The haunted walls of Weston Manor Hotel tell a story of forbidden love, betrayal and untimely death, says RICK HALE
Weston Manor Hotel
Bicester, OX25 3QL
Following King Henry VIII’s suppression of the Catholic church, historically called the dissolution of the monasteries (1536-1541), it was common for monasteries and abbeys to be turned into homes.
And sometimes these homes and their owners inherited the ghosts that haunted those buildings.
Oxfordshire’s Weston Manor Hotel, despite being a charming luxury hotel, is no exception.
History Of Weston Manor Hotel
The recorded history of Weston Manor Hotel, extends back to the 11th century when it was a monastery founded during the Norman conquests.
The monastery was the seat of the Abbot of Osney’s bailiff.
Following the dissolution of the monasteries, the building was given to Lord Williams of Thame and his family resided there until 1589.
The Williams family was evicted when the Earl of Lincoln laid a violent siege on the house.
For many years the house changed hands and even hid Prince Rupert from Parliamentarian troops during the English Civil War.
The house remained in private ownership until 1940, when it was sold and converted into a hotel.
Up until that time, there had been no talk concerning ghosts prior to the building being a hotel.
Nevertheless, the renovations appeared to breathe new life into dormant psychic energy. And the ghost of “Mad Maude” was awakened.
The Tragic Tale Of Mad Maude
The story of Mad Maude is a tragic tale of forbidden love, betrayal and untimely death.
According to legend, Maude, was a young nun who had just taken her vows when she committed an unforgivable sin.
Maude had met a monk from a neighbouring monastery and struck up an affair with him.
One night, their forbidden affair was discovered when Maude was caught in the monk’s cell.
Maude and her lover were arrested and forced to stand trial.
During the trial the monk betrayed Maude saying she was the one who initiated the affair and was a vile seductress.
The monk was spared punishment and excommunicated. Maude, didn’t fare quite so well. The heartbroken young nun was sentenced to death.
A few days after the trial, Maude was tied to a stake and was set aflame. Maude died screaming to be spared her horrible fate.
Over the years the historicity of this legend has been heavily debated.
Nevertheless, staff and guests have reported experiences which seem to give credence to the authenticity of the story.
The room where Maude’s indiscretion was discovered is now the Oak Room, the finest room in the hotel.
Guests who have stayed in the room have reported a variety of unexplained activity.
The apparition of a young woman in a habit has been seen a few times. While others have reported the overwhelming sense of dread.
None of these experiences compare with what one special guest experienced in the 1970s.
In 1975, a representative of the British Tourist Authority, spent a night in the haunted Oak Room.
The following morning, he complained of being unable to sleep due to the feeling of intense heat enveloping his body.
Some believe he felt the heat of the flames that took Maude’s life centuries earlier.
What The Hotel Offers
Weston Manor Hotel is a picturesque country house hotel sitting on 12 acres of finely manicured grounds and gardens.
All rooms are en-suite and tastefully decorated with all the amenities you would come to expect from a luxury hotel.
Tea time is a popular pastime in the hotel’s award winning restaurant.
The hotel also offers wedding packages sure to make your special day truly memorable.
Out And About
The hotel is ideally located near several historic sites, as well as museums and art galleries.
If you’re thinking of booking a night in the very haunted Oak Room, make your reservation now and hope that you can stay the night with Mad Maude.