BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014

BBC Homepage
»BBC Local
Travel News

Things to do
People & Places
Religion & Ethics
Arts and Culture
BBC Introducing
TV & Radio

Sites near Lancashire

Isle of Man

Related BBC Sites


Contact Us

Haunted Houses

The exterior of Samelsbury Hall

Samlesbury Hall

Samlesbury Hall, near Preston, is reputedly haunted by a 'White Lady'.

The White Lady is thought to be the ghost of Lady Dorothy Southworth.

Lady Dorothy lived at the Hall during the seventeenth century. Her family were staunch Catholics but Dorothy fell in love with a neighbour who happened to be a Protestant.

Because of family conflict, the young lovers could only meet in secret, and eventually they decided they would elope. On the night of their escape, the young man made his way to the Hall, but before he could get to Dorothy, her brother crept up on him and killed both him and two of his accomplices with his sword.

Consequently, both families found out about the affair and Dorothy was sent to a convent abroad where she went insane and eventually died.

Some years ago three human skeletons were found near the walls of the Hall, and popular opinion has connected them with the tradition.

last updated: 01/11/06
Have Your Say
Have you had a ghostly experience in Lancashire? Tell us your spooky stories.
Your name: 
Your comment: 
The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

I have been to the hall a couple of times and have never seen or felt anything at all. However, a friend of mine (a self-confessed sceptic) went on one of these charity ghost nights a couple of years ago. The group were taking a tour of the gardens when the White Lady walked across their path straight in front of them! My friend says he still does not entirely believe what he saw that night but he does admit that he was a little bit freaked out! I really want to go on one of these nights, even though I do scare very easily!!!

I live very near Salmesbury Hall.The countryside all around the place feels very 'otherworldly' though it looks just like any other.Something lurks in that place.I would like to know more about; 'Some years ago three human skeletons were found near the walls of the Hall, and popular opinion has connected them with the tradition.'

Eddy Horrocks
I was at home In Darwen Lancashire. It was about 11pm and it was slightly drizzling with rain It was cold too. and i was looking out side the window of the front garden and i saw a little girl about 9 , 10 years old. And she started wondering around the church '' St James Church''... she passed the front gates of the church and she sat down on a wet grave. she started making funny patterns with her fingers on the grave stone. I went out side and watched her and she walked along side of the church and vanished... I never saw her again.

Alex Christopher
I went to salmlesbury hall the other day to do some videos to see if i pick up anything and on the video i was upstairs putting the camera facing out of the window and i so the white lady run from a tree to the end of the hall plus a mann in the preists room gazing out off the window some bangs and a draw handle in the auction room rattle this is caught on tape but accedently deleted. On my way back from blackburn rovers me and my mum in the car decided to have a look at the dark evening time and we was speaking to a lady who works there when we so a white mist walk past the car in the same place as the white lady walked on the video. THIS IS TRUE

jack cunningham
when I went in the monk/priest hole it were spooky.When james the first was around he sent soilders into samlesbury hall to find monks.two of the soilders found one and tortured him until he said were the others were but he didnt, so the soilders stabbed him with the sword and he blead to death.And when he were dead they put him on this chair made out of whale bone he led on the chair with his head on his right shoulder and his hands sraight on the arms.Today you can still see the blood stains on the floor,and you can sit on the chair exact same as the murdered monk and you can sit on it like the monk did closing your eyes and you can feel a spirit round you and sometimes through you.

I use the A59 on a daily basis. Recently and in the past, there has been numerous fatal accidents on that stretch. Maybe this is linked to these evil sprits. My advise goes to those drivers who use the A59 to be extra vigilant and careful. I would urge people not to speed. THINK!!

