The parish of Sefton: Introduction, church and charities

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


'The parish of Sefton: Introduction, church and charities', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, (London, 1907), pp. 58-66. British History Online [accessed 12 June 2024].

. "The parish of Sefton: Introduction, church and charities", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, (London, 1907) 58-66. British History Online, accessed June 12, 2024,

. "The parish of Sefton: Introduction, church and charities", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, (London, 1907). 58-66. British History Online. Web. 12 June 2024,

In this section



This parish, lying on the coast near the entrance of the Mersey and bounded on the east and north by the River Alt, has an area of 12,687½ acres. The surface is level and lies very low, so that in rainy seasons the Alt floods a considerable extent of land; the greatest height is attained in the south, part of Orrell being 125 ft. above sea level.

Anciently the townships were arranged in four quarters as follows: i, Sefton, with Netherton and Lunt; ii, Ince Blundell, Little Crosby; iii, Thornton, Great Crosby; iv, Down Litherland with Orrell and Ford, Aintree. Each quarter paid equally to the county lay. (fn. 1) Within recent years the seaside townships of Waterloo and Seaforth, governed in combination, have been formed from Great Crosby and Litherland respectively. In these a large urban population has grown up, but the greater part of the area is still rural. The agricultural land of the parish is mainly arable, viz. 7,356 acres; while 1,869 acres are in permanent grass, and 240 in woods and plantations. The population in 1901 was 45,846.

The parish has but little connexion with the general history of the country. At Flodden Sir William Molyneux of Sefton greatly distinguished himself, and Henry Blundell of Little Crosby fell in the battle. The change of religion made by Elizabeth was most distasteful to the people. In 1624 and 1626 'riots and rescues,' occasioned by the unwelcome visits of the sheriff's officers to seize the cattle of the recusant William Blundell of Little Crosby, became a Star Chamber matter, resulting in the imposition of a heavy fine upon the perpetrators. (fn. 2) As was to be expected, in the Civil War the gentry took the king's side, and their possessions were consequently sequestrated by the Parliament. The smaller people also suffered. (fn. 3) The Lancashire Plot of 1694 brought more trouble on the district, (fn. 4) but the risings of 1715 and 1745 do not appear to have drawn any support from Sefton.

The principal landowners of the parish have long been the lords of Sefton, Ince Blundell, and Little Crosby. In 1792 the earl of Sefton, Henry Blundell, and Nicholas Blundell contributed £192 to the land tax out of £481 charged upon the parish. (fn. 5)

The life of the district in the first part of the eighteenth century is well illustrated in Nicholas Blundell's Diary. In the way of sports there were hunting, coursing—the Liverpool hounds sometimes going so far out as Little Crosby—horse-racing at various places in the neighbourhood, as Great Crosby and Aughton, cock-fighting, bull-baiting, and bowling matches on the various greens. Visits were made to Ormskirk—then relatively more important than at present—to Lathom Spa, and to Liverpool; the latter place might be reached by road in the coach or over the sands on horseback. Nicholas Blundell fulfilled the usual duties of a landlord, as when he fixed 'the boundaries between Great Crosby and the Moorhouses that each town might know their liberty to fish in'; (fn. 6) and there were discussions about drainage, enclosures, and other improvements, the Foremoss Pool gutter being mentioned several times. Lord Molyneux desired that 'the River Alt might be scoured as usual,' and the setting and cutting of the star grass on the sandhills had to be regulated. Smuggling was also carried on: 'This night (says Squire Blundell) I had a cargo of sixteen large ones brought to White hall … . W.Ca. covered the cargo very well with straw.' (fn. 7)

Every now and again, especially in winter, there would be a 'merry night' at the hall, when the squire's sword dance might be performed or his tricks of legerdemain exhibited to divert the company. Companies of players seem to have visited the district occasionally, performing here and there as they found patronage and accommodation. Of local customs he particularly notices the throwing at the cock on Shrove Tuesday, and the dressing of the crosses at Great Crosby and Ince Blundell on Midsummer Day. The Goose Feast at Great Crosby was regularly celebrated in the middle of October with great festivity; a maypole and morris-dancing are mentioned at Little Crosby, nor is the tossing of pancakes forgotten. On 2 November, 1717, 'we dealt soul loaves to the poor, it being the first time any soul loaves were given here, as I remember.' At Easter he gave the parish clerk '2d. instead of twelve paist eggs.' On 31 December, 1723, 'there was a riding for Anne Norris, who had beaten her husband.' He records that on 6 October, 1717, 'it being near full moon I cut my wife's hair off.'

When his new marl-pit was dug it was 'flowered,' and the occasion was quite a festal one. A procession was formed, 'the fourteen marlers had a particular dress on their heads, and each of them carried a musket or gun; the six garlands, &c., were carried by young women in procession; the eight sword-dancers went with them to the marl-pit, where they danced'; and a week later a large bull was baited, 'to admiration,' at the bottom of the new pit. Again, a week later the marling was finished with feasting and dancing. (fn. 8) Incidentally the diarist mentions the spinning of wool and the 'breaking' of flax. (fn. 9) The preceding process of 'reeting' or retting flax is noticed in an earlier document. (fn. 10) A peculiar word he uses is 'songoars,' for gleaners.

At the present time the stories of 'M. E. Francis,' such as In a North Country Village, have made the life of the rural portion of the district familiar.

The regulation of the Alt, effected by an Act passed in 1779, (fn. 11) was of great importance to the whole district. Its provisions may be summarized thus: Nearly 5,000 acres of low-lying lands along the banks of this stream in the parishes of Altcar, Sefton, Halsall, and Walton were rendered almost valueless by the overflowing of the water; certain commissioners (fn. 12) were therefore empowered to change and clear the course of the river below Bull Bridge in Aintree and Melling, and to make a new channel in Altcar, Formby, and Ravensmeols down to low-water mark; to clear and change the course of several tributary brooks, but without damage to the water for Sefton mills; to plant star grass on the sandhills; to take evidence as to damage and compensation, appoint officers, raise money for the needful works and salaries, and prosecute offenders. (fn. 13) The first meeting of the commissioners was fixed for 18 May, 1779, in Sefton church. The expenses were to be paid by an annual tax upon the owners or occupiers of the low lands to be improved, assessed by an acre rate according to the improvement effected; copies of estimates, &c., were to be kept in the vestry of Sefton church.

A detailed report on the state of the coast a century ago has been printed. (fn. 14)

CHURCH (fn. 15)

The church of St. Helen has a chancel 21 ft. by 44 ft., with an eastern vestry, and north and south chapels 17 ft. by 25 ft., nave 21 ft. by 60 ft. with north and south aisles 17 ft. wide, south porch, and west tower 12 ft. square with a tall stone spire. All measurements are internal. There is no structural division between the nave and chancel, the nave taking up the first four bays of the arcade from the west, and the quire seats occupying the fifth. The fifth and sixth bays are enclosed with screens on north and south, and a line of screens runs across the church at the west of the fifth bay. The eastern bay of the chancel projects 18 ft. eastward from the line of the chapels, and is lighted by an east window of five lights, the mullions and tracery being modern, and north and south windows of four lights, with uncusped tracery and two transoms.

