Townships: Bootle

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

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'Townships: Bootle', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, (London, 1907), pp. 31-35. British History Online [accessed 13 June 2024].

. "Townships: Bootle", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, (London, 1907) 31-35. British History Online, accessed June 13, 2024,

. "Townships: Bootle", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, (London, 1907). 31-35. British History Online. Web. 13 June 2024,

In this section


Boltelai, Dom. Bk.; Botle, 1212, 1237; Botull, 1306; Bothull, 1332; Bothell, 1348.

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.

An outbreak of plague occurred in 1652.


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.

Beetham of Beetham. Or, a chief indented azure, over all a bendlet gules.

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)

Stockport of Stock port. Azure three lozenges or.

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)

Middleton of Leighton. Argent, a saltire engrailed sable, in fess point a mullet for difference of the last.

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.

Borough of Bootle. Argent, on a chevron between three fleurs de lis azure as many stag's heads cabossed or; on a chief sable three mural crowns of the first.

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)

The Welsh Calvinistic Methodists have two places of worship.

Trinity Presbyterian church, built in 1887, is a migration from Derby Road, Kirkdale, where a start was made in 1855. Another church in Linacre was erected in 1896, work having begun in 1883.

There are a Church of Christ, near Bootle waterworks, and some other meeting-places.

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)