I personally have NOT experienced any strange activities on the A59 considering the fact that I use stretch at least three times a week. However, many years my causin worked as a taxi driver. He gave a young lady a lift, dressed in white long dress and her hair was all lose. This is the only description he remembers. During the course of the journey, she just dissapeared from the back seat. One thing I do remember, he was shook for up for days and refuse to speak to anyone.

i was in a hall and i was walking down a corridor and i saw somthing white i ran and told my dad and we were out of there we are never going again

i would like to now more about the white lady as i berleve

I booked Samlesbury Hall for a wedding before I read all the spooky reports. Now I think I shall take my bridesmaids with me everytime I go to the toilet. Now I know the real reason why girls go to the toilet together. I'm certainly not booking the lodge at the gate entrance - no way! Nor am I going to extend the bar license till 1am I'm going to be out of there at 12 sharpish. Its a beautiful place but I didn't realise I was going to be surrounded by ghosts that have been seen by so many people. The best bit is when you read a photographers website that refers to the hall as a bit eerie in parts!

i wounder what color Dorothy's hair was.....does anyone know?

sharon halifax
my family and i was driving home from blackpool the other was the 20th augut 2008.when we were passing samelsbury hall ,the white lady passed straight in front of the car,when my husband braked to take a look no one was there.we were`nt even thinking of her as we were all talking about our day out.i am a great believer of the after life as i am always seeing ,the departed spirits,they are only spirits who have un finished business, and need help to pass over.for those who do get to see them they should feel very privaleged to see them, as this is a sight into the next realm.i am honoured to meeting these departed spirits.

I would love to see if this place is haunted. it is beautiful and has a history

callum henry
one night i drove past and i saw the white ladiy i was so scherd

My father worked near samlesbury hall for many years and heard the most chilling stories from grown men, he never took much interest and thought it was a load of old rubbish until he was walking home from work as he did most evenings, it was about 20 years ago it was just going dark and my dad noticed a lady in a white dress walking in front of him ,thinking she was the bride from the wedding function being held at the hall that night, my father caught up with the lady to ask if she was ok but as he approached she completly vanished on front of his eyes through a very large hedge. After standing in complete bewilderment my dad returned to work and was given a lift home, where he sat my mum down and explained what had happened, me and my older sister overheard the conversation but it wasnt until many years later that my father told me the story and he only did this as i had told him of a couple i had recently met whilst in mexico, they were from Liverpool and had asked me if the strethch of road on the a59 near the hall was haunted as they had encountered a lady in white at the side of the road, thinking she needed help they stopped the car and looked back the road was empty.

My Dad bought an old Grandfather clock from Samlesbury, it never worked quite right and when it did it was always at 2 am and it only happened once year and theres a peice of paper stuck in the window of the face that we can't get out. Just something to think about..

Ghosts, I shall believe in "ghosts" when I personally see one. I am not saying they definately DO NOT exist, more so the fact I am slightly skeptical to their existance!

this is not true or else its not the white lady i was thinking if.its more grusome lol.

i once took a photo in samlesbury hall when my youngest daughter was about two and the last negative had two small girls on it both in costume of time the hall was built they were stould near the wooden alter i have since lost it but it was very interesting becouse when i took it there was only myselfe in the room

Christine - If you have lived near the Hall for a num ber of years, I would have thought you would know how to spell Samlesbury.

i didn't see a woman waring white butwhen i was driving past a day a woman in black steped out in front of my car i swerverd to avoid her but when i got out my car there was no one to bee seen

faye 11
i have never been but i live near the hall and have be told strange storys its true

all fake no in the world has seen that stupid white lady what a fake

Cameras and audio recorders dont get tired and these capture lots of real paranormal evidence day and night just like people, being a cynical person is not taking the time to look at the subject with the open mind it requires to form a true balanced opinion based on your own experience or research.If people want to bury their head in the sand so be it its their life and good luck to them but so sad they show no spiritual side to them,I guess to them life is just an accident that will correct itself when they die and they pass into oblivion.I cant see life being that pointless can you?As for charity events Cystic Fibrosis Trust can help.

well since the sightings are probably at night people who has seen ghost must have been realy tired and was imagining things unless there is footage then it must be fake

Just wondering if any body knows how i can book a night at a haunted location for the night, would like to do it for charity please help

karla henshaw
I was driving down a59 i got to the salmesbury hall and a lady ran in front of my car i paniked and carried on driving, i looked in my rear view mirror & she had gone was this a ghost?????

Linda- Wigan
I went to Samlesbury Hall recently and we went on the tour with the nice gentleman who was dressed at Henry V111. I took my digital Camera and after his very informative talk, I took some pictures, got some orbs. I also went to Hoghton Tower last January to the Ghost night got some great orbs with faces in them. Both places very haunted. can't wait to go again.