The architectural history of the church is not a long one, as the greater part was rebuilt in the sixteenth century, leaving too little older work standing to give much clue to its earlier form. (fn. 16)

The east bay of the north chapel belongs to the first half of the fourteenth century, and the west tower is nearly contemporary with it. There was formerly a north aisle of this date, part of its west wall with the jamb of a west window still remaining. If this window was centrally placed the aisle would have been narrower than at present; the north arcade also was 15 in. further to the north than that which now exists. There was at this time no south aisle to the nave, as may be seen from the details of the south-east buttress of the tower. In the early part of the fifteenth century the north chapel seems to have been lengthened westward, and at a later date in the same century the north aisle was rebuilt and made equal in width to the chapel. At some time in the first half of the sixteenth century the chancel, the south aisle and both arcades of the nave were rebuilt, destroying all traces of former work except such as have already been mentioned. A vestry east of the chancel and a south porch also belong to this time. There is some difficulty about the exact date. The rebuilding has been attributed to Anthony Molyneux, rector 1535–57, apparently on the strength of a passage in his will which mentions that he has 'made so greatt costes of ye chauncell and revestrie.' If this may be taken to mean a rebuilding of those parts of the church for whose maintenance he as rector was liable, the rest of the sixteenth-century work, being of like detail and design, may well have been undertaken about the same time. But it is unlikely that the rector did more than his particular share of the work, and the few remains of inscriptions on glass point to gifts of windows, at any rate, by other benefactors: Sir William Molyneux 1542, William Bulkeley 1543, and [Lawrence] Ireland 1540. These dates all point to 1535–40 as the probable date of the rebuilding. It must, however, be noted that the quire stalls bear the initials 1 M, which may refer to James Molyneux, rector 1489–1509. These initials also occur on the screen west of the stalls, but are accompanied with ornament of distinct Renaissance type, and it is extremely doubtful if this can be of so early a date as the first decade of the sixteenth century. A displayed eagle also occurs on the stalls, perhaps in reference to the arms of Cotton, to which family Anthony's mother belonged. (fn. 17)

The present east window of the chancel is filled with modern tracery, inserted about 1870, and replacing a tracery window of five lights with three transoms, all openings being without cusps, and the heads under the transoms rounded. The side windows are still of this type, as are those lighting the south chapel and aisle, and would fit very well to the probable date 1535–40. East of the chancel is a low building, contemporary with it, and entered from the west by a door on the south of the altar, which is the 'revestre' built by Anthony Molyneux, and still used for its original purpose.

The nave arcades are of six bays with coarsely moulded arches and piers, with four engaged shafts and moulded capitals and bases. The clearstory has four-light windows with uncusped tracery, the mullions crossing in the head, and all the nave roofs are of flat pitch and modern. The weathering of a former high-pitched roof remains on the east wall of the west tower.

The north chapel has a tall three-light east window of early fourteenth-century style, (fn. 18) and the contemporary north window is flat-headed, of three trefoiled lights with reticulated tracery. Below it is an arched recess, now containing a late thirteenthcentury effigy, while a somewhat later one lies near by. The second window from the east has three cinquefoiled lights under a segmental head, and the two others to the west of it three cinquefoiled lights with tracery over. The north doorway is small and plain, the principal entrance to the church being by the south porch, which has a four-centred outer arch with a shield and 1 H S at the apex, and an upper story lighted on the south by a four-light squareheaded window. Above it is a canopied niche, and the porch, like the rest of the aisles and the clearstory, is finished with an embattled parapet and short angle pinnacles. It retains its original flat ceiling with heavy moulded oak beams, and the Molyneux arms occur on the buttresses and the labels of the outer arch.

The west tower is of three stages with diagonal buttresses at the western angles and a vice in the south-west angle. The west window of the ground story is of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil over, and the four belfry windows are of the same type. In the intermediate stage are small single trefoiled lights. The tall stone spire is quite plain, and rises from a plain parapet with four low conical angle turrets. It is to be noted that a plinth of the same section as that on the tower is continued round the later part of the north aisle, suggesting that it may be re-used material from the former north aisle, which seems to have been contemporary with the tower. (fn. 19)

The great interest of the church lies in its woodwork and monuments.

The rood screen, though damaged by repairs in 1820 and 1843, is a very fine example, with projecting canopies on either side. These are unfortunately not in their original condition, the eastern canopy having been formerly a canted tester with a panelled soffit, and a brattishing of nine hanging cusped arches. No other part of the rood loft remains, and the position of the stair which led to it is doubtful.

The screen has five openings, each with two cinquefoiled arches in the head divided by a pendant, and in the central opening are double doors, unfortunately not the original ones, which were destroyed at one or other of the dates mentioned above. The bands of ornament on the rails and cornice are richly wrought, and show a mixture of the Gothic vine-trail with Renaissance detail, as already noted. The pendants of the western canopies are finished with angels holding shields with Molyneux bearings or the emblems of the Passion. The openings of the screen, as well as of the side screens of the chancel, are filled in with iron stanchions ending in fleurs de lys; these side screens have good carved cornices and cresting, and pierced tracery in the heads, but show no Italian detail, and their lower panels are solid, with cinquefoiled heads. They appear to have had canopies at one time, and to have lost them in some repair. In the west bay of the chancel are fourteen stalls, three being returned on each side of the chancel door, their floor level being two steps above that of the pavement, and the desks are set on a stone base with quatrefoiled openings to the area below the floor of the stalls. The standards at the ends of the desks are carved with a variety of devices, the lower part being in all a conventional pineapple, while above are deer, a lion, a unicorn, a griffin, an owl mobbed by small birds, an eagle, an antelope, &c. The letters 1 M occur here as before noted. The screen across the north aisle, at the west of the Blundell chapel, is somewhat plainer than the rest, but has a good carved cornice and pierced tracery in the head of each opening, and on the lower panels a plain fluted linen pattern showing classic influence. Against the north wall of the chapel is an early seventeenth-century seat with panelled back and return benches on east and west, and corresponding desks in front, having on the upper part of one of the standards a seated squirrel, the Blundell crest.

At the east end of the south aisle is another late Gothic screen of very rich detail with elaborately carved uprights and solid lower panels with ornament derived from the linen pattern, and on the top a canopy projecting east and west, the east side being canted like the former east canopy of the wood screen, and the west side coved. Both have ribs and a carved cornice with pendants, but the south end of the screen has been damaged by galleries, and is now partly hidden by the Sefton pew, which was formerly on the north side of the nave, and is of the same date and detail as the screen at the west of the Blundell chapel.

Both blocks of seats in the nave, twelve on each side, belong probably to the second quarter of the sixteenth century, and have good poppy heads and a most interesting set of carved bench ends. Those in the north block have crowned fleurs de lys on the four corner bench ends, and the rest have, for the most part, various conventional floral patterns. In the south block the corner seats have the Molyneux cross, while the rest have an alphabet, complete except for x, y and z, one letter to each bench end. At first sight they suggest some method of marking the seats analogous to modern numbering, but the absence of any such arrangement in the north block goes to show that the letters are merely ornamental. It must also be noted that the floor beneath the benches is modern, so that they may not be in their original positions. In various places the emblems of the Passion occur, and several devices whose meaning is obscure, and at the west end of the south aisle is a churchwardens' pew containing work of the same period, with a linen-pattern panelled front.

At the west end of the north aisle are the seats once occupied by the members of the mock corporation of Sefton, the mayor's seat being in front of the west respond of the north arcade.

