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Lyneham Longbarrow

Lyneham Longbarrow

Photo by Paul Mobbs, licenced byCC BY-NC-SA, via fraw.org.uk

A Headless Encounter at Lyneham Longbarrow

14 December 2021

In An Oxfordshire Christmas, Mollie Harris recounts a hair-raising encounter that a man reported having one dark winter night while walking home from Chipping Norton to Burford.

Making friends at the Sarsden Pillars

The encounter took place just as the man was passing what Harris calls the 'Sarsden Pillars'. I assume this is a reference to the standing stones at Lyneham Longbarrow, which can be seen from the A361 Chipping Norton to Burford road just to the southeast of the village of Sarsden.

As the man was passing this spot another man suddenly came up alongside him in the dark and for a while, the two walked and chatted together.


They carried along in this fashion quite happily for some distance, until they passed a cottage and a woman came out carrying a lantern. As the light of the lantern fell on his travelling companion the man glanced around to get a better look at him and was shocked to see that the man was carrying his head under his arm!

On realising that he had been spotted, the headless figure promptly disappeared!

This story raises a lot of questions! What did the two men speak about? Who was the mysterious stranger, and was his voice coming from the direction of where his head should have been, or from under his arm?


  1. 'An Oxfordshire Christmas', by David Green (ed) (Alan Sutton Publishing, 1992, ISBN: 9780750901512)