The Headless Horseman of Towersey
The somewhat macabre emblem of the Towersey Morris troop is a headless horseman, inspired by a ghostly legend dating back to the English Civil War.
Fleeing from battle
According to the legend, a member of the Royalist cavalry had fled from a nearby skirmish and was attempting to keep a low profile as he made his way across the countryside.
The cavalier took refuge in a barn near Church Farm in Towersey, but his horse neighed, drawing the attention of the locals. The locals apparently favoured the Parliamentary cause and the cavalier was killed, either by beheading or by being shot.
An unmarked grave
The cavalier was buried in an unmarked grave beneath a large slab in the churchyard at St Catherine's Church.
The ghost of the headless cavalier can reportedly be seen riding his ghostly horse between the barn where he was killed and his burial place in the churchyard. According to the Towersey Morris website, he can also be seen riding down Manor Road at midnight on midsummer's eve.
Find out more
- 'Folklore of Oxfordshire' by Christine Bloxham (Tempus Publishing, 2005, ISBN: 9780752436647)
- Towersey Morris - our emblem (towerseymorrismen.org.uk)