The pulpit, which formerly stood against the middle pier of the north arcade of the nave, is now set against the rood screen on the north side of the entrance to the chancel, displacing the Sefton pew, now in the south aisle. It is octagonal, with pilasters at the angles and two tiers of moulded panels, the whole surface being worked with arabesques in low relief. It stands on a tall octagonal stem and has over it an octagonal tester with pendants at the angles and a panelled soffit. It is dated 1635, and has two inscriptions, one round the tester:—
My sonne feare thou the Lorde and the Kinge and medle not with them that are given to change,
and another round the cornice of the body of the pulpit:—
He that covereth his sinne shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercie; happy is the m[an]—
the end of the inscription being lost.

There are a few pieces of old stained glass. In the east window of the south aisle are several symbols of the Passion, and part of a rood, with an inscription recording the gift of a window by Sir William Molyneux, 1542. In the window near Margaret Bulkeley's brass in the south aisle, is a partly modern inscription recording the making of a window in her memory in 1543, and in the next window is a third inscription naming 'William' Ireland of Lydiate and Ellen his wife, 1540. The word William is a modern insertion; the original was Lawrence.

The traces of ritual arrangements, apart from those already described, are not many. There are three sedilia on the south side of the chancel, and a recess for a piscina to the east of them, while in the north wall of the chancel is a large arched recess with an ogee head, now fitted with a door. It may be modern, but the position is a normal one.

The north chapel as already noted belongs to the early part of the fourteenth century, and the tomb recess in its north wall is contemporary. In the east wall, near the south end, is a double piscina of c. 1330, with a flowing quatrefoil in the head over two trefoiled arches. It may have been moved to its present position at the building of the arcades in the sixteenth century.

The font stands under the west tower, and is of red sandstone, octagonal, with blank shields in sixfoils on each face and raised fillets on the angles of bowl, stem and base. It probably belongs to the end of the fifteenth century, and has a pyramidal oak cover inscribed R R : H M : C W. 1688. In the north, south, and west walls of the tower are rectangular recesses, those on the north and south extending eastward beyond the line of their openings in the thickness of the wall, and bearing marks of the fitting of shelves. One such recess in this position would serve as a fontlocker to keep the chrismatory, &c., but the presence of three points to some additional use, and this part of the church may have been used as a vestry.

When the whitewash was taken off the arcades in 1891, black-letter texts of Jacobean date were found in the spandrels of the arches. The panelling on the east wall of the chancel was given by will by Mrs. Anne Molyneux, c. 1730, (fn. 20) and the three brass chandeliers hanging in the church were given in 1773.

There are six bells, the first four by Henry Oldfield of Nottingham, and the fifth and tenor of 1815 by Dobson of Downham. The inscriptions on the first four are:—
Treble.—God bles the founder heareof. 1601.
Second.—Nos sumus constructi ad laudum (sic) Domini. 1601.
Third.—Hec campana beata Trinitate sacra fiat. Fere God. Henri Oldfelde made thys Beyl.
Fourth as Third, omitting the word 'beata.'

The Latin inscriptions on the third and fourth bells are a version of the mediaeval hexameter,
Trinitate sacra fiat haec campana beata,
and one or both of the bells may have been so inscribed before their recasting by Oldfield.

The very interesting series of monuments begins with the mailed effigy in the recess on the north of the north-east chapel. The figure has knee-caps which may be of leather, but is otherwise entirely in mail, and wears a short surcoat and a sword-belt, from which hangs a sword which he is drawing from its sheath. On the left arm is a shield with the cross moline of Molyneux. The date of the effigy is c. 1280–1300, and it may represent William de Molyneux, who died c. 1289. Near it is a second effigy wearing a peaked bascinet with raised vizor, a mail hauberk and short surcoat, and plate (or leather) knee-caps and jambes, the feet being in mail. He is bearded, and has a blank shield on the left arm, and draws his sword like the other effigy. The date is c. 1330, but there is nothing to show who is the person represented. A curious detail is the crouching human figure in a long gown on whom the feet of the effigy rest. In the same chapel is a panelled altar tomb with an alabaster slab and a damaged inscription to Lady Joan Molyneux, 1440.

In the south aisle, and now enclosed by the Sefton pew, is the fine brass of Margaret Bulkeley, 1528, with a figure under a double canopy between four shields, bearing the arms of Molyneux, Bulkeley, Dutton, and Molyneux. At the feet is a long inscription recording her foundation of a chantry in the church.

On the south side of the chancel is a floor-slab with the brass figures of Sir William Molyneux and his two wives, Jane (Rudge) and Elizabeth (Clifton), 1548. The inscription records his feat of capturing two standards at Flodden, and over his head is the Molyneux shield with the standards above it—only one being now perfect, that of Huntly, with its motto or cry 'Clanc tout.' Above each of the wives was a lozenge with heraldry, one only being now left, and below the inscription a shield with Molyneux with ten alliances, and the motto 'En droit devant.' The figure of Sir William is in armour of the time, with the curious exception that the head is covered with a coif of mail, and the lower part of a hauberk shows above the knees. It is possible, as has been already suggested elsewhere, that the figure represents his actual appearance at Flodden, in old armour hastily chosen from among the suits at Sefton on the sudden alarm of war.

On an altar tomb just south of this slab, and balancing the tomb of Lady Joan Molyneux on the other side of the chancel, are the brass figures of Sir Richard Molyneux, 1558, and his two wives, Eleanor (Radcliffe) and Eleanor (Maghull). Below is a rhyming inscription in eight lines and a group of five sons and eight daughters. Of the marginal inscription there only remains enough to identify the tomb.

In the south-east chapel are later monuments, one of white marble to Caryll Molyneux, third viscount, 1700, and others to his wife and daughter-in-law.

The most notable of the modern monuments is that of Henry Blundell of Ince, who died in 1810; it was designed by John Gibson and represents the deceased relieving Genius and Poverty. (fn. 21)

The church plate consists of a chalice with the letters [see figure below] and the inscription 'The gift of Mrs. Alice Morton to the church of Sephton, 1695'; a flagon, inscribed 'The gift of Mrs. Anne Jackson of Sephton, 1715'; another chalice, with 'The gift of Mrs. Ann Molyneux to the parish church of Sephton, 1729,' and among the plate marks B.B. for Benjamin Branker, a Liverpool silversmith; a cylindrical cup with handle, engraved with a crest of three arrows, tied with ribbon, and the points resting on a wreath; and a silver paten, which fits an old silver chalice now at St. Luke's, Great Crosby.

The churchwardens' accounts begin in 1746. (fn. 22)

The registers begin in 1597, but were not regularly kept until 1615, from which time they are continuous. (fn. 23)


From its position the parish of Sefton appears to have been taken from that of Walton. The earliest record of its independent existence is in 1203, when the abbot of Combermere and others, by virtue of a commission from Innocent III, adjudicated in a dispute as to certain tithes in Crosby between the prior of Lancaster and the rector of Sefton. (fn. 24) In 1291 the value of the benefice was £26 13s. 4d., (fn. 25) and in 1340 it was assessed at 40 marks for the ninth of sheaves, lambs, and wool. (fn. 26) The net value in 1535, including the rectory house, was £30 1s. 8d. (fn. 27) By 1718 this had increased to £300, (fn. 28) and now the gross value is said to be £1,300. (fn. 29)

The Molyneux family, as lords of Sefton, were the patrons, (fn. 30) until after the Revolution, when Caryll, Lord Molyneux, being disqualified by his religion from presenting, sold the advowson to a connexion, George, earl of Cardigan. (fn. 31) It is found in a list of the Molyneux properties made in 1770, but had been finally disposed of in 1747 to the Rev. James Rothwell, vicar of Deane, (fn. 32) whose representatives, the trustees of the late marquis de Rothwell, of Sharples Hall, are the present patrons. (fn. 33)

