A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.
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Magele, Dom. Bk.; Maghul, Maghyl, Maghale, Maghal, Mauhale, 1292; Maghhal, 1303; Mauwell, 1351; Maghull, Maghell, 1353. These last two forms and Maghale most general. In the xv cent. the name was contracted to Maile or Male, which shows the local pronunciation. Sometimes the article was prefixed, 'The Maile.'
Maghull is an agricultural township, situated in flat country fairly well supplied with trees, generally grouped about the villages and farmsteads. The land is divided into arable and pasture, the latter mostly to the west, whilst numerous market gardens thrive on a light sandy soil. Crops of potatoes and other root crops, wheat and oats are successfully cultivated. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal crosses the township from north to south-east; the upper end of Maghull village, with its sett-laid roads and gaily painted houses, is a typical canal-side settlement. The River Alt drains the low-lying ground to the west, and forms the boundary of the township in that direction. The total area is 2,098 acres. (fn. 1) There was in 1901 a population of 1,505.
The principal road, leading from Liverpool to Ormskirk, passes through the village from south to north, and is joined on the east by the more circuitous route through Melling, and on the west by the road from Sefton. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Company's line from Liverpool to Preston crosses in a north-easterly direction, and has a station called Maghull. The Cheshire Lines Committee's railway to Southport passes along the western border, where there is a station called Sefton.
The township is governed by a parish council.
Three ancient crosses are known to have existed. The pedestal of the 'Woodlands Cross' is visible above the footpath at the junction of Green Lane with the Liverpool and Ormskirk road. Others are at Clent Farm (removed in 1890) and Back Lane. (fn. 2)
A sundial on the lawn in front of the manor-house has the motto and date, 'Volvenda dies, 1748.' Another in the churchyard is dated 1781. (fn. 3)
The Alt Drainage Act (1779) has the following field names: Chew, Pushed Meadow, Lower Mean Hey, and Lowest Alter.
A writer in 1823 says: 'From the chapel yard is an extensive view of the high land near Liverpool, on which Everton church is a very prominent object; of Ince Hall and park; and in the distance the two landmarks of Formby.' He characterizes the village as 'pleasant.' (fn. 4)
The wakes are held on Advent Sunday.
There was a racecourse here for one of the Liverpool meetings until the Aintree course superseded it.
Maghull manor-house is now used as an epileptics' home.
MAGHULL was one of Uctred's six manors in 1066; its rating was half a plough-land. (fn. 5) Afterwards, like four others of the group, it formed part of the Widnes fee held by the barons of Halton in Cheshire, and this tenure is regularly stated in the inquisitions down to the seventeenth century. In 1212 it was found that Alan de Halsall held half a plough-land of Roger the constable of Chester by knight's service. (fn. 6)
The Halsall family continued to be regarded as the superior lords of Maghull, holding it for the twentyfourth part of a knight's fee, where 12 plough-lands made such a fee. So it was recorded in the Gascon scutage of 1242–3, (fn. 7) and in the Halton Feodary, the relief being stated as 5s. (fn. 8) In the fourteenth century the lordship seems to have passed from Halsall. In 1355 the heir of Gilbert de Halsall was lord; (fn. 9) afterwards it was held by the Hulme family, as will be seen later.
Simon de Halsall, the son of Alan, made two grants in Maghull. By one he gave to his son Richard the whole of his land in the vill, (fn. 10) the service to be that by which Simon himself held it—the twenty-fourth part of a fee. (fn. 11)
Simon's other grant was made about 1240. By it he gave to William de Maghull and his heirs the fourth part of all his vill of Maghull in demesne with all its appurtenances, reserving two parcels of 40 acres each in the woods. The service was to be that of a judge or doomsman, acting as deputy of Simon and his heirs, in the court of the chief lord at Widnes; 2¾d. annual rent was also to be paid. (fn. 12) This was the origin of the holding of the Maghull family.
