbled upon the scene.

Startled and scared the ghoulish group of goons ran to the safety of the cave that they called home.

There was a hue and a cry for justice to be done. A search party was organized that very day. But, try as they might they could not find the family.

The reason they could not be found is the fact the cave entrance was flooded twice a day from the tide and so it was overlooked. However, the townspeople were not satisfied with this horrific situation and demanded justice from King James I.

Capture Of Cannibal Sawney Bean

The King himself headed out with his posse to take this serial killer to the ground and destroy him and his creepy family.

This time the family cave was found and the King and his men were repulsed beyond belief. For stacked around the gloomy caves were piles of human cordwood and grisly body parts were strewn everywhere.

Even the hardest soldiers were very sick to their stomachs at this sight.

After, a short brutal fight the family was subdued and taken to Edinburgh to stand in front of the King himself to be judged.

Their crimes were judged to be so heinous that normal justice was not enough so the men of the family were cut into pieces and then the women were burned like witches.

Article Written By Top Site Contributor, Frank Statler


6 comments on “The Legend of Sawney Bean

  1. There are so many extreme variations on this story that it’s hard to believe it’s really true. Even in this article, it’s spelled “Swaney” and “Sawney”. Facts don’t seem to matter very much.

    If this actually gets posted I will be very surprised. There’s something wrong with the system.

    1. This one’s down to Chinese whispers of the Celtic kind Fred – the facts continually change due to the age (anywhere between the 13th and 16th centuries – nobody knows for sure!). I did not write this article, it was from a contributor, but I remember learning about it in school (Wales – there’s the Celtic link!!!).
      These types of reports will constantly change due to word of mouth and age etc – we don’t even know the exact century involved! 🙂

  2. Back when I was in primary school the teacher told one kid a story, and got everyone in the class to repeat it to the next kid along. Of course by the time it got to the last kid, it bore no resemblance to the original! This Sawney Bean (no relation to Mr Bean I suppose) legend sounds like it’s been embellished and magnified for maximum shock value as it’s been passed down through the generations. Who knows what it’s really based on, or when it happened?

    Now I know that Google Chrome on a Windows 7 laptop successfully posts here, so I’ll use that in future. 🙂

    1. Ah that’s good news – the comments seem to be coming in thick and fast every day, don’t know why this problem is effecting specific visitors? Glad it’s working again for you!

  3. All history is only the writers version so with that in mind ALL history can and very often be not so truthful and only the specific writers version I like to believe that there is an element of truth here. A young 11 year old (my hairdressers son), recently asked me about Sawny his mother was shocked and amazed that there could be any truth in it so young Jamie and myself are off to the library and then off on our travels to the cave, true or not this story seems to have ignited interest for as many centuries as its been around personally I cannot wait to sink my teeth into this bizzare event and so project Sawny Bean has started.

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