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Myths and Legends

Screaming Skull at Wardley Hall

Grade 1 listed Wardley Hall is home to both the Bishop of Salford and an infamous 'screaming' skull, which has become a local legend.

The skull belongs to Father Ambrose Barlow, who was hung and quartered for his faith in 1641. According to some sources the skull came into the hall when it was bought by a catholic sympathiser, who kept the skull hidden lest his true leanings were discovered. The skull was then rediscovered in the 18th century by the owner of the house. One day a servant found the skull and threw the grisly relic into the moat, whereupon there was a terrible storm that led the owner of the hall to believe the skull was venting its wrath at being removed. He had the moat drained and the skull was returned to its position.

From traditional stories the skull seems to be indestructible as it has been buried, burned and smashed into pieces, always to be found outside the hall the next day, wearing its eternal grin.
The skull now resides in a glass case, perhaps to prevent it being moved again!

Guy Fawkes at Ordsall Hall

Legend has evolved that Ordsall Hall was the location for Guy Fawkes and Robert Catesby to plot the overthrow of King James in what was to become the famous Gunpowder Plot. Such has this legend gained credibility that the street directly adjacent to the hall has been named 'Guy Fawkes Street'. Some claim that Guy Fawkes really was in residence at the hall, while others believe the story originated with an 1861 novel by Harrison Ainsworth.

Discover more about Guy Fawkes at Ordsall Hall

Ghosts of Ordsall Hall

Thanks to its hugely popular GhostCam, Ordsall Hall is now famous the world over as a truly haunted house! The main spirit seen is that of the White Lady whose identity is the source of much debate - is she Margaret Radclyffe, Queen Elizabeth I's maid of honour? Perhaps she is a jilted bride who threw herself off the balcony in the Great Hall? Or maybe she is the legendary Vivianna Radclyffe?

Read more about the ghosts of Ordsall Hall.

Do you know any more myths or legends about Salford? Have you a spooky encounter yourself, or did your grandparents tell you tales as a child that you still remember today? Send us your stories to


Screaming Skull at Wardley Hall

Guy Fawkes

Ordsall Hall's White Lady?

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