Poltergeist in Wiggins Yard, Burford
12 June 2023
In Folklore of the Cotswolds Katherine M. Briggs records a tale of apparent poltergeist activity so severe that it forced three families out of their homes in the same Burford street!
A ghost that moves house
The events took place in Wiggins Yard, a row of three cottages which once stood on the west side of Burford, somewhere between the High Street and Sheep Street. The haunting began in the cottage to the western end of the row, a house which fell into disrepair as nobody was willing to share their home with the ghost.
While most ghosts seem content to stay put in a single location, the ghost of Wiggins Yard apparently preferred company and so moved into the occupied house next door. There are scant details as to how the haunting manifested itself, but it was bad enough that the family living in the second cottage soon decided to leave. The ghost then moved into the next cottage along and that cottage was also abandoned as swiftly as the first two.
In the absence of anyone willing to occupy the cottages and share their home with a resident spook, all three cottages fell into disrepair and were eventually pulled down and Wiggins Yard is no more.
The ghost arrives at Burford High Street
The final chapter of this particular haunting takes place in a house on the High Street which was the closest to the row of haunted cottages. Here the ghost appears to have moved in as before, but this time confined itself to a single bedroom. This account was related to Katherine M. Briggs by a woman who lived there as a young girl and slept in the haunted bedroom.
The woman was tormented at night, first by unexplained noises then later by objects being thrown around and the unpleasant sensation of being pushed or pulled about. This paranormal activity was also experienced by the woman's brother, who slept in the room with her, and also their mother.
Somewhat disappointingly, the story ends here and it is not recorded how long the family endured the haunting. Briggs's contact does note that her father never experienced the haunting and remained sceptical about it, and the person who moved into the house after them never experienced anything that they didn't explain away as the noises of rats or similar.
- 'Folklore of the Cotswolds' by Katherine M. Briggs (Batsford Books, 1974, ISBN: 0713428317)