August 2012: Diane: Reply to Diane Gaskill from David
Rushton. Diane, I'm very interested in swapping and sharing info on the Smiths.
Please could you email me on satchelkid - at - talktalk.net (replace the -at-
with @ to email him). Emails being added fairly frequently, see page 3
The name Moreton comes
from the Anglo-Saxon More
- meaning a Lake
- meaning Town.
It was originally known as
and was bounded by Great Meols to the West with Bidston
andWallaseyto the South and East. Before the embankment was constructed, it was 3000
acres of tidal lagoon between one and two metres below sea
level with most of the remainder little more than one metre above.
Lingham means Heather Island
and is derived from the Norse words Lyng
- meaning heather
- meaning island.Leasowe - from the
- means Meadow Pasture. Would
you believe that Wikipedia, that fountain of knowledge, has Moreton as
part of Eastham!!
The Moreton I Knew
I was born in Hull, Yorkshire and,
at a very early age, moved to Liscard Wallasey, to Monks Road I believe. From
there we moved into what was then the new post war estate of Leasowe (71 Twickenham
Drive). It was in a three storey block of flats, (71 being
in the middle) opposite my favourite haunt then, the
sweet shop! Brian Lloyd emailed me in August 2006 to tell me that these
shops were: Greengrocer; Grocer; Sweet Shop and Chemist. The grocers was
called McCulloghs. These few shops are now residences. I remembered a sweet shop
and a grocer but not sure what the other one (or two) were. I attended Birket
Primary School from the age of 5. I had a red three wheeler trike. I was
riding it along a new road, Franklyn Road, I think which was behind the
flats. A young lad called Les Appleton threw a brick from the window of
one of the partially built houses, it hit me full in the face, blood
everywhere. My mum told me I was carried home by a workman; with a very
apologetic Leslie in tow. I grew up and got to know Les again, in Moreton, as a
teenager. But he died young, very sad.
Hoylake Road & Super Garage (2008)
1. Site of Sydies, Reed Lane. 2. Leasowe
station 3. Reeds Lane Cadbury (all 2008)
The date is around the mid
50s and I moved into Hoylake Road, a new council house, from 71
Twickenham Drive, Leasowe and began attending Sacred Heart Primary School,
off Hoylake Road, but the gate was at the end of the Avondale Avenue cul de sac
behind our house. I remember little of this period at the school but do recall
standing in the "great hall" for assembly. I think it was also a gym,
crude but there. I also have recollections of standing in the playground
behind which was a large open area, grassed, with large trees.
At the end
of Fender Lane, as you approached from Bidston was a large roundabout.
There was a dip on the left which caused some vehicle to severely tilt as
they went across, especially if driving too fast. I recall running out on hearing
the smashing of glass (It always signalled a pop lorry!). We got whatever
we could carry if we quickly swept up the glass before the coppers came!
On the left of this roundabout lay Catton's Farm, a dairy farm. I always
recall it as "muddy". Opposite this, on the other side of the roundabout,
were three small stone cottages. To my mind they looked positively
prehistoric. They soon vanished when Moreton Secondary Modern was built on
the land behind in the late 50s. The Catton farm buildings still remain, in 2008,
but a pale reflection. The land now built upon. My new home, newly built
was opposite the Super Garage (2010 - demolished) which sold Shell petrol and had a
fascinating workshop through a central passageway. Fender Lane was then a tiny country lane leading past the three stone cottages on the roundabout, past
the "figure of 8" ponds on the left, over the River Fender and on, over the
railway bridge into Bidston Village then to Bidston Hill. Now it is a dual carriageway riddled
with traffic lights and new estates. But in my youth, in the early 60s, it was a road to
Utopia. I would spend many an hour, day and weeks roaming the vast (it was
for me then!) landscape which separated Moreton from Bidston. Spend hours
sitting on the ponds watching the dragonflies zipping in amongst the
reeds, the odd brown rat, fish jumping, birds singing and, on occasion, some local lads fishing.
When man landed on the moon in July 1969, I went there
with a good mate Lenny Wright (From Fairmead Road) in the early hours, got
sunburnt by 10 am.
Hoylake Road. My home was down far end left.