The following is a list of the rectors:—

Instituted Name Patron Cause of Vacancy
oc. 1203 Richard (fn. 34)
oc. 1288 William de Kirkdale (fn. 35)
c. 1310 Richard de Molyneux (fn. 36)
9 May, 1339 Gilbert de Legh (fn. 37) Ric. de Molyneux d. of Richard
27 Nov. 1339 John de Massey (fn. 38) Ric. de Molyneux d. Gilbert
— (July), 1364 Mr. Jordan de Holme (fn. 39) Duke of Lancaster exchange
3 Nov. 1376 William de Oke (fn. 40) " d. Jordan de Holme
19 May, 1378 Simon de Melburn (fn. 41) " res. W. de Oke
31 Aug. 1404 Roger Hawkshaw (fn. 42) Mr. Ric. de Winwick, &c. d. of S. de Melburn
oc. 1416–24 John Totty (fn. 43)
oc. 1427 Richard de Haydock (fn. 44)
10 Feb. 1432–3 Nicholas de Haydock (fn. 45) Will. de Heth, &c. d. R. de Haydock
27 Oct. 1433 Richard del Kar (fn. 46) " d. N. de Haydock
30 May, 1462 John Molyneux, M.A. (fn. 47) Rob. Molyneux, &c. d. R. Kar
12 July, 1485 Henry Molyneux, M.A. (fn. 48) James Stanley, &c. d. J. Molyneux
27 March, 1489 James Molyneux (fn. 49) Ric. Molyneux, &c. d. H. Molyneux
15 Oct. 1509 Edward Molyneux (fn. 50) Will. Molyneux d. J. Molyneux
17 Jan. 1535–6 Anthony Molyneux, D.D. (fn. 51) Sir W. Molyneux d. E. Molyneux
2 Sept. 1557 Robert Ballard (fn. 52) Sir R. Molyneux d. last rector
29 Oct. 1564 John Finch (fn. 53) " d. R. Ballard
4 Feb. 1567–8 John Nutter, B.D. (fn. 54) " d. J. Finch
17 July, 1602 Gregory Turner, M.A. (fn. 55) " d. J. Nutter
— 1633 Thomas Legh, D.D. (fn. 56) d. G. Turner
21 June, 1639 Edward Moreton, D.D. (fn. 57) The king d. T. Legh
3 April, 1640 Lord Molyneux
21 June, 1640 The king
c. 1646 Joseph Thomson (fn. 58) exp. E. Moreton
— 1660 Edward Moreton reinstated
8 Sept. 1675 John Bradford, D.D. (fn. 59) The king d. E. Moreton
Anne Mosley
23 Aug. 1678 Jonathan Brideoak, B.D. (fn. 60) Lord Molyneux res. J. Bradford
30 Aug. 1684 Richard Richmond, M.A. (fn. 61) Ric. Legh of Lyme d. J. Brideoak
26 Dec. 1721 Richard Hartley (fn. 62) John Clayton d. R. Richmond
13 April, 1722 Thomas Egerton, M.A. (fn. 63) Lord Cardigan
12 Jan. 1763 Richard Rothwell, M.A. (fn. 64) James Rothwell d. T. Egerton
3 May, 1802 Richard Rainshaw Rothwell, M.A. (fn. 65) The bishop d. R. Rothwell
1 July, 1863 Roger Dawson Dawson-Duffield,
LL.D., (fn. 66) Count Dawson-Duffield
Marquis de Rothwell d. R. R. Rothwell
10 Feb. 1871 Englebert Horley, M.A. (fn. 67) " " d. R. D. Dawson-Duffield
10 Aug. 1883 Edward Horley, M.A. (fn. 68) " " d. E. Horley
2 Dec. 1890 George William Wall, M.A. (fn. 69) " " d. E. Horley

Of the earlier rectors little is known; Dr. Anthony Molyneux, 1536–57, was the most distinguished. In 1541, in addition to the rector and two chantry priests there were only two others recorded in the parish, Hugh Whitfield and Robert Ballard, paid respectively by the rector and Sir William Molyneux, (fn. 70) but eight clergy appeared at the visitation in 1548. Besides the parish church there was the chapel at Great Crosby to be served. Even in 1554 comparatively little change was shown, the rector, Anthony Molyneux, his curate, and four others appearing. In 1562 Master Robert Ballard, the rector, an opponent of the Elizabethan changes, appeared by proxy, his curate coming in person; three others, nominally attached to the parish, were absent. Next year the rector was described as decrepit, but his curate appeared; the names of the other three, entered from an old list by the registrar's clerk, have been crossed out. In 1565, no one was recorded but the rector, John Finch, whose name is written over that of Robert Ballard. (fn. 71) John Finch died or resigned shortly afterwards, and in 1568 John Nutter, afterwards dean of Chester, succeeded. Though 'a preacher,' he seems to have been but a money-seeking pluralist, who went with the times and joined, perhaps rather to procure favour than out of zeal, in the persecution of his recusant parishioners. (fn. 72) He had in 1590 an assistant, who was 'no preacher.' (fn. 73) About 1610 the conditions remained unaltered; the incumbent, Mr. Turner, was a preacher, but the curate of Great Crosby was not. (fn. 74)

The Parliamentary Commissioners in 1650 were satisfied with the two ministers they found in the parish, but recommended that two more churches should be erected, one at Ince Blundell and the other at Litherland, 'both places being well situated for conveniency of many inhabitants and distant from any church or chapel two miles and upwards, the want of such churches being the cause of loitering and much ignorance and popery.' (fn. 75) No steps, however, seem to have been taken to build them. Bishop Gastrell found that there were 310 families in the parish in 1718, and 156 'Papists,' with two chapels; there was only one dissenting family. (fn. 76) The return of 1767 allows 603 'Papists' to Sefton and 154 to Crosby. (fn. 77) The growth of the seaside towns during the last century has totally altered the conditions; the Nonconformists, for instance, formerly unknown, have now many churches and meetingplaces.

There were only two endowed chantries in Sefton church at the time of the confiscation in 1548, and those were of recent establishment. By her will of 1528 Margaret Bulkeley, widow, gave various lands to Sir William Leyland and other feoffees, to find 'an able and honest priest to say and celebrate mass and other divine service … at the altar of our Blessed Lady of Pity,' for her soul and the souls of John Dutton and William Bulkeley, formerly her husbands, and for others. (fn. 78) This chantry was in the south chapel. Robert Parkinson, one of the feoffees, was the only cantarist of the foundation; he died in or before 1554. The endowments, which included the mill at Thornton, were valued at £4 14s. a year. (fn. 79) The second chantry, in the north chapel, was founded in 1535 by Edward Molyneux, rector. (fn. 80) The only priest was Thomas Kirkby, probably he whose presentation to Aughton caused much dispute. (fn. 81) The amount of the endowment was £5 18s. 3d. (fn. 82)


In 1718 Bishop Gastrell found about £400 had been given by various persons to charities in the parish, apart from Great Crosby School; 'all these sums,' he says, 'are in good hands and the interest duly paid.' (fn. 83) The charity commissioners of 1828 found various 'poor's stocks' in existence, the origin of which was unknown. (fn. 84) There was then only one charity for the whole parish, and in 1898 it was found to have been 'discontinued before living memory.' (fn. 85)

