Croxstath, 1228, 1297; Crocstad, 1257; Croxthat, 1330.
This township, formerly part of Knowsley but
independent and extra-parochial from the twelfth
century owing to its inclusion in the forest, has an
area of 959 acres. The population in 1901 was 61.
It is well wooded. A public footpath crosses the
park, which is pleasantly carpeted with turf and
shaded by good-sized trees. The woodlands have
been planted with evergreen shrubs, chiefly rhododendrons, which make cover for the abundant game.
The River Alt, rising in the township of Knowsley,
before it attains much volume flows through the park,
and finds its way through the most level of country
into the sea at Hightown. Beyond the confines of
the park there are wide open fields, some pasture,
but the majority arable, where some of the finest
Lancashire potatoes are grown. Corn and turnips
also are successfully cultivated in the rich loamy soil.
The geological formation consists of the lower
mottled sandstone of the bunter series of the new
red sandstone in the north-eastern half of the township, and the coal measures on the south-west.
The record of the perambulation of
the forest in 1228 gives the first account
of Croxteth; the jurors found that it had
been taken from Knowsley and placed within the
forest after the first coronation of Henry II, and that
it should therefore be disafforested and restored to
the heir of Robert son of Henry de Lathom. (fn. 1) This
verdict was not acted upon; Croxteth remained part
of the forest, being regarded as a member of the
demesne of West Derby, and was committed to
officers who kept the park of Toxteth and chase of
Simonswood. (fn. 2)
Leases of the herbage of Croxteth were granted
from time to time, (fn. 3) and in 1446 a lease of the
herbage, pannage and turbary of the park for thirtyone years was granted to Sir Richard Molyneux of
Sefton and Richard his son, at a rent of £5 10s. per
annum. (fn. 4) Just before the expiry of this lease Richard,
duke of Gloucester, as high steward of the duchy,
granted the park to William Molyneux and his heirs
to hold by copy of court roll at the customary yearly
farm, saving to the king and his heirs sufficient pasture for their deer. (fn. 5) This grant probably lapsed, for
in 1507 the park was given to William Molyneux of
Sefton, then one of the esquires of the king's body. (fn. 6)
From this time Croxteth has descended with Sefton,
and the chief residence of the family was transferred
to this neighbourhood, though Croxteth Hall is within
the township of West Derby. (fn. 7) The earl of Sefton
owns the whole of the land.