The most haunted hall in England is only a stone’s throw from Preston. This 13th century moated manor house lies near Goosnargh village. Vikings once ruled here, with the name meaning Gosan’s hill pasture in Norse. Intriguingly, another translation is At the idols temple. There are many priest holes in Chingle Hall. These were used to hide Catholic priests after the monasteries were suppressed in 1539.Advertisement
Shortly after the Norman Invasion of 1066 the land here, was given to Ughtred de Singleton. Once known as Singleton Hall, the cross shaped building was built in 1260.
After 1066 William the Conqueror often gifted land to his supporters.
After the monasteries fell, secret masses were held at the Hall. Undoubted, these began when John Wall acquired the house in 1600. John was a monk and missionary. Consequently, he was martyred and declared a saint. His head is reputed to be hidden somewhere in the Hall.
There are no records of deaths at the house, but the spooky goings on suggest that hidden priests may have been captured and tortured here. For example, hideous screams and the sound of dragging bodies have been heard. Most activity seems to surround the priest holes.
In the dead of night eerie footsteps echo on the wooden floor. Curtains shift and a monk-like figure appears on the stairs. Suddenly a pale face glares down, barely human, the creature begins to descend. A horrible scream rends the air.
These phenomena have been described by many witnesses. Former resident Margaret Howarth witnessed door latches rattling and mysterious pools of water appearing from nowhere. She also saw a monk-like figure in the house and even in the garden. Two monks were seen praying in the chapel. Furthermore, a frightening figure with a pale face and dark cowl was seen peering in, from outside.
Sometimes the spectre manifests like a poltergeist, for example visitors have been pushed violently from behind. Flowers move as if blown by a frigid breeze, and pictures swing like they were touched by an invisible hand.
After Queen Elizabeth I came to the throne in 1558, Catholic plots to remove her abounded. As a result the state came down hard on Catholicism. A Catholic Lay brother and master builder named Nicholas Owen now enters the plot. He was hired by fearful Catholic families to construct priest holes to hide renegade priests.
These were often hidden in walls and under floors. Interestingly he also built the priest holes at Chingle Hall. Unfortunately, Owen was captured and tortured on the rack. Did his gruesome death also “infect” the Hall? The priest room, which conceals a priest hole has, been the site of some spectral activity.
Walking down the stairs a visitor hears footsteps behind her, she freezes and glances around. There is no one there. She rushes into the priest room and taps on the panelling, three loud raps return. Alarmingly, an eerie groaning noise emanates from the air, as a tremendous crash rattles the windows.
These are just a few of the odd happenings at Chingle Hall…
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Do you have any ghostly tales from Chingle Hall? Feel free to share them in the comments.