Ghosts of Mapledurham House
The beautiful Elizabethan manor house at Mapledurham is believed to be haunted by a former owner who murdered one of his servants in a fit of anger and then attempted to hide the body.
A hidden body?
Mapledurham House has a number of priest holes (secret hiding places where persecuted Catholics could hide) dating back to before the Catholic emancipation, so there would have been no shortage of places where the murderous owner could have hidden the body.
It's not known whether the man got away with this crime during his lifetime, but if his ghost is anything to go by, he may have been tortured with guilt. His ghost has reportedly been seen dragging the body of the poor servant along the floor, presumably re-enacting his attempts to hide the body!
The suspicious death of Louisa Parsons
The village of Mapledurham was the scene of another suspected murder in 1854 when Louisa Parsons, the maid at the Vicarage in the village, died suddenly after complaining of severe stomach pains.
The previous day she had eaten a meal with Ann Varndell, the sister of Louisa's lover Henry. The local doctor suspected arsenic poisoning, and many expressed the suspicion that Ann Varndell was responsible for poisoning Louisa.
However, the inquest did not uncover enough proof to conclusively link Ann Varndell to the death, so Louisa was recorded as having died of 'natural causes'. More details of these events can be found at the links below.
Find out more
- 'Oxfordshire Ghost Stories' by Richard Holland (Bradwell Books, 2013, ISBN: 9781902674735)
- How picturesque Mapledurham was a murder scene in 1854 (www.getreading.co.uk)