In 1292 Richard son of Robert de Maghull claimed from Gilbert de Halsall 5 acres of land and 2½ acres of wood as his inheritance, from his grandfather Richard son of William, who had held it in the time of Henry III. Gilbert raised the technical plea that his brother Henry ought to have been joined with him as defendant, since he held 1½ acres of the disputed land. (fn. 13)
In August, 1301, Richard son of Robert de Maghull gave to his son Richard and his wife Emmota, daughter of Robert de Rydings of Sefton, all his lands in Aintree and in Melling; he and his wife Alice giving warranty. (fn. 14)
Gilbert de Halsall, Richard son of Robert de Maghull, Richard son of Simon de Maghull, and others were in 1304 defendants in a claim made by Thurstan de Maghull in right of his wife Margery, formerly the wife of Adam de Crosby, regarding common of pasture in 100 acres of moor, wood, and pasture. Gilbert de Halsall and Richard de Maghull were lords of the vill; and their defence was that the approvement made was lawful according to the statute of Merton. (fn. 15)
In 1336 Richard son of Richard de Maghull granted his son Richard land in the township, with remainders to Adam and to William, brothers of the grantor. Three years later the same Richard made a similar grant to his brothers William, Adam, and Henry in succession. (fn. 16) Between these grants (in 1338) Thomas son of Ellen de Maghull (with whom his son Simon was joined) brought a claim by writ of novel disseisin, against Richard son of Richard son of Robert de Maghull and Emma his wife, Thomas son of Richard son of Simon de Maghull and Alice his wife, Richard son of Simon de Maghull and Margery his wife, and Robert and Henry sons of the first defendant. (fn. 17) In another suit in 1334 it was stated that Gilbert de Halsall was lord of one moiety; Thomas son of Richard son of Simon, and Richard son of Richard son of Robert being lords of the other moiety. (fn. 18)
It thus appears there were two families taking their name from Maghull, one descending from Robert and the other from Simon, and probably both from the above-named William de Maghull. (fn. 19) This comes out again in 1350 in a claim by Gilbert de Halsall in which the defendants were the grandsons abovenamed—Richard and Thomas. (fn. 20)
Gilbert de Halsall in 1346 prosecuted Thomas son of Richard de Maghull for breaking his mill, to the loss of 100s. profit. (fn. 21) William son of Thomas de Maghull was a grantor in 1361. (fn. 22) Six years later Thomas de Maghull complained that John the Mercer and others had attacked him with bows and arrows, and that he dare not go to church or visit anyone in the town without protection; but the jury acquitted the accused. There were counter charges against Thomas, his son John and brother William. (fn. 23) Thomas was living in 1358.
At this point there is a defect in the evidences. (fn. 24)
Richard de Maghull occurs as one of the lords of the vill in 1395. (fn. 25) The name of Thomas de Maghull occurs in 1418 and 1423 and again in 1447. (fn. 26) The series of Maghull charters begins again in 1421 with a grant by Hugh de Bretlands and Margery his wife to Thomas de Maghull of Aintree, of all the messuages and lands in Maghull, Melling, and Aintree which had belonged to Emmota the widow of Henry del Crosse. (fn. 27)
William Maghull is said to have been lord of this portion of the manor about 1420, and to have granted a right of turbary to Robert Molyneux in 1422. (fn. 28) He occurs as witness to a charter in October, 1403. Ellen the daughter of Thomas de Maghull, late of Aintree, was in January, 1425–6, contracted in marriage to Gilbert de Maghull, Thomas de Maghull of Maghull, apparently the father of the latter, being joined with him in the contract. (fn. 29) Thurstan de Maghull of Aintree made a general feoffment of his lands in 1441; and he is mentioned again two years later. (fn. 30)
From the witnesses to a deed of 1442 it appears that there were in Maghull at least two families bearing the local name, and possibly a third; for Thomas de Maghull of the Clent, Thomas de Maghull of the Carr, and Richard de Maghull attest it. (fn. 31)
The succession is again uncertain; but in March, 1462–3 John Maghull, chaplain, granted to his brother Nicholas all tenements in Maghull; the latter was son and heir of Thomas of the Carr. (fn. 32) Matthew was the son and heir of Nicholas, and in the next year he (an infant) received Mollington Yard from his father's feoffees; it had formerly been held by Richard Maghull of the Clent. (fn. 33) He lived to a great age, and in 1508 enfeoffed Hugh Aughton of North Meols and others of his lands. (fn. 34) His grandson William (eldest son of Thomas Maghull of Aintree) was contracted in marriage with the daughter of one Stananought, but died before marriage. (fn. 35)
Matthew's son Thomas, who had in 1514 sold lands to Sir William Molyneux, (fn. 36) was 'riotous and unthrifty and evil disposed, and liked to sell all the inheritance if it should descend to him'; after William's death therefore he settled the succession on Thomas's second son Robert. (fn. 37) It had in 1507–8 been settled on Thomas, who married Isabel, daughter of William Formby. (fn. 38) The new arrangement was secured by a recovery at Lancaster; (fn. 39) and in 1535 the feoffees transferred to Robert Maghull and Alice his wife certain lands in Maghull, Melling, and Aintree. (fn. 40)
Robert Maghull died 11 August, 1543, leaving a son and heir Richard, who being a minor, became the king's ward, until in 1558 livery was granted to him. (fn. 41) The inquisition (fn. 42) states that Robert held the manor of the king as of the duchy of Lancaster by knight's service and the yearly rent of 2¾d.; the clear value was £4.
