Puritan Ghosts on Magpie Lane
20 April 2021 (Updated 2 September 2021)
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.
- 'Oxfordshire Ghost Stories' by Richard Holland (Bradwell Books, 2013, ISBN: 9781902674735)
- 'Oxfordshire Stories of the Supernatural' by Betty Puttick (Countryside Books, 2003, ISBN: 9781853068119_