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Ghosts of North West England

CHESHIRE, NORTH WEST ENGLAND

CAPESTHORNE
Macclesfield
Cheshire
At least tow members of Parliament have experienced phenomena here. Some years ago Sir Charles Taylor, Member for Eastbourne, when staying with the owner Lt Col Sir Walter Bromley-Davenport saw the apparition of a `lady in grey` float past just as he was about to walk up the stairway in the west wing. The owner too had witnessed a ghostly figure in one of the many corridors and `a spectre-like figure` near the chapel. Mr. Elio Cenzaleghe, a former butler, told the Manchester Evening News in march, 1967 that the `family ghost of a woman in a grey gown has been seen so many times that there can be no doubt as her authenticity.
© Andrew Green

LYMEPARK
Buxton Road
Disley
Cheshire
Extensive restoration work in 1979 may, some believe, disturbed the `woman in white` who haunts this sixteenth century manor house. So well-established is the phantom that the affected area is known as `The Ghost Room` which leads from the Long Gallery. Staff and visitors have seen the figure of a `tall woman in an attractive white gown`, just for s `fleeting second`, in the smaller room and also beneath one of the huge trees in front of the building. She is thought to be `Blanche`, mistress of Sir Piers Legh V11 who built the hall in 1541 on a much earlier site.
© Andrew Green

NORTON PRIORY
Warrington Road
Runcorn
Cheshire
`Recently excavated remains of a monastic house including twelfth century undercroft` says the guide in describing this haunted site. In 1972 the 'Runcorn Weekly News' featured a story of a poacher admitting that not only did be witness two phantom monks, but late actually heard a ghostly choir when looking for illegal game in the woods, with which to supplement his larder. A knowledgeable investigator, Jack Clarke of Runcorn, interviewed the thief who refused naturally to allow his name to be published and was greatly impressed by the apparent truthfulness of the statement.

The singing was recognised as the hymn, ` Oh , Come All Ye Faithful`, but the words were in Latin, `Adeste Fideles`. Like Mr. Clarke, the 'Weekly News' felt that the story was genuine and contacted an archaeologist who had been associated with the dig and an expert on church music. The expert said that it was not possible to dismiss the idea of the words of the hymn being known` much earlier than it is present thought`, the hymn was believed to be of the eighteenth century. In describing the phantom figures the poacher had said that they were, `Two monks standing only about five feet away. They were each wearing a small crucifix on what appeared to be their shrouds. They were only about five feet tall and when I put my hand out to touch them, it just stung with cold and went right through them. At that moment they appeared to bless me and then drifted towards the priory and vanished.`

Initially, the historian dismissed the tale as ` second-rate fiction` for Augustinian monks were not buried with shrouds and crucifixes and the witness would not have been able to recognise the speech so readily. However, he had to admit that it was possible for two members of another religious order to be buried in the fashion described. The fact of recognising an ancient form of `Old English could be explained by telepathy, in that the intent of the message rather than the actual words were received. The priory was established in 1133 by a group of Augustinian Canons, who were in 1536 dispersed by the Dissolution and the building lay derelict for some ten years. It was then purchased by Sir Richard Brooke who added the Tudor house to the property.
© Andrew Green


GREATER MANCHESTER, NORTH WEST

HALL-I'-TH`-WOOD MUSEUM
Crompton Way By Pass
Bolton
Greater Manchester
Dr. J.R.A. Gray, the principle officer of the owners of this museum, the Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council, told me that one of the three ghosts seen by many visitors here disappears through the wall where a doorway once existed. The figure is that of `a small man dressed in green with a lace tunic, breeches and buckled shoes, carrying a sack over his shoulder`. Seen on the upstairs landing is the apparition of a tall man wearing a black suit and winged collar, and a number of visitors have also enquired about the little old lady who frequents the kitchen area. `She just fits in with the surroundings`, I was told ` and like the others has never frightened anyone`. As the building dates from the late fifteenth century and was extended in 1591 and modified even more years later, it is practically impossible to identify any of the phantoms or establish the reason for the hauntings. As late as 1900 Viscount Leverhulme carried out major restoration scheme thus confusing the original structure even further.
© Andrew Green

MALT SHOVELS HOTEL
Oxford Road
Cheadle
Greater Manchester
Firmly identified by Mrs. Jean Garnett, the hotel cleaner, as being the phantom of Tom Ward the former landlord who died in 1971, is the ghost seen here by Brian Withington, a caretaker-manager of the inn during 1973. One evening when he went to disconnect the beer pumps in the cellars, he suddenly felt that he was `not alone'. He turned round to see the figure of a short grey-haired man who seemed to be mouthing the words, `Look after yourself`. This could relate to some particular incident during the tenancy of Tom Ward when, maybe, another young man was working the pumps.
© Andrew Green

SMITHHILLS HALL
Smithills Dean Road
Bolton
Greater Manchester
Purchased by the Corporation of Bolton in 1938, this building is surely one of the oldest in the country for it was first owned by the Knights Hospitallers in the fourteenth century. The phantom which resides here, the last appearance being in 1977, is that of a priest who moves through the green room. Some say the ghost is that of George Marsh, a sixteenth century preacher with a highly controversial even heretical outlook. A `bloody footprint` preserved on the stone-flagged floor and offered as a symbol of man's innocence is, I fell rather too good a tourist attraction to be genuine.
© Andrew Green

