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Greater Manchester Gazetteer

Alderman Hill and Alphin Pike

In legend the rolling boulder-strewn hills of Alphin Pike and Alderman Hill were the abodes of the giants Alphin and Alderman, after whom the peaks were named. Alphin and Alderman were at first on friendly terms, until they both became enamoured with a beautiful water nymph called Rimmon, who lived in the valley below them in the bubbling waters of Chew Brook. Read More »

The Bill o' Jacks Murders

Bill o'Jacks Grave Stone

On April 2nd 1832 a landlord and his gamekeeper son were violently murdered at a remote pub on the edge of the bleak moorland above Greenfield near Saddleworth. Reported at the time as “one of the most diabolical murders ever committed” (1), the murders were never solved and have become a fascinating, if dark, part of the local lore of Saddleworth. Read More »

Black Magic Ritual Site Discovered

This tale was sent in by one of our visitors, it recounts the discovery of the remnants of a dark ritual deep within the Pennine hills. Read More »

Boggart Hole Clough

The clough was in former times, said to be haunted by a boggart, and there are a number of stories attached to it. Some of these tales probably became attached to the area after they had been written about other similar boggart infested places. Read More »

Cairo Mill

Cairo Mill

A security guard at Cairo Mill In Waterhead Oldham witnessed a UFO lit with a blue light after hearing a humming noise outside the mill. It was described as 30 metres in diameter, saucer shaped with a large window. After about 5 minutes the UFO turned and shot away into the sky. The factory cat also disappeared at the same time. There have been other UFO sightings in the area. Read More »

Castleshaw Roman Camp (Rigodunum)

Castleshaw Roman Camp

The original fort dates to the Flavian period, and was probably erected during the governship of Agricola (AD77 to AD83), when new Roman roads were being constructed in the Pennines as an aid to Roman expansion in the North. The larger fort became a smaller fortlet in the Trajanic era. Read More »

Clegg Hall

Clegg Hall (1)

Clegg Hall is a Grade II listed building dating from the 17th century. Some time between 1910 and 1920 the Hall fell into ruin and remained so until recently. It was put up for sale in 2011 and is a private residence. The Hall is of interest for it has Boggart story associated with it. Read More »

The Feytin' Ape

feytin_ape

Here’s a tall tale I collected from a local character when I was researching folklore in Oldham, Lancashire. While the tale is purely fictional it does include some half truths and was ‘doing the rounds’ of the local pubs. Read More »

Godley Green

Said to have been haunted by a phantom hound with a yellow coat. It was as big as a bull. The hound was once attributed to being a phantom lion from a local game park. Most phantom hounds of folklore seem to be black in colour, although a few such as this one appear in different colours.

Golborne

The streets of this town were said to be haunted by a White Lady who floated around, generally scaring passers by out of their wits, the spirit is also alleged to have drifted in front of cars so that they crashed when trying to avoid her.

Greenacres Lodge

This building owned by the local authority is reputedly haunted by a white lady. A few former employees have mentioned to me experiences they have had in Greenacres Lodge. Read More »

Hannah Beswick of Birchen Bower, Hollinwood

There used to be a large manor house (now demolished) called Birchen Bower in Hollinwood in Oldham, which was famous for its alleged haunting by a Grey Lady called Hannah Beswick. Read More »

Hartshead Pike

Hartshead Pike

Hartshead Pike serves as a focal point in the Oldham landscape, visible from miles around with unbroken views across 4 counties. This has been a beacon hill through antiquity. Read More »

Hulme Hall

Hulme Hall (1)

There are several buildings known as Hulme Hall including one in Allostock, a Grammar School in Cheadle Hulme and a hall of residence for Manchester University. However, the long lost Hulme Hall which was the seat of the Prestwich family is thought to have a hidden treasure protected by occult powers. Read More »

Ince Hall, Ince-in-Makerfield

Ince Hall, wigan

John Roby in his 'Traditions of Lancashire' (1872) relates the following tale which he entitled 'The Haunted Manor House', which he identifies as being Ince Hall in Wigan. As Roby acknowledges, there are a few buildings known as Ince Hall which leads to confusion when trying to identify the exactly where this tale is said to be based. Read More »

