Samlesbury Hall and the house where it is located were built by Gilbert de Southworth in 1325. It was the family’s primary home until the early 1600s. The Hall was built with the purpose of replacing a building which was destroyed during the raid of the Scots back in 1322. Samlesbury Hall was played many roles in the lives of people during its existence. It was once a boarding house for girls. Since 1925, it has been administered by the Samlesbury Hall Trust. Today, it is a medieval manor house listed as Grade I and it attracts more than half a million visitors each year.
The house where Samlesbury Hall can be found was built with the solar end windows faced to the east, as was the practice during that time. The chapel was built a hundred and forty years later after the main building was erected. The chapel was built to face east. However, after the chapel was connected to the main hall more than 60 years later, the angle of the connection was reduced to less than 90 degrees. This was because of the solstice change in the sun’s position as the years went by.
The Samlesbury manor house is the reflection of the religious beliefs and styles of the 14th century. Today, Samlesbury Hall is a place which hosts various programs and functions. There are also theatre productions, guided tours and murder mysteries for guests to participate in.
Ghosts of Samlesbury Hall
Samlesbury Hall’s ghostly reputation has prompted several paranormal investigators to investigate it. Some of the most prominent investigative shows which have been to the Hall are Most Haunted, Ghost Hunters International and Most Haunted Live.
The legendary White Lady is the Hall’s most popular ghost. It is said that the White Lady is the ghost of Dorothy Southworth. Guests, as well as employees, have seen her on several occasions. Lady Dorothy fell in love with a young man who was a member of the de Hoghton family. Unfortunately, Lady Dorothy came from a Catholic family and the de Hoghton’s were Protestants. The two lovers were not given permission to marry. They defied their family and continued to see each other. They would meet along the riverbanks of the Ribble. They planned to elope and marry each other but someone got wind of their arrangement and it was reported back to Samlesbury Hall.
On the night of their arranged elopement, the lady’s brother waited in ambush. As soon as the young de Hoghton gentleman arrived, the lady’s brother sprang from his hiding place and killed the young man, as well as his two companions. They were hastily buried in the chapel grounds. The saddest part about it all was that Dorothy was there to witness all of it. She was inconsolable and had to be sent to a convent overseas. Lady Dorothy’s spirit has lingered in the halls. She is often seen floating down the many corridors of the halls, crying for the love she lost.
The Hall has several cleverly disguised hiding places, however, not even these hiding places can save a priest in the 1500s who was followed by soldiers in the hall. He was found, dragged and beheaded on the spot. According to legend, the priest’s blood stained the floor of the room where he was beheaded. Nobody is able to wash it away, no matter how hard the floor is scrubbed. The room was bricked up for 200 years and was reopened in 1898. Servants refused to remain in the room until the floorboards were replaced. The bloodstain is said to occasionally reappear until this day.