This family seems to have gone with the times in religion, the name being absent from the list of recusants in the parish. Richard Maghull purchased some property in Liverpool in 1560, and soon afterwards sold land in Aughton to Thomas Bootle of Melling. (fn. 43) He joined in the partition of Maghull made in 1568, (fn. 44) and afterwards became Sir Richard Molyneux's bailiff for the manor of West Derby, appointing a deputy in 1587. (fn. 45) His eldest son Richard died early, and the succession fell to the second son Andrew. (fn. 46) Richard died on 27 July, 1606, holding the fourth part of the manor of Maghull, with a capital messuage there called the Carr House. (fn. 47) His son Andrew having died before him leaving a son Richard, this last was heir to his grandfather and 10½ years of age. (fn. 48)
This Richard married Alice daughter of William Clayton of Leyland, and had with her certain lands in Leyland. (fn. 49) He recorded a pedigree at the visitation of 1664–5. Of his sons, Richard, William, and John died without issue, and Robert, who succeeded him, is called a citizen of London in 1664, and said to be thirty-nine years of age. (fn. 50) Robert Maghull died in 1674; his son William, who married Cecily, daughter of Thomas Bootle of Melling, (fn. 51) died in 1709, and the inheritance was ultimately divided between his daughters Ellen, who married Joseph Yates of Peel in Little Hulton, (fn. 52) and Elizabeth, who married Edward Aspinwall. (fn. 53) The manor was purchased by Thomas Unsworth of Liverpool, and descended to his grandson William Gillibrand Unsworth, after whose death it was sold to Hugh McElroy. The present owner of the manor-house, by purchase from H. McElroy's executors, in September, 1880, is Mr. Thomas Curry Mather of Lydiate, but no manorial rights belong to it. (fn. 54)
Gilbert de Maghull, above mentioned, had a daughter and heir Joan, who married Ralph Molyneux. (fn. 55) Ralph left sons— Richard, who married Isabel, Thomas, and Geoffrey. (fn. 56) Richard had two sons, Robert and Edmund. The elder married Margery daughter of Robert Gore, about 1498, (fn. 57) and they had two daughters, Elizabeth and Anne, who were co-heirs of Kennetshead and other property. Elizabeth married (i)——Melling and (ii) Humphrey Ley, (fn. 58) and Anne married Henry son and heir of Thomas Pye of Lydiate. (fn. 59) Elizabeth and Humphrey Ley and their son Edmund sold their land in Maghull to Richard Maghull in 1570. (fn. 60) Nevertheless at the inquisition after the death of Edmund Ley (made in 1589) it was found that he died on 17 January, 1587–8, seised of a house and lands there, held of Richard Hulme; and that his son Richard was his heir. (fn. 61)
It has been convenient to narrate the history of the Maghull family first, as it bore the local name. The superior lordship of the Halsalls was replaced some time between 1370 and 1380 by that of the Hulmes, it is supposed by marriage. The first of this family to appear in connexion with Maghull is Richard de Hulme, who contributed to the poll tax of 1381. (fn. 62) David de Hulme, who was probably his son, died 6 December, 1418, seised of the manor of Maghull, (fn. 63) and holding it of the king as of his duchy of Lancaster, viz. of the honour of Halton, by knight's service and a rent of 15d. per annum. It was worth clear 10 marks. (fn. 64) His son and heir, Lawrence, was nine years of age, attaining to his majority before March, 1432, when his lands were delivered to him. It was proved that he was baptized in Maghull chapel; Henry Blundell of Crosby, aged forty-three and over, was in the church on the same day, being a 'love day' or settlement between Sir Thomas Gerard and Sir John Bold. (fn. 65)
Lawrence Hulme in 1442 gave certain lands to his son Richard on his marriage with Joyce daughter of Robert Molyneux. (fn. 66) He lived on until 1483, (fn. 67) in July of which year he settled various lands in Maghull (held by his son and heir Richard and others), Scarisbrick, and Ainsdale on Ellen daughter of Henry Becconsall, who was to marry his grandson Edmund. (fn. 68) This Edmund died on Christmas Eve, 1525, holding the manor of Maghull and messuages, land, &c., in Maghull, of the duchy of Lancaster by the twelfth part of a knight's fee. He also held lands in Lydiate, Halsall, Barton, and Aspemoll in Scarisbrick, and the manor of Ainsdale with lands there. His son and heir Richard was aged thirty-five and more in 1529. (fn. 69) Richard Hulme died on 21 November, 1539; (fn. 70) Edmund Hulme, the son and heir, was nearly thirteen years of age.