Yes, I agree with Dorothy, great tour, great place, doing a great job!! Other Great Halls should take a leaf out of their book and see how it's really done...

It's splended to be able to enjoy this wonderful hall and that the owners keep it open to the publc. I've heard nothing but great reports conserning this site and think that the owners are doing a tremendous job! I would love to live there....!

A few freinds of mine will be visiting the ghost night at Salmesbury next Friday. I will let you know of any scary events....

this was very exciting!!!!! i enjoyed it

the white lady supposedly walks across the main road outside samlebury hall. i have been to the hall, its a beautiful building and slightly eerie! i have never seen the white lady crossing the main road outside

my sister visited the samlesbury hall and met the white lady's ghost she was so thrilled that she only looked at the whte lady for 3 seconds and ran to the other side. something grabbed her leg and she couldn't breath, she ran as fast as she could but suddenly the white lady's ghost disappeared in a flash of white light...and from now on my sister hasn't left her house for several years!...

stuart kelly
there was a lot of light anomilies on my pics, using both flash and without

Ben Harris
In 2004 me and three other friends of mine were up late nite, we were talking about ghosts and that samlesbury hall was haunted, I and two of my other friends did not belive a word my friend was saying, so we decided to take a drive down, it was about 2am and i drove the car into the woodland garden of the house, when we got to the main carpark of the rear of the house we all got out of the car and were looking through the windows of the house, we laughed at our friends statement of the place being haunted after a few minutes we got back into the car and i started to drive to the exit of the rear carpark when sudenly i saw a person (god knows if he or she was a person or something else)dressed in all white about 20 meters infront of the car, i stopped and at this time we were all messing our pants, this man/lady figure was walking side ways towards some bushes and disappered behind some large bushes, at this point i just wanted to get out of there and i drove out of there like there was no tommorow, we went home and were talking about it all night, we still talk about it and we will not forget what we had seen that day, i have never been back since and i never will.

I live in a house which was once a church and now everythime i walk up or down the stairs i can feel someone watching me.Also i can sometimes hear someone shouting my name from upstairs even though no one is up there. This only happens when i'm in the house alone.

Amy Bickerstaffe
I was in bed and i suddenly woke up, i tured to look at the seeling aand there was this white figure starring at me. I remember her eyes looking down at me and her hair platted at each side of her head, i think she was a rich person because i think she had a rich dress on her am not so sure, she was hovering above me, but i only looked at her for about 2 seconds because i was terrified. I hid under the blanket, i was that scared i did not want to breath.

it was good

billie straker
i have been on my trip and i sat on a chair where a man got killed and i felt like i was floating over his body realy scary henry looks like henry the 8th

A lot of people post comments on this page and most have only visited Samlesbury Hall during the day or perhaps live close by, they may have experienced nothing but I have never seen a snake in the wild does it mean there are none? An experience of ghostly sightings normally happen inside the hall in the evening or early morning when the area is much more peaceful. People expect ghosts to come rushing at them from every corner at all times day and night and its just not like that, it takes time experience and patience too when your ghost hunting, and being at the right place at the right time with the right people can help. Also persons under 18 years of age are never considered for the Ghost Night events due to the possibility of distress or mental anguish on a young mind. Remember to be respectful and approach the subject with care and an open mind and you may well enjoy the experience.

im only nine aswell im going on the school trip aswell and billies my best friend im really scared and excited

billie straker
im only nine an going on a school trip on 12 march i want to know if these storys are realy real after my trip ill write what i saw or didnt see

kirsty gregory
very very very very unreal

Frank Walsh
SAMLESBURY HALL A group of friends in the thirty – something age group visited Samlesbury Hall in October 2005.They all enjoyed the visit in spite of not sighting the “White Lady”. Having left the building for whatever reason some of them danced around a tree. Amused by their antics one of the party took a photo with his mobile phone of his friends dancing round the tree. Later the image was checked and to his and their disappointment it did not turn out. Time moves on to the following February the image taken at Samlesbury Hall was long since forgotton.The young man concerned was relaxing on Caribbean holiday and idly started looking at his images on the phone, just as he was about to delete the failed Samlesbury Hall image he decided to zoom in on a little bit of light that was showing on the image. To his dismay the pixels showed a ladies face. On his return home he showed the image to his friends,they are all convinced that they have now seen the “White Lady”.Not all of us who have since looked at the image are entirely convinced, however it’s a good tale and we hope it is “The White Lady”who danced round the tree with them.

