The Clegg Hall Boggart

Clegg Hall

It is lovely to report that this wonderful Hall on Clegg Hall Road, which at one point was very close to dilapidation, has been lovingly restored and is once again a glorious building. The photo above shows it very close to completion. It is in private hands and so cannot be visited, but one can still walk down the lane which runs by it and gain a satisfying view.

Anyone who is familiar with Clegg Hall will also be familiar with the boggart which is said to haunt it – indeed, it is so well-known that it has passed into common parlance as a synonym for someone visiting often; ‘Here I am again, like t’Clegg Hall Boggart!’

This boggart was actually a ghost, the shade of an ancient member of the Clegg family who, some time in the 14th century, murdered his two young orphaned nephews in order to gain Clegg Hall for himself. It is said that he threw them over a balcony and into the moat, where they drowned. He was subsequently stricken with guilt about this double murder and his ghost (not those of the children) continues to haunt the hall and its grounds.

The room where the murders were committed was, of course, the most haunted and whilst many families inhabited Clegg Hall over the centuries, few people ever slept in that room again. Eventually a priest was called upon to exorcise the boggart, with whom he had a mysterious conversation. The boggart agreed to leave but only on the condition that a sacrifice was made of a body and a soul. The clever priest agreed, but substituted the body of a cock and the sole of a shoe! The bargain worked and the boggart departed, but only for a while, for even when the oldest part of the hall was demolished entirely, the boggart ghost continued to walk.

Another version of this tale, in a ballad written by William Nuttall, has the children’s ghosts exorcised by St Anthony, using a relic from Our Lady’s shrine. However, that would imply that there were multiple boggarts, and in the tradition (rather than the embellished ballad versions), there was only ever one…

Image © Copyright Paul Hogg and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

About LancashireFolk

Lancashire folklore, legends, ghosts, local history - author of 'Lancashire Folk' published by Schiffer Publishing 2016 - 9780764349836 £19.50. Please visit to see upcoming books. The Enchanted Valley and Manchester Folk will be published in 2020. Cumbria Folk almost ready!
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8 Responses to The Clegg Hall Boggart

  1. Pingback: The Clegg Hall Boggart — Lancashire Folk | A CERTAIN MEASURE OF PERFECTION

  2. sueashby7 says:

    What an amazing bit of history, you have shared so well. Thank you. You hooked me from the start and I clung to every word. This building, though beautiful, has that moody feeling to it that really blends in well with the history you have shared. Once again, I thank you ever so much for the great read.


  3. Andy says:

    Great tale. Near where I live, in Manchester, we have Bogart Hole Clough, a nature spot named after a farmhouse that used to stand on the spot that was haunted by a bogart.


  4. Robert says:

    As a native child and adolesent of Firgrove, Milnrow; I knew Clegg hall. A short distance from the Rochdale canal tow path ( between Rochdale and Littleborough ) which was a common cycle ride and walkway, Clegg hall was a childs atrraction as all in the area knew of the ghost. In the 1950/60s the adjacent farm kept hens in there as it was derelict. The phrase ” As ill as Clegg Hall Boggart ” used as an unusual and evil explanation for something a happening. Also a local description of for instance; a cow, dog and sometimes a person doing something rapidly without any forethought or reason was said to go ‘ off at boggart ‘


    • Hi Robert, I’m sure if I had lived in that area I would have been one of those children exploring the abandoned Hall and scaring myself silly. Thanks so much for your additional comments about how the boggart worked it’s way into the local vernacular – fascinating!


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