  • 1. The Census Report of 1901 gives 1,576 acres, including 111 of inland water. The difference is due to dock extension. There are also 392 acres of tidal water and 8 of foreshore.
  • 2. Enfield, Liverpool, 112.
  • 3. In the work just quoted. Sherriff's map of 1823 shows comparatively little change.
  • 4. In 1823 there were two windmills only; one near the spring and one by the shore.
  • 5. These landmarks, figured on Enfield's map of the entrance to the port, remained unchanged in 1823. In 1829 two pillars or obelisks, 100 ft. high, were erected on the shore in substitution.
  • 6. The Midland Railway line nearly represents it. It will be found from this that Linacre was somewhat smaller than Knowsley ward.
  • 7. Baines, Lancs. Dir. ii, 712.
  • 8. Stranger in Liverpool (ed. 1812), 195. At Bootle Mills two good houses had been provided for the accommodation of visitors. The edition of 1844 also states that 'invalids and others' visited Bootle in the summer for the bathing; 229.
  • 9. A company was formed in 1799 to utilize this supply; see Gregson, Fragments (ed. Harland), 150.
  • 10. V.C.H. Lancs. i, 284b.
  • 11. Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 1; he owed 30 marks for a concord between himself and the count. For the father see ibid. 290, 296. Roger gave one of the plough-lands to the Hospitallers; see Linacre.
  • 12. See further in the accounts of Formby and Kirkby.
  • 13. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 22. In 1246 Thomas de Beetham withdrew a plea of novel disseisin against William son of Henry de Walton and others respecting a tenement here; Assize R. 404, m. 9d.
  • 14. Inq. and Extents, 191; 'in the vill of Bootle she held in demesne one plough-land with the appurtenances in chief of the church of St. Mary of Walton, by the service of 40d. yearly at the feast days of St. Mary and the Annunciation; the residue is worth 33s. 4d. in all issues of land to her own use, saving the said 40d.'
  • 15. Inq. and Extents, 195; 'in the vill of Bootle he held two plough-lands in chief of the earl of Ferrers by the service of 8s. 8d., worth 19s. 4d. yearly, saving the earl's farm. He also held four oxgangs of the church of St. Mary of Walton by the service of 20d., worth 4s. 4d. yearly, saving the said farm. His demesne in the same vill was worth 2s. 9½d. yearly; and five parts of a water-mill were yearly worth five marks; the tallage of the rustics was worth 10s. yearly.' See also p. 203, where the values are much higher.
  • 16. In 1275 Ellen, widow of Robert de Stockport, claimed against Roger de Stockport dower in a messuage, six oxgangs of land, 60 acres of meadow, &c., in Bootle; De Banc. R. 10, m. 71 d. The sixth part of the water-mill, excepted in Sir Ralph de Beetham's inquisition, was held by this family, whose share was afterwards described as a sixth of the whole vill.
  • 17. References are given under Formby and Kirkby. In 1284–6 Eularia, daughter of Roger de Burton, of Burton in Kendal, claimed a tenement in Bootle from Thomas son of Robert de Beetham; Assize R. 1265, m. 21; R. 1271, m. 11 d. Ralph de Beetham held Bootle in thegnage in 1324 by a service of 6s. 8d.; Dods. MSS. cxxxi, fol. 34. For the Beetham manors in 1479 see Close R. 19 Edw. IV, m. 1; 20 Edw. IV, m. 13. In 1521 Thomas second earl of Derby died seised of this manor, held of the king as duke of Lancaster by the ancient thegnage rent of 8s. 8d.; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p. m. v. n. 68.
  • 18. Agnes, daughter of Edward Beetham and niece of Richard Beetham, who forfeited the manors, married Robert Middleton, grandfather of Gervase; Lancs. Inq. p. m. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 102.
  • 19. Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p. m. ix, n. 11.
  • 20. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 28, m. 272. Besides the manor of Bootle there were 12 messuages, &c., a water-mill, 200 acres of land, &c. See also Moore D. n. 632, 633. In 1593 the Moores had a dispute with Sir Richard Molyneux as to the boundaries between Bootle and Litherland; Ibid. n. 637; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 306.
  • 21. See the account of Kirkdale.
  • 22. In that year William, son and heir of Robert de Stockport, demanded from Robert de Byron the 4 oxgangs, but without success; Assize R. 408, m. 67. Robert de Byron afterwards gave the whole of his lands in Bootle, with the sixth part of the water-mill, to his daughter Maud, to hold in fee by 1d. at Christmas and by rendering the service due to Walton church; Moore D. n. 624. In 1334 William Ballard of Linacre complained that he had been deprived of his free common in 160 acres of moor and pasture by the action of Sir Thurstan de Northlegh and Margery his wife, Sir Ralph de Beetham, William Gerard and Maud his wife, William son of William Gerard, and Maud widow of Sir Robert de Byron; a verdict was returned against Sir Thurstan and the younger William Gerard; Coram Reg. R. 297, m. 115 d.
  • 23. Moore D. n. 627. Green house, Allowfield, and Lolligreves are named. The bounds are thus given: From a stone in the sea called Coppoke stone, along the division between Kirkdale and Bootle to the head of Oldfield, along this to the cross between Bootle and Walton, thence to the western corner of Whitefield, and so to a plot called Funkdenbed [which remained a mere in 1595]; westward from the moor to Mirepool and to the brook between Bootle and Litherland; along this brook to the Rimrose, and so to a stone in the sea called Brimstone.
  • 24. Ibid. n. 625.
  • 25. An inquest taken in 1395 records that Richard Mun, chaplain, was seised inter alia of 3 messuages and 3 oxgangs of land in Bootle, worth 18s. 10d. yearly; the sixth part of a parcel of land called the Greenhouse, worth 2s. 8d.; the sixth part of Alyffield, worth 12d.; the sixth part of the water-mill of Bootle, worth 6s. 8d.; the sixth part of 10 acres of the wood of Bootle, worth 12d., and of 100 acres of pasture there, which premises were held in chief of the rector of Walton in socage by the yearly service of 12d. Richard Mun granted them, with tenements in Liverpool, to Thomas son of Richard de Ainsargh and his heirs. Richard died in 1393, and then Alice and Margery came into possession. The heir was said to be Thomas son of Nichola (sister of Richard) by John the Mercer of Liverpool; Lancs. Rec. Misc. Inq. p. m. n. 9 12.
