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A typical Victorian bedroom, complete with wardrobe

A typical Victorian bedroom, complete with wardrobe

Photo: "A Quiet Space 9564" by Thorbard, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, via Flickr

A Haunted Wardrobe at Carterton Manor

4 July 2021 (Updated 20 September 2022)

"FOR SALE--Haunted wardrobe.--Advertiser will be glad to deliver same to anybody interested, complete with ghost, which would also no doubt feel more at home if welcomed.--Write Mrs. B. Barclay, Carterton Manor, Oxon."

So read an advert that appeared in London's Morning Post on August 19, 1937. The advert unsurprisingly garnered a lot of interest and Mrs. Barley was forced to elaborate. She had acquired the wardrobe at an estate sale in Berkshire 3 years earlier, but ever since installing it in her house had been troubled by phenomena.

Knockings were heard all over the house, and the doors of the wardrobe opened and closed of their own accord, even if tied shut with string. On one occasion when Mrs. Barcley was examining the wardrobe the door flew open so violently that it smashed a nearby mirror.

The haunting escalates

Soon Mrs. Barley, her brother and her secretary all reported seeing the figure of an elderly man in old-fashioned clothing stepping out of the wardrobe, and walking through the house. On one occasion the ghost reportedly kicked her butler in the shins!

Faced with these alarming events, Mrs. Barkley's staff began to resign, and Mrs. Barkley was forced to sleep outside in order to get some peace at night. The wardrobe had to go, and despairing of finding any local buyers, Mrs. Barkley placed her now-famous advert.

The wardrobe finds a buyer

There was a flood of interested correspondence, but the wardrobe was eventually purchased by Mr. Rundle, the landlord of an inn near Clanfield. Mr. Rundle did not believe in the supernatural, but was in need of a good large wardrobe! Despite his skepticism, Mr. Rundle soon reported strange occurrences. The wardrobe would shake of its own accord and sometimes produce banging sounds.

Mr. Rundle disassembled the wardrobe in an attempt to identify the cause of the disturbances. He found nothing, but on reassembling the wardrobe the phenomena abruptly ceased, and Mr. Rundle found himself in the possession of a perfectly normal Victorian wardrobe!

It's hard to know what to make of the above accounts, though some have pointed out that while Mrs. Berkley reportedly purchased the wardrobe for £10, she sold it to Mr. Rundle for £50, which only goes to show that ghosts sell!

Notes on the location

The exact location of 'Carterton Manor' is somewhat mysterious. For the attached map location I have gone with Priory Manor Farm, Manor Road at nearby Brize Norton. If you have any more precise information about the location mentioned then please get in touch!