Haunted Preston: Ghostly tales at Samlesbury Hall

samlesbury hall

It’s been the venue for many a school trip down the years to learn about the Tudors and their connection with Lancashire, but Samlesbury Hall is also one of the most haunted places in and around Preston.

Earlier this month we featured some of Preston’s most haunted places from a new book called Paranormal Lancashire.

Now we’ve returned to the myths and legends of this old hall set just outside the city to explore its haunted past with the author of that book, Daniel Codd.

The White Lady of Samlesbury

Daniel: The hall’s White Lady is perhaps the most famous ghost in Lancashire, and she is supposed to have been, in life, Dorothy, daughter of Sir John Southworth, who owned the hall during the later reign of Elizabeth I.

On the evening that she intended to elope with her lover, her plans were thwarted by her brother, who murdered Dorothy’s beau and two of his companions. This story is very well known, the alleged discovery of skeletons at the hall grounds in the 19th century being the supposed explanation for (or possibly the inspiration for) the belief that Dorothy’s ghostly shade – together with that of her lover – haunted the area between the hall and the Ribble.

I have to say that there are variations on this story, depending on who you talk to, and it is unclear whether Sir John had a daughter named Dorothy. However, this does not appear to detract from the fact that Samlesbury does indeed appear to be very haunted.

Blood covered floorboards

Daniel: The hall’s other main ghostly phenomenon is the strange discolouration on the floorboards of the upstairs Priest Room, which presents the illusion of (supposedly) blood having splashed onto the floorboards and seeped in between the joints.

I was told here that the stain is the legacy of a barbaric murder carried out in c.1582 when a priest was summarily beheaded by some of Henry VIII’s soldiers, and that his blood washed across the floor (this date must be wrong, however; Henry was dead by then).

For over 400 years it has stubbornly resisted all attempts to remove it, even resisting the replacement of the floorboards – for although the boards were taken up by one of the later occupants (the Harrison family) the stain re-appeared. I am not aware that anyone has tried to clean it off in living memory, although perhaps they do not wish to remove this curiosity at the hall now.

About Paranormal Lancashire. You can buy the book via the Blog Preston Amazon store at this link (if you buy through this link, then Blog Preston gets a % of the sale to help us carry on with our community reporting). It’s published by Amberley Publishing and more details can be found on their website.

What do you think about the ghost stories about Samlesbury? Have you ever had a paranormal experience in Preston? Let us know your views in the comments below

Image credit to Sean Rowe

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