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Coordinates: 53°49′09″N 2°41′22″W / 53.8192°N 2.6894°W / 53.8192; -2.6894

Chingle Hall dates from around 1300. It is located in the parish of Whittingham near Preston, England. It was owned by the Singleton family till the line ran out in 1585. The second family to occupy the house were the Wall family. Anthony Wall, once mayor of Preston, died there in 1601. The Walls owned the Hall until the mid 1700's.

Contents

John Wall and the Catholic Reformation

John Wall may have been born in the Hall in 1620; it is not certain whether he was of this branch of the Wall family. He became a Roman Catholic priest in 1641. This was at the time of the Catholic Reformation, when it was illegal to practice mass in Britain. Chingle Hall was used as a place of worship by Catholics and there are "priest holes" where the priest could hide in times of danger. Father John Wall is thought to be part of the resident family of the time.

In 1678 he was apprehended at Rushock Court near Bromsgrove, as he was tendering the Oath of Supremacy. He was taken to Worcester jail, where he was offered his life if he would forsake his religion. He declined. Brought back from Worcester, he was drawn and quartered at Redhill on the 22nd of August, 1679. His quartered body was given to his friends, and was buried in St. Oswald's churchyard. A Mr. Levison, however, allegedly acquired the martyr's head, and it was treasured by the friars at Worcester until the dissolution of that house during the French Revolution. It is rumoured to be buried in Chingle Hall’s grounds or hidden in the building itself. The Franciscan nuns at Taunton claim to possess a tooth and a bone of the martyr. He was canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970.

In 1764 the house was passed to the Farrington family.

Hauntings

Chingle Hall has been at the centre of several alleged episodes of paranormal activity.

Inside the Chapel there are a number of wooden beams going across the ceiling. Some of these beams have strange symbols on them, possibly relics of earlier use elsewhere. When samples of the wood were scientifically examined,they were found to have a high salt content, and be much older than the house indicating that perhaps they were ships' timbers being recycled.

It was reported that, during the 1950s one of the beams covering a section of the wall in the chapel spontaneously caught fire, and, just as quickly as it had started, inexplicably extinguished itself. (There is no evidence of this to be found today.)

Among other phenomena, there is supposedly a pot-rearranging poltergeist in the kitchen, and visions of monks in the hallway and on the stairs. One of the rooms alleged to be most haunted is Eleanor's Room. This room belonged to Eleanor Singleton, who was reputedly kept captive there and died or was murdered there at the age of 19. It was outside Eleanor's Room in 1997 that parapsychologist Darren Done reported that he had had a unique experience. As he stood at the window of the landing, preparing to film an area outside where sightings of a ghostly monk have been reported, he claims he was suddenly knocked in the face with such force that he fell to the ground, receiving a cut and swelling to his nose. The incident, which he is unable to explain, remains vivid. A witness recorded Darren's head being knocked back about 18 inches..

On Christmas Day 1980, Gerald Main and ghost-hunter Terence Whitaker spent time at the Hall in a vigil and recorded rapping sounds emanating from one of the priest's hiding holes. At the time of the knocking noises they recorded a significant decrease in temperature and saw an 'indefinable shape' move across the floor.

In 1985, sounds of bricks being moved were recorded by a visitor in the priest's room, which seemed to originate in the priest's hiding hole. He peered within and saw part of a human hand moving one of the bricks. As he watched, the hand stopped moving and disappeared. This witness later managed to capture the sounds of footsteps on tape and a shadowy form on film. Later bricks were found scattered on the floor of the chapel on the ground floor.

During January 1996, a team from the Northern Anomalies Research Organisation investigated Chingle Hall. During the visit one member of the group managed to capture two photographs of orange lights which appeared on and near the oak-beamed ceiling. The investigator did not see these lights but rather small white flickering lights which prompted the photographs to be taken in the Chapel Room whilst standing in the dark by himself. Notably, the taking of the photographs and the light were witnessed by a several people in the house. When tape recorders were used in an investigation, sounds were heard and recorded within the priest's room but nothing was heard or recorded on the cassette in the passageway outside.

Today

The current owner is an eminent professional person and local historian, who has carried out detailed research into the origins and history of Chingle Hall and the families who have lived there since its construction. The house and gardens are private property.

A sceptic's view

A number of visits were made to Chingle Hall in 1970 by three investigators who were determined to discover whether the Hall was indeed haunted. Some of the results were published by Peter Travis in his book "In Search of the Supernatural". The only scientist of the group, Barrie Colvin, came to the firm conclusion that the expectation of paranormal activity had a bearing on the conclusions reached by many of the investigators of the time. When a party of college students visited in order to carry out some tests, many of them were "seeing" paranormal events before even entering the building. Chingle Hall is a prime example of many participants claiming to witness paranormal events despite a complete lack of objective evidence to support the claims.

External links

References

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