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Report - The Mill Hotel - Croston - Chorley - January 2016

Discussion in 'Leisure Sites' started by VauxBex, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. VauxBex

    VauxBex 28DL Regular User
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    The Mill Hotel - Croston - Chorley (Near Preston) - January 2016

    The Mill Hotel is situated in what was Gradwell farm, in the parish of Ulnes Walton. It was named after a Norwegian seafarer who ventured up the River Ribble and eventually into the River Lostock. He could get no further than Littlewood Farm, next door and build a large barn, similar to the one at Rivington, which is still there.
    The earliest record to be found at the Preston Records Office is Ulf de Walton, who arrived in what is now known as Ulnes Walton, in 1160 A.D. The delightful village of Croston was a market town of old and was far more important in those days than Preston.

    Gradwell's was used as a catholic seminary for Jesuit priests during the reformation. The students here would work on the farm by day and study for the priesthood at night so as not to be detected. The gable ends of the building have crosses above them, which indicated a place for mass, which was said daily in the room above the entrance to William Gradwells Bar. The old Gradwell's Stone Cross, said to be of Saxon origin, can still be seen at the entrance to the caravan park.
    The Farm house itself, is of considerable historical interest. Most of the present building dates back to about 1700, but a house stood here in the time of Elizabeth I, owned by the staunchly Catholic, 'Gradwell' family. The initials of William Gradwell, the first of the line, still adorn the front of the building. The house is grade II listed building, having undergone an estimated £100,000 worth of much needed restoration work.

    The 'Grey Lady' or 'Sarascoe Lady' is a fable, which tells us that she was a servant at Gradwell's. She is reputed to have fallen in love with the house chaplain and upon his death, committed suicide in the well just outside the entrance to William Gradwells Bar. (Now covered over, but still there). Her story links the house, and farm, with another just half a mile away called Sarscowe farm, from which she gets her popular name. It also commemorates, in a way of which its earlier occupants would be hardly likely to approve, some of the Gradwells' most celebrated and notorious occupants - priests, and other adamant adherents to the Roman Catholic faith.
    Gradwell farm was the home, until recently, of the royal umpire coach museum, and is still often referred to as such by the locals and in older works of reference. The sadly missed exhibition of carriages, coaches and vintage cars, built around the famous Royal Umpire Stagecoach, was said to be one of the best collections of horse drawn vehicles in the country, Unfortunately, it closed down in 1980, despite the best efforts of its dedicated owner and creator, Mr Martin Kevill.

    It was at this time that the shippen part of the farm was turned into a restaurant, called the 'Clansman'. It featured tartan, rough brick and plaster decor, with numerous farming artifacts. One end of the restaurant had a minstrels gallery, where you could sit and have drinks. The massive open fire place and flagged floor added to the ambiance of the restaurant. Some of the fields were then turned into the 'Royal Umpire Caravan Site', which has now been open for some twenty years. The farmhouse was later given away to a childrens charity, which is still used by them as a holiday home for deprived children.
    The Clansman restaurant was subsequently bought by its current owner, Mr Wilf Hargreaves, and, over a number of years, renovated and extended into the 46-bedroom conference and banqueting centre that it now is.

    Finally, we can nearly brag about our royal connection. Brigadier Parker-Bowles, the ex husband of Camilla (who appears to have formed a friendship with the future king of England) is connected to Croston via the De Trafford family. As the brigadiers mother was a De Trafford, cousin to the then local squire Geoffrey De Trafford and Lady Emily De Trafford from nearby Croston Hall.

    It is in a dire state of repair now after finally closing its doors on 27 December 2013, there are numerous reports on all of the tripadvisor style sites about the owner being drunk and abusive and one does wonder whether she is part of the reason that the hotel took such a decline.

    At the time of closing The Mill Hotel had 2 bars and a Restaurant, 46 Rooms (according to TripAdvisor), Leisure facilities, Conference rooms, Banquet Suite and the last goes on..

    Such a shame to see a building like this in the state it is now, hopefully someone will buy it before it is knocked down and converted into houses like the people want. They will have a struggle though what with the building being of such historical significance and the fact that it is Grade 2 listed. I believe the current owners are also the owners of the caravan park that resides at the rear of the property.

    I have done the main front of the property shots and a couple from the back and outside but not many inside as it was pretty dark and stupidly I left my torch at home so instead of walking around in pitch darkness with no record I video'd the whole thing and will provide the link. I had to do it in two videos, and I've merged them together into one.

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  2. Vulex

    Vulex 28DL Regular User
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    Nice write up pal.
     
  3. VauxBex

    VauxBex 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks mate, its the uploading the pictures and the video that takes the time so may aswell try and put enough information in whilst that's doing lol!
     
  4. Lancashire lad

    Lancashire lad chief taster for costa coffee
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    nice report some great history there pal well done
     
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  5. VauxBex

    VauxBex 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks mate, much appreciated :thumb
     
  6. Zeebex

    Zeebex 28DL Full Member
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    Looks like a big enough place to go have a look around :). nice report bud haha, getting all them explores in. Sounds pretty dusty just from watching your vid.
     
  7. VauxBex

    VauxBex 28DL Regular User
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    It's not that bad when your inside its mainly the broken glass that sounds like gravel haha!
     
  8. Zeebex

    Zeebex 28DL Full Member
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    I would invest in a p3 mask if you havent got one already for maximum protection if there are any nasties in any of these places, I have a p2 for now as the places ive been havent been too bad for dust but dont want to be inhaling any loose insulation fibres. even with a dust mask it can get stuffy and hot but id rather have that than dust in the lungs.
     
  9. VauxBex

    VauxBex 28DL Regular User
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    I may just do that. With this being a relatively new building I wasn't too bothered until I saw the mould but couldn't really do anything about it then lol.
     
  10. Zeebex

    Zeebex 28DL Full Member
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    Has anybody else seen any mist appear unexpected whilst on an explore I cant seem to explain what I saw in the video it just wisps up in the air and fades away @ 5 minutes 30 - 5 minutes 36
     
  11. VauxBex

    VauxBex 28DL Regular User
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    I have no idea what it is. It was a relatively mild day, I wasn't having a fag like someone suggested (never do inside an abandoned building as a rule), so i'm totally perplexed and creeped out cause I didn't see it while filming the video either?
     
  12. Session9

    Session9 A life backwards
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    Nice mate, anymore pics?
     
  13. VauxBex

    VauxBex 28DL Regular User
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    I'm going back to take some more with my torch at some point, its only a 10 minute drive from me..
     
  14. Zeebex

    Zeebex 28DL Full Member
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    Please dont post when you plan to visit :). just a little tip ;) dont want it to turn in to a bust
     
  15. VauxBex

    VauxBex 28DL Regular User
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    Good shout pal. Didn't think about that lol
     
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