The Long History of Speke Hall
Speke Hall is a historic masterpiece that is nestled right along the banks of the River Mersey. This beautiful old hall still stands as a testament to centuries of history, and its timber-framed construction is the epitome of Tudor architecture. However, the aged corridors and walls inside the hall also hold a treasure trove of spooky tales and surprising mysteries…
The Norris family
Speke Hall’s history begins in the 16th century when Sir William Norris began construction on the hall in 1530. It’s actually William who was the brains behind the Great Hall and later expanded it into the long west wing. You can still find portraits of Sir William Norris, his family, and all nineteen of his children in the Oak Parlour.
The Norris family’s unwavering Catholic faith ended up marking them as ‘recusants’, and they refused to attend the services at the Church of England. Instead, their home hid a concealed sanctuary (also known as the ‘priest hole’), which gave refuge to persecuted priests.
The Watt family
In the 18th century, after the last male Norris heir’s passing, the house passed to Mary Norris. Mary was the proud granddaughter of Thomas Norris and went on to have a prolific marriage with Lord Sidney Beauclerk. The couple also sired a son, Topham, who has been at the centre of plenty of horrifying rumours surrounding the Speke Estate (but more on this later…).
In the 19th century, there were major attempts to revive Speke Hall and return it to its original glory. However, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that the hall underwent a major transformation. This change was all thanks to Richard Watt V and his wife, Adelaide (Hignett) Watt.
During this time, the hall also welcomed a new tenant known as Frederick Leyland. According to the National Trust, Frederick was often visited by artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti who is rumoured to have advised Leyland to use William Morris Wallpapers within the hall. In fact, it’s also said that Rossetti described the Speke Estate as “a very glorious old house, full of interest in every way.”
Adelaide Watt and the preservation of Speke Hall
Once the home was inherited by Adelaide Watt, this incredible woman took it upon herself to preserve the estate and introduce more modern amenities to the home. Adelaide’s legacy extended well into the 20th century until she entrusted the estate to trustees. After this, the Speke Manor eventually transitioned into the ownership of the National Trust.
The Hall today
Today, you can still pay a visit to Speke Hall and take in all the beauty of this incredible and historic building. On your visit, you can enjoy:
- The restored garden (complete with a rose garden, spring bulbs, a stream garden, and summer border)
- A fully-equipped Victorian kitchen
- The Great Hall
- The Oak Parlour
- The Home Farm restaurant and Stable Tea Room
- A hedge maze for the kids to enjoy
- Magnificent views of the Mersey Basin, and much, much more
The Unexplainable Hauntings of Speke Hall
Like some of the other most haunted places in the UK, the Hall has its fair share of bone-chilling ghost stories. From shadowy figures, disembodied cries and creaking footsteps to the tale of an infant meeting its untimely demise, these stories are not for the faint of heart.
Based on first-hand accounts and whispers among the paranormal community, here are just some of the most horrifying and intriguing stories from within the walls of the Hall:
Ghosts in the Great Hall
The Great Hall is no stranger to unexplained happenings and bumps in the night. It’s often said that the Great Hall is home to shadowy figures that drift in and out, sending shivers down the spines of staff and visitors alike.
Almost everyone who has been into the Hall has reported overwhelming feelings of oppression or sudden bouts of nausea. This may be because of a dark and imposing unseen force that takes residence here.
Phantom figures in the Blue Room
The Blue Room at Speke Hall is another room with an unsettling aura and shadowy figures. In this room, paranormal investigators have reported hearing chilling whispers telling them to ‘Get out’ (you wouldn’t have to ask us twice!).
While some investigators report capturing haunting messages from beyond the grave on their EVP recorders, others have claimed to hear these whispers in their ears and felt hot breath hitting against their skin. But, when they turn around, there’s no one there. Yikes!
In the dead of the night, when the rest of the home is quiet and still, it’s rumoured that the upper corridors of Speke Hall come alive with the sound of disembodied footsteps. Whoever is responsible for these footfalls is said to pace the empty hallways, puzzling visitors who can’t seem to find the source of the noise…
The tragedy in the Tapestry Room
Although there is activity throughout the rest of the Hall, it’s the Tapestry Room that holds the darkest story of them all. Believed to be the bedroom of Mary Norris during her time in the home, it’s no shock that her ghost is thought to still claim the room as its own.
According to legend, Mary was driven mad by her husband’s gambling debts and reckless behaviour. In an act of madness and desperation, it’s said that Mary flung her young son into the murky waters of the moat below, killing him instantly. Then, consumed by grief and guilt, Mary followed and leapt from the window to join her only son in his watery grave…
The historical accuracy of this tale is relatively uncertain, and some history buffs have claimed that there is absolutely no truth to the story. But then who (or what) have guests and staff reported seeing near the window in this room?
What do you need to know before visiting Speke Hall?
Finding Speke Hall couldn’t be easier. It’s right across the street from the Liverpool Airport and only around 13 km from the city centre. This makes it the perfect stop if you’re visiting Liverpool for the first time.
But what about the cost? Although entry to Speke Hall is free if you have a National Trust membership, tickets to the house and grounds are around £7.50 for children and £15 for adults.
Has Speke Hall ever been spiritually cleansed?
With so many spirits rumoured to reside within the walls of this beautiful old hall, it’s only natural to wonder if anyone has ever tried to drive these spirits out with sage. While there hasn’t ever been an official statement on whether the hall has been cleansed, it’s not too far-fetched to assume that there have been attempts to help these poor, trapped souls move on from their eternal resting place.
How can I find ghosts myself?
You can find ghosts with a ghost finder, all you need is the right equipment, and a haunted location to ghost hunt in.
With eerie legends and first-hand accounts of terrifying spectres roaming the grounds, it’s not surprising that Speke Hall has earned a reputation for itself among ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts. But, knowing the history and legends of the spirits that linger, there’s only one question left to ask… Are you brave enough to explore the haunted halls of Speke Hall?