Bolling Hall Museum, Bradford
Description and era: The existing building was completed in 1370 and extended in the 1400’s. Before this the Manor consisted of a set of wooden framed buildings. Subsequent modifications have been made through the centuries.
– The first known reference to the Manor of Bolling was in the Domesday Book in 1086. It had been owned by someone called Sindi but by 1086 was held by Ilbert De Laci who was given it by the King for his help at the Battle of Hastings.
– It’s not known how long the De Laci family held Bolling but by 1316 William Bolling is described as Lord of the Manor.
– At the time of the War of the Roses the then head of the family, Robert Bolling, supported the Lancastrians and fought for them. After this he was accused of high treason by Edward 4th. His life was saved by pardon of the King but his land and manor were taken from him. In 1475 he begged for the return of his estates and the king relented.
– In 1446 Robert had betrothed his son, Tristam (then only a boy) to Beatrice Calverley (also under 12 years old at the time). Tristam inherited the estate in 1487.
– Tristam and Beatrice only had one surviving child, Rosamund who then married Richard Tempest in 1497 (Tristam Bolling remarried after his wife’s death and he and his new wife had a son, Edward. However, he was illegitimate and so didn’t inherit the estate, which went to Rosamund).
– Rosamund received Bolling Hall and the adjacent lands as her dowry and after her father’s death succeeded to the estate. Therefore, the manor now passed into the hands of the Tempest family. The extended the house adding the kitchens, cellars, passage, parlour, a suite of bedrooms and the housebody (Yorkshire name for the Great Hall).
– Rosamund and Richard Tempest had 13 children, three of whom died in infancy.
– Richard Tempest was knighted in 1513, became High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1516 and was elected to Parliament in 1529. However, he somehow became involved in the unsuccessful Rebellion of Northern Gentry in 1536, was arrested in London in 1537 and died a few weeks later whilst still in jail awaiting trial.
– Rosamund managed the Bolling Estates until her death in 1553 when she was succeeded by her oldest surviving son, Sir John Tempest. He left no children and so was succeeded by his brother Nicholas.
– At the beginning of the Civil War, the last Richard Tempest fought for the king and Bolling Hall was the Royalist Headquarters for the siege of Bradford in 1643. However, Richard changed sides a year later and was later fined £1,748 for his part in the war placing him in severe financial difficulties.
– In 1649 Richard Tempest sold the Manor to Henry Savile. In 1657 Richard Tempest died a debtor in the Fleet Prison.
– In 1668 Henry Savile sold the Manor on to Francis Lindley (a barrister and son of a Hull merchant). Francis died less than a year later and his wife Elizabeth managed the estates until his son, the second Francis Lindley (known as Frank) came of age (they also had a daughter, Betty). Before this they lived in Manchester rather than at the hall.
– The second Francis (Frank) Lindley lived at Bolling Hall with his wife Caroline until his death in 1734.
– Caroline and her two daughters then had to look after the estate on the behalf of their son, Walter, who had been declared a ‘lunatic’.
– Walter died in 1760 and the estate was passed to a cousin, Thomas Pigott (a grandson of the first Francis Lindlay). He died in 1770 and left the estate to his cousin Captain Charles Wood.
– After the 1870’s it was divided into tenements and several families had a couple of rooms each (one of which is known to be the Oddy’s who had the two rooms under the Georgian Staircase in the 1880’s and 90’s).
– 1912 – The then owner Mr G.A. Paley gave the hall to the City of Bradford.
– 1915 – The hall was opened as a period house and museum of local history.
Ghostly and spooky experiences:
– The sound of a baby crying has been heard all around the hall.
– Ladies’ voices are heard.
– 20 years ago the local newspaper offered a reward of £50 to anyone who could spend the night at the hall. It was never taken up.
– When the Walker family leased the building a well known Bradfordian called Richard Oastler was a regular visitor to the house. William Walker’s eldest son once had a conversation with him saying that he didn’t believe in the afterlife. Oastler told him to repent or he would haunt him himself. On 22nd August 1861 Walker awoke to find Oastler standing over his bed. Whilst having breakfast Walker then received a telegram saying that Oastler had died at 6am and that he was required to help with the funeral.
– In 1900 when J.M. Tankard lived at the hall one of the maids was meeting her fiancé in the east part of the grounds when they saw a group of Parliamentarian officers approaching them who suddenly disappeared.
– Back in the 1940’s the head attendant reported seeing a lady in period dress floating 3ft off the ground in the entrance and gliding over to the fireplace and disappearing into it.
– In the Robert Bolling Room (would originally have been a bedroom but was also used as a nursery before the hall was turned into a museum), a distressed woman and baby have been seen and a baby’s cry has been heard.
– The staff like the “Blue Room” the least – people have experienced the feelings as if you are being watched, and a man with long coats tails has been seen by the fireplace in here.
-In 1643 the first ghost was sighted at Bolling Hall. The head of the Royalist army, the Earl of Newcastle (who was based there) felt his bedclothes being pulled away from him and saw the ghost of a lady wringing her hands and saying ‘pity poor Bradford’. As a result he changed his orders from his troops to kill all in Bradford to only kill those who offered armed resistance. As a result only 10 people were recorded as being killed in the siege.
– A female ghost seen many times by staff and visitors, dressed in a pale, silk dress.
– Unseen hands once grabbed a woman’s necklace and pulled it off and smashed it on the floor.
– The door knob in the room used to turn on its own, because it scared so many people, it’s now been removed.
– The bed in the room once belonged to a man called ‘Dicky of Tunstead’ he was well known as a wealthy miser and kept his money in a concealed recess in the bed. One night he was murdered in the bed by robbers who were after the money. During the 19th Century family members claimed to have seen his head reflected in the recess when the moon shone directly on it. This phenomenon was last reported in September 1913 though.
– At the bottom of the Georgian stairwell, a pink dress has been seen moving from the dining room to the drawing/sitting room.
– A wretching, strong odour of rotting comes and goes.
– The sound of rattling can be heard coming from this area when you are standing at the top of the stairs.
– In the Display/Exhibition Room, a lady in 1960’s clothing was seen sitting in the left hand chair (these chairs have been in the room and same position for many years), a guide asked this lady to leave because it was closing time – she got up to leave and walked out through the wall.
– In the main hall, dragging noises have been heard.
– In the staff room, a member of staff was in the hall one night as the alarm wasn’t working, the hall was empty and he was sat in the staff room and could hear a woman crying. Then, all of a sudden, the door in the staff room, started shaking and someone was banging on it and shouting “He will kill me for this, I’m a dead woman for this”, it was a woman’s voice and they sounded very scared. It went on for 20mins and when her threw the door open noone was there.
First Broadcast : 2nd August 2005