ePrivacy and GPDR Cookie Consent by Cookie Consent
Skip to content
A photo of Stonor Park circa 1981.

A photo of Stonor Park circa 1981.

Spooks and Stone Circles at Stonor Park

26 February 2021 (Updated 11 December 2023)

It is claimed that Stonor Park and House is built on the site of a prehistoric stone circle or henge, so it is perhaps unsurprising that there is an air of mystery about the place.

Ghosts at Stonor House and Park

Parts of Stonor House date back over eight centuries, so the house has had plenty of time to acquire its haunted reputation. In his book Haunted Britain (1973), Anthony D.Hippisley Coxe relates a number of supernatural experiences at Stonor House.

These include the sound of voices coming from empty rooms, the sensation of hands touching your face in bed, and repeated footsteps leading down the stairs and into a room where a cupboard door unaccountably opens itself.

It's not just the house that has something strange about it. Dogs are said to act strangely in the garden behind the house, their hair standing on end as they growl and back away from something that only they can see. Hippisley Coxe also mentions that there are 'strange animal smells' reported in the vicinity of the stone circle in the park.

The Stone Circle at Stonor Park

Some sources, including Stonor Park's own website, claim that the park was built on the site of an earlier site of pagan worship, and visitors today will see a stone circle, not dissimilar to the more famous Rollright Stones, standing in a prominent position in the park.

Sarsens and Puddingstones in Stonor Park - geograph.org.uk - 4922353

Sarsens and Puddingstones in Stonor Park by David Kemp, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

However, whether this stone circle should be considered the 'real deal', a genuine neolithic monument, is a matter of some debate. While the circle is undoubtedly constructed using the distinctive sarsens and puddingstones that give the valley of Stonor its name, many consider it to be much more recent, a mere 17th century folly arranged to satisfy the aesthetic sensibilities of one of the park's wealthy former owners.

In spite of the evidence of landscaping, some still claim that the circle was once a genuine one, and has merely been repositioned slightly. A press release issued by Stoner Park in 1981 announces that the stones had recently been repositioned to their current locations by the landscape architect Edward Piper, and states that the original location of the stones was 'close by'. The same press release also quotes Robert Plot (1640-1696), 1st Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum, who praised the quality of the stones in his book Natural History of Oxfordshire. The press release also notes that one of the stones features on the medieval crest of the Stonor family which features a lark plucking a ruby from one of the stones!

The chapel at Stonor Park

The chapel at Stonor Park. Credit: Photo by bobba_dwj, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr.

A large sarsen stone can also be seen built into the walls of the nearby chapel, and some point to this as evidence of a Christian monument constructed on the site of an earlier pagan one. However, the 12th century builders who originally constructed the chapel may have simply been taking advantage of the availability of the large stones found in the valley as building materials.


  1. 'Haunted Britain', By Anthony D.Hippisley Coxe (Pan Publishing, 1973, ISBN: 0330243284)