  • 26. Many of the Mercer deeds are among the Moore evidences, so that the family inheritance was no doubt acquired by the Moores.
  • 27. Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), iii, 167. For the curious bequest of Thomas Berry in 1603 see the account of the Walton charities.
  • 28. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, 22. Linacre is named among the Hospitallers' lands in 1292; Plac. de quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 375.
  • 29. Proceedings relating to Linacre in the Hallmote of Much Woolton, between 1584 and 1604, are in Moore D. n. 651–3. The rental compiled about 1540 gives the following particulars:—Sir William Molyneux, for Townfield, 6d.; William Moore, for 1 messuage, 6d.; John Osbaldeston, for 1 messuage, 1s. 8d.; Thomas Barton and Anne his wife, for 1 messuage, 2s.; Thomas Johnson, for 2 messuages, 12d.; Richard Mercer, for 1 messuage, 12d.; and Ralph Longworth, for 1 messuage, 16d.; Kuerden MSS. v, fol. 84. The total rent, 8s., is at the rate of 1s. per oxgang.
  • 30. Before 1290 Hugh de Linacre gave half an oxgang here to Robert de Kirkdale to hold by the service of 3d. yearly; Gilbert and Geoffrey de Linacre were witnesses; Norris D. (B.M.), n. 9. In 1347, John son of Richard, son of Geoffrey de Linacre, was a defendant; De Banc. R. 281, m. ix. In 1330 Stephen de Linacre contributed to the subsidy; Excb. Lay Subs. 130/5.
  • 31. Richard de Molyneux of Sefton in 1342 acquired land from Robert Boorde, nephew and heir of Robert de Denton; Croxteth D. G. i, 11. Two years later he was complaining of damage to his grass; De Banc. R. 349, m. 67 d. Further lands were acquired in 1360 from Thomas Budwood; Croxteth D. G. i, 3. In 1548 Sir William Molyneux held here a messuage, 58 acres of land, meadow, &c., of the king, as of the dissolved hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, for 12d. yearly; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p. m. ix, n. 2.
  • 32. The Moore holding appears to have been the half oxgang granted by Robert, son of Adam de Linacre about 1275 to Adam son of William son of Godith; Adam, father of the grantor, had formerly held it of Jordan de Linacre; Moore D. n. 672. The recipient, as Adam Smethehead, granted his brother William 1 oxgang, probably the same land, with the houses, &c., belonging to it; ibid. n. 673. Richard Dikemonson in 1343 transferred his half oxgang to William, son of Adam, son of William de Liverpool, with participation in the wastes, &c., as for a sixteenth part of the hamlet of Linacre; ibid. n. 678. In 1375 this William de Liverpool released to William de Gorstill all his claim in the sixteenth part of the hamlet, and his widow in 1385 released hers; ibid. n. 628, 679. The next steps are not clear; but in 1536 Richard Osbaldeston of Chadlington in Oxfordshire granted his tenement in Linacre to William Moore of Bank Hall, at an annual rent of 8s.; this was at the special request of Sir Alexander Osbaldeston; ibid. n. 685. The Moores afterwards acquired other parcels, but in 1604 the tenure was still described as 'of the king as of the dissolved monastery of St. John of Jerusalem in England, in free socage, by fealty and 6d. yearly rent'; Lancs. Inq. p. m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 14.
  • 33. The Moore deeds contain grants by Robert Gamel of Linacre to Richard Dikemonson and Richard son of Hugh de Walton early in the fourteenth century; n. 674, 676–7. The first of these mentions the high road from Bootle to Litherland. In 1399 the feoffees granted to Henry son of Ralph de Linacre land in Aliscar and Soonde croft; two years later John de Linacre gave to Henry Diconson of Linacre all his lands in Linacre; ibid. n. 680–1. This latter Henry in 1415 made an exchange with Matthew Longworth, receiving lands in the Furdefylde, Wro, Pulfordlong, Fyntis, Feloteroyste, Crofts and Robcroft in Linacre, for other lands in Litherland. John Osbaldeston is named as one of the tenants; ibid. n. 682. Richard, son of Thomas Linacre, in 1472, released to Roger Mercer of Walton, all his rights in messuages, rents, &c., in Linacre, and ten years later Roger Mercer granted his son William an annual rent of 8s. from all his property in Linacre; ibid. n. 629, 684. The Longworth holding has been shown to have existed in 1415. In 1641 Edward Alcock and James Burton of Liverpool sold to Robert Blundell of Ince and his son John the lands in Linacre then held by Brian Burton, but previously the inheritance of John Longworth, deceased. There was, however, a charge upon it created about 1574 by William Longworth and Ralph his son and heir, in favour of Bryan Burton and Alice his wife; ibid. n. 686. John Burton in 1624 died seised of a messuage in Linacre held of William, earl of Derby, as of the dissolved hospital, by 2s. yearly rent; Lancs. Inq. p. m. iii, 452. His son and heir was Robert Burton, aged 14. In 1659 Ellen Burton, widow of Robert Burton of Linacre, and John Burton, her son, conveyed to John Bryanson of Sefton, a messuage and lands in Linacre and Litherland; Moore D. n. 687. John Burton of Linacre claimed the two-thirds of the estate of Henry Blundell, a recusant, who had married Margaret Burton, which estate should after her death have reverted to the claimant as heir of his father and grandfather; Cal. Com. for Comp. iv, 3168.
  • 34. Moore D. n. 688. The consideration being only 1s. the 'sale' perhaps represents the release of a trust.
  • 35. The official name has more recently been shortened to Bootle.
  • 36. Orrell was included in the borough in 1905.
  • 37. The Borough Hospital was founded in 1870.
  • 38. Lond. Gaz. 27 July, 1866, for district.
  • 39. Ibid. 20 Feb. 1866, for district.
  • 40. Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. vi, 217.
  • 41. Ibid, vi, 232–3.
  • 42. Liverpool Cath. Ann.
  • 43. Ibid. The building was previously a Baptist chapel.