Spooky Happenings in Banbury


Halloween is almost upon us once again, but if you can spare a moment away from the fun of carving pumpkins, getting creative with face paints and ripping old clothes to transform into zombies, we have a few eerie tales of haunted local buildings to tell you.

Banbury has a few good local haunts (literally). Oxfordshire as a county has many.
The first we want to tell you about is historic Whately Hall, situated right by the Banbury Cross. Now a Mercure hotel, with sweeping gardens and plenty of modern features, it’s difficult to picture it back in the 17th century. It has tonnes of original features and charm as reminders of its age though.

Now, this is where things get a little spooky…it has hidden staircases which were found during a past renovation. Room 52 also has a priest hole, and a secret staircase is said to lead from here down to the room below. This meant the priest could flee quickly if he wanted to. But, where could he go? Well, down in the cellars there was apparently access to a maze of tunnels running underneath Banbury!

There is also rumoured to be a ghost living there. The ghost of Father Bernard is said to roam the stairs and gardens. It is thought he died many years ago in a fall on one of the hidden staircases. Whilst he might make you jump if you saw him, he’s not a scary fella. Word is that he smiles, laughs and sings whilst he moves around.

It’s not just hotels that host ghosts between their walls...

Ye Olde Reindeer Inn is said to have one as well. It’s one of the oldest buildings in town, with a history dating back to around 1560. The Inn is thought to have been the headquarters for Cromwell in the early Civil War years and its ghost is a Cavalier. Sightings have reported the Cavalier to appear complete; plumed hat, lace ruffles and all! He likes to hang around on the upper floors and in the globe room. He hasn’t had a reported sighting in years now though – why not head there for a delicious meal and keep your eyes peeled in case he returns?

Shops aren’t unaffected either by mysterious activity.

Back in 2003 the Co-Op Travel shop on White Lion Walk was investigated for a poltergeist who enjoyed locking toilet doors, sending files flying off shelves and creating the smell of burnt toast!
Have you ever experienced any peculiar happenings in Banbury? We would love to hear your stories, share them with us via email or social media. Happy Halloween!

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