The first recorded lord of the manor was Cospatric de Samlesbury, who is believed to have lived in the Lower Hall on the banks of the river Ribble. In the absence of male heirs during the 13th Century, the manor was divided between the two granddaughters, Elizabeth and Cecily de Samlesbury.
1314 - Battle of Bannockburn
Soldiers loyal to Robert the Bruce destroyed the first hall during the Battle of Bannockburn
1325 – Great Hall Built
Cecily married John Deuyas (D'Ewyas) and they had a daughter Alicia, who married Gilbert de Southworth around 1325. Gilbert adopted the Deuyas coat of arms, and is credited with building the Great Hall.
1533 - The English Reformation
The 16th-century English Reformation during which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the pope and the Catholic Church, split the Southworth family of Samlesbury Hall. Sir John Southworth, MP of Samlesbury and head of the family, was a fervent Catholic and worked for the cause of Mary Queen of Scots but was frequently arrested for refusing to leave his faith and often heavily fined. His eldest son, also called John, did convert to the Church of England, for which he was disinherited, but the rest of the family remained staunchly Catholic.
Sir John Southworth also had another son called John (St John Southworth), who pleaded guilty to exercising the priesthood. His body was hung, drawn and quartered and sent to the furthest four parts of the country. His followers then brought the four parts of his body back, sewed them together and par boiled his corpse where it remained in 'safety' in France. This was discovered in 1927 and his remains now lie in Westminster Cathedral. He was beatified in 1929 then canonized in 1970 as one of the forty martyrs of England and Wales.
1612 – Jane Southworth accused of witchcraft
In 1612 Jane Southworth widow of John Southworth (The protestant) and two other women of Samlesbury (Ellen and Jennet Bierley) were the victims of a discreditable plot, apparently devised by Christopher Southworth, a seminary priest known as 'Master Thompson,' partly as it was alleged with the object of promoting the cause of the Roman Church and partly with the intent to punish the women for having become converts to Protestantism.
The victims were tried at Lancaster Assizes in August of that year on a charge of witchcraft, where they were accused of boiling an infant and eating the soup! The witness against them being a child aged fourteen, a granddaughter of one of the victims, Being examined as to the author of this charge the witness confessed that she had been instigated and instructed to make the charge by 'one Master Thompson, which she taketh to be Master Christopher Southworth.' The prisoners were therefore acquitted.
It is reported that Dorothy Southworth, daughter of Sir Thomas Southworth fell in love with the son of the neighbouring Protestant noble family.
One of the De Hoghtons of Hoghton Tower. The families refused to let young lovers meet, but they continued to do so in secret and planed to elope.
However, on the night of the escape Dorothy's brother killed not only the young De Hoghton but two of his accomplices too.
Dorothy is said to have gone insane before dying at a convent abroad. Three human skeletons were found hidden in the walls of Samlesbury Hall and it is rumoured that Dorothy (The white lady) continues to roam the Hall and along Preston New Road searching for her lover.
The remaining members of the Southworth family sold Samlesbury Hall to Thomas Braddyll on 10th March 1678 for £3,150.
Bradyll never lived at the hall but stripped much of its interior features to use at his main house of Conishead Priory at Ulverston. He then rented the hall out to handloom weavers before it was converted into the Bradyll Arms inn in 1830.
1852 – 1862
Thomas Cooper was the next owner and the Hall was leased as a Boarding school for girls.
1852 – 1862
Joseph Harrison bought the estate he spent a large amount of money restoring the Hall. It is reported that Harrison got badly into the debt and shot himself in 1878.
After his suicide, it is reported that Joseph Harrison continues to haunts the hall. The sounds of footsteps in the Long Gallery are said to belong to him. Harrison is also said to like woman with long hair and there have been reports from visitors with long hair of something unseen stroking or pulling their hair.
1890s – 1909
In the 1890s the Hall was bought by Frederick Baynes who also spent money on its renovation. He was Mayor of Blackburn and was appointed a Deputy-Lieutenant and High Sheriff of Lancashire
1890s – 1909
Sadly the Hall was left onto ruin, and in 1924 a building firm bought the Hall with the intention of demolishing it and erecting a housing estate. However, meetings were held, money was raised, and Samlesbury Higher Hall was purchased for the benefit of the public. It has been administered by Samlesbury Hall Trust since 1925.
The Engine for the Bluebird K7 was made in the Samlesbury Engineering works which was in the grounds of the hall in 1960. This was also the site for many of the early bus engines made on that time. The Bluebird K7 was recorded as the fastest water speed record driven by Donald Campbell CBE before it spectacularly exploded in Coniston water in 1967 killing Donald Campbell.