For Sefton quarter the poor's stock was £84 in 1828, but it had been lost before 1898. (fn. 86) On the other hand, a benefaction by Anne Molyneux in 1728 had been increased by several donations, and the net income of £6 4s. was in 1898 distributed by the rector to six widows. (fn. 87) The Netherton poor's stock of £120 in 1828 is supposed to have included Peter Halewood's gift of £100 in 1815, afterwards augmented by £200 bequeathed by his daughter Margaret; the interest, £10 17s. 6d. net, is distributed by trustees appointed by the parish council. (fn. 88) James Holland Lancaster desired £100 to be given as a prize for St. Philip's National School, Litherland; and in 1886 his representatives carried out his wish. (fn. 89)

For Great Crosby the £10 left by John Lurting and James Rice had been gradually augmented, and in 1898 was supposed to be represented by £44; formerly the interest was applied to apprenticing poor boys, but now is handed to the vicar of Great Crosby to be used for the poor at his discretion. (fn. 90) Over £1,000 has in more recent times been given by the brothers John and Samuel Bradshaw. (fn. 91) Thomas Fowler's bequest of £20 for binding poor children to trades appears to have been lost, (fn. 92) but the interest on Anne Molyneux's £10 provides a junior prize in divinity for Merchant Taylors' School. (fn. 93) George Blinkhorn of Great Crosby, by his will dated 1820, charged his lands with £4 a year for the benefit of the poor; this continues in force. (fn. 94)

At Little Crosby in 1828 the poor received £2 7s. 6d. a year, and a small portion of this is still paid, a voluntary rate being levied. (fn. 95) Various sums have been given for the school at Ince Blundell, (fn. 96) and £5 10s. is still paid to the priest in charge of the mission there for the benefit of the poor; but as the 'constable's levy' can no longer be enforced, various sums charged upon it for the poor have ceased to be paid. (fn. 97) Edward Holme in 1695 left the residue of his estate as a poor's stock for Thornton; it realized £100, now said to be represented by a field in Holmer Green, let at 10s. a year. The parish council has charge of this charity. (fn. 98)