Kersal Cell

Kersal Cell (2)

The Grade II listed Kersal Cell which dates from 1563 is the second oldest building in Salford and was the home of the English poet John Byrom (also known as John Byrom of Kersal and John Byrom of Manchester) (Born 29 February 1692 – Died 26 September 1763). Read More »

La Pergola Hotel, Saddleworth

According to Haunted Sites of Oldham by Janette Quinland and Shaun McGrath the 18th century La Pergola Hotel (now the Clough Manor Hotel) was haunted by the veiled apparition of a woman wearing a Victorian crinoline style dress. Read More »

Lostock Tower

The Grade II listed Gatehouse, a private residence, is all that now remains of Lostock Hall, a moated manor house demolished between 1816 and 1824. Lostock Hall was the ancestral home of the Anderton family. Read More »

Mab's Cross

The remains of this 13th century (earliest known mention 1277) stone cross can be found on Standishgate and is thought to have been a medieval waymarker between Chorley and Wigan.  It was moved from its original position on the other side of the road in 1922 when the road was widened.  The cross’s name is derived from its legendary association with Lady Mabel Bradshaw.  T Read More »

Manchester’s Headless Black Dog

In 1825 a man reported being seeing a large headless phantom hound leap at him whilst he was in the vicinity of Manchester Cathedral.

Mancunium Roman Fort, Castlefield

The remains of the Roman fort named Mancunium date from AD79 and can be found at Castlefield in Manchester. Read More »

Marple Hall

Marple Hall

The hall was said to be haunted by King Charles the I, and the daughter of a Roundhead, who was murdered by her father when she fell in love with a Cavalier during the English Civil War. Read More »

The Old Original

Old Original

Haunted by an amorphous shape, thought to be a woman called Eliza Jane MacKay who committed suicide by drowning herself in the well of New Inn Farm, which is situated nearby. She is said to have been an alcoholic who drank at the inn and was buried in the orchard at New Inn Farm. Read More »

Oldham Coliseum

The Oldham Coliseum was the scene of a tragic accident involving the play that raises the hackles of superstition in many actors: Macbeth. Read More »

Pots and Pans

Pots and Pans above Greenfield, was once thought to have been a Druid place of worship, and old maps mark the site of a 'Druid's Altar'. Just where the Druid's Altar was is unclear, but it is generaly believed to be the rounded depressions found on top of the giant boulders of Millstone grit (the actual pots and pans) on the crest of the hill. Read More »

Radcliffe Tower

Radcliffe Tower

Radcliffe Tower is all that remains of a fifteenth century (1403) manor house and is a Grade I listed building. At twenty feet high, this ruined remnant of the manors demolition in the nineteenth century is linked to a tragic tale of a stepmother arranging the murder of her husband’s daughter and is reputed to be haunted by a phantom Black Dog. Read More »

Riding The Black Lad (Black Knight Pageant), Ashton-under-Lyne

In 1911, the following description of this ancient Ashton custom appeared in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4. Read More »

The Ring O' Bells

The Ring O' Bells

The Ring O'Bells is said to be one of the oldest buildings in Middleton, and may be one of its most haunted. Historically the pub's foundations are thought to date all the way back to Saxon times, and legend has it that a Druidical temple stood at this spot in the Iron Age - perhaps a place of ancient sacrifice. Read More »

Rochdale Rush-Bearing

Rochdale Rushcart

As far as I am aware Rochdale no longer celebrates the Rush Bearing festival, though nearby Littleborough revived theirs in 1991 and continue to celebrate it each year. Below is description of how Rochdale and its Rush-Bearing from Lancashire Legends (1873) by John Harland & T T Wilkinson. Read More »