Red roof on right was the Super Garage in the 1960s. 2011 Now demolished
This cottage and others stood on the
corner of Fender Lane and Redds Lane. you can just see Sydie's in the
background. The powers that be demolished these around 1956 to build a
school that was so far back they could have left these lovely building
there. I can just remember these buildings. They were directly opposite
Caton's farm. In these days and into the 60s, Fender Lane was a narrow
road going directly to Bidston, now its a busy dual carriageway with a
housing estate on the side of the farm. I recall these fields always water
logged, so hope the homes are not sinking, yet.
These two images are of Armchair Cottage. It was demolished in the mid 40s
My former home at 14 Hoylake Road stands on
Going back to the roundabout
and continuing along Hoylake Road, we pass the Super Garage.
Later, they built a Jet garage right next to it in the late 60s (back handers flew or what!!) We pass a group of shops, still there in 2008,
contained a chippy and the last one being Alderney Dairy. Solid wood
floors, old wooden counter, lovely! I would be sent here for our milk. Sacred
Heart School could be seen through the railings opposite. (see below) Next we come to
Danger Lane on the right, which led into, on the left, Fairmead Road. We
then past Gates Garage and Moreton Engineering and another group of shops,
also containing a chippy, I seem to recall some sort of clothing or wool
shop, and the last was a hardware store. After a hedged field we arrive at Chapelhill Road and the corner shop. On the opposite side, all the way to
the Cross, was housing. Each had a low 1 foot high concrete wall, with a
gap for the path. I would try to reach the Cross without having to stand
on the pavements, along the wall. I was too small however, to jump the
(From my sister) = Sacred Heart school when I was there had a prefab
next to school building at the back near the grass area. I remember 5th
year pupils secondary level there. They then moved to Thomas Beckets when
it was brand new. I also know the school was brand new because of the
strict "Keep two tiles from the walls at all times with bags and no shoes
in the Gym" It was always adhered to as they looked after it. Jan)If you turned tight, down
Reeds Lane, you travelled towards Leasowe Station with its big heavy
wooden gates, operated from a signal box on the right hand side of the
road. First you would pass Avondale Avenue, with Sydie's sweet shop on the
right hand corner, waste land on the left. Next was Daneswell Drive, which
led past the rear side of Sacred Heart. Then Saxon Road, via a pathway and
round the left hand bend to Kingsmead Road and the station. After the
station, on the left, was Leasowe Tennis Club, a popular 60s haunt, with
Radio Caroline disco's etc. Opposite sprang up a new factory, Squibbs,
which made pharmaceuticals. And round to the imposing Leasowe
Hotel public house. You could then see the back of Cadbury's, more on that later,
in my Wallasey page. The river Birket signalled that we were now
Sacred Heart Primary & Junior
And now we arrived at yet
another garage, on the left (I think it was Gulf but it used to be called
the Atlantic Garage). Then there was an old
cottage set back off the road; this was the fourth in about 1 mile of
road! Passed the dentist on the corner of Orchard Road, a right chamber of
horrors!! we then pass the Presbyterian Chapel and come to garage number 5 on
this stretch - Poston's! I can recall petrol price for 4
gallons the equivalent today of 90p. Now it is well over £1.30 for a poxy
litre! At the cross, on the left, past Sandbrook Lane was the new Sacred
Heart Church. Opposite was/is The Plough!
(see below) And then a small arcade under which nestled Les Turner's cigarette shop.
Next to which was a shoe repairer, followed by Lloyd's Bank, which was
next to Midland Bank. On the other side of the Cross roundabout, I recall
the Army & Navy Stores who sold jeans for £1 and pumps for approx 5
shillings. Trainers were unheard of then but baseball boots existed.
Secred Heart (left) I got this info from
the present Head in February: When I was in Infants Miss Cassidy was the
Head, Junior was Mr Carolyn. Mr Conroy took over till 1975 and then it was
Mr Brown (Juniors) then the present Head, Mr Freeman.
I think this was the old cottage on Hoylake
Road, but could be wrong.
