WHEN things go bump in the night at one Oxford watering hole, even the landlord’s dog sleeps with one eye open.

From guests reporting spooky scratches to a headless horseman roaming, Tim Rackley, the owner of The Priory in Grenoble Road, has had his fair share of strange encounters.

Now he has revealed how he has got used to the ghouls since he took over five years ago.

The building, which has seen more than 100 Governments rise and fall, began life as a dormitory for Benedictine nuns.

Mr Rackley believes the nuns’ troubled lives may have something to do with the bizarre goings on reported by numerous landlords.

The 42-year-old father-of-twosaid: “2004/05 was a bad year for spirits at The Priory. Archaeologists found all these skeletons of children when they were digging up the car park and the dog Snoop kept bringing bones into the pub. I think it unsettled things for a couple of years.

“One time, I was down here and we heard lots of running up and down the landing. It was like children running.

“That was a bit eerie because the skeletons had just been dug up. It sounded like elephants. I went upstairs because I thought the kids had gone up there, but there was no-one.

“Snoop was here through all of that. He won’t be left alone downstairs otherwise he will rip the place apart. I think he senses something down here.”

The former DJ believes many nuns died unhappily and have haunted the building ever since.

In 1517-18, records show one nun was accused of “romping” with a youth and there were complaints of lesbianism and abuse.

He said: “The attic was where the nuns used to sleep. I don’t really like going up there much.

“When they were building the science park, we had three lads stay the night up there, all on separate occasions, and they came down in the morning with scratches across their backsides. I hadn’t told them about the ghosts.

“A lot of bad things went on here, it was one of the earliest nunneries to be closed because of misrule. I think they had a rough time.”

He added: “Things are calmer here now. I think the spirits like it when it’s calm. We haven’t heard anything for five or six months now. The last thing I heard was a headless horseman who goes around the outside of the pub.

“It sounds like a woman in high heels. He goes round the pub between 3am and 5am. The first time I stayed here I heard it. I looked at the CCTV cameras, but there was nothing. Sometimes it wakes me up — but we’re used to it now.”