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Map of Langley circa 1919.

Map of Langley circa 1919.

Ghosts of Langley Palace Hunting Lodge

12 October 2021

Between the 15th and 17th centuries, the village of Langley near Leafield was home to Langley Palace, a royal hunting lodge visited by the king and his friends when hunting in the nearby Wychwood forest.

In Oxfordshire Ghosts, Joe Robinson suggests that its history as a royal palace may be connected with a ghost seen at a nearby cottage.

A secret passage?

The ghost was encountered by a woman named Bette Hogben who grew up in one of the cottages at a nearby farm. According to Bette, the haunting started after her father uncovered an underground door in the garden while digging up a tree stump.

The door opened into a foul-smelling dark passage, and the family decided to postpone exploring it until the smell had dispersed. That evening, Bette's mother was in the garden hanging up washing when she witnessed the figure of a middle-aged woman walking out of the tunnel.

The ghostly woman with an anguished expression

The ghostly woman was described as middle-aged, with clear blue eyes, a wide mouth, aquiline nose and brown hair streaked with grey visible under her hood.

However, the most noticeable thing about the woman was the look of intense anguish on the woman's face. This feeling seemed to rub off on those who saw her. The three members of Bette's family who later witnessed the ghost all reported that a feeling of despair and hopelessness washing over them when they encountered the woman.

The ghost is exorcised

The family were all in agreement that whoever the ghostly woman was, her unhappiness was connected to the fact that the tunnel and door had been uncovered and opened.

This proved correct, as after the Hobgen family resealed the door and covered it over with soil, the woman's ghost was never seen again.


  1. 'Oxfordshire Ghosts' by Joe Robinson (Wharncliffe Press, 2000, ISBN: 9781871647762)