ePrivacy and GPDR Cookie Consent by Cookie Consent
Skip to content
Watch Folly, Ipsden

Watch Folly, Ipsden

Photo: Andrew Smith, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ghost of a Hanged Shepherd Boy, Ipsden

22 May 2021 (Updated 30 January 2023)

The low rise topped with trees known as Watch Folly sits just off the A4074 in between Ipsden and Little Stoke, not far from the banks of the River Thames.

The hill is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a shepherd boy who was dutifully tending to his flock when he encountered a gang of men who attempted to steal his sheep.

Rather than risk capture and prosecution, these men seized the poor lad and hanged him from an oak tree that stood on the top of the hill. The ghost of the shepherd boy has haunted the hill ever since.

Roger Long in Curious Oxfordshire adds that there was a belief that anyone who slept under 'Watch Folly tree' (the tree behind which the poor shepherd boy was hiding) would be plagued by terrible dreams in which they would see the gruesome murder re-enacted.

Long also mentions rumours that the spot was a meeting place for witches!


  1. 'Oxfordshire Ghost Stories' by Richard Holland (Bradwell Books, 2013, ISBN: 9781902674735)
  2. 'Haunted Britain' by Anthony D.Hippisley Coxe (Pan Books, 1973, ISBN: 0330243284)
  3. 'Curious Oxfordshire' by Roger Long (Sutton Publishing, 2008, ISBN: 9780750949576)