Nick Millitello
One time I was watching Most Hanted and it said ''There is a little man in the corner of the attic''

john holland
on a recent ghost hunt to samsbury hall we saw the white lady next to a tree between the road wall and the corner of the hall for a report check out

On the ghost of the white lady you could have more information

i work near samlesbury hall have done for 7 years not seen a thing...

Chris to Jenny
You probably saw King Henry VIII there becase every sunday they do a guided tour with an actor who plays the king.

Gary Johnson
I have an update for any interested readers of this section on Samlesbury Hall. Having just completed two ghost night events at the hall I can report the ghostly activity inside was amongst the very highest levels.I witnessed along with many others the apparition of a hooded monk, a lady in period costume,strong odors and smells, anomalies with photos of ectoplasmic mist, the recorded voices of the spirits around various persons on the night,and even a table that levitated and somersaulted during a table tilting experiment. I am sure only the people on the night in Samlesbury Hall will understand the huge amount of activity witnessed during the investigation but I can assure you it was real and it did happen. Samlesbury Halls historic setting is great for weddings and antique sales but its ghost nights are amongst the very best anywhere.

Adam Preston
The white lady is meant to come out at 12 o clock at night when driving past.My uncle claims to have seen her walk past, its all scary

Gemma Lewis
My best friend andrea and i, we were about the age of 8 ish, we were on our way back from blackpool with her mum and dad. Passing through samlesbury we saw something dressed in all white! We approached the figure and it was a man walking up the road in a white overall!!! We was scared at first but then laughed all the way home! We still laugh at it now and we are in our twenties!!

rose chadwick
i think its just all a myth because i've been there myself a couple of times , and havent seen anything of the sort, but have only heard noises coming through walls of the mansion!

i have been there a couple of times now and have never seen anything

me and my freind have seen the white lady a number of times she walks across his garden stealthaly

Only last week I thought I saw a spooky site at Samlesbury Hall. We were passing in my dad's car and I'm sure I saw King Henry VIII looking at me throught the window. My dad stopped and turned into the grounds and he thought he also saw the ghost of the King too. Very spooky Jenny

the white lady walks around the garden of samlesbury hall looking for her lover

if there is 1 or 2 ghosts there why are they there i like to know why.

Martin, Blackpool
We did a ghost hunt last October and 5 of us, at around 2am saw a white figure - which appeared to be a female standing around a large tree in the grounds. One of the part went outside and got within 20 yards and he says it was definitely a woman in shawl. He came back inside but vanished when we all went back outside. He even managed to draw her afterwards. There was no way this was someone playing a joke - we don't know who or what she was but it scared us all silly. A great place to visit

i would like to see if it's haunted and i am sleeping there at the end of july

On a school trip a couple of years back me and my friend got bored and wondered off not knowing it was so haunted. when we reached the top of the stairs it suddenly went freezing we carried on cuddling ourselfs for warmth when we heard a scream and footsteps we ran downstairs as fast as we could and on the photos there is a picture of a igure i will never go back there so scary

I live quite close, as I have for most of my life. I now pass Salmesbury twice a day, going to and from work. I have also visited the hall many times and never have I had so much as a whiff of the White Lady or any spooky experiences. I think it's a load of tosh.

15 years ago,my dad and I were travelling back from my grandparents in Rossendale. As we drove past Salmesbury Hall we were laughing about the stories of the white lady. Suddenly, my dad had to brake and the brakes wouldn't work. He had to pump the brakes in order to stop.We never joked about her again.

rachael walmsley
i believe that dorethy could not see her lover so she jumped out of the window and killed herself and she used to walk into the fields to meet her lover and still does to this day.

