25 January 2015

Ghost Stories and Bolling Hall, Bradford

I know blog post inspiration comes from a wide variety of places, and for some reason Bolling Hall popped up in a recent dream - enough to convince me to drag the kids along for a day of historical exploration and ghostly tales! 

Od house in the snow

Bolling Hall is one of the oldest buildings in Bradford, and I used to love visiting the gorgeous old house with my dad when I was little. We used to live really nearby and it's free entry so as you can imagine it was a pretty regular trip for us! 

Bradford Museums

On my most recent visit there were a number of different quiz sheets and challenges to complete on our way around the house. Simple things like this can make such a big difference to keeping the kids engaged while looking around. Big fancy rooms start to look the same to them after a while no matter how full of lovely old things, but if they have something to look for, clues to find, a story to follow then they get so much more out of it. While Emily and I scoured the rooms looking for ghosts for one quiz, Harry completed the Civil War cypher - deciphering mysterious coded messages to learn facts about Bolling Hall's place in the war. 

Civil War Trail

This is also closely related to Bolling Hall's most famous story - that of it's resident ghost. During the Civil War, goes the tale, the owner of the house allowed the commander of the Royalist army, the Earl of Newcastle, to stay. On retiring to bed in the ornate oak pannelled room, the Earl vowed that when morning came he would kill every man, woman and child of the Parliamentarian town who's defiance had irked him so.


Bradford Ghost Stories

Instead of a restful pre-slaughter nights sleep, however, the Earl was woken in the middle of the night by the sensation of his bed covers being removed from him. He saw the ghostly figure of a woman stood at his bedside, wringing her hands and urging him to 'Pity poor Bradford'.

When he awoke the next morning, instead of complete devastation of Bradford, he ordered his army to only kill those who offered resistance. In the end, only ten deaths were recorded.

Oak Panelled room with four poster bed

Of course this could have just been a rather elaborate excuse for not racking up a more impressive body count, but it's not the only instance of reported ghost sightings at Bolling Hall. The Blue Room, above, has its fair share of spooky tales as do other parts of the house, and when Living TV's Most Haunted filmed an episode there a few years ago they uncovered a range of paramormal activity. 

Family days out in bradford

My work colleague has been to Bolling Hall on an organised ghost hunt and said she definitely felt the presence of something unearthly. Emily decided she was taking no chances so went in her Halloween mummy costume as a disguise and with her axe for protection. Thankfully we managed to escape without too much trouble! 

Bolling Hall Nusery Bradford

In fact, if I found anything incredibly creepy it was the old dolls and toys found in the nursery. Chills, I tell you! 

Bolling Hall Bradford Childrens Room

Of course, it's not all doom and gloom and war and ghosts,... I always enjoy beating the kids at a game of Nine Men's Morris... 

Old Board Games

....and the place is lovely enough to look around as it is, with plenty to see, read and try on.


Kids in old house

Bolling Hall chandelier

Bolling Hall is only about a mile away from the town centre, is free to look around and is well worth a peek! 

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