Sleep tight, don't let the boggarts bite...
John Harland opens his chapter, The Clegg Hall Tragedy, hinting at a mysterious, “unnatural and cruel tragedy…” Oh god, the tension is killing me.
He then doesn’t reveal what happened at Clegg Hall for a good 2 pages, but instead mentions the word, ‘boggart,’ a bit too much. Although it may sound like a curse Tracy Beaker made up, it actually refers to a mischevious, evil spirit that will haunt a specific site or family.
Clegg Hall, in Littleborough, is said to host such a creature (catch him if you can). It’s quite a sordid-looking building – one of those you could probably guess is haunted without needing to be told. But knowing the building’s history definitely helps.
So – the ‘tragedy’. In the 13-14th century, the two young heirs to Clegg Hall were orphaned when the owners of the house died (hold tight, it gets better/worse). The Uncle took the role of legal guardian, and instead of raising the two orphans himself, he raised them over the top-floor balcony, and threw them off, into the moat.
Evil Uncle then successfully inherited Clegg Hall – but at what cost? Haunted by his own guilty conscience, he could not be at rest living. Similarly, in death, he was denied to lay in peace – an eternal punishment for his sins. So Uncle Boggart now roams the hall to this day, supposedly.
Or does he? Well, probably not, but what makes it all a bit trickier is the authors that can’t keep a story straight. Another recounting of the tale, focuses on a little girl…
From 1818 – 1869 the formidable building was a pub, called Horse and Hounds. A small group of children were left unsupervised after their parents had sunk a few (drinks, that is – not kids). As children do, they soon grew bored and started looking for their own entertainment.
Hide and seek was soon in full swing; except it seemed to be going on too long. No one could find little Geraldine Fisher (I have no evidence that her name was Geraldine Fisher, I just feel it adds to the story). After an ill-fated search, Geraldine’s body was found behind a wall. Cold.
However, this version has more holes than swiss cheese. A wall??? In that time-frame, the offender would have had to hammer through and re-plaster, all the while, little kids were running around the pub, actively looking for missing children. I don’t buy it.
Whether it’s a murderous Uncle, or a curtain-clad victim of hide and seek, the boggart of Clegg Hall has not yet been put to rest, and clings to the site like a bad smell. Supposedly, even when the building was demolished and re-built, the spirit would not leave that spot.
Many have claimed they can still see a pale face in a window corner. Or hear a crying through the walls. The families who have lived there throughout the centuries had to put up with restless moanings of lost spirits. Or is it just wind echoing through the old, stone structure of the hall?
Apparently it was going for £500k in 2012. Get yourself on Help! My House is Haunted and make back the money you’ll inevitably spend renovating the spooky shell of a household.