The Mil Hotel is situated in what was Gradwell Farm, in the parish of Ulnes Walton. It was name after a Nowegian Seafarer who ventured up the River Ribble and eventually into the River Lostock.
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 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 time of Elizabeth I, owned by the 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, having undergone an estimated £100,000 worth of much needed restoration work.
Gradwell Farm was the home, until recently, of the Royal Umpire Coach Museum. The museum exhibited carriages, coaches and vintage cards, built around the famous Royal Umpire Stagecoach, it was said to be one of the best collections of horse drawn vehicles in the country. Unfortunately, it closed down in 198, despise the best efforts of it’s 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.’ Some of the fields were then turned into the ‘Royal Umpire Caravan Site,’ which has now been open for some 20 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 a 46-bedroom, conference and banqueting centre.
After closing its doors on 27th December 2013, it fell into a dire state of disrepair. There are numerous reports on Tripadvisor about the owner being drunk and abusive, and one does wonder whether she is part of the reason the hotel took such a decline.
As of late, Harrison Leisure UK, which also owns the Royal Umpire Caravan Park has submitted an outline planning application to Chorley Council to establish if the land could be used for residential purposes. The council’s planning officers have recommended that the scheme goes ahead and seven houses are to be built on the green belt land.
The hotel has recently been demolished.