I was driving to preston one day and as I went past the hall I mumbled to myself that the white lady was a load of..... and at that moment by carmat got stuck onto of my accelarator and the car started to go at full speed. I was luckly that I stopped the car in time and move the car mat back.

christopher hope
I'd like to spend a night there

I was driving home one night. It had been a lovely august day and the night was clear. There wasnt a cloud in the sky. I was just thinking how bright the stars looked when my car shudderde to a abrupt stop. There was no battery in my mobile so I got out of my car to find a phone box. Suddenly the heavens opened, the rain had come from nowhere! Salmsbery Hall! I have to admit that I was a bit scared when I realised that I was so close to it but i could see the phone box so i made a dash for it. the rain stopped as quickly as it had started so I rang the AA and heade back to my car As i passed past the hall for the second time i realised that the ground was dry. I got back in my car , turned on the ignition and the engine purred into life. I heard a beep beep the battery was full on my mobile. As I drove past salmsbery I could of sworn I saw a white figure in the window.

I remember years ago being told abut a woman who is seen crossing the road at that spot. Apparently a few Ribble bus drivers have had the terrible experience of "running over her" with the bus, getting out to investigate and finding nothing there. Spooky eh?

Zoe Elmore
I recently visited Samlesbury Hall and during the tour of the priest room with the blood stained floor, I felt very uneasy. I was overwhelmed with a sense of sickness and dizziness and felt extremely hot.

Lyndsey Nuttall
We went on a ghost hunt at Samlesbury Hall this December, we had a wonderful time including experiments with EVP where a man's voice could clearly be heard asking if it was time yet. Also we used an automatic writing device in the chapel and were amazed to get the letters L and D spelt out which would be Lady Dorothy. A wonderful place to visit.

I recently found out I am related to the Houghtons Of Hoghton Tower, when I visited Salmesbury Hall, I had a strange feeling someone was following me, but when I looked round, No-one was there.

John Cumming from Blackpool
I had a spooky experience at Samlesbury Hall about seven years ago. I worked as a coach driver and had taken a group of elderly ladies to the Hall for the evening. On returning to the coach to depart for the return journey, I found that none of the lights would come on. Headlights, side lights, interior lights, not one. I phoned my depot and they sent a replacement coach, to meet me on the main road outside the gates. As many of my passengers could not walk very far, I decided to get them on the coach, and drive out to the main road, in the dark. Not an easy task, as there was no lights on the drive, but I succeeded. I transferred my passengers to the other coach, whilst the mechanic checked mine over. He switch the lights on, and they came on, he said there wasn't anything wrong with them. For some unexplained reason, they worked ok, outside the grounds of Samlesbury Hall, but would not work inside.

Peter Harrison
My family bought the house some time after the Southworths. it was Joseph Harrison, my great great great uncle, who found the skeletons in the wall. He restored the house but later went into bankruptcy and ended up shooting himself. He supposedly haunts the gallery above the great hall. the neighbour in the white lady story was a De Houghton, from the neighbouring manor Hoghton Tower. It's interesting stuff isn't it?

I was so interested to find the Hall as my grandparents worked there in the 1881 Census as butler and domestic servants, a year before they married, Jane Russell was in Farnham Surrey in 1882, so perhaps she had seen The White Lady and decided to leave! My mother did not tell us about the Hall though I knew Jane was a servant. We are curious as to how The White Lady could write her story if she was insane!? Fascinating though. Thanks, it made my day.

Me, my husband and friends went on a ghost night last year, we had the tour and everyone went downstairs for supper. Me and my friend wanted to go back to the priest hole to take photos. When we got upstairs and walked along the gallery near to the priest room we both heard a very large sigh we said thank you and took some photos nobody else was upstairs they were all having supper on one of the photos we got a mist in shape of a lady. Also earlier on that night I took photos in the room over the chapel and when I got home you can see the shape of a monk and see his hand on someone's shoulder. Very good night at samlesbury hall looking forward to the next one.

Louise, 13
I've been Samlesbury Hall it was scary.

I wonder from where all these stories come from, are are they really true or just made up? What ever it is it is quite interesting to read though...

Kenneth Barnes
I work near the hall on a building site and one night as I was driving home I saw a woman crossing the road outside the hall, so I stopped to let the woman cross before driving on... I looked back in my mirrors a few seconds later and there was no one there.

Go to the top of the page

Grey Heron

Local history
Find out more about our fascinating history.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy