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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

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.


  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_