To provide you with the best experience on this website, cookies are used. By using the site it's assumed that you're happy with our use of cookies. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. More info on cookies.
Allow cookies

Its hall or nothing for Sharon

Tuesday, 10th April 2018

Where most people would give up, Sharon Jones refuses. As she walks around Samlesbury Hall clutching a broken arm she should have sought medical attention for days ago, the 57 -year-old’s passion for the hall is palpable.
‘How can you not love a place like this,’ said Sharon, hall director. ‘I am completely and utterly dedicated to this place, so dedicated it cost me my marriage. This place always came first and it always will.
‘But with a place like this, you can’t give it 99 per cent, it must be 100 per cent, always. Someone once told me I had another man in my life – Sam Hall! I think they’re right.’

The success of Samlesbury Hall can be credited to Sharon’s hard work. She has turned the business into a leading attraction in the county. But 18 years ago, when she first arrived at the hall, it was a different story.
‘I couldn’t quite believe what I’d walked into when I first came,’ admitted Sharon, who lives in nearby Riley Green. ‘It was wonderful to see the building but there was a lot of work to do. I was only supposed to be here on a temporary contract but that didn’t quite work out – 18 years later I’m still here.

‘The hall was in a poor state. It was full of bric-a-brac and tat. You couldn’t see the beauty of the hall. It took me months to get things straight. The worst day we had we took nine pounds. I almost shut the doors and went home. But I love the building too much, I couldn’t do it.’

It is Sharon’s verve and determination that has transformed Samlesbury Hall’s fortunes, which dates back to the Middle Ages. Today, it is a thriving tourist attraction that brings in visitors in their thousands. As well as the beautiful black and white timbered hall and grounds, Samlesbury Hall has expanded to offer visitors more including a Bee and Heritage Centre, a lovely gift shop, guided tours, an animal area and a Mayflower Playground. They also have a shepherd’s hut hamlet that offers visitors an unusual place to stay as well as providing much needed accommodation for weddings – bookings have skyrocketed since the hamlet opened.

One of the biggest transformations has been in the food they offer. Samlesbury Hall was once a place where you could expect coffee and cake. Now, you can dine on food made using some of the finest Lancashire ingredients from the hall’s grounds and neighbouring producers.

There’s also Dottie’s Wafflery, where you’ll find a decadent choice of delicious treats.
‘Our restaurant is something people will come here specifically for, ‘ said Sharon. ‘That just wasn’t the case before. What really turned things around was having chef Keith Dalton with us. He’s done so much for us. Now we are a real dining destination and have a fantastic restaurant that compliments everything we have here.’

Sharon also has a brilliant team of staff and volunteers behind her. It is fitting that in the anniversary year of the women’s suffrage movement that it is the hall director and assistant manager Lauren Catterall who are driving this heritage property forward. Sharon also wants to bring the stories of some of the women in the hall’s history to the fore.

‘I want to celebrate those characters who used to call Samlesbury Hall home - those women who just haven’t had the attention they deserve. People like Jane Southworth and Ellen Bierley who were known as the Samlesbury Witches. They were accused with little proof and kept in captivity. When people think about Lancashire they think of the Pendle Witches. It’s important we get more information out there about our witches.

‘I love Samlesbury Hall. I have seen it grown from the caterpillar it once was into the beautiful butterfly it is today. I’m very proud of what has been achieved.’

Sharon Jones is featured as part of our celebration of Lancashire's inspiring women

Win a stay in one of Samlesbury's Shepherds Huts (closes Aug 2018)

RSS feeds


June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

September 2009

August 2009

July 2009

June 2009

May 2009

April 2009

March 2009

February 2009

December 2008

June 2008

May 2008

Contact Us

For more information, practical advice and support, call Marketing Lancashire on:

01772 426450.