Dating from 1507, Browsholme Hall is a Grade I listed private residence and could be the oldest surviving family home in Lancashire. There is a skull preserved at the Hall that is thought to be that of a martyr from the 1536 Pilgrimage of Grace, which was a protest in Yorkshire against King Henry VIII breaking England from the Catholic Church and also various social and economic complaints. The removal of the skull from the Hall is said to bring bad luck.
The following extract from an article in Lancashire Life (2010) refers to the owners opinion of the curse –‘Robert Parker, the self-deprecating head of this household, jokingly says many of the antiques are the sort of ‘tat’ that gathers in every home. The difference is that this particular brand of ‘tat’ has taken over five centuries to accumulate.
Few family homes possess a cabinet containing the skull of a lady who was one of the martyrs of the religious rebellion that shook Henry VIII’s crown and cost this poor woman her head. There’s a legend that dire things will happen if the head ever leaves Browsholme. But in spite of the home’s antiquity and its extraordinary contents, Robert is quick to dismiss any talk of ghostly goings on. ‘And so would you,’ he laughs ‘if you had two children who you want to sleep at night!’
The truth is that Browsholme has all the components of a spooky old house without any of the chilling atmosphere. In fact, it feels like a relaxed, welcoming home if an exceedingly rare one. It hasn’t been the scene of gruesome deeds down the ages and while turmoil has gripped the nation, the Parkers have been adept at keeping their heads down – and on their shoulders.’