LET’S TAKE A GHOST WALK:
CLITHEROE & WHALLEY
In 1996 Simon Entwistle started his ghost walks and today they are as popular as ever. Here he takes us on his ghost walks around Clitheroe and Whalley. Photography: Ben Redhead – Ben Niall Video Productions
This Clitheroe walk takes in the history of the town and is linked with local legends and ghostly encounters throughout the centuries. The views from Clitheroe Castle are outstanding and are ideal to take in the majestic Pendle Hill and the story of the 1612 witch trials.
The Norman keep is the very heart of Clitheroe and there is a story of a ghostly encounter when three police officers in 1982 came face to face with a Cavalier ghost, a sight that shocked them and caused much amusement among their colleagues!
As we make our way past the main gates and into the town, we head straight towards one of Clitheroe’s most elegant buildings the Swan and Royal Hotel. In 1879 the Mayor Mr George Eastham read the Riot Act to dispel riots in the town centre, giving permission to the army to quell the troubles. The soldiers policed the town for a month and in that period they became popular with the young ladies. Two of them got permission to marry their sweethearts but, the weddings never took place as the troops were ordered back to Brecon South Wales for embarkation to South Africa where they joined Lord Chelmsford’s ill-fated number two column – the entire 24th regiment was wiped out. When word filtered back to Clitheroe the two girls were heartbroken. One, a 17-year-old called Anne, was ostracised by her parents as she was carrying a child. She tearfully made her way to an upstairs room in the hotel where she had last seen her husband-to-be and sadly took her life.
One American tourist was horrified when staying in this room to hear the sound of rushing water from the sink. He noticed one tap was on full then the second tap turned on by itself. He then watched in amazement as the soap lifted from the soap dish, rotated then placed back in the dish. Anne’s ghost is frequently seen on the stairs.
In 1957 renovation work took place at the hotel and workmen noticed an old rag in a crack in the attic wall. The rag turned out to be an old army shirt, in the shirt, to everyone’s horror, was a baby’s skeleton and in the shirt collar was an army number from the 24th regiment.
This walk then takes us to Church Brow and its fabulous Georgian houses and the St Mary’s Parish Church office which is haunted by a soldier from the last war. We then make our way into St Mary’s churchyard to hear the story of a very brave landlord William Southworth, who lost his life defending the honour of a woman in Waddington in 1833. His story is on his grave to this day.
Following the success of the Clitheroe tours, in 1998 I started the Whalley ghost tours. Again, action-packed and featuring the 1781 Swan Hotel and the ghost of Mary Lane, who was treated badly by her master John Hammer. She haunts the top floor of the inn.
Whalley Abbey is famous for the ghost of abbott John Paslew, who was hung drawn and quartered at Lancaster City Castle in 1537 for his Catholic faith.
Making our way to the western gate house we learn that the gate house is said to be haunted by a young lady who lost her love in World War I and still waits for him there. The nearby railway viaduct also has some ghostly tales of ghost trains and a boy with straw coloured hair, who haunts the viaduct to this day.
Moving on, you can hear all about Ned King a Ribble Valley highwayman, who was killed by the Redcoats at the Punch Bowl Inn in 1741 – his ghost is seen on the Mitton to Whalley road.
Tours can be booked through the website all year round