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Bare Hall or Torrisholme Hall, Morecambe, Lancashire

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Ian Topham
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According to 'Townships: Poulton, Bare and Torrisholme', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 8 (1914), Bare Hall is said to be haunted. Bare Hall (originally known as New Hall) is a sandstone Grade II listed building and was built in 1830 by John Lodge, one of the original members of the Poulton local Board of Health but since 1984 it has been an independent Retirement Home.

In Notes and Queries (established 1849) there appeared an article which described a visit to Bair Hall and an encounter with an apparition. This account was later reproduced in The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain by John Ingram (1897).

“A short time ago, I went with a friend to pay a visit to a family in the neighbourhood of Lancaster. We were very cordially received at Bair Hall by the hostess, who assigned to our use a spacious bedroom with old-fashioned furniture, and we noticed particularly an old press. My companion and myself retired to bed, and enjoyed a good night's rest. I happened to awaken at about five o'clock, it being a bright summer's morning, broad daylight, and, to my great surprise, saw distinctly within a few feet of the old-fashioned bed, an old gentleman seated in an arm-chair, earnestly gazing at me with a pleasant expression of countenance. I was not alarmed, but surprised, as I had locked the door when I went to bed, and, considering it a mental delusion, I closed my eyes for a moment and looked again; in the interval the old gentleman had moved his chair, and placed its back against the chamber door; he was seated in it as before, and gazed at me with rather an amused expression. I turned round to look at my companion; she was fast asleep. I immediately awoke her, and requested her to look across the room at the door. She could see nothing, neither could I; the old gentleman had gone. When I told her what I had seen, she got out of bed in haste; we both quitted the room in great alarm, and went to the bedroom of our hostess, who admitted us, and there we remained until it was time to dress.

"The lady asked us if we had opened the old press wardrobe; it appeared we had. ‘Oh!’ said she, ‘it is only James Bair, my uncle (or great-uncle); he does not like anyone but myself to examine his ancient clothes, or interfere with his press. He frequently joins me in the house, and some of the other members of the family also, but they don't like him. With me he often converses I found," concludes the narrator, who does not appear to have had any further encounter with James Bair's apparition, "if any of the rooms or closets were locked at night they were found open in the morning, and our hostess thought nothing of it."

Ingam goes on to say that further correspondence from another contributor to Notes and Queries thought Bair Hall was identical to Torisholme Hall, the property of J. Lodge of Bare.

Torrisholme Hall was erected by Joshua Lodge (born 1682 – died 164) and his son John Lodge (born 1727 – died 1766) inherited it. Another son, Thomas (born 1724 – died 1802) inherited the majority of the manor of Bare. Both Thomas and John had sons and I assume the estate would have been passed down. Thomas had a son named James though I cannot say if this is the James Bair or perhaps James Lodge of Bare.

So, a few questions.

1) Is the Bair Hall in the account really Bare Hall or Torrisholme Hall?

2) If the answer is Torrisholme Hall then is Bare Hall haunted as suggested by 'Townships: Poulton, Bare and Torrisholme' in 1914? Is it (A): The victim of mistaken identity or (B): A totally different haunting to that mentioned in Notes and Queries.

3) Who was James Bair?

Location: 54.077784,-2.838002
Torrisholme, Bare, Morecambe, Lancashire, Haunting, Apparition



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