Ghosts at the Highway Inn, Burford
9 June 2023
The Highway Inn on Burford's High Street has only been a hotel since 1922, but the building dates back to much earlier with parts of it having been built in the 15th century. It would be almost remiss of a building with this historic pedigree to be without its own resident ghost, and the Highway Inn does not disappoint in this regard.
The ghost of a Victorian lady
According to June Lewis-Jones in Folklore of the Cotswolds, the ghost takes the form of a young Victorian woman in a frilled white apron who has been encountered drifting up or down the stars. There doesn't seem to be any suggestions as to the woman's identity or why her spirit lingers in the building.
A history of Highwaymen?
Lewis-Jones refers to the inn as 'The Highwayman Inn', a more excitingly-disreputable name than the one it has today, but I can't find any evidence that the inn has ever had this name. Lewis-Jones may be confusing it with a different inn of that name near Gloucester.
Burford's most infamous sons, the Dunsdon brothers, definitely indulged in highway robbery but the building would not have been a hostelry in their day, and in any case the nearby George Inn is known to have been their preferred haunt (in both senses of the word!).
However, the Highway Inn is not entirely without highwaymen connections. Lewis-Jones mentions that a previous owner of the building named James Hunt once had a run-in with some armed highwaymen on the road to Northleach but was apparently able to send the highwaymen packing!
- 'Folklore of the Cotswolds' by June Lewis-Jones (Tempus Publishing, 2006, ISBN: 9780752429304)