Originally published June 2006
Common Leys Farm is a 500 year old, Grade II listed Tudor Farmhouse with views over the Bernwood Forest and comprises of a selection of cottages and stabling around the large courtyard. It is a working farm, restaurant, B&B, campsite and offers self catering accommodation. Roman and Saxon sites have been found near by so the area has a long history of human occupation and the orchard is said to contain the foundations of a tiny Roman Catholic Church with the rest of the farmland extending to 38 acres of Waterperry Common. It is very rural, yet only a short distance from Oxford. Of note, it was once owned by Magdalene College in Oxford who used to rent the farm out to provide an income. When the Bubonic Plague hit Oxford in the spring and summer of 1665, spreading rapidly from parish to parish, many students were moved out to the isolation of the farm to protect them from its fatal ravages. In more recent times it was the home of singer and entertainer, Tommy Steel.
As always Marlene has no idea as to the location to be investigated before arrival other than county or town and date. We travelled up to Oxford on the day before the investigation and stayed in the closest motel to the location. This was just as well as our journey took almost four hours due the volume of holiday traffic, forgetting that this was the first day of school holidays for many parents.
We usually spend the following morning sight seeing and familiarising ourselves with the route to the location. On this occasion we failed miserably at both tasks, although we did have a very nice drive through the Oxfordshire countryside. If you ever visit this location yourself, ignore online street maps and your satellite navigation, they will put you on Waterperry Common, but in someone else’s garden! The actual location is off from the lane on the eastern side of the common as we eventually discovered and as we found that evening, the farmhouse is a further three quarters of a mile further up the drive from that. We had planned to visit Oxford city centre, but by the time we got back storm clouds had gathered and after a short drive around looking for parking we decided to go back to motel via Tesco to pick up supplies for the night ahead. What a stroke of luck! By the time we arrived at Tesco, the hardest rain that I had ever driven in had just started to fall and an amazing four inch wave rushed towards the car from the car park.
After a very sticky afternoon trying to sleep in the very hot motel room we arrived at Common Leys Farm just before 7pm under, thankfully, clearer and fresher skies. Martin was our team leader for this event ably assisted by Kelly and Kevin. By 8pm we were gathered together with our guests in the lounge of the timber frame barn that has been converted to self catering accommodation and after the welcome, everyone introduced themselves and provided a brief outline as to their interest in the paranormal.
Our post investigation workshop was on the subject of psychic art and inspired writing, which, combined with an initial guided visualisation, seems to get most participants in the right frame of mind for the investigation ahead and proved quite interesting for a number of people who had not been able to meditate previously. On this occasion and due to the limited hours of darkness available at this time of year, Marlene did not provide her usual Mediumship demonstration and we went straight into the equipment briefing and pre-investigation buffet which was kindly provided by our host. As we began our lit walk around with Marlene, we were joined by Allie Jones, who is both owner and chef at this excellent venue. Not only does she have a good knowledge of the location, but is sensitive herself. This enabled her to provide confirmation of many of the things that the participants and Marlene picked up during the evening and in previous investigations.
Our first vigil was in the orchard with the whole group, followed by three further vigils with the party split into three groups locating in the two main dining rooms of the farmhouse, (after the dinner guests had left!) the barn and studio. The investigation was notable for the corroborated information picked up by a number of the guests rather than any activity. Possibly this was due in part to recent weather conditions as Common Leys Farm is normally well known for its level of paranormal activity.
As has now become our tradition, Marlene provided numerous pieces of information to Paranormal Tours before our arrival at the location much of which was confirmed by Allie.
Being shown Washbrooks Farm (A local farm centre) so could be a Tourist Attraction or both. Feel that it is in a rural area as Washbrooks is. Also see Ditchling Common (A local common and nature reserve) so could be near a common. Feel that there are areas of this site where we will be distinctly unwelcome.
It feels as if there have been deaths here – either by sacrifice or murder, but feel as if magick is involved here. There is a malevolence in the energy.
Thomas, Lizzie and Mary are all linked to this place. Also the name Palmer.
Part stone built, part white washed. A well. 15th – 16th century, but other buildings on the site from 1349 (that date is significant) [not confirmed so may require further research] Derelict building there to [being reconstructed at present] Morris (Maurice) owned a lot of land around here. Hanging and / or suicide / both. Someone hung for stealing. Shown around by owner. William links with owner. Man who had a stroke – left side of body. Lost the ability to speak properly. Up stairs and turn left, room on right with nasty energy. People came here for medicine/herbal remedies.
Further information was provided, but unfortunately our copy was lost when packing up.
Well another fascinating investigation with Paranormal Tours!
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