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…