Manchester is not only a great place to study English, it’s also a city that really embraces the spirit of the spooky season. We’re really getting in the mood for Halloween at New College Group, and we know all of our students in the city will soon be doing the same as the 31st of October draws near.
Our English Language School is located in Manchester, and so we wanted to explore some of the most haunted locations and terrifying tales from across the Greater Manchester area, which are sure to send a shiver down your spine.
A warning though, don’t read on if you’re alone…
The beautiful urban park in Blackley (pronounced Blakeley), known as Boggart Hole Clough is said to have a mystical and eerie atmosphere. The 190 acres of stunning ancient woodland now hosts cross country events and bonfire displays. However the Clough, which means a steep sided wooded valley in the local dialect, has a dark urban legend attached to it. It’s said that a mischievous spirit, known as a boggart haunts the woods.
Boggarts are prominent in Lancashire and Yorkshire folklore, and are said to have the ability to turn milk sour, make objects disappear and make dogs unable to walk. There’s even a story of a farmer and his family being driven from their home by a a Boggart. They ended up returning anyway after releasing the creature would follow them.
Ordsall Hall is a stunning former stately home in Salford, which dates back more than 7 centuries. It was once the home of the Radclyffe family, who came into possession of the hall in around 1335. It was even the setting of the 1842 novel Guy Fawkes, written by William Harrison Ainsworth, which suggested the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was planned in the house. However, like many older buildings, it has its stories of hauntings.
Several spooky tales surround the old Tudor manor, including a particular ghostly spectre that has been named, the White Lady. She is said to appear in the Great Hall or Star Chamber, which are the oldest parts of the building. It’s believed that the ghost could be a former maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth I, a jilted bride, or the spirit of Margaret Radclyffe herself who apparently died in 1599 of a broken heart. Brave guests can spend a night at the hall, or even watch the live ghost cams on the website.
Manchester has many secret hidden gems, but lying just below the surface of the city is a complex network of secret subterranean passageways and underground tunnels. This labyrinth beneath Manchester stretches under large parts of the city centre, hiding long forgotten memories, and spine-tingling tales.
The unsettling underground tunnels were built during World War Two, and include the remnants of an old communications bunker, air raid shelters, canal and river tunnels, shops, and even a tube station that was never used. Visitors can book themselves onto ghost walks that explore the creepy passageways.
There’s many tall tales that have become embedded in UK folklore over the centuries. One of the most widely spread stories that stretched across the countryside was that of the ghostly ‘hellhound’ known as the Black Shuck. The hulking, 7 foot tall sinister beast was said to have roamed East Anglia in the 16th century, terrorising and striking fear into the hearts of any who came across its path.
Described as having shaggy black hair and flaming red eyes, the beast placed a fatal curse onto anyone who happened to catch a single glimpse of it. Those who heard it’s haunting howl were warned to close their eyes. It seems the curse of the Black Shuck spread to Manchester too, as there have been reported sightings of the creature prowling the city streets. One incident reported that the hound attacked a tradesman outside the Manchester Cathedral in 1825.
Wardley Hall is a magnificent medieval manor house and a located in the Wardley area of Worsley. The Grade I listed building is one of the few places in the whole of the Northwest to be mentioned in the Domesday Book. It’s now a residence for the Roman Catholic Bishops of Salford, but harbours a chilling history, centred around a screaming skull.
The preserved skull is believed to be that of Father Ambrose Barlow, who was hung, drawn and quartered in 1641. It’s still kept at the hall to this day, and the story goes that the grisly relic is in fact cursed. Legend says that the skull is indestructible and would wreak havoc if anyone tried to remove it from the building.
As you can see there’s plenty of spooky stories to hear and sights to see as you study English in Manchester this Halloween.