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Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Haunted Places: 'Chingle Hall'

The White Goddess: For 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.

De 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 chimney breast. The priest would hide in the chimney-hiding hole, and the accouterments of the mass were stashed under the floor.

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...read more>>>...