Location within the Borough of South Ribble
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Gilbert de Southworth|
|Designated||25 July 1952|
|Official name||Lodge to Samlesbury Hall|
|Designated||27 February 1984|
Samlesbury Hall is a historic house in Samlesbury, Lancashire, England, 6 miles (10 km) east of Preston. It was built in 1325 by Gilbert de Southworth (b. 1270) and was the primary home of the Southworth family until the early 1600s.
Samlesbury Hall may have been built to replace an earlier building destroyed during a raid by the Scots in 1322. The hall has been many things in its past including a public house and a girls' boarding school, but since 1925, when it was saved from being demolished for its timber, it has been administered by a registered charitable trust, the Samlesbury Hall Trust. This Grade I listed medieval manor house attracts more than 50,000 visitors each year.
Samlesbury Hall is open to the public daily except on Saturdays.
Before being owned by the Southworths, Samlesbury manor belonged to the d'Ewyas family.
Gilbert de Southworth of Warrington acquired half of the manor by marriage to Alice d'Ewyas and is credited with building the Great Hall around 1325. His great-grandson Thomas built the south-west wing. Southworth descendants held their part of the manor until 1677–78, when it was sold by Edward Southworth to Thomas Bradyll. Bradyll never lived at the hall but stripped much of its interior features to use at his main house of Conishead Priory at Ulverston. He then rented the hall out to handloom weavers before it was converted into the Bradyll Arms inn in 1830. The next owner was John Cooper, who bought the building in 1850 and leased it as a boarding school for girls being taught according to the Montessori system.
Joseph Harrison bought the hall in 1862 and substantially renovated it, but overstretched himself financially and shot himself in 1878. In the 1890s it was bought by Frederick Baynes who also spent money on its renovation. He was Mayor of Blackburn and was appointed a Deputy-Lieutenant and High Sheriff of Lancashire for 1900. After he moved out in 1909 the hall was then left empty to deteriorate until it was bought in 1924 by a building firm who intended to demolish it and build a housing estate. After money was raised by public subscription, the hall was purchased in 1925 and put in the hands of the Samlesbury Hall Trust, who have managed it since then.
The hall was built with its solar end windows facing east, as was the practice. When the chapel was constructed 140 years later, it too was built to face east. However, when the chapel was connected to the main hall 60 years later, the angle of connection was less than 90° because of the solstice change in the Sun's position over the years. The chapel was originally built by the Southworth family to upgrade the house to a manor house, which had to have a large household, a chapel and priest, a store of fish for Fridays, usually a pond and a water mill and a grain store. Therefore Samlesbury Hall reflects the building styles and religious beliefs from the 14th century to the present day.
The house is reputed to be haunted by several ghosts, including that of Lady Dorothy Southworth, who went mad with grief after her lover was killed and secretly buried by her disapproving family. Samlesbury Hall has been investigated twice by Yvette Fielding and her team of investigators on their hit paranormal show, Most Haunted. The first time was during the 5th series in 2005 and the second during a Most Haunted Live event in January 2009. It also appeared in an episode of Ghost Hunters International. Season one episode 10, "Castle of the Damned".
- Samlesbury witches – trial of Jane Southworth for witchcraft
- John Southworth – member of Southworth family hanged, drawn and quartered as a Catholic martyr
- Bluebird K7 – World record holding speedboat built at Samlesbury