A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.
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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.