The Oxford Arms - 'The Unknown Monk'
This pleasant historic town inn looks very welcoming to a visitor, with a charming 17th century timber-frame structure and a fine period interior.
Inside, the pub has all the ingredients that you would associate with a typical haunted pub. It dates back to the 1600's and has had many different uses over the centuries. Underneath the old wooden floor of the pub is a blocked tunnel that is thought to lead to the former Blackfriars monastery, parts of which still stand nearby.
The inn was known to have been a popular bakery before it became a public house which was originally, and rather pleasantly, known as 'The Vine Tree Tavern.' Reputedly the inn took the name 'The Oxford Arms' from another public house which was situated further down the street around the year 1840 under the tenancy of one Mary Ann Ward.
One of the pub's ghosts is that of a little girl who is said to have been killed in a kitchen fire there. The date of this fire is unfortunately not known but more than likely happened when the building was in use as a bakery. Whether there is any truth in this story remains to be discovered.
Documented occupants of the inn have included William Bull in 1850; a William Lane in 1891; and a Mrs. F .Williams who was licensee in 1937.
The Oxford Arms has many interesting ghost stories, the best known being the sighting of a ghostly monk that was once seen by many people in the area of the bar. It is claimed that the monk appeared rather misty and it?s feet seemed to be below the pub's floor level, which can suggest that the monk was perhaps walking through the tunnel or across an earlier floor level. The ghostly monk was seen walking through the bar area in the direction of the front window before he vanished before their eyes.
Other ghostly occurrences include light switches and electrical appliances frequently being turned on and off, and the optics on the bar falling off randomly, apparently of their own accord.
There is also a haunted bedroom upstairs where a wardrobe door frequently slams shut on its own. Bangs are often heard coming from within this piece of furniture.
In the pub's cellar the gas switches have been known to turn on and off when the cellar is known to be empty, and there is often an uneasy atmosphere in this cold low-ceilinged basement. On one occasion a dog refused to enter the cellar and only stayed in the doorway, so evidently there is more than meets the eye to this local public house.
Without a doubt this is a very historic and mysterious building and many of its stories are still to be unearthed.