Smithills Hall Bolton

This is now a Grade 1 listed building and there has been a building on the site since the 13th century; the oldest part dates from 1335. It was extended in the 15th century and again in the Victorian times.  A few families have lived there but the major ones were the Radcliffes, Bartons and Ainsworth. Little is known of the first two families only that the Radcliffes fought at Agincourt and in The War of the Roses. The Radcliffes brought the hall in 1335, in turn his son, grandson, great grandson and, due to the next being a girl Johanna, her cousin succeeded. They were all named Ralph Radcliffe. The last died leaving a daughter Cecilia, so Johanna married her off to her own son John and the estate then belonged to the Bartons. Again through marriage it passed to the Bellasyse family in 1659. Tthey did not need the estate and it went into a period of relative decline. It was sold in 1721 and again in 1723 to Joseph Brom, it was not a major concern to them and parts were rented out. In 1801 it was sold again to Richard Ainsworth, the family were known successful bleachers. It was passed down in the family and again the hall was extended. The last was Nigel Ainsworth in 1926 and he sold it to the County Borough of Bolton for £70,000 in 1938. The oldest part of the building became a museum and the rest was used as residential homes and a day centre.

The place is known to be haunted and strange things have happened, these include a bottom pinching ghost on the stairs, a figure with black hair and clothes has been seen in the tea room, the sound of galloping horses, and cold spots have been felt.

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