A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.
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This township has a frontage to the Mersey of nearly a mile and a half in length and extends landward about two miles. The area is 1,207 acres. (fn. 1) The land rises from the river eastward, until near Walton an elevation of 150 ft. is reached. The population in 1901 was 58,556. There is scarcely a square yard of ground left that is not covered with crowded streets, railways, timber-yards, canal wharfs, and, last but not least, extensive docks and quays. A forest of masts and funnels takes the place of green trees, and solid stone walls reflect themselves in the River Mersey instead of grassy slopes. Huge warehouses rise up on every side. The hum of machinery mingles with the cries of flocks of seagulls and the rush of passing and repassing vessels of all descriptions. The North Wall lighthouse and the battery are conspicuous objects along the river wall.
The soil where still exposed in the north is stiff clay with a mixture of sand. The geological formation is triassic, comprising the upper mottled sandstones of the bunter series lying upon the pebble beds of the series, with a small area of the basement beds of the keuper series thrown down by a fault.
Bootle is traversed by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway from Liverpool to Southport and from the docks to Aintree, with two stations on the former, called Bootle and Marsh Lane; by the London and North Western Company's line from the docks to Edgehill, with stations at Balliol Road and Alexandra Dock; and by the Midland Company's line to the docks. The Liverpool Overhead Railway, opened in 1893, runs by the docks, having its terminus at Seaforth. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal passes through the township.
The place was thus described in 1774: 'Bootle cum Linacre lies near the sea on a very sandy soil and contains some well-built houses. A very copious spring of fine, soft, pure water rises near it, which about half a mile below turns a mill and soon after falls into the sea at Bootle Bay . . . . Linacre, a pretty rural village, is a distinct township, but a member of the manor of Bootle. It lies adjacent to the sea, on the west.' (fn. 2)
The map prepared in 1768 (fn. 3) shows the village of Bootle situated almost in the centre of the combined township, where Litherland Road now meets Merton Road. On the south side was a large open space; somewhat to the north was the famous spring, now marked by the pumping station. The mills (fn. 4) —there was a windmill as well as a watermill—were to the north-east of St. Mary's Church. From the village various roads spread out. One, now Merton Road, led to the shore just to the north of one of the Bootle landmarks, which were curiously-shaped signal posts for the guidance of ships entering the Mersey. (fn. 5) Clayfield Lane, now Breeze Hill, led to Walton church and village. The second of the old Bootle landmarks stood beside this road on the high ground near the Walton boundary. Field Lane, now Hawthorne Road, led to Kirkdale. Trinity Road and Derby Road seem more or less to represent the road to the lord's manor-house at Bank Hall; to the side of this road towards the river was Bootle Marsh. Gravehouse Lane led from near the spring, first east and then north, to join the present Linacre Lane at the Orrell boundary.
Linacre village was situated on the present Linacre Road, between the point at which this road is joined by Linacre Lane and the Litherland boundary. The shoreward portion of the township was called Linacre Marsh; Marsh Lane led down to it. The northern boundary was Rimrose Brook; the southern was another brook rising in Bootle and flowing to the river parallel to the mill stream. (fn. 6)
At the beginning of last century Bootle was a 'pleasant marine village . . . much resorted to in the summer season as a sea bathing place.' (fn. 7) 'The ride along the beach was, in the summer, remarkably pleasant and much frequented. The sands were hard and smooth, and the wind, especially if westerly, cool and refreshing.' (fn. 8) The spring had then become one of the chief sources of the Liverpool water supply. (fn. 9)
Within the last fifty years the growth of Liverpool trade has turned the seaside summer resort into a busy town. The sandy shore has been reclaimed for the largest of the Mersey Docks, namely the Brocklebank; Langton, opened in 1881; Alexandra, with three branches, 1881; and Hornby. To the north of the latter is a large open space, in the northwest corner of which is the Seaforth Battery. On the river wall at the Hornby dock gate is a lighthouse.
There was a sandstone quarry in Breeze Hill. There are large dye works, corn mills, and jute works, but the occupations of the inhabitants are principally connected with docks and railways, the timber-yards and grain stores.
There were in BOOTLE before the Conquest four manors which four thegns held, the assessment being two ploughlands and the value 64d.; the priest of Walton had the third plough-land in right of his church. (fn. 10) The first known lord after the Conquest was Roger son of Ravenkil, who in 1129–30 was one of the men of the count of Mortain between Ribble and Mersey. (fn. 11) His son Richard, lord of Woodplumpton in Amounderness, the founder of Lytham Priory, was succeeded by one of his daughters and coheirs, Amuria, the wife of Thomas de Beetham. (fn. 12) This Thomas in 1212 held two plough-lands in Bootle in thegnage for 8s. 8d. yearly service; (fn. 13) and as another daughter, Quenilda, was in 1252 found to have held a ploughland of Walton church by the yearly service of 3s. 4d., (fn. 14) it seems clear that the father had held the whole vill.
