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Smithills Hall

Location of the haunted place: Halliwell, nr Bolton, Lancashire

Origin of the haunting: 16th Century

Background: A house of the same name may have stood here as long ago as 597. Parts of the current building date back to the reign of King John (1199 - 1216). In the 16th Century it was in the hands of the Barton family. Sir Roger Barton was a magistrate and George Marsh, a nonconformist minister, was bought before him to be questioned. This is George's story.

Ghost story: I would not conform. They questioned me long and hard but I would not give in. I had my beliefs and they had theirs but they would not let me be. Eventually they made me angry and I stamped my foot on the ground and told them that my footprint would remain there forever to remind people of my suffering and beliefs. I was questioned again elsewhere and then burnt alive as a heretic on 24th April 1555.

My footprint can still be seen today. Once, some years ago, the footprint was removed and that made me angry. I made strange things happen and caused a number of disturbances. The stone with the footprint was returned and I became quiet again.

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