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The Old Bank Hotel, as viewed from Catte Street.

The Old Bank Hotel, as viewed from Catte Street.

Photo: "19th October 2011 - DSC07268" by Dave Hitchborne is licensed with CC BY-NC 2.0, via Flickr.

Puritan Ghosts on Magpie Lane

The building on the corner of the High Street and Magpie Lane was once a stately townhouse, but it has been through a number of changes of use over the years.

For a while it was a mercers and drapers business, before becoming a bank, then part of the Old Bank Hotel, and now the Quad Restaurant and Bar.

But one thing has not changed: the building is still haunted!

Died of a broken heart?

During the English Civil War the property was the home of one Prudence Burcote. She was a Puritan and supporter of Oliver Cromwell, a dangerous thing to be in Oxford when King Charles I had moved his royal court there. Worse still, she fell in love with a Royalist officer!

It's not recorded how this relationship ended, but clearly not well and some have suggested that Prudence died of a broken heart.

Sightings of Prudence's ghost

Prudence's ghost was witnessed by the owners when the building was still a private residence. She was described as being of medium height with a very sallow complexion and wearing a long brown dress with a white fichu. Prudence was also known to turn the electric lights on, and to move sherry glasses from one room to another.

While the building was a bank the staff reported hearing the sound of footsteps and the rustling of skirts when nobody was present.

Find out more

  1. 'Oxfordshire Ghost Stories' by Richard Holland (Bradwell Books, 2013, ISBN: 9781902674735)
  2. 'Oxfordshire Stories of the Supernatural' by Betty Puttick (Countryside Books, 2003, ISBN: 9781853068119_

Quad Restaurant and Bar, Magpie Lane, Oxford

Region: Oxford City

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