Saddleworth Rushcart

Uppermill Rushcart 1880

Rushbearing dates back to the middle ages and is a festival where rushes were collected to be strewn out over the floors of churches, back when the floors were just earthen. The tradition died off when church floors started to be flagged by the 19th century, though in some villages and towns it was revived as a folk custom. Read More »

Saint Chad's Parish Church, Rochdale

The oldest parts of St Chad's Parish Church dates from the early 12th century and the original church built by Adam de Spotland. There is a siting legend attached to St Chad's which may date back to the construction of this early building. Read More »

Smithills Hall, Bolton

The hall - one of the oldest in Lancashire - has a footprint in its flagstones said to have been created when a protestant martyr was interrogated at the hall. The footprint is said to become bloody on the anniversary of his martyrdom. Read More »

St Chad's Church, Saddleworth

St Chad's Church

Saddleworth church - dedicated to St Chad - has a legend associated with its location. It is said that the original site for the church was on nearby Brown Hill, but every night the stones were mysteriously moved to their present position. Eventually the builders gave up moving the stones back to Brown Hill, and built it where the stones were placed each night. Read More »

St Michaels Parish Church, Ashton-under-Lyne

St Michaels Parish Church is thought to have been founded by Sir John Assheton (died 1428), Member of Parliament and soldier. Read More »

Stretford Great Stone

By the entrance of Gorse Hill Park from Chester Road is a large boulder known as the Great Stone. This stone gave its name to Great Stone Road (beside which it stood until 1925) and the old Great Stone Farm. There are many stories, legends and theories concerning the origins of the stone. Read More »

The Ashton Gyst-Ale

The gyst-ale, or guising feast, was an annual festival of the town of Ashton-under-Lyne. It appears from the rental of Sir John de Assheton, compiled a.d. 1422, that a sum of twenty shillings was paid to him as lord of the manor for the privilege of holding this feast by its then conductors. Read More »

The Dead Hand

The "Dead Hand," or the "Holy Hand," as it is sometimes styled, alluded to in the foregoing tradition,is the centre around which quite a galaxy of marvellous tales have gathered. It is known to have belonged to Father Edmund Arrowsmith, a Jesuit, who suffered the extreme penalty of the law at Lancaster, on the 28th August 1628. Read More »

Thurston Clough Romans

Thurston Clough is a hamlet near Scouthead, roughly 1.5 miles from the village of Dobcross, Saddleworth and Janette Quinlan in Mystical Oldham (2010) refers to a letter received by the Oldham Evening Chronicle in 1973 concerning Roman soldiers haunting Thurston Clough. Read More »

Tyrone's Bed

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5 (1911) explains that 'On the north side of Marland, by the Roch, is a wooded clough known as Tyrone's Bed, a story invented by Roby and William Nuttall (d. 1840) gaining currency that the Earl of Tyrone, outlawed by Elizabeth, took refuge there.' Below is the story of Hugh O'Neill (Hugh The Great O'Neill) (Born c. Read More »

Unsworth Dragon

According to ‘Lancashire Legends’ (1873) by John Harland & T T Wilkinson, ‘One of the most noted dragon stories of Lancashire has its locality assigned to Unsworth, a small village or hamlet about three miles from Bury. Read More »

The Screaming Skull of Wardley Hall

The skull that resides at Wardley Hall is another skull with opposing legends to account for its existence. In tradition the skull - which was kept behind a panel - was supposed to be that of royalist Roger Downs who lived in the 17th century. Read More »

Witchcraft In Middleton

Major General Ralph Assheton

Around 1630 a man named Utley, presumably from Middleton was accused of witchcraft, tried at Lancaster, found guilty and hanged. It was thought that he had bewitched to death Richard Assheton (before 1625 – 1630), first son of Sir Ralph Assheton Esq, Lord of Middleton and his wife Elizabeth Kaye. Read More »

Ye Olde Man & Scythe

Ye Olde Man & Scythe is one of the best known pubs in Bolton town centre, one of the oldest public houses in the United Kingdom and is reputedly haunted by James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby amongst others. Ye Olde Man & Scythe has stood in Churchgate since the 12th century. Read More »

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