WESTERN HOTEL
Alexandra Road
Moss Side
Manchester
Greater Manchester
Both the licensee and some members of the staff here have come to accept that the hotel is haunted by what they believe to be a former cellarman. The description of the apparition is always identical. He wears a grey sweater, has dark hair and is in his thirties, and like most ghost, vanishes only after a few seconds. Mrs. Avril Clarke, the wife of the licensee, stated that , `Up to now I've never believed in ghosts. Now I'm forced to accept their existence`. The phantom has, surprisingly, been seen in more that one locality but more often in the cellars where the usual accompanying drop in temperature is experienced. So far no customers have witnessed him, but because the clothing of the ghost appears to be the twentieth century, one cannot help but wonder if this is another instance of a pub being haunted by a phantom living.
© Andrew Green


MERSEYSIDE, NORTH WEST

STORK HOTEL
High Street
Billinge
Merseyside
Several evening customers, whilst downing their last pints, have heard heavy footsteps across the floor above them. Later, at night, the tread has been loud as to wake some of the overnight guests. The building was constructed in 1640 as a jail and used extensively as such by Cromwellian troops, In the crypt, now part of the cellars, one of the Royalist officers was kept as a prisoner for many days and it is thought that this man, or someone associated with his death, is the unseen walker.
© Andrew Green


LANCASHIRE, NORTH WEST ENGLAND

CHINGLE HALL
Goosnarth
Near Preston
Lancashire
Described as `a small moated manor house built in 1260` and claiming to be the birth place of the seventeenth century saint John Wall, the building actually gives the appearance of being just a charming and pleasant old farmhouse. Yet it reeks of ancient history and houses at least one genuine ghost, perhaps more, though no-one has yet been able to identify the phantom. Some believe it is of the saint himself, who was executed in Worcester in 1679. His head is believed to have been smuggled to France, presumably as a sacred relic but the nuns who acted as the custodians returned to France in 1834, after living in England for over a decade. Whether they took the grisly remains with them or hid it in Chingle Hall, is a matter for conjecture. The tapping on walls that are heard are not spectacular examples of phenomena though doors continue to open of their own accord and dogs frequently watch something pass through the downstairs rooms. Footsteps are heard and on one occasion no less than nine people, including the owners, the Howarth's, heard then tramping through ` The Haunted Room`.

It is in this room that the ghost of a Franciscan monk has been witnessed by the family and many visitors. In August, 1968 two boys sleeping in the room not only heard mysterious footsteps and knockings but also saw `a peculiar light` the size of a hand appear in the centre of the room and disappear at a particular spot on the wall. Perhaps this was a clue to the site of another holy relic? Because of the genuineness of the haunting, Chingle Hall has frequently been featured on television and in 1973 the building was again being filmed. Margaret Howarth was disappointed that no phenomena occurred during the visit of the recording crew but a year later, one of the guides taking visitors round was suddenly astounded to see the figure of a monk standing in the middle of the Haunted Room. Unfortunately, at that moment the man was alone, so he ran to persuade some of the tourists to return, only to find the room empty.
© Andrew Green

ROYAL UMPIRE MUSEUM
Moor Road
Croston
Lancashire
When Mr. Verill, owner of this museum which is devoted not to cricket but bygone days, moved a stone cross from his garden a few years ago, the apparition of a young woman was seen the following day standing at a nearby ` bus stop. It is assumed incorrectly by the popular press that the incidents were connected and could be associated with the physical phenomena experienced at the museum. In September, 1975 a group from Preston Society for Psychical Research investigated the strange incidents in the museum and were subjected to a shower of stones from an unknown source. They also recorded the sound of heavy breathing which could not be account for. The ghostly female, known affectionately as `The Sascoe Lady`, has been witnessed many times from Sascoe Farm until reaching the `bus stop`. A few years ago a bus driver stopped there thinking she was a potential passenger but the conductor never saw her.
© Andrew Green

TURTON BOTTOMS
Edgworth
Lancashire
Was this a case of a pair of ghosts of the living one might wonder? Mr. Berry of Tonge Moor decided one evening in November, 1978, to visit some friends at Turton Bottoms, a village suburb of Edgworth, situated on a Roman Road. The most famous feature of the village is the twelfth century house known as Turton Tower, enlarged in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and which houses the Ashworth museum. There is an interesting old inn in the High Street bearing the arms of Humphrey Cheltham who lived in the village and founded what is now the Blue Coat School in Manchester. When the bus carrying Mr. Berry approached his destination, he rose and noted a young couple waiting under a road lamp at the bus stop. The girl was described in a letter the witness forwarded to the 'Bolton Evening News' `She was about 19 years old, with a wistful expression, wearing a fawn raincoat. Her companion, a bit older, had dark hair and wore an anorak`. As the bus stopped Mr. Berry assisted the only other passenger, an old lady, off the vehicle and asked her is she had seen the couple. She assured she had, but was also puzzled as to where they had gone, for they were nowhere in sight. Mr. Beryy, intrigued by the vanishing youngsters, spent a few minutes looking for them but then proceeded to keep his appointment. By sheer coincidence he returned a couple of hours later, with the same bus driver, who recalled the incident. He, too, had seen the young couple and assumed, naturally that they were waiting for the bus. `But they certainly weren't there when I stopped`, he said, `what happened to them?` No-one knew then or now, but one or two other bus drivers have commented on the vanishing potential passengers waiting at the stop. There are also reports of a `misty figure` being seen in the nearby Chapelton Road, which may in some way be connected with the incident.
© Andrew Green