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Map of Church Handborough, c1919

Map of Church Handborough, c1919

The Ghost of Jane Scalpepper at Church Handborough

18 August 2021 (Updated 20 September 2022)

The Old Rectory at Church Handborough is believed to be haunted by the ghost of Jane Scalpepper, who met a bad end there in the mid 17th century.

She died in a pond which at the time stood in the rectory garden. Whether it was murder or an accident is disputed, but her ghost is said to still haunt the spot, despite attempts at exorcism by various residents of the rectory.

Jane's ghost can also be encountered on the old footpath between Church Handborough and Eynsham, a route she often took in life. If you are hoping to meet her, the best time of the year to try is apparently during the month of April!

If you do try and meet her, be prepared for a hair-raising experience. Joe Robinson's 'Oxfordshire Ghosts' includes the account of two farm labourers who met Jane on her regular footpath route. They describe her ghost as dripping wet, and when she turned to look at them they were horrified to see she only had half a face!


  1. 'Oxfordshire Ghosts' by Joe Robinson (Wharncliffe Press, 2000, ISBN: 9781871647762)