Mecure Blackburn Dunkenhalgh Hotel and Spa
The 175 room, 4 star Mercure Blackburn Dunkenhalgh Hotel, is thought to be haunted by Lucette, a pretty, young, French governess for the Petre family who lived at Dunkenhalgh Hall when it was still a home. BBC Lancashire give the following account of the haunting ‘The Dunkenhalgh first appears in recorded history in 1285, but has probably existed for some time before then. In 1332 it came into the hands of the Rishton family who held it for nearly for 250 years. Some time between 1332 and 1376 the Rishtons removed from Rishton to the Dunkenhalgh, but unfortunately nothing is known of the house. However, it is reasonable to expect that the new owners, being a family of much property, would even enlarge or rebuild it.
The oak panelling in the Oak Room came from Hacking Hall, Billington, another property belonging to the estate, and the fine staircase dates from the early eighteenth century. There are several interesting family portraits in the Portrait Room.
In our grandfathers time many a fearful and furtive glance was cast around by people compelled to pass the hotel after nightfall. Not “for love nor money” could anyone be prevailed upon to pas that way at the witching hour of midnight on Christmas Eve.
A ghost or boggart is supposed to appear every Christmas Eve in the form of a young lady, dressed in a winding sheet, who moves along the trees and by the site of the bridge, then disappears. The story goes that in olden times, when the PetrFe family were in their heyday, they had a young French lady as governess to their children, known to all the countryside as Lucette.
One Christmas there came a dashing young officer who fell in love with Lucette, soon found a way to woo her, and gained her affections. But he never intended to marry her.The deceiver rode away after he had accomplished her ruin and promised to return.
The promise was false and Lucette realised that Dunkenhalgh was no place for her but did not dare go home to France. Often she wandered about in the gloaming, through the glades where her false lover had gone. Her reason failed at last and one stormy night she wandered to the bridge and threw herself into the rushing torrents.
But her lover did not escape; he was killed in a duel by her brother, who thus avenged the death of his sister. Her ghost is still said to haunt the scene of her unfortunate love on Christmas Eve.’