The venue for November’s Burnley and Pendle adventure was Samlesbury Hall, a magnificent timbered house dating from the 14th century. In that curious juxtaposition in which our crowded little island specialises, it is an ancient survivor nearby to ultramodern BAE Systems on the site of the old airfield.
It has a colourful history passing from grand country residence through neglect and decrepitude to, fortunately, excellent long-term preservation in the hands of the Samlesbury Hall Trust. Historic beauty apart, Samlesbury’s claim to fame lies in the rather more grisly tales told by Janey the (spotty) Witch and, today’s treat, Simon Entwistle who entertained us to centuries’ worth of ghosts, doomed lovers, murder, suicide and more than one arrest of a priest fated to be hung drawn and quartered. He began by introducing himself in front of one of the more remarkable of several priest holes, comprising a fireplace that could be drawn aside by a hidden lever to reveal a chamber, insulated against the heat, wherein the priest could hide. In another, the bloodstains of a more luckless beheaded priest had stubbornly defied removal while centuries later Churchill lunched with senior RAF officers in the adjacent gallery planning a daring air raid into France. Apparently, Henry VIII also drops in from time to time …
After this amazing and entertaining talk, eleven of us also sat down to an excellent lunch, but comfortable and shielded from the windy and dreary autumn day outside, before going our separate ways.
The next meeting will be our AGM in January.