  • 1. The assessment was not equally shared by the townships in each quarter; thus Great Crosby paid 1s. 6d. and Thornton 1s. towards a levy of 2s. 6d.; Gregson, Fragments (ed. Harland), 16. The levies for the ancient fifteenth were as follows: Sefton, £1 19s. 4½d.; Thornton, 18s. 8d.; Ince Blundell, £1 1s. 9¼d.; Little Crosby, £1 6s. 8d.; Great Crosby, £1 0s. 6¼d.; Litherland, 16s. 4d.; Aintree, 11s. 8d., making £7 15s. when the hundred paid £106 9s. 6d.; ibid. 18.
  • 2. Crosby Rec. (Chet. Soc.), 35–44.
  • 3. Elizabeth Abraham of Thornton, a widow, took the oath of abjuration in 1649 to secure her cottage and little plot of land; Royalist Comp. P. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 7–9. William Bootle alleged that 'his father and mother were Catholics and by threats and hard usage had endeavoured to keep him from his church and to educate him in popery, but finding they could not prevail with him therein, turned him out of doors'; the authorities had sequestered his father's small estate at Holmore Green in Thornton for recusancy, and William would be ruined unless this could be restored to him, now that his father was dead; ibid. i, 210–13, Index of Royalists (Index Soc.), 42. The committee did not altogether believe this story; S.P. Cal. of Com. for Comp. iv, 2844. Other humble 'delinquents' were Lawrence Johnson and George Leyland of Crosby, Ellen Maghull of Aintree, and Edmund Raphson of Ince Blundell; Royalist Comp. P. iv, 33, 93, 112, 172. See also the case of Humphrey Blundell; ibid. i, 197. William Arnold, James Rice, and Edward Rice of Crosby had their estates sold under the Act of 1652; Index of Royalists, 41, 43, 44. Edmund Ralphson of Ince Blundell complained that his discharge was refused, though he was always a Protestant and frequented the parish church; he was suffering through a confusion with another of the same name and place; Cal. of Com. for Comp. iv, 2627. His discharge was granted. Thomas Rothwell of Great Crosby was a victim of the other side; he was arrested by the Royalists while for a short time they held the castle of Liverpool, and charged with having enlisted under Colonel Moore, which, as he was warned, was enough to hang him; Royalist Comp. P. i, 43, 44.
  • 4. Kenyon MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), 311, 319, 362, 369, 385.
  • 5. Land tax returns at Preston.
  • 6. N. Blundell, Diary, 153.
  • 7. Ibid. 173. The goods appear to have been casks of claret for Charles Howard.
  • 8. N. Blundell, Diary, 103–5. See an article by the Rev. T. E. Gibson in Trans. Hist. Soc. xxxiii, 1–22.
  • 9. Diary, 102, 109, 32, 128.
  • 10. Crosby Rec. 37.
  • 11. 19 Geo. III, cap. 33.
  • 12. Their names were Thomas Stanley of Cross Hall, Robert Moss of Sand Hills, John Atherton of Walton, Rev. Henry Heathcote (rector of Walton), Henry Gill of Ormskirk, William Halladay of the Breck in Walton, Henry Porter of Bretherton, James Waring of Knowsley, Roger Ryding of Croston, Rev. Richard Prescott of Upholland, and William Gregson of Liverpool.
  • 13. The names of the lands affected are given, 'moss,' 'marsh,' and 'carr' being frequent, while 'summer-worked Hey' (in Melling) shows that the field was available for only a short time in the year.
  • 14. Trans. Hist. Soc. xxii, 241–5. The names of owners of land fronting the sea are given.
  • 15. For other descriptions see Pennant, Tour to Alston Moor, 28, with plates; T. Ashcroft, Sefton Ch.; R. Bridgens, Sefton Ch., with plates; Sir S. Glynne, Lancs. Ch. (Chet. Soc.), 34; Gent. Mag. (1814), ii, 521, 522; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xi, 37; Caröe and Gordon, Sefton. For the font see Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xvii, 61.
  • 16. A late twelfth-century capital was found in pulling down an old schoolhouse which stood close to the churchyard wall on the north-west, and may have belonged to a former building of which no other remains exist.
  • 17. W. D. Caröe, Sefton, 64.
  • 18. Each member has a plain sunk chamfer.
  • 19. Mr. Caröe notes that the north door seems to be cut through such a plinth. Sefton, 8.
  • 20. Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xi, 83.
  • 21. Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xi, 56, 65, 74, 99; see also Thornely, Lancs. Brasses, 187, 209–41; and for heraldic notes made in the 16th and 17th centuries see Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), vi, 261; xiv, 214.
  • 22. Ibid. 96.
  • 23. Ibid. 92.
  • 24. Lanc. Ch. (Chet. Soc.), i, 66, 67. Roger of Poitou had given tithes from his demesne lands, including Great Crosby, to the church at Lancaster, and this was confirmed by John when count of Mortain; ibid. 8, 15. In 1193 the bishop of Coventry confirmed Count John's grant, and about the same time Stephen (rector) of Walton made a composition with the prior of Lanc. as to various tithes, including those of Crosby; ibid. 111, 112. It thus appears that Sefton parish had not then been taken out of Walton. The dispute of 1203 was concerning two sheaves from two plough-lands in Crosby; Richard, the rector, and his vicar, Robert de Walton, were allowed to have them for life, paying 2s. a year, and afterwards the prior was to have the sheaves.
  • 25. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), p. 249.
  • 26. Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.), 40. The amount was made up as follows: Sefton, 11 marks; Aintree, 33s. 4d.; Litherland, 6 marks; Great Crosby, 8 marks; Thornton, 4½ marks; Little Crosby, the same; Ince Blundell, 46s. 8d.
  • 27. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 223. The tithes were valued at £25 7s. 8d.; oblations and Easter roll at £5 2s. 8d.; 15s. 4d. was payable to the archdeacon as synodals and procurations.
  • 28. Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 216–20. There had been forty acres of glebe, but almost all had been annexed by the lords to their demesne, which was exempt from tithe. The tithes of Great Crosby, worth £100, were leased to Lord Molyneux for £4. A new rectory was built in 1723. There were two churchwardens, chosen by the townships in turn. Among the deeds at Croxteth is a lease, dated 1739, from Rector Egerton to Lord Molyneux of the tithes of Sefton, Aintree, &c., and New Park at Netherton for £13 a year and a fat buck. In 1781 the rector observed that no tithes were received from heath and uncultivated lands, and that by ancient custom 'such kind of land is tithe free for the term of seven years after the first breaking upon or ploughing thereof.' The result was that the tenants often ploughed it for seven years, thereby exhausting it, and then left it.
  • 29. Liverpool Dioc. Cal.
  • 30. This will be seen from the list of rectors. In the fifteenth century there seems to have been an intention to appropriate the rectory to the abbey of Merivale, in exchange for the manor of Altcar; Trans. Hist. Soc. xxxiv, 125.
  • 31. Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 216.
  • 32. Com. Pleas, deeds enr. vol. 147 (Mich. 21 Geo. II), 325, 327.
  • 33. Liverpool Dioc. Cal.
  • 34. Lanc. Ch. (Chet. Soc.), i, 66; also Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 752. He was witness to the charter concerning Hagencroft in Sefton. 'Robert the priest of Sefton' was witness to a Lytham charter about 1206; Dur. Cath. D. 2, 4, Ebor, n. 3.
  • 35. Blundell of Crosby D. K. 237. He was rector in 1288; Assize R. 1277, m. 31.
  • 36. He was a younger son of Richard de Molyneux of Sefton. For his dispute with the rector of Walton see the account of the latter church. He had a son Thomas, to whom between 1323 and 1336 he made a grant of 14 acres of moor in Litherland; Croxteth D. Genl. i, 23; the mother was apparently Joan, daughter of William le Boteler; ibid. n. 20. In 1339 Thomas de Molyneux, son of Joan le Boteler, was pardoned, on account of his service in the wars, for participation in the murder of Sir William le Blount, sheriff, at Liverpool; Cal. of Pat. 1338–40, p. 229.
  • 37. Lichfield Epis. Reg. ii, fol. 113. Gilbert was a priest. As Gilbert de Legh, chaplain, he occurs in 1330; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), iii, 60.
  • 38. Lich. Epis. Reg. ii, fol. 113b. He was described as 'clerk.' He probably belonged to the family of Massey of Sale, and seems to have been rector of a mediety of Lymm also; Ormerod, Ches. (ed. Helsby), i, 593; see also Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxvi, App. 328, &c.
  • 39. Ormerod, Ches. (ed. Helsby), iii, 799. Jordan de Holme had been appointed to Stockport in the previous January, and his successor, John de Massey, held it till his death in 1376. He had also been rector of Ashton-on-Mersey, which he resigned at the same time as Stockport, in favour of another John de Massey of Sale (ibid. i, 561), who was ordained priest in June 1365; Lichfield Epis. Reg. v, fol. 90b. He was a canon of St. John's, Chester; Ormerod, Ches. i, 309. Jordan died 14 Oct. 1376; he had leave to absent himself for one year in Sept. 1364, and for two years in Sept. 1369, and to let his church to farm; Lichfield Epis. Reg. v, fol. 9, 22.
  • 40. Ibid. iv, fol. 88. John of Gaunt presented, as guardian of Richard, heir of Sir William de Molyneux, deceased. Oke was in minor orders only.
