An overnight ghost hunt at Smithills Hall is one that has seen many flee in fear, Spirits like to show themselves to people quite often, be that in light form, or even ghostly apparitions moving behind you as you look in to a mirror.
This large building built and added too over many years certainly is a firm favourite with our Haunted Houses ghost hunters.
Your ghost hunt at Smithills Hall will see you exploring all areas of the building made available to us, where you will be able to experience glass divination, table tipping and a group human pendulum experiment. Plus, for those comfortable enough – Ouija boards will also be on hand for you to use – all to aid your communication with the dead. Also, you will have a whole host of the most up-to-date ghost hunting gadgets to use whilst you carry out your ghost hunt. Taking part in spirit call-outs and wait to see what happens in the silence that follows. Haunted Houses likes to work in small teams to give you the very best experience possible. For the very brave lone vigils (ghost hunting in a room all alone) are very popular and plenty of opportunities to do so will be given.
One visitor recently noted that on a visit to Smithills as a child, he noticed a man at the top of the stairs to the Green Room. The museum attendant told them he was locking up and it was time to leave. The boy said they should wait for the man upstairs, but to his amazement the attendant told him he and his parents were the only visitors left in the hall. To this day the man is convinced he saw George Marsh. The Green Room where George Marsh was questioned is considered to be the most haunted room at Smithills.
There have also been some unexplained encounters in the chapel. One day one of the Friends of Smithills Hall went into the chapel before the hall opened to visitors. He saw that there was someone kneeling in prayer. On meeting a colleague in the corridor he mentioned that there was someone in the chapel. The colleague went to have a look and returned to say there was no one there. Only recently when a member of staff was taking some dead flowers out of the chapel; something pushed her from behind with such force that she fell onto the wall, and still has the grazes to prove it!
In the shop used to hang a Pugin mirror. One day the shop manager looked in the mirror and noticed that there was a man with white bushy hair dressed in black watching her from the doorway. She turned around and he wasn’t there. Two weeks later the same thing happened again. The third time she saw the man he was on the stairs. Could this have been one of the Ainsworth’s, who inherited the house in 1870?
In Colonel Ainsworth’s room, when museum staff open the hall in the mornings, they have to set the glasses on the table back in their right place as during the night they have been moved or turned upside down. There are many other everyday happenings that staff, volunteers and visitors experience – the barrier ropes in the museum quite often swing of their own accord as if someone has just brushed passed them. Staff members have also heard cats meowing, and children giggling when there have been no children around.
Smithills Hall tells an 800 year story. Although there is evidence of people living in the area now covered by the Smithills estate for thousands of years, the first written records relating to the hall began when William Radcliffe obtained the manor from the Hulton family in 1335. In 1485, when the last Radcliffe to own the estate died without a male heir, Smithills Hall was passed to the Bartons, a wealthy family of sheep owners.
Smithills was home to the Bartons for almost 200 years, until in 1659 the hall and estate was passed by marriage to the Belasyse family. The Belasyses owned many other properties around England and did not really need to keep Smithills Hall. As a result, Smithills entered a period of neglect. In 1801, the hall and estate were sold to the Ainsworth family, who were successful Bolton bleachers. Under three generations of Ainsworths Smithills was extensively rebuilt and modernised.
In 1870 Richard Henry Ainsworth, the nephew of Peter Ainsworth (Colonel Ainsworth’s son) , inherited the house. In around 1875. He employed the prominent Victorian architect George Devey in about 1875 to design the most significant improvements to Smithills Hall. The west wing was neglected for many years, but was restored by Bolton Council in 1999. Old photographs were used to recreate the family’s living quarters as they would have looked in around 1900. However, changes in the British economy after the First World War had increased costs and reduced the amount of income the family could raise from the estate, and the financial burden of maintaining a large house eventually became too great.
In 1938, Smithills was sold to Bolton Council for £70,600, and the Victorian parts of the hall became a council residential home and later a day centre until the late 1990s. Conservation work on the older sections allowed part of the Grade 1 listed structure to be opened as a museum in 1963, and in the 1990s, the museum was extended into some of the Victorian parts of the house.
The quickest and easiest way to book is through our online booking system. Select a date from the list below and click book now to begin the booking process. We always want our customers to be able to experience the ghost hunt that’s right for them. Due to the limited capacity of popular and smaller venues, we always advise booking well in advance to avoid dissapointment.
Alternatively bookings can be made via our enquiries and bookings hotline. Call 01782 951747 to book your place today.
Haunted Houses Events will not permit anybody to attend the event if found to be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. No refunds will be given. By booking this event you understand all terms and conditions.
By making this booking you do so with the intention of attending. All deposits and full balances are non-refundable or transferable in the event of your cancellation. It is your duty to get to the event on the booked date. Haunted houses pay the venue for your places in advance so are still liable to pay for your place once you have cancelled.
Please read the full Haunted Houses terms and conditions before making any booking.
Cancellations or amandments to bookings
- If the customer cancels the entire booking at any stage from point of sale, or fails to turn up on the event then the entire booking fee will be retained and is non-tranferable.
- If the customer reduces the number of persons attending the event, then the corresponding booking fees will be retained.
- All booking fees are non-refundable, unless where an event is cancelled/postponed see clause 14
Booking Fees, Deposits & Remaining Balances
- Places can be reserved on most Haunted Houses events via payment of the required deposit fee.
- Deposits can vary in value according to the event and details of deposits fees can be found on each individual event page.
- All deposit fees are non-refundable.
- Deposit fees alone do not confirm a customer’s place on an event, they are merely holding fees.
- Remaining balances must generally be paid one month prior to the event, unless otherwise stated on the event page, failure to pay on time may result in places being cancelled without any refund being offered.
- Full payment of the booking fee must be received prior to any event taking place, unless otherwise agreed in writing by Haunted Houses.
- Places will only be fully confirmed on receipt of full and final payment of the required total booking fee, either via payment of a remaining balance or full outright purchase.