History and Legends

The Beautiful village can be traced back to beyond 1000 B.C. and in keeping with the Anglo-Saxon tradition was named after trees which were plentiful at that time "The Alder"and so they chose the name 'Wic-Alr ' which translates to 'dairy farm amongst the alders'.Wycoller was an agricultural settlement until the 18 th Century when the manufacture of woollens and hand weaving on looms became an important industry until the industrial revolution

         It was then in the 1890's a proposal was made to create a reservoir and flood Wycoller to meet the needs of the ever expanding nearby Towns.The village and surrounding area was bought by the Water Board and their plans brought strong opposition from locals who even then loved Wycoller for its outstanding natural beauty .A Geologist was brought in to survey the land to find another means of water supply and luckily they found a large underground spring and on its site a pump house erected North of the village .The village was saved,and to a red faced Water Board a lot of land which they had no use.Lancashire County Council bought the site from the Water Board in the early 1970's and declared a preservation order and plans were drawn to create a country park. Most of the buildings are in use today and are all privately owned .   


A most impressive ruined 16th Century Hall was owned by the Hartley family and extended in   the late 18th Century by the last owner and descendant Squire Cunliffe. The family wealth which was achieved through importing and slavery was alas squandered by the last Squire whose thirst for the finer things in life together with gambling and drink saw an end to the hall as unpaid mortgages and other debts led to the hall being plundered. 

Charlotte Brontë based her novel Jane Eyre on Wycoller as she gained inspiration on her visits from Howarth on her way to Gawthorpe Hall (Padiham) with her sisters. Lord Rochester had similar trates to Squire Cunliffe and descriptions of Ferndean Manor approaching from the old coach road on Haworth rd are exact.


Ghosts and Legends


Wycollers without a doubts most famous legend is that of the Spectre Horseman which tells the tale of a mysterious rider who is said to be seen upon only once a year.On this night which is the wildest,windiest tempest that you can imagine a galloping stead and rider thunders down Wycoller dene and over the bridge and towards the entrance to the old hall.He then dismounts and enters up the broad stone steps up to a room. Screams of a woman are heard for a while followed by low groans after which the rider mounts again and charges from whence he came,the horse enraged with what is said to be flames coming from its nostrils.


Another linked with the horseman  is the lady apparition who dressed in black silk clothing is said to have been first seen in the hall by two lovers who appeared to them completely silent, looking,staring then vanished as soon as she appeared.Many years later again she approached a young couple in the hall stared then vanished.Local workmen also more recently challenged a lady said to be dressed entirely in black only to see the figure disappear before their eyes.


Whilst a common legend of Northern England Guytrash who either appears as a lonely horse or hound is said to wander the old coach road which leads to the hall or along the dene towards Parson Lee farm it is said that the unlucky sight will bring disaster to your  family or friends in the form of serious illness or death.


She is said to haunt Wycoller House,mysterious footsteps can be heard around the stairs in the early morning and doors opening without cause, candles have been snuffed and people said to have been man- handled in an empty room.


Wycoller farm which adjoins Pearsons house is said to have ghosts which pass from the old window which was external and now internal between the two buildings.Another that of a broad shouldered gent who was seen by the owner of Pearsons house thinking she had an intruder to her home only to watch the dark figure hang transparant before her as it faded before her eyes.  


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