Edmund Hulme after coming of age complained that his mother Anne, who had married for her second husband Richard Bradshaw, had neglected to keep the mansion-house of the manor in good repair. (fn. 71) Soon afterwards the steward of the fee of Halton (Sir John Savage) accused him of wilfully absenting himself from Widnes court and assaulting the bailiffs when they demanded the fines for absence. (fn. 72) Edmund complained that Sir Richard Molyneux, John Molyneux, and others had been digging turves upon his moss, carrying away 500 cartloads. (fn. 73) Sir Richard retorted by alleging that Edmund, Henry, and Thomas Hulme and others attacked him in the Lower Meadow, Edmund Hulme having a javelin in his hand and there being a 'privy ambushment' in the wood adjoining. The dispute was as to which of the two parties should take the hay in the meadow; the Molyneux party arrived first, but the others carried off the hay. (fn. 74) Edmund sold his rights in Halsall and Ainsdale to the Halsalls in 1555. (fn. 75)
Richard Hulme (or Holme), his son and successor, had livery of the manor of Maghull and the rest of his father's lands in November, 1575. (fn. 76) He had his share of litigation. He claimed from Thomas Bootle of Melling certain services, including ½ lb. of wax yearly, due from a holding in Maghull; the reply was that some small works and boons had been done for the plaintiff, but only 'by courtesy. (fn. 77) Richard died 18 February, 1614–15, seised in fee of the manor of Maghull, held of the king by the hundredth part of a knight's fee; also of lands in Kirkdale and Maghull. His son and heir Edmund was forty years of age, (fn. 78) but by his father's dispositions did not succeed to the manor.
Edmund Hulme and Ellen his wife in Maghull were presented to the bishop as recusants or noncommunicants in 1634, as also Edward and Alice Hulme. Edmund Hulme and Ellen his wife and Alice Hulme appear also in the recusant roll of 1641. (fn. 79) By indenture in 1623 he assigned to Richard his eldest son, and his assigns certain leasehold property in Maghull, in view of his marriage. Richard married Margery, and died young, leaving a daughter Mary. The widow married Thomas Wilkinson (their names appear in the recusant lists of 1635 and 1641), and in 1653 the husband petitioned the parliamentary commissioners for the removal of the sequestration of two-thirds which had been incurred by the recusancy of Edmund Hulme, who had died three years previously. (fn. 80) Mary Hulme was the wife of Thomas Hesketh in 1659.
Internal troubles in the Hulme family had perhaps been the cause of Richard Hulme's diverting the natural course of succession; about eighteen months before his death he assigned the manor of Maghull and all other of his lands to trustees for the use of himself for life, and then for William Ley or Lea and his heirs, and failing these for Henry, Richard, James, John, and Bartholomew in succession, the sons of William Hulme by a certain Elizabeth Pimley. Thus his own son Edmund was removed a long way from the succession. (fn. 81) This is not mentioned in the inquisition after Richard's death; but a few months after this event Henry Pimley alias Hulme sold to Sir Richard Molyneux the manor of Maghull. Edmund Hulme and William Ley were also parties to various agreements in connexion with the conveyance; (fn. 82) and as late as 1659 Mary Hesketh, daughter of Richard Hulme, joined with her husband in renouncing all claim to the hall of Maghull, then belonging to Caryll, Viscount Molyneux. (fn. 83) Edmund Hulme had had a lease of the hall for three lives. (fn. 84)
The Molyneuxes of Sefton had for some time been acquiring lands in the township. In 1544 Sir William Molyneux purchased from Edward and Nicholas Maghull Carr House and 22 acres of land, and one or two other tenements seem also to have been acquired. (fn. 85) In 1567–8 accordingly the partition of the various lands, with moss and turbary, was made between Edmund Hulme, Sir Richard Molyneux and William his son, and Richard Maghull, as the three lords of the place. (fn. 86)
The manor (or three-quarters of the manor) of Maghull (fn. 87) remained in the hands of the Molyneux family down to the end of the eighteenth century, when it was sold for £7,500 (fn. 88) to William Harper of Liverpool and Dunham in Cheshire; his daughter and heir Helen married John Formby of Everton and afterwards of Formby; and these were in possession at the beginning of 1816. (fn. 89) In 1858 the hall, with out any manorial rights, was sold by the Formbys to Bartholomew French, of Liverpool and County Mayo; he died in 1868, and in 1875 his trustees sold the hall to Mr. William Ripley, the present owner. The manorial rights are supposed to be extinct. (fn. 90)
Thomas Bootle of Melling, who died in 1597, held lands in Maghull of each of the lords— Richard Hulme, Sir Richard Molyneux, and Richard Maghull. (fn. 93)
Henry Stanley of Maghull had his small estate sequestered by the Parliament, but was discharged, having taken the National Covenant and Negative Oath in 1646. (fn. 94)
The present church of St. Andrew was consecrated 8 September, 1880, and stands near the old site. It is in the early English style, with chancel, nave, north porch, and western tower.
