Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/81

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Collectanea. 65

Stray Notes on Oxfordshire Folklore. (Continued from Vol. XIII., p. 295.)

III. Ghosts.

Mrs. Hannah Wells of Bampton, now eighty-one years of age, tells the following tales : When she was a girl of fourteen a farmer, called George Andrews, was riding along the Clanfield Road past Cowleys Corner when he passed a sow with a litter of pigs. These made such a noise it frightened the horse, and in trying to stop him the farmer saw what appeared to him to be a wool-pack, which went rolling over and over along the fields from the Corner, till it at last vanished into the fish-pond near the Lady Well at Ham Court. About the same time a shepherd, called Charles Taylor, had been setting his fold. When coming along this road he turned to look for his dog and saw that he was in company of a man, quite naked. He was much frightened, but the naked man vanished. Many different " things " had been seen at Cowleys Corner, and the old folks, as Hannah Wells remembers, used to go and dig in the bank by the road- side, thinking there were money and things hidden there, but nothing was ever found within her memory. — (May, 1894.)

[Dr. J. A. Giles, writing in 1848,^ says that Cowleas Corner was formerly the place where, " at dead of night and by torch- light," suicides used to be buried. " Apparitions " were seen there, which sometimes "vanished in the shape of a calf, sheep, or other rustic animal ; " another time " an old man " appeared to a belated traveller, " dressed in a low-crowned hat and a light-coloured foul-weather great-coat, such as the shepherds of this neighbourhood are known to wear." This apparition, like the last, kept always the same distance from the observer, and at length turned into a field near the Manor House (otherwise known as Ham Court) and took the shape of a calf. Another traveller saw " something like a flash of lightning " pass " rapidly before his eyes. He had no time to observe its form, in con- sequence of the swiftness of its motion. A loud noise followed, and the ghost .... glided backwards and forwards with the

' History of BaniptoH, 2nd ed., pp. 69-72. VOL. XIV. F