Ghost hunting at Edgehill
Not far from Banbury, in the village of Edgehill is the site of the first major battle of the English Civil War. It was here that, on 23 October 1642, Charles I's army of about 14,500 men confronted the parliamentary troops, about the same in number, under the Earl of Essex. The battle opened the road to London for Charles, but he did not take advantage of this opportunity. Many men had been killed in the battle and the site is supposed to be haunted: witnesses speak of strange noises, as if of battle going on and apparitions, like men on horseback. So one night we decided to try our luck and check the reports by ourselves. When it got dark, Alan, Lin and I drove to the Castle Inn, whose tower, erected a hundred years after the battle, marks its site. In the bars you can see many paraphernalia of the battle: muskets, halberds, breastplates, maps and paintings. We found a table in the garden on the edge of the hill to get a good view of the valley below and waited. We had good fun, talking and telling jokes, but inside felt a little apprehensive. At one moment, when Alan went to fetch the drinks, Lin and I heard something like a prolonged sound of drums. We were quite disappointed when Alan told us it was just the sound a train made, carrying far in the valley. Later, however, just before we thought nothing was going to happen we heard some loud clinking sounds of metal against metal in the shrubbery, once and then again, which would be hard to explain. Unless those were members of the Sealed Knot, the English Civil War re-anactment society, who meet there every year, practising. But why so late at night? The two armies had broken off the fight as the night fell.
The shrubbery obscures the field a lot so we couldn't see far and noticed nothing unusual, not even later when we tried to approach the field from below. But I wouldn't give up, the Castle Inn can put you up in one of the rooms in the tower. Who knows what you might see and hear from there?