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Tourist guide to Goosnargh
THIS delightful community, about five miles to the north east of Preston, has a pleasant village green.
One could be forgiven for thinking that geese were once kept on it, but most historians think the name is Saxon and refers to a minor chieftain called Gosan.
The village is now bypassed by the road linking Longridge with Broughton, but before this road was built in the 19th century, the old route passed through the village.
At the centre of Goosnargh is a fine old church, a school and two interesting hostelries - the Grapes and the Bushell Arms.
The latter takes its name from a local family who lived at Bushell House, which is still situated close to the church.
This is still occupied as a rest centre and dates mainly to the 18th century, but an attractive wing was added in 1845 and was a hospital for elderly Protestants.
The church itself is an historic place. Look out for a circular stone built into the tower, said to be put there as a repellent for witches and evil doers.
The church of St Mary the Virgin was built as a chapel of ease, perhaps as early as the 11th century, but it was not granted the status of a parish church in its own right until 1846.
Time should be taken to explore the Lady Chapel, which was built in 1508. I prefer the old name of the Middleton Chapel.
It was built for the worship of the Rigby family of Middleton Hall.
During the Civil War in 1640 Sir Alex Rigby was a trusted follower of Oliver Cromwell.
There are plenty of other interesting features about the church.
The chancel itself is a fine example of 16th century architecture and there is a very attractive 15th century font.
Outside in the churchyard is an old sundial and the remnants of an ancient cross which clearly shows that the village was inhabited in Saxon times.
The sign of an ancient village is a green and that at Goosnargh is indeed impressive and is overlooked by a large modern and impressive Village Hall.
There is parking round the green as well as at the church.
Those who enjoy exploring on foot will not be disappointed and, apart from the village itself, there is a network of surrounding footpaths, all offering attractive views and the chance to see a wide range of wildlife .
Don't miss visiting the local shops, where the famous shortbreads called Goosnargh Cakes are on sale.
It is said that the recipe is a secret, but this is hard to accept because each housewife seems to have her own recipe.
This should not be a worry as all the cakes are well worth sampling.
To the west of the village and signed off the B5269 is Chingle Hall. Built by Adam de Singleton in 1260, the hall is said to be the most haunted house in England.
This may or may not be true, but in the 16th century Chingle was the home of the Hall family, who were staunch Catholics.
They may have spread ghost stories to keep local people well away while priests lay hidden in secret chambers.
One thing is still certain and that is that Chingle is one of the most celebrated houses in Lancashire. There are said to be no fewer than 16 ghosts.
Another interesting village situated in the area is Grimsargh and the names are so similar that the settlement is often confused with Goosnargh.
Both are Saxon in origin and there was a minor chieftain called Grim or Grimha who dominated his village.
Close to Chingle Hall is the former Whittingham Mental Hospital, now developed for private houses and flats.
In its heyday Whittingham had 3,000 patients and an army of people to look after them.
The hospital at one time had its own railway station, which the local people found very useful.
The Goosnargh area can be reached from Longridge or from the A6.
It is reached by turning off at the traffic lights at Broughton.