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University College Oxford

University College Oxford

Photo: Man Vyi, via Wikimedia Commons

The Ghost of Obadiah Walker

Room 1, staircase 8 at University College is believed to be haunted by the ghost of Obadiah Walker, who was Master of the college during the latter half of the 17th century.

A staunch Royalist

Walker was a staunch Royalist, and when the Parliamentary forces sieged and took control of Oxford in 1646, Walker was one of the many academics whose loyalty to the King saw them being expelled from their university positions. He returned to Oxford at the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and advised James II on affairs in Oxford.

When James II was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and fled England, Walker attempted to follow him. Unfortunately for Walker he only made it as far as Sittingbourne in Kent before being captured and returned to Oxford where he was imprisoned and later put on trial.

Walker dies at University College

Walker spent two years in prison but managed to avoid the death penalty. After being released he returned to University College where he no longer had a position but lived on what small charity the college could offer him.

His spirit was said to have been broken by the turbulent events of his life, and his unhappy spirit is said to still haunt the room in which he spent the final 10 years of his life.

Find out more

  1. 'Oxfordshire Ghost Stories' by Richard Holland (Bradwell Books, 2013, ISBN: 9781902674735)

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