The fire at the manor house was because the occupants had not helped at the time of the accident:


This one has not been substantiated:


Nothing has been found to suggest that Robert Langton Pearson did anything other than bend over backwards to be of assistance. His men were practically the first on the scene. His claim tells us that he provided clothing, blankets, rugs, wine and spirits, telegrams and messengers. His storerooms were used to hold the dead until the process of identification had been completed. His drawing room was used for the Coroner’s inquest on the 26 killed at the site of the accident.


By the time of the fire in 1887 the manor had different tenancy, it had been subdivided into two tenancies, a farmer and Messrs J and B New, paper manufacturers.


The Rev. Yule sent an article to the Times (Jan 11th 1875) in which he says he had been accused in several London and provincial papers as:

“…the reverend gentleman who resides in the district and who is the owner of a very extensive mansion, did nothing but walk about and grumble at the railway company, and only lent his pony and chaise to go to Oxford for medical assistance on pressure being brought to bear upon him”

Yule brought to the attention of the reader an article in the Oxford Chronicle on Dec 30th that stated:

“The Reverend W H Yule, rector of Shipton on Cherwell, was also soon on the scene of the disaster, and kindly offered to allow the whole of the wounded to be taken to his residence, which is about 400 yards distant, but the medical men thought it advisable to take them at once to the Radcliffe Infirmary.”

Surely, having seen the quickness with which an accusing finger was pointed at the Reverend Yule, if Langton Pearson (or anybody else for that matter) had been slow in giving assistance in any way the newspapers would have made similar accusations against him.



On the 1881 Census it is unclear as to whether Langton Pearson was the only tenant of the manor house. Perhaps the other tenant was the same farmer who was a sub tenant in 1887 and they had not helped at the time of the accident?


The bodies of two children, killed in the accident, were never claimed.


This has not been substantiated


Again you would have thought that this sort of thing would have been reported in the newspapers of the time. A keyword search was done on The Times online for all references to Shipton, and no reports suggest an appeal for identification.


There were several events that may have contributed to this myth:


The identification of the bodies took some time: one 11-year-old girl who died on the train back to Oxford was not identified straight away.


A 3-year-old girl was taken unconscious to the Boat Inn at Thrupp, and it was some time before her father tracked her down.


Two unharmed, but unclaimed, children were placed in one of the children’s wards at the Radcliffe Infirmary until they were eventually claimed.