Saturday, 2 November 2013

All Hallows' Eve Ghost Tour at Ordsall Hall

In which G.M. Norton shares a tale of derring-do.


Last week I nobly agreed to accompany a group of fair maidens on a little ghost tour around a haunted Tudor manor house.

Certain that mortal danger was involved, it was with some trepidation one Thursday evening that I steered my motorcar through the grand gates of Ordsall Hall in Salford. 

The sky was like black tar, there was a distinct chill in the air and the gardens were eerily quiet as I made my way to the back of the hall. Approaching the entrance, I could hear howling from within.

Howls of laughter to be precise from the forty or so other ghost hunters that were taking full advantage of the free refreshments on offer.

Quickly scanning the room, I realised that I was the first of my little circle to arrive. Naturally, I furnished my hand with a cup of coffee and scoffed several ginger biscuits.

No doubt using a yet-to-be-patented ‘biscuit radar system’, my friends soon arrived and the fun began! What followed shall remain a mystery. Suffice to say, we heard terrible tales that would strike fear into even the bravest of hearts and we also met one or two interesting characters, pictured below.
When one delves into the chequered history of Ordsall Hall, it’s really rather fascinating so I thought it would be jolly nice to share a few things with my esteemed readership.

The origins of the hall can be traced more than 750 years ago, although the oldest surviving parts were built in the 15th century.

For three hundred years, Ordsall Hall was the ancestral home of the Radclyffe family.

Interestingly, there is an unsubstantiated local story that Guy Fawkes planned the Gunpowder Plot of the year 1605 during a stay at the hall. Indeed, Ordsall Hall was the setting for William Harrison Ainsworth’s 1842 novel called Guy Fawkes, which told this plausible tale of yonder.

When the Radclyffe clan was on one's uppers, sadly there was a new Lord of the Manor, ending the family's three centuried association with the manorial dwelling.


Ordsall Hall is reputedly one of the most haunted houses in England, with a number of sightings on record. The White Lady is the most well-known ghoul, seen by many a local around the Great Hall, Star Chamber and Great Chamber. She even has her own Twitter presence.

"Who is The White Lady?" I can hear you ask. I can also hear "And how does she have her own Twitter account?", but I will choose to concentrate on the first question if I may.

Some will tell you that she was Queen Elizabeth I's favourite Maid of Honour, Miss Margaret Radclyffe, who died of a broken heart in 1599. Others will tell you she was a bride-to-be, jilted at the altar at the once-adjacent St. Cyprian's Church.

Then again, if one was to believe the Guy Fawkes novel, The White Lady could be the legendary Viviana Radclyffe, with whom Guy Fawkes fell in love with when he supposedly came to Ordsall Hall to devise his devilish plot.
Are you interested in a spot of ghost hunting but fearful for your safety? Well, dear reader, there are three online GhostCams that you can watch from the safety of your own home. Available to view from 5 o'clock in the evening to 8 o'clock in the morning, this is your chance to keep an eye on the infamous residents of Ordsall Hall.
There are even organised overnight sojourns for the fearless adventurer.

Do you dare?

G.M. Norton
Protagonist of ‘Norton of Morton’

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