  • 41. Ibid. iv, fol. 89. He was probably of illegitimate birth, requiring a dispensation; he was made subdeacon in Sept. 1378, deacon in the following Dec., and received letters dimissory for the priesthood in Feb. 1378–9; ibid. vii, fol. 122b; v, fol. 119b, 120b, 32; also vii, fol. 174 for an ordinance as to Sefton. In April 1392, he had leave of absence, 'in locis honestis,' for a year, and in Feb. 1393–4 a similar leave, 'provided the cure be not neglected and the rectory buildings be duly constructed'; ibid. vi, fol. 128, 131.
  • 42. Ibid. vii, fol. 92. The patrons were Master Richard Winwick, canon of Lincoln, James de Langton, Roger Winter, and John Totty, as feoffees of Richard de Molyneux, who died in 1397; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), i, 70. Roger Hawkshaw was 'cousin' of Richard Winwick; dying 2 Feb. 1414–15, he was buried in Lincoln Cathedral, where there used to be a memorial brass; Peck, Desiderata Curiosa, bk. viii, 24.
  • 43. John Totty, mentioned in the last note, had long been a chaplain at Sefton; he is named as rector in 1416, and again in 1424; Norris D. (B.M.), n. 600, to which his seal is appended; and Blundell of Crosby D. K. 28.
  • 44. Richard de Haydock, rector of Sefton, was the feoffee of Robert de Parr in 1427; Ct. of Wards and Liveries, box 13 A, n. FD 14.
  • 45. Lichfield Epis. Reg. ix, fol. 121. The patrons were William de Heth, rector of Grappenhall, Richard de Balderston, and Thomas de Urswick.
  • 46. Ibid. ix, fol. 122. He had been vicar of Huyton.
  • 47. Ibid. xii, fol. 100b. The patrons were Robert Molyneux, esquire, and Richard Law, priest, feoffees of Sir Richard Molyneux, deceased. In 1471 John Molyneux became rector of Walton also, and prebendary of Lichfield ten years later; Le Neve, Fasti. He founded a chantry at Walton. Simon Hewison of Litherland, who died in 1465, by his will desired to be buried in the cemetery of St. Helen's, Sefton; from the inventory of his goods it appears that he owed 2s. to St. Mary of the church of Sefton (Sce. Marie ecclesie de Sefton); Moore D. n. 703. This may refer to the altar of Our Lady of Pity, at which the Bulkeley chantry was afterwards founded.
  • 48. Lich. Reg. xii, fol. 119b. The patrons —James Stanley, clerk, Sir Christopher Southworth, Richard Clifton, and Reynold Dyo, clerk—had a grant from Sir Thomas Molyneux of Sefton, deceased. There was a dispute as to the right, Henry Molyneux and Robert Mercer being presented; they appeared before the bishop at Eccleshall in July, and he decided in favour of Henry's claim; Robert Mercer, however, was to be paid £12, and have £7 yearly for seven years, and he was to pray for the souls of Sir Thomas Molyneux and the late rector; ibid. fol. 157. A Henry Molyneux, canon of Exeter, made his will 4 March, 1489–90, and it was proved 6 July, 1491; Gisborne Molineux, Molyneux Family, 126. Another Henry Molyneux, priest, founded a chantry at Halsall.
  • 49. Lich. Epis. Reg. xii, fol. 122b. The patrons were Richard Molyneux, the son and heir of Sir Thomas, a minor, Richard Clifton, esquire, and Reynold Dyo, priest. James Molyneux had been rector of Grafton, Notts. in 1484; Cal. of Pat. 1476–85, p. 445.
  • 50. Lich. Epis. Reg. xiii–xiv, fol. 56. He was also rector of Ashton-under-Lyne and Walton and prebendary of Salisbury; he founded the Molyneux chantry at Sefton. He was the youngest son of Sir Thomas Molyneux, and apparently his mother's favourite; a large part of his time was given to lawsuits.
  • 51. Ibid. 35. He was also rector of Walton. He built or restored the revestry and chancel. He was a younger son of Thomas Molyneux of Hawton, and educated at Oxford; the garden wall of Magdalen College is said to have been built by him. His will is printed by Piccope— Wills (Chet. Soc.), ii, 263; in it he mentions his books of divinity, and the sermons, both Latin and English, written in his own hand; he would have 'no month's mind'—meaning probably the feasting then customary. For his Oxford career see Caröe and Gordon, Sefton, 65, &c. He is said to have built schools by the church; these were turned into cottages and later demolished; ibid. 54.
  • 52. Act Books at Chest.; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxii, 36. He refused to appear at the visit. of 1559; Gee, Elizabethan Clergy.
  • 53. Paid first-fruits 23 Nov. 1564; Lancs. and Ches. Recs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 409, from which volume other references to these payments are taken. He had been vicar of Walton.
  • 54. Paid first-fruits 21 Feb. 1567–8. He was also rector of Aughton, 1577, and of Bebington, 1579; ibid. ii, 409. He had appointments in Chest. Cath., of which he became dean in 1589. He died at Sefton, suddenly. After his death there were disputes as to his property as it was supposed that he had hidden his money; ibid. ii, 336. Anthony Nutter of Goldshaw Booths in 1602 gave Sir R. Molyneux a receipt for £40, his share (and his wife's) of the dean's property; Croxteth D. See also Ches. Sheaf (ser. 3), v. 95. He seems to have been curate of Eccles in 1563; ibid. i, 34.
  • 55. Act books at Chest. He paid firstfruits 15 Oct. 1602. Previously schoolmaster at Wigan; Bridgeman, Wigan (Chet. Soc.), 235. He it was who for some years refused to allow 'popish recusants' to be buried at Sefton; see the account of Little Crosby.
  • 56. Paid first-fruits 11 Nov. 1633. He was also rector of Walton.
  • 57. He was instituted thrice, and twice paid first-fruits. The institutions from this time are given from the books, P.R.O. in Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Notes, i, ii. The king claimed the patronage, and the second Lord Molyneux, who came of age about 1640, seems also to have claimed it; at Croxteth are three separate presentations—Samuel Hyde on 25 June, 1639; David Lloyd, 5 Nov.; and Edward Moreton, 8 Nov.; Croxteth D. Gen. iii, 14–16. Moreton was ejected by the Parliament in 1643, but reinstated in 1660, immediately after the Restoration. He was a son of William Moreton, of Moreton near Congleton, and a fellow of King's Coll, Camb.; rector of Tattenhall, and prebendary of Chester; 'not evenly sharing good fortune and bad,' says his epitaph in the church, 'but to either equal.' His son William became bishop of Kildare and Meath. The Hearth Tax returns show that the rectory had fourteen hearths in 1666; Lay Subs. Lanc. 250 / 9.
  • 58. His name should probably be expunged from the list of rectors, as he had no legal title. He was described by the commissioners of 1650 as 'an able and godly minister, painful in his cure'; Commonwealth Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 85. He had been previously stationed at Liverpool, and was a friend of the Moores of Bank Hall. Calamy describes him as an Oxf. man, but it may be noted that a Joseph Thomson of Langtree near Wigan, a relative of the Rigbys of Burgh, went up to St. John's Coll., Camb., in 1622; Kenyon MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), 26, 30, 55. After 1660 he appears to have continued as curate at Sefton, for he signed the minutes down to 1669; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New. Ser.), xi, 95. He afterwards lived at Ormskirk, using, so it is related, his private means liberally for the relief of ejected Nonconformists; Halley, Lancs. Puritanism, ii, 190, 135. He was buried at Ormskirk in 1671.
  • 59. There was in this case a double presentation; in that of Chas. II, who claimed by lapse, Bradford is called 'exchaplain in ordinary'; Pat. 27 Chas. II, pt. iii, n. 3. A 'caveat' was issued to the bishop on behalf of Anne Elcock, of Fulford near York, widow of Anthony Elcock, D.D.
  • 60. This was an exchange, Sefton and Bexhill. Jonathan Brideoak was also rector of Mobberley in Cheshire, where the register has the following entry:— 'Mr. Jonathan Brideoak, B.D., and a long time fellow and also Junior Bursar of St. John's College in the University of Cambridge, came down into this country and after the death of Mr. James Stanley, late rector of this parish of Mobberley (who died April the 8th, 1674), he married Mary Mallory, widow of Tho. Mallory, gent: (July the 16, 1674) of the Old Hall of Mobberley. By which said Mary his wife the said Mr. Jonathan Brideoake had the presentation of this church of Mobberley as true and undoubted Patroness, and in August in the year 1678, he the said Mr. Jon. Brideoake made an exchange of the living of Bexill in Sussex (which was at that time given him by his brother Dr. Ralph Brideoak, late dd., Bishop of Chichester) with Dr. Bradford for his living of Sephton in Lancashire. He the said Jon. Brideoake died at Mobberley the 6th of April, 1684, being Low Sunday. So that it appears he was Rector of Mobberley nine years and about 3 quarters and of Sephton five years and a halfe. He was buried the ninth day of April, 1684, in the Coll. Ch. of Manch. in the Procession way over against the Pulpit, the ancient Buriall place of that family, from Chetham Hill, near Manchester in Lancashire.'
  • 61. Also rector of Walton. The patron presented by grant from Caryll, Lord Molyneux. In the Chest. Act Book Lord Molyneux only is named. A commission was issued for an inquiry as to the right of patronage, the University of Camb. having presented William Needham, M.A., Emmanuel Coll.; there are numerous letters concerning this in Raines MSS. xxxviii, 475, &c.
