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Haunted History of Claude Du Vall

The Holt Hotel is famously named one of Great Britain’s top ten haunted hotels in Oxford.

The hotel is said to be haunted by the ghost of legendary highwayman Claude Du Vall. When you see a shadowy figure upon the stairs or hear the pounding of hoofs, that’s the restless ghost of Claude Du Vall. His ghostly spirit is said to favour room 3 in particular so, be sure to stay there if you want to meet him. If you’re brave enough, then read on this ghouling tale history.

Claude was a notorious murderer and highwayman, who reigned terror on the Oxford Road. He enjoyed spending his time at The Holt Hotel, which was a very busy coaching inn in the mid-seventeenth century.

Born in 1643, this French aristocrat came to England during the Restoration in attendance of the Duke of Richmond. Years later, Claude had a loyal henchman and began the lucrative business of highway robbery during difficult times.

In typical French style, he had an eye for the ladies. Thus, he dressed in a curly wig, black hat and eye mask to rob the husband of a lady who caught his eye. The lady in question would be allowed to keep her ornaments if she consented to dance with Claude accompanied by the henchman on his mandolin. Due to Du Vall’s flamboyant lifestyle and his popularity with the ladies, many women pleaded for his life. His chivalry and handsome appearances were not enough to save him from the scaffolds.

On the 21st January 1670, Du Vall was only 27 years old when he was hanged to death at Tyburn, in London, England. He wrote quite a long death speech before his passing. Claude Du Vall was buried in Covent Garden beneath a marble stone. His inscription read as follows:

“Here lies Du Vall: Reader if male thou art. Look to thy purse; if female, to thy heart. Much havock has he madeof both: for all men he made stand, and women he made fall. The second conqueror of the Norman race, Knights to his arms did yield, and ladies to his face: old Tiburon’s glory, England’s illustrious thief, Du Vall the ladies joy, Du Vall the ladies grief.”

Click below to read the full hotel's story. 

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