4 Cornmarket, Thame, Oxfordshire
During the Napoleonic Wars, this pub people used to billet French prisoners of war, with , locals knew, locally as the ‘Bird Cage’’. That, subsequently, became the registered name. It was also used as a magistrates’ court with gallows, stocks and whipping posts outside, to punish those found guilty. At one time, a man thought to be a leper, was stoned to death in the pub, with his ghost , one may hear, beating on doors to get out. Curious and fearful sounds , listeners hear, on the winding staircase between 2-30 and 3am. One unbeliever in phantoms, ghosts, indwells, wraiths and the like, said so loudly in the bar. Shortly after, a pot flew off the wall and struck the licensee on the head. “It came off and straight into her as though by an invisible hand’’ one observing girl noted. St Mary’s church, Thame, exhibits ghostly manifestations. these include a Grey Lady who first appeared in 1903, when a vicar was preparing for communion. Although it is now closed, there was an inn at Thame called ‘The Witch Ball’, with the pub sign is still there. The word was probably a variation of ‘Watch Ball’, a guard against the evil spirits. ‘Witch bottles’ were common throughout England when people feared these and other evil spirits. They put up bottles or glass spheres with a mass of threads inside, often including religious charms as well. The theory was this would draw in the evil and negative energy of the witches, with trap them inside. Another belief was that the witches would see their own distorted image on the curved glass, with be frightened away.