Feb 2012 - Wetherspoons think this was on their present site, up the hill
Plough - Demolition - 2010 to
make way for a Tesco - now done and shop built (2012)
Moreton Cross is the junction
of Upton Road, from Upton, Pasture Road, from Moreton Shore, and Hoylake
Road ran right across, to Hoylake & West Kirby. The large roundabout in
the centre was sort of kidney shaped, still there in 2008, and so is its clock. Heading off up Hoylake Road once more, we pass the main shopping
area, with the Coach & Horses pub on the right. Passing Boots on the left,
and the bowling green on the right on the corner of Barnston Lane we go up
hill slightly to Barclays Bank on the left and Mortimers Toy Shop on the
right - oh what an Aladdin's cave of items I could only dream of. (see
email below -Sep 09). My
father never seemed to have any money! It was not until much later I found
it went mostly on drink!! My mum had some sort of "allowance" - how she
coped I will never know? More shops and then Woolworths before Hoylake
Road headed towards the Grange Pub and then out of Moreton onto the Meols
Stretch. There are images of The Cross through the years further on.
Mortimer: Sept 09:
I thought you would be interested to know that In 1921 my
father opened his first shop in Moreton, he carried on the business until his
death in 1958.Then my mother, my wife and myself took over the business until
1973 when we sold the business to Keithley's of Heswall. My mother died in 1979.
July 2003 Moreton Cross
Upton Road looking back towards the Cross
Back at the Cross, if you
turned right (in the image above), you were heading for Upton. More shops on the left and right.
Chadwick Street, a L shaped street, held the Post Office and Cop Shop
before emptying out, by Boots, onto Hoylake Road. Passing Christ Church,
mainly homes occupied this road, all the way out of Moreton. Moreton
Football Club was along here, reached by a driveway between homes. I
believe MFC now play down Sandbrook Lane.
The opposite way took you into Pasture Road, past the old "flea pit", the cinema where
I got in for 9d on a Saturday morning, then passing the Royal British
Legion Cub and past the old Moreton Youth Club and
Library, the "pink building" on the right, past the old and new
libraries, (the newest being near the Cross) excellent chip shops,
Morton Arms pub (never did find out why it was spelt different), opposite
Pasture Crescent and over the railway bridge, passing Cadbury's factory on the right and the
brick works on the left and towards Moreton Shore. The Apollo Dance Hall
(still there in 2007) stands on the left hand side as you near the shore, next to the bus
stops where the 22 would pull up from Birkenhead and the 77, also from
Birkenhead Woodside, but via Prenton and Woodchurch.
Right: Pasture Road
The "world famous" Apollo Club (well, it's world famous in Moreton anyway!)
Image taken 1 April 2007
Here there were the shanty town style
stalls and the cafe's. On the right hand side of Pasture Road, as it
sweeps round to the right to become Leasowe Road, were the seasonal
visitors, in my teens, of the Wallis' Fun Fair. The main attraction being
the Speedway. It was built just like a Waltzer but had fixed wooden
motorbikes instead, and it went round at one heck of a speed sometimes! I
actually fell off once, very luckily not breaking anything! We were the
bravado's who, instead of sitting normally on the bikes, would "ride the
bars" - sitting or standing against the safety bars, leaning heavily
inwards against the centrifugal force generated by the circular speeds.
Idiots! That's how I see it nowadays, but then - sheer bravado. Wallis'
home base was Towyn, North Wales, just past Rhyl. The Apollo dance club
sat on Pasture Road - and still does (2009).
Life was hard in the shanty
town. See Jim Schultz's account on page 2 in the emails - May 2010.
The massive seawall beckoned. A few short steps to
the rim and there lay the Irish Sea.
Superb descriptions of the
area can be found in Kenneth Burnley's books on the Wirral.
Here lies yet another childhood memory. That
of cockles! My father would, on occasion, bring me down and I would help
him dig up cockles from the wide flat sand beds at low tide. There were
others too there attending to the same harvest. In those days, I do not
know if they were safe to eat even then. I do know my dad would cook them
for a long time. Locally there were pipes, going out to sea, which carried
effluence from the town, semi treated I believe, according to Ken
Burnley's books. Nevertheless, I appear to have suffered no long term
Progressing along the
seawall in the direction of Leasowe I distinctly recall an old black and
white cottage, nestling beneath the wall on the landward side. This was
directly opposite the Royal Liverpool Children's Hospital, now also
a thing of the past. Its now "luxury apartments" and housing. Leasowe Castle, (mentioned in detail on a Wallasey
page of mine) was now becoming the dominant landside feature as I carry on
walking towards another Utopian haven of my youth, the Leasowe Sand Hills.
