Smithills Hall – A very first school trip

Little Zs first ever school trip was to an indoor ski place where they had a tonne of fun in fake snow whilst playing with reindeers and various slides. Ever since then, I kept reminiscing the first ever school trip I went on. Times were very different then and we got taken to a famous local stately home which was steeped in history, religious conflict and ghosts. I’m pretty sure the national curriculum wasn’t about in those days. It’s called Smithills Hall and has stood in Bolton since the 14th century.

This week I took a trip to see it again. It’s still there in all its glory and is free to visit. It belonged to the Radcliffe family and has changed many hands over the centuries. Brand new apartments have been built not too far away and there is now a farm nearby to entertain little ones. The main house is still very beautiful and worth seeing if you happen to be in the area. It shows how characteristics of Tudor times. I remember well the teachers telling how they coated the walls with daub, the white plaster like substance you see on Tudor homes and how we all lived on a hill that was famous for daub collecting. If you know Bolton, you’ll know exactly what area that is.

Smithills Hall is said to be haunted by many ghosts, one of which is called George Marsh, a devout Protestant that was put on trial for his teachings in Bolton during the reign of Queen Mary, a Catholic. As he was led away from the Great Hall in the house, he stamped his foot angrily on a flagstone which left a footprint. That footprint is still there today and can be seen under glass. He was put on trial and eventually found guilty of heresy and burned at the stake. He now roams the house and I remember them telling us how George even leaned over to look at someone in bed once, at the man who sent him to his trial. I’m not sure if that actually happened or the guide was just trying to tell a bunch of kids a spooky tale. I did go home scared witless though! Some have said to feel chills through the house. I didn’t really feel anything… thankfully, but it’s not somewhere I’d particularly like to spend the night. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, it’s a lovely place to step back in time and discover a bit of rich Lancashire history.


















Mini Travellers


  1. Nikki Thomas October 1, 2016 / 10:37 pm

    I definitely wouldn’t want to spend a night there but it sounds like a fascinating place. I went to a very similar place local to us recently on a school trip (funnily enough) and it looked very similar but I found the place fascinating.
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  2. Verily Victoria Vocalises October 2, 2016 / 12:27 am

    I’d be far too scared to go there at night – but it looks like such a beautiful place. I particularly like the photo of the bowl on the table in front of that multi-paned window – I always think they cast such great patterns.
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  3. Martyn October 2, 2016 / 12:32 am

    I love history. Mostly for this reason. I can stand in awe at the beauty and be envious that i cant be there to take in the true feeling as well as the quirks and smells. #mysundayphoto
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  4. John Adams October 2, 2016 / 6:24 am

    The stained glass windows caught my eye. Clearly positioned very well to catch the light. Hadn’t heard of this venue but I may have to investigate.
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  5. Sarah MumofThree World October 2, 2016 / 7:26 am

    Fabulous photos and it sounds like a very interesting place!
    I also had the thought about the national curriculum not existing when we were kids the other day. I was remembering learning about where babies came from at a very early age and wondering why they’d taught it so young. I still don’t know the answer to that question, but I know there was no national curriculum telling them to wait until year 6!
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  6. Brooke Neal October 2, 2016 / 1:03 pm

    Honestly, I haven’t met a hamlet, castle, fort, palace I didn’t love. And I wish I were a Brit because you have no shortage of history at your finger tips.

  7. Emma T October 2, 2016 / 1:59 pm

    It looks like a lovely place to visit. Although I think I’d be a bit spooked out too, and I’d definitely not sleep there.
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  8. Sarah Christie October 2, 2016 / 9:56 pm

    Omg I remember watching this on most haunted it scared the living daylights out of me, in fact the last time I watched it was when they did Pendle Hill and Demdyke Farm I didn’t sleep for a week ha ha, I remember looking out of my window a Pendle thinking this is too close to home! But in daylight away form all that it is a stunning building, x
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  9. Tracey Williams October 3, 2016 / 5:40 pm

    How lovely that you went back to visit and it looks a beautiful place (though I can imagine quite scary in the dark). I agree about school trips now. I am guessing Z went to the Chill Factor, which my eldest has also been to on a school trip. I really can’t remember my school trips ever being as exciting as playing in snow. Great photos as always Tas #MondayEscapes x
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  10. Emma Raphael October 3, 2016 / 8:51 pm

    Such a stunning building! I lived in Yorkshire until I was 9 and I think my first trip was to a stately hall – I think it was called Oakwell Hall, and it had a bloody footprint from its resident ghost! 🙂 Good luck with the return to work! 🙂

  11. Melody October 8, 2016 / 9:54 pm

    Oh wow! Lots of beautiful photos. It looks like a great place to visit. x #MySundayPhoto
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