A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.
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This township lies on the hill to the north-east of Liverpool, the highest point being at St. George's Church. From that point there is a very rapid slope to the north and to the west, the elevated ridge continuing southward to Low Hill and Edge Hill. The height allows an extensive panorama of the city of Liverpool, including a distant view of the Cheshire side of the River Mersey. At sunset the windows of the houses on Everton Brow flash back the glowing radiance, showing that nothing impedes the wide prospect westwards. The foot of this ridge is the western boundary. The area is 693 acres, the township being about a mile and a quarter from north to south, and less than a mile across. The population in 1901 was 121,469. The geological formation is triassic, the lower ground on the eastern side consisting of the basement beds of the keuper series, which have been thrown down by a deep fault running north and south; the remainder of the township, including all the higher ground, consists of the pebble beds of the bunter series.
Formerly the approach to it was by a road leading eastward from Liverpool. (fn. 1) The old village (fn. 2) stood at the top of the ascent in what is now Village Street, above the old roundhouse or bridewell, (fn. 3) which still remains. About half way up the slope Netherfield Lane turned away to the north, with a branch leading up the hill. From the top of the village the road led—north to the summit where the Beacon stood, destroyed by a gale in 1803, and then dividing, down the hill to Kirkdale and to Anfield; (fn. 4) and south to Low Hill; this road remains one of the main thoroughfares of Everton, as Heyworth Street and Everton Road. The road from Liverpool after passing through the village divided, the more northerly branch, Breck Lane, (fn. 5) leading to Walton Breck, and the other, which also divided, to Newsham and West Derby. (fn. 6) The mere, afterwards called St. Domingo Pit, was below the Beacon, to the east; Mere Lane led down to it.
The commanding situation of the village occasioned its earliest prominent connexion with the general history of the county, for here Prince Rupert fixed his head quarters when attacking Liverpool in 1644. (fn. 7) In more peaceful times the wealthier merchants of Liverpool chose it for their country mansions, and in 1824 it was thus described: 'This village has become a very favourite residence of the gentry of Liverpool, and for the salubrity of its air and its vicinity to the sea, may not inaptly be called the Montpellier of the county.' (fn. 8) The roads were shaded with fine trees, and a walk to the top of the hill was a pleasant exercise for dwellers in the town. The growth of Liverpool northwards, with the erection of chemical works and other factories by the riverside, destroyed the amenities of the situation, and within the last fifty years the great houses in their spacious grounds have been replaced by closely packed streets of small dwellings. The roads above described remain the principal ones, having been widened and improved. The Liverpool electric tramways serve the district.
Until 1820 the shaft of the market-cross stood upon a flight of stone steps in the open space of the village; a sundial had been fixed upon it. (fn. 9) There was formerly a holy well here, but the site has been lost. (fn. 10) The Beacon, already mentioned, was a plain rectangular tower of two stories, about 18 ft. square and 25 ft. high, built of local red sandstone. (fn. 11)
The little open green by the roundhouse is maintained by the corporation of Liverpool, and has been slightly extended by the demolition of some cottages on the north side of it, among them being the Old Toffee shop. (fn. 12) In 1825 the Necropolis was enclosed as a burial place for Nonconformists. (fn. 13) It is now a public garden maintained by the corporation. Shaw Street, the principal street on the Liverpool side of Everton, was formed in 1828 by Thomas Shaw, a councillor of Liverpool. (fn. 14) On its eastern side is a triangular piece of rocky ground called Whitley Gardens maintained by the corporation. (fn. 15)
EVERTON was one of the six berewicks dependent on the royal manor of West Derby in 1066; its separate assessment was three plough-lands. (fn. 16) Subsequently it formed part of the demesne of Roger of Poitou, who gave its tithes to the abbey of St. Martin at Séez in 1094. (fn. 17) During the twelfth century an assized rent of £4 from this vill was accounted for in the corpus comitatus or total sum rendered yearly as farm of the honour, but in 1201 it was increased to £4 16s., (fn. 18) the increment perhaps representing the sheriff-scot or fee for the sheriff as farmer of the demesne manors. (fn. 19) The manorial history of Everton is the same as that of West Derby. (fn. 20) In 1315 Sir Robert de Holand entered into the manor by the favour of Thomas of Lancaster and held it until the earl's attainder in 1322. (fn. 21) Thirty years later it was given to John Barret in fee, but he appears to have died without issue, and this grant also failed. (fn. 22)
Being granted by the crown in 1629 as an appendage of the manor of West Derby, (fn. 23) the tenants of Everton refused suit and service at the patentees' court, asserting that their manor was distinct and separate from that of West Derby. After legal disputes the patentees thought it best to obtain new letters patent in 1639, in which the vill of Everton and the rents and services of the tenants were named. The manors of West Derby, Everton, and Wavertree were then sold to James, Lord Strange, and in 1717 were purchased by Isaac Greene of Liverpool, whose descendant, (fn. 24) the marquis of Salisbury, is the present lord of the manor. Some land is still held as copyhold of the manor of West Derby.
