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"Cumnor Hill" by FlickrDelusions

"Cumnor Hill" by FlickrDelusions

Photo: "Cumnor Hill" by FlickrDelusions is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, via Flickr.

The Ghost of Old Martson at Botley

21 April 2021 (Updated 20 September 2022)

According to Richard Holland's Oxfordshire Ghost Stories, the area around Arnold's Way in Botley is haunted by yet another ghost associated with the English Civil War.

According to Holland a gentleman known as Old Martson (or possibly Marston) discovered that his wife was having an affair with one of Oliver Cromwell's men and killed her with an axe in a fit of jealous rage.

Ghosts of Botley

This reportedly happened in the vicinity of Arnold's Way, where the Matthew Arnold School now stands, which at the time of the civil war would have been mostly farmland. Whether the Martson's lived in this area, or whether Old Martson lured his wife to this isolated spot to do away with her is unclear.

Whether or not Old Martson was punished for his terrible crime is not recorded. Perhaps the fact that it is his restless spirit and not his wife's that haunts the area suggests he was tormented with guilt for what he had done, even after death?

This is one of a number of ghost stories stemming from romantic encounters during the English Civil War, such as the unhappy ghost of Prudence Burcote in Magpie Lane.


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