  • 62. There was another dispute as to the patronage, Mr. Egerton of Warrington and Mr. Hartley of Ireland having been presented. The matter was argued in Sefton church on 7 March, 1721–2, with nine clergymen and nine laymen on the jury, and the decision was in favour of the former; entry in the Register Book, and N. Blundell, Diary, 184.
  • 63. Rector of Warrington till 1723, when he was appointed to Cheadle, holding this with Sefton until his death; from 1746 a curate represented him at Sefton.
  • 64. Son of the patron. He died 18 Sept. 1801.
  • 65. Son of the previous rector. For some reason the rectory remained vacant for eight months, when the bishop collated Mr. Rothwell, who was himself the patron. He was of Brasenose Coll., Oxf. He died suddenly on Easter Sunday (5 April), 1863, aged ninety-two. He was celebrated as a reader of the Church service; a memoir with portrait is given in Caröe and Gordon's Sefton, 85, &c. Among other things this account states that about 1830 'it was customary for the two daughter churches in the parish to be closed at the three festivals Easter, Whitsunday, and Christmas Day, and for their clergymen and parishioners to repair to the parish church and officiate at its services.'
  • 66. He was educated at Corpus Christi and Downing Coll., Camb.; M.A. 1841, LL.D. 1862; kt. of the order of St. Charles; count of Monaco; author of Remarks on Foreign Titles, &c. He held the sinecure rectory of Calcethorpe, and had been vicar of Great Eversden.
  • 67. Died 21 May, 1883. He was of Queen's Coll., Oxf.; M.A. 1860; vicar of Lever Bridge, Bolton, from 1867 to 1871. He edited the records of the Mock Corporation of Sefton.
  • 68. Of Emmanuel Coll., Camb.; M.A. 1851. Incumbent of St. Chad's, Stafford, 1855; vicar of Eaton Socon, 1861.
  • 69. Previously vicar of Bickerstaffe; educated at St. Edmund Hall, Oxf.; M.A. 1869; author of The Students' Prayer Book, &c. He died in 1906.
  • 70. Clergy List of 1541–2 (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 16.
  • 71. These particulars are from the Chest. visit. lists for the years named. For the ornaments of the church in 1552 see Ch. Goods (Chet. Soc.), 101.
  • 72. Crosby Rec. (Chet. Soc.), 23. He may have thought it advisable to take action, for he was delated to the Government as showing great favour to 'papists'; Lydiate Hall, 260, quoting S.P. Dom. Eliz. ccxv.
  • 73. Gibson, Lydiate Hall, 249 (quoting S.P. Dom. Eliz. ccxxxv, n. 4). In 1592 the only presentation made was against Ralph Williamson, who had 'had a child christened and his wife churched; not known where,' and who was excommunicated; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), x, 190.
  • 74. Kenyon MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), 13. At the bishop's visitation in 1609 there were the rector, his curate, two schoolmasters, and a 'reader' at Great Crosby; Raines MSS. xxii, 298.
  • 75. Commonwealth Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 85. The minister was paying to Mrs. Moreton, wife of the ejected rector, 'a delinquent,' a fifth part of the profits, according to an order by the committee. See Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 4, 7, 54.
  • 76. Notitia Cestr. ii, 216.
  • 77. Return in the Chest. Dioc. Reg.
  • 78. Trans. Hist. Soc. xxxiv, 130–4. She gave particular directions as to the services to be performed. Once a quarter the priest was to say 'Placebo,' 'Dirige,' Commendation, and Mass of Requiem, with all suffrages and services pertaining; at the anniversary of her death, or within three days, an obit; every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday, but on other days as he was disposed, to say mass, adding a De Profundis at the further lavatory; on Fridays once a quarter mass of the Name of Jesus, and five times in the year mass of the Five Wounds, for the souls of herself and others; also mass on St. Margaret's Day, before the image of this saint in the church; and on the five principal feasts of Our Lady and on the Visitation, and within their octaves, three masses of the feast, with the collect, 'Deus, firma spes.' The priest chosen was to be 'an able and honest priest and learned to sing his plainsong and to help to sing in the choir at matins, mass, evensong, and other divine service in the said church of Sefton on festival days.' In addition, he was to manage the properties assigned for the foundation.
  • 79. Raines, Chantries (Chet. Soc.), 109. This chantry had a chalice, two old vestments and a missal. The lands were in Cuerdale and Thornton. See also Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 223. The lands were granted by James I to William Blake and others; Pat. 4 Jas. I, pt. xiii.
  • 80. Raines, op. cit. III; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 224. It would seem from one of the deeds preserved at Croxteth (Genl. i, 84) that the family were able to rescue the intended endowment from the king's hands.
  • 81. See the account of Aughton.
  • 82. Raines, op. cit. 114. The rent was derived from a number of scattered parcels of land. There was no plate.
  • 83. Notitia Cestr. ii, 219, 221. Some of the benefactions were appropriated to particular townships.
  • 84. The accounts of the charities are derived from the End. Char. Rep. for the parish of Sefton, issued in 1899; this includes a reprint of the report of 1828.
  • 85. End. Char. Rep. 1, 8. Samuel Thomas left £5, the interest of which was to provide, on St. Thomas's Day, sixty penny loaves; these were set 'on the parish bier, which was placed for that purpose on the grave of the donor.'
  • 86. Op. cit. 1, 8. Of the £84 £30 had been invested in the Ormskirk Workhouse and was 'lost' by the dissolution of the old union in 1834; the remainder was lent to the highway surveyors, and interest seems to have been paid down to 1879.
  • 87. Anne Molyneux's gift was for bread to be given to the poor on Sundays. The augmentations came from William Thompson of Litherland, 1829, who left £100—on this the poor of Litherland have a claim — Robert Davenport of Sefton, coachman, £5 in 1845, and an unknown donor £3.
  • 88. Op. cit. 2, 10. Nothing is known as to the other £20 existing in 1828.
  • 89. Op. cit. 10.
  • 90. Op. cit. 4, 24. The benefaction of Lurting and Rice is mentioned by Bishop Gastrell (Notitia, ii, 221); it was for the poor generally, and was increased by £15 left by George Williamson in 1750. In 1828 £38 in the hands of the curate was supposed to represent this sum, which was in some way confused or interchanged with Fowler's benefaction.
  • 91. Report, 24, 25. John Bradshaw of Great Crosby in 1867 bequeathed £100, and Samuel Bradshaw in 1879 gave £550 and an eighth of the residue of his personal estate, £368 9s. 4d. A portion of the interest, according to the will of the donors, is devoted to the poor, in conjunction with the last named charity; the remainder is given to several Ch. of Engl. schools.
  • 92. Op. cit. 3, 24. The money was given before 1733, and in 1787, when it amounted to £30, it was paid, with £9 held by the town for the poor, towards making a stone drain at Thornback Pool; £1 19s. as interest was in 1828 paid to the curate of Great Crosby for the benefit of the poor, but all trace of it is now lost, no payment having been made out of the rates 'within living memory.'
  • 93. Op. cit. 4, 23. The testatrix desired the interest to be 'laid out yearly in Church Catechisms and other good books amongst the poor children coming to Crosby School.'
  • 94. Op. cit. 24. The charity did not become operative until 1846, when John Blinkhorn, the testator's father, died. The property, consisting of a field in Thorpe Lane, &c., was sold before 1862.
  • 95. Op. cit. 4, 5, 27. Thomas Cross of Little Crosby left £40 to the lay-layers and other officers, the capital to be spent on the highways or other public work, while of the interest half should be paid to the officiating priest of Little Crosby chapel, and the other half among poor housekeepers. In addition £1 2s. 6d. had from 1762 been paid to the poor as interest on the poor's stock of the town, and 5s. for bread had been paid by the overseers since 1783, the donors being unknown. The report of 1898 states that the payments from the rates cannot now be enforced, the 'constable' having ceased to be a parish officer since 1872. The payment to the priest had been made down to 1893; and the payment to the poor has been reduced from £2 10s. to £1. No bread is given.
  • 96. Op. cit. 5, 27. In 1828 there was a school at Ince, supposed to belong to the inhabitants of the township and repaired by them. The township authorities make no claim to the site; but it is stated that the present school, built in 1843, has an endowment of £1,693, of unknown origin. This capital stock was in 1887 in the hands of the Roman Catholic bishop of Liverpool; interest at the rate of 4 per cent. is paid to the manager of the school.
  • 97. Op. cit. 5, 28. In 1784 as much as £13 4s. 6d. was paid by the township to the poor; this included the interest of £100 left by Mrs. Elizabeth Prevarius in 1759, and of £5 left by Richard Tristram in 1727. Mrs. Prevarius was probably the housekeeper at Ince Blundell Hall of that name; the capital had by 1828 been doubled. In this year £14 14s. 6d. in all was distributed. The £5 10s. now paid is the interest on the Prevarius fund.
  • 98. Op. cit. 6, 29. There is no record of the conversion of the £100—which had been increased to £110 by 1774— into the present property.