many the name Chingle Hall, Goosnargh, Near Preston, will be an unfamiliar one, yet it is reputedly the most haunted house in Britain.
It is believed that a total of 16 spirits haunt Chingle Hall.
Built in 1260 by Adam De Singleton and originally called
Singleton Hall. The wooden beams used to construct the house were from Viking longboats, and Goosnargh itself is an old Viking
village; though other sources give the derivation of an Old Irish word 'Gosan or Gusan' an Irish name and therefore meaning
'Gosan's or Gusan's hill pasture'. The Singleton family lived there for many years and it is Eleanor Singleton who is said
to be one of the spirits that haunts the house. Later the house, complete with its own moat, became known as Chingle Hall.
Singleton was a devout Catholic and he built a chapel within the house and two priest hiding holes. During the 16th century
priests held masses at the house, which were outlawed at the time, and punishable by death. A number of secret hiding places
can be found within the hall, which the priests used, in these turbulent times. One is in the floor and one is alongside the
chimneybreast. The priest would hide in the chimney-hiding hole, and the accoutrements of the mass were stashed under the
Chingle Hall is thought to be the birthplace of John Wall, who is one of the last English Roman Catholic Martyrs,
and a Franciscan priest. He practiced his faith in spite of the Catholic reformation, but was executed in 1679 at Worcester
for his religion. Following his death, Catholics took his severed head around the country in a reverential tour of sorts before
returning it to Chingle Hall. It is thought that Wall's head is either buried in the grounds or is secreted somewhere within
the house. Though it is also said that his head was taken to France,
and that if his head was returned to the hall the haunting by his ghost would cease.
Over the years the house
acquired a reputation of being haunted, supposedly by the ghost of John Wall himself, who is said to appear as a monk within
the walls of the house and in the grounds. Indeed many people have reported seeing monks or monk like figures in the Hall.
from Chingle Hall by Softlyspoken
I went to Chingle Hall when I was in my early teens, I had probably only just turned
thirteen at the time. I went with my parents and didn't know nothing of the halls history or haunting.
The Hall was
occupied at the time so it was the owners who gave us the tour, it seemed strange to be shown round someone’s home and
to listen to their recounts of their experiences living in the Hall. They had had so many experiences while living there that
there were several small booklets they had written for visitors to purchase.
Even though the Hall felt lived in and
loved as such there was still a heavy air of oppression about the place. The atmosphere seemed thick with a mixture of emotions;
sadness, frustration and fear were the obvious ones to me. I could go on and describe the layout and rooms of the Hall and
tell all the stories about the place but I'm here to tell of only one of those experiences, mine.
We had gone round
the downstairs and made our way up the stairs to where all the main activity was. We entered what seemed to be a long room
with several windows, this was the priests room it was like an in house chapel with an alter etc. On the far wall to the right
of the doorway there was a hole in the wall like someone had carved a chunk of wall away, we were then informed that it was
a priest hide and part of the wall was false. Curiosity being one of my week points instantly drew me to the hide; I had to
have a closer look at this. When I got over to the hide the people talking in the room seemed to fade away I then had the
impulse to put my hand in the hide. Before I could think about it my hand was already reaching into the hide, it felt ice
cold. I then got the sensation that someone else's hand was passing over the back of mine, I started to feel that I was being
drawn in and I had the intense urge to follow whoever it was. A sense of fear took over me and I quickly withdraw my hand
my heart was beating so fast it felt like it was in my throat. Pulling away from the hide I realized everyone was leaving
the room and it took me no haste to rejoined the group and the relative safety of my parents. I didn't leave their side after
that not even to go to the loo.
Chingle Hall for me is one of those places where you go by chance but never ever forget.