Forty years ago the chapel had 'an ancient chancel with a small aisle or chapel to the north,' divided from it 'by two very low pointed arches, perhaps early English, with a circular pillar having a moulded cap. The western respond had nail-headed mouldings.' The body of the church, built about 1830, was 'unworthy of notice… . The interior was positively shapeless.' (fn. 95)
The chancel with its north aisle has been preserved, and is commonly known as the Unsworth chapel, the owner of the manor-house using the aisle as a mortuary chapel. 'A careful comparison of the mouldings appears to indicate that the building does not date earlier than 1285 to 1290, in spite of the Norman-looking round arch, which, oddly enough, has the most distinct thirteenth-century detail in the moulding.' On the east wall is a trace of a mural painting. There are a mutilated piscina and a prismshaped holy-water font. A Georgian baptismal font is built into the wall over the modern west door. (fn. 96) 'The chapel house nearly opposite is a good example of early seventeenth-century architecture, with long square mullioned windows.' (fn. 97)
The origin of the chapel is unknown, but from what has been said above one must have stood there in the thirteenth century. (fn. 98) A gift of five acres of land was at one time made for the finding of a light in the chapel. (fn. 99) The building in 1550 was valued at 30s. (fn. 100) About the same time the rector of Halsall complained that he had been ousted from a close called 'Church land' at the east end of the chapel of Maghull, another small piece between the barnyard and Maghull Green, and four butts on the south side of the chapel. (fn. 101)
Nothing is known of the fate of the chapel for some time after this. Melling was perhaps used as more convenient. In 1590 there was 'no preacher' at Maghull; (fn. 102) about 1610 it was 'without service or preacher.' (fn. 103) The registers do not begin till 1729.
Under the rule of the Parliament, Maghull was placed under the charge of a separate minister, who had the tithes of the township, a tenth being deducted for the benefit of Mrs. Travers, wife of the 'delinquent' rector. In November, 1645, Mr. James Worrall was appointed to the charge of it. (fn. 104) The surveyors of 1650 found 'an ancient chapel' with about a roodland of ground around it, 'fit to be enjoyed therewith,' and recommended that the township should be made a separate parish. Mr. William Aspinall, 'a painfull and godly minister,' was then supplying the cure, his regular stipend being £45 clear. (fn. 105)
Bishop Gastrell records that in 1717 there was nothing belonging to the chapel beyond £20 a year paid by the rector, and about £5 surplice fees; (fn. 106) the rector of course appointed the curate, and now presents the vicar.
Among the curates and vicars at Maghull have been:—
|1670–91||Zachary Leech (fn. 107)|
|1777||Benjamin Whitehead (fn. 108)|
|1811||George Holden, M.A. (Glas.) (fn. 109)|
|1865||Joseph Lyon, M.A. (Trin. Coll., Oxford)|
|1869||James Gerard Leigh, M.A. (Christ Ch., Oxford) (fn. 110)|
|1884||John Francis Hocter, M.A. (Trin. Coll. Dublin)|
The Wesleyan Methodists have a chapel.
There is a tradition that during the times of persecution mass was said secretly in an old building in the manor-house grounds, but the public revival of the Roman Catholic services dates only from 1887, when a barn was fitted up and used as a chapel. In 1890 the school chapel of St. George was opened. (fn. 111)