Smithills Hall

 

Overview

Spirits at Smithills Hall frequently show themselves to people, be that in light form, or even ghostly apparitions moving behind you as you look in the mirror.

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.

Reported Ghosts

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.

Venue History

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.

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.

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.

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.

  • Feel safe! Hosted by a friendly, genuine, safety conscience, and knowledgeable team of experienced people
  • Experience the atmosphere! Enter one of the UK’s most haunted buildings, communicating with its resident spirits and ghosts in the dark
  • Honesty is our only policy! This is a real ghost hunt experience. There is no faking or trickery of paranormal activity. If it happens, then it is for real!
  • Keep refreshed! Unlimited hot and cold drinks, crisps and biscuits available all night and included in the ticket price unless specified. Dietary requirements also catered for
  • Teamwork! Your ghost hunt will be run in a small and personal group giving you maximum involvement
  • Be hands on! You will have access to everything you need to conduct your experiments throughout the night – no sharing equipment with other groups or waiting around
  • Don’t be disturbed! Exclusive night-time access to the location for your overnight ghost hunt
  • Learn about various ghost hunting techniques and try them out for yourself on your investigation or share any knowledge you already possess to aid the investigation
  • Discover more about the high-tech ghost hunting gadgets. Many as seen on T.V, hold them in your hands and freely use them
  • Take part! Help to lead a scientific vigil, or perhaps a more traditional ghost hunting experiment- or simply just be an observer. The choice is yours
  • Working respectfully. Start your evening by learning how to apply spiritual protection, and work using the upmost respect for the sprits we encounter and fellow guests
  • This event includes a building tour prior to your ghost hunt
  • Lone vigils (ghost hunting in an area all alone) can be made available for the brave
  • A building representative/owner will be on site to help with any building or historical questions you personally have
  • All attendees must be 18 years or older
  • Not suitable for those in pregnancy
  • This is a very dark location, all attendees must bring a torch with them
  • All attendees are expected to wear sensible shoes and warm layered clothing
  • This location has free parking, A private car park is to the front of the building
  • Refreshments are provided by Haunted Houses Events and are included in the price
  • Guests may also bring own personal breaktime snacks
  • This is not a sleepover event
  • This location is not suitable for wheelchair users

Smithills Hall

£55.00 Per Person

Spirits at Smithills Hall frequently show themselves to people, be that in light form, or even ghostly apparitions moving behind you as you look in the mirror.

AD K’nine

Was a very interesting experience at Smithills Hall.
Went as a sceptic and came home with experiences I can’t explain! Friendly, knowledgeable staff, relaxed atmosphere. Definitely going again

Tammy Bowman

One of the best evenings ever, I would highly recommend it.
A great team, i can’t wait to go again

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