Upon Quenilda's death without issue a fresh partition appears to have been made, for Sir Ralph de Beetham, who died in 1254, held the two ploughlands in which he succeeded his father, and half the plough-land belonging to Walton church. (fn. 15) The Stockport family held the other half, and appear to have secured a share of the thegnage plough-lands. (fn. 16)
The Beetham share descended in that family till the beginning of Henry VII's reign, when it was forfeited after the battle of Bosworth and granted to the earl of Derby. (fn. 17) A successful claim was, however, made by the Middletons, (fn. 18) and Gervase Middleton died in 1548, seised of land in Bootle held of the king by fealty and the service of 8s. yearly. (fn. 19) His son and heir, George Middleton, in 1566 sold the manor and lordship of Bootle to John Moore of Bank House for £570. (fn. 20) The manor continued to descend in this family until 1724–5, when Sir Cleave Moore sold it to James, tenth earl of Derby, (fn. 21) from whom it has descended with the family estate of Knowsley to the present earl.
The Stockport share was transferred before 1292 to Robert de Byron. (fn. 22) In 1357, Robert de Byron, lord of the sixth part of the manor and vill of Bootle, granted it to Adam de Ainsargh of Liverpool, (fn. 23) Robert's daughter Maud joining in the transfer by granting her lands in Bootle to Richard son of Adam de Ainsargh. (fn. 24) In 1395 it had descended to Alice and Margery, the daughters and heirs of Richard de Ainsargh, of whom the former was the wife of Roger de Ditton. (fn. 25) Eventually it appears to have been acquired by the Moores and reunited with the rest of the manor. (fn. 26)
The record of the Bootle court-baron of 1612 has been printed; the two free tenants recorded were John Burton and Anne Harvey, widow. (fn. 27)
Roger son of Ravenkil gave one plough-land in LINACRE to the Hospital of Jerusalem in alms. (fn. 28) It was attached to the Hospitallers' manor or camera of Woolton, under whom it was held by a number of different tenants. (fn. 29)
A family bearing the local name long flourished here. Before 1290 Hugh de Linacre granted half an oxgang of land to Robert de Kirkdale, (fn. 30) and other members of the family occur in this and neighbouring townships. The Molyneux family of Sefton (fn. 31) and Moores of Bank Hall were also tenants. (fn. 32) Deeds relating to other holdings have been preserved. (fn. 33)
In 1667 Isaac Legay of London, merchant, sold the manor or reputed manor of Linacre to Edward Moore of Bankhall, (fn. 34) and with Bootle it was afterwards sold to the earl of Derby, and has since descended.
Bootle-cum-Linacre (fn. 35) was incorporated by charter dated 30 December, 1868, and became a county borough under the Local Government Act, 1888. (fn. 36) There are three wards—Derby, Stanley, and Knowsley—in the north-east, south-west and northwest respectively. Derby Ward includes the ancient village. Each ward has two aldermen and six councillors. A separate commission of the peace was granted in 1876, and a borough police force established in 1887. Water is supplied by the Liverpool Corporation, and gas by the Liverpool company, which has works near Linacre. The electric tramways are worked in connexion with the Liverpool system.
The town hall and public offices, built in 1882, are situated in Balliol Road. Baths and a public library are provided. There are two hospitals. (fn. 37) A school board was formed in 1870. Derby Park is situated in the eastern portion of the borough; two open spaces, called North Park and South Park, are in Linacre and in Hawthorne Road.
The earliest church in Bootle was St. Mary's, in connexion with the Establishment, consecrated in 1827. The advowson, like that of Walton, was afterwards acquired by the Leigh family. Christ Church was built in 1866, (fn. 38) and St. John's Church, Balliol Road, about the same time; (fn. 39) St. Leonard's, Linacre, was built in 1889; and St. Matthew's, also in Linacre, in 1887. The patronage of these churches is vested in different bodies of trustees.
The Wesleyan Methodists have several places of worship. The church in Balliol Road was built in 1864, that in Linacre Road in 1900, and that in Marsh Lane in 1903; they have also Wesley Hall, in Sheridan Place. For Welsh-speaking members there are churches in Trinity Road, built in 1877, and in Knowsley Road. The Primitive Methodists have a church in Queen's Road.
The Baptist church in Stanley Road was built in 1846. The Welsh church in Brasenose Road was built in 1871, the work having begun in 1863, that in Rhyl Street dates from 1884; and that in Knowsley Road is the result of an effort made in Seaforth in 1882.
Emmanuel Congregational church, Balliol Road, opened in 1876, represents a missionary work begun in 1871 in the Assembly Room. (fn. 40) For Welsh-speaking Congregationalists there are two churches; one represents a movement by members of the Kirkdale church in 1878–83, and the other is the result of dissension in the congregation in 1884–5. (fn. 41)
For Roman Catholics there are two churches. The foundation of the mission at St. James's, Marsh Lane, was made in 1845, when a room on the canal bank was hired for worship. In the following year a school chapel was built in Marsh Lane and enlarged in 1868. In 1884 the whole of the buildings and site were purchased by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, but a new church, on an adjacent site, was opened early in 1886. (fn. 42) St. Winefride's, Derby Road, was opened in 1895. (fn. 43)