The Everton tenants had successfully asserted the rights of their vill in 1620. In this year the copyholders of West Derby and Wavertree, having obtained a commission confirming to them their copyhold estates and for granting the wastes and commons by copy of court roll, surveyed and proposed an allotment not only of the wastes of West Derby and Wavertree, but also of Everton, to be allotted among the copyholders of the three vills. The people of Everton, however, insisted that theirs was a distinct vill, (fn. 25) with known bounds; that the benefit of the wastes had from time beyond memory been taken and enjoyed by the inhabitants; that the tenants of Kirkdale paid Everton 6s. 8d. a year for liberty of common in part of the wastes, and that the inhabitants of Wavertree and West Derby had no rights in them. (fn. 26)
In 1642 it was found that the people of Everton paid £5 11s. 3½d. for their enclosed lands and 13s. 4d. for their commons—Hongfield (Anfield), Whitefield and Netherfield; this last payment was known as Breck silver, the commons lying on the Breck or slope of the hill. (fn. 27) An agreement was made in 1667 between the tenants and the earl of Derby, as lord of the manor, for enclosing a third of the commons, which then extended to 180 acres large measurement; they were afterwards leased to the tenants. (fn. 28) Then in 1716 Lady Ashburnham granted to the copyholders a lease for a thousand years of 115 acres of the 120 acres unenclosed, for £115 paid and a rent of £5 15s. a year. (fn. 29)
Everton was incorporated in the borough of Liverpool in 1835. It formed a single ward until 1895, when it was divided into four—Everton, Netherfield, St. Domingo, and Brockfield wards, each with its aldermen and three councillors.
The first place of worship erected in the township in connexion with the Church of England was St. George's, on the summit of the hill. It was planned in 1812 somewhat as a commercial speculation, the land being given by James Atherton, and the money raised in shares of £100 each, any profits to be divided among the proprietors. It was opened in 1814. (fn. 30) The incumbents, now called vicars, were the chaplains of the proprietors until 1879, when, the conditions having totally changed and any 'profit' ceased with the migration of the wealthier inhabitants many years before, the proprietors made the church over to the district. (fn. 31) The next, St. Augustine's, Shaw Street, was built in 1830, shares being subscribed and Thomas Shaw giving the land. (fn. 32) Christ Church, Great Homer Street, was built in 1848 by the family as a memorial of Charles Horsfall, mayor in 1832–3. St. Peter's, Sackville Street, followed in 1849. St. Chrysostom's in 1853 replaced a chapel of ease in Mill Road, which had been built in 1837. (fn. 33) The preceding benefices are in the gift of various bodies of trustees. Emmanuel Church, West Derby Road, erected in 1867, is in the gift of Mr. R. D. Anderson. (fn. 34) St. Saviour's, Breckfield Road, 1870, originated in an iron church erected in 1867; (fn. 35) the incumbents are presented by trustees. St. Timothy's, near Everton Brow, was built in 1862; a mission room has been acquired. (fn. 36) St. Chad's, Everton Valley, was opened as a school-church in 1881, the permanent building soon following. The bishop of Liverpool is patron of both churches. St. Ambrose Church was built in 1871. (fn. 37) St. Benedict's, erected in 1887 in succession to an iron church, stands near the old village. The patronage of these churches is vested in bodies of trustees. St. Cuthbert's, on the Anfield side, was built in 1877; the Simeon trustees have the patronage. (fn. 38) St. Polycarp's, Netherfield Road, was erected in 1886. St. John the Evangelist's, Breck Road, was built in 1890 as a memorial to Charles Groves, a well-known Liverpool churchman. The patronage of both churches is vested in trustees.
The Wesleyan Methodists have several churches— Great Homer Street Chapel, built in 1840, (fn. 39) and Whitefield Road, 1866; also a mission chapel and a preaching room. There is a large Welsh-speaking population, and two chapels are devoted to them by the Wesleyans. The Primitive Methodists have two churches; the Methodist New Connexion one; and the United Free Methodists two.
Fabius Chapel, Everton Road, built by the Baptists in 1868, represents the first place of religious worship known to have existed in the township. Dr. Fabius, a well-known physician, who lived close by, built a chapel about the year 1707; a yard attached was used as a burial ground. (fn. 40) The congregation increased, but secured a meeting-place in Liverpool in 1722, and the Everton chapel was abandoned. The burial ground, however, remained in possession of the denomination; and upon it stands the present building. The same denomination have churches in Shaw Street, built in 1847, and in Breck Road, called Richmond Chapel, built in 1864. The Welsh Baptist Chapel, built in 1869, in Village Street, is a migration from Ormond Street, Liverpool, where a congregation had gathered as early as 1799.
The Congregational church in Everton Crescent is the result of a separation from the Establishment in 1800; Bethesda Chapel in Hotham Street was then erected, but in 1837 the congregation moved to the Everton chapel. The church has maintained several mission stations. The Chadwick Mount Church was built in 1866–70. For Welsh-speaking Congregationalists there is a church in Netherfield Road, opened in 1868, being a transplantation of the old Tabernacle in Great Crosshall Street, Liverpool. (fn. 41)
The Calvinistic Methodists have three places of worship where service is conducted in Welsh, and two others for English-speaking adherents. The United Free Gospellers have two churches. The Presbyterians have two churches. (fn. 42) There is a Church of Christ in Thirlmere Road. The Salvation Army has a barracks. The Unitarians have a church in Hamilton Road.
Everton is considered an extremely Protestant district, but the Roman Catholics have several churches within it. The earliest is St. Francis Xavier's. The Jesuits, who had served Liverpool during the times of persecution, were able to return in 1840, when land was secured on the border of the rapidly-growing town. Two years later they opened a school in Soho Street, and in 1845 the church was built. A large educational work has been gradually established. (fn. 43) St. Mary Immaculate's, on the northern slope of Everton Hill, was erected in 1856 as the Lady Chapel of a proposed cathedral, and was enlarged in 1885. The bishop's house and St. Edward's College occupy the adjacent St. Domingo House, perhaps the only one of the great Everton mansions still remaining. (fn. 44) St. Michael's, West Derby Road, was erected in 1861 to 1865, and has since been practically rebuilt. St. George's Industrial School adjoins it. (fn. 45)