The sand was soft, warmed by the sun. It was built up in huge drifts,
protected by large areas of high tufted grassy banks. Here my dominant
memory of the Sand Hills is as a teenager, listening, in the mid 60s, to
Radio Caroline North on our plastic "trannies" (transistor radios). Groups
of us would go down on bright blue summers days. This particular day, I
was lying in the sand next to Gina Johnson. Now Gina was the most beautiful girl
in Moreton (she actually lived in Royden Road, Overchurch) and was
"unattached" at the time of this. We chatted most of the
afternoon and I got up the nerve to ask her out, to which she agreed!! I
left early to get changed and meet her at her house, misfortune
intervened, she slashed her foot on some glass, and we never did date! In
Aug 2005 there was a television programme on about the UK coastline,
by inch, mile by mile. When the presenter got to North Wales he skipped
the Wirral in its entirety and went on past Liverpool. Well, my friend,
you missed a hell of a lot out. Parkgate, Hilbre, Thurstaston, the long
long sea wall, a masterpiece of civil engineering.
Moreton Common & Leasowe Castle to rear.
These two images were taken by me back in the 1960s, to the right, off
camera, was the Children's Hospital. To the left, the Sea Wall.
Hospital we reached the junction of Reeds Lane and Leasowe Road where, if
you turn right, leads up to Birket Avenue, the river Birket passing
underneath a few yards further on, then we pass the rear entrance to
Cadbury's and on to the Leasowe hotel, a pub on the right hand side.
Rounding a bend we can see Leasowe Station in the background as you pass
the Leasowe Tennis Club and Social Club. The club was really a large shed
but it was "cosy". Over the railway lines and past Saxon road, Kingsmead
Road, Daneswell Drive to the corner shop, Sydies on Avondale Avenue, a cul
de sac leading to Sacred Heart School. The roundabout, now lights, was
next and back onto Hoylake Road by my house.
But, back to Moreton
Shore, if we walked onwards in the direction of Meols, the landward scenery
turns distinctly bleaker and more "wild" as I pass the Leasowe Lighthouse,
at that time derelict, and the occasional farm building and cottages. The
lighthouse has now been restored and can be visited. I
can just recall the remains of the shanty town which sprang up in the
early 20th Century here, the wooden chalet type "hovels" which have mostly
long since gone. I recall also seeing the submerged forest in my younger
days, but sadly, at that time, meant little to me. There was a petrified
forest here, showing above the sands, I can remember seeing it, but it has
vanished now. More on this below.
Moreton in 1611, also visible is Budeston
(Bidston) Hill, Great Meoles, Saughall Massey, Upton & Overchurch. Birkenhead
did not exist at this time.
Mockbeggar sandbanks, just off the top, is known as Black Rocks.
Moreton from Bidston Hill, Stavordale Flats, The Cross and Christ Church
etc Sept 2009
Moreton Cross in 1933, 1935 and 1937 The sign on the Roundabout in
image 3 tells us that the road to Upton & Chester is to the
right. The hidden sign behind the pedestrian tells us thats the way to
Birkenhead. There is a sign on the opposiute side pointing to
Hoylake.The street light is still there today but has been modernised a
few times. These images will have been taken from a window above the
shops which can be seen as today in the images below this text.
1. Moreton Cross looking from the vicinity of The Plough,
towards Christ Church. 1920s?
1. The same shot, from the approximately the same angle
today (18th Feb 2008)
2. On Pasture Road looking towards The Cross. note Picture
House on left
2. Same shot, slightly lower angle, Picture House long
long gone (about 48 years ago now)
Looking in the opposite direction, down Pasture Road. A
note said 1950s, its not, this is early 1960s.
And, the same shot in February 2008
Moreton Cross late 1940s
Moreton Cross 2000
The Cross from Sacred
Plough Inn Moreton, date unknown . Image from
Jack Wollam (NZ). That white building to the rear is the Coach & Horses
Moreton Cross approx 1904. Image: Tracy Martin
Moreton Cross undated. Note: those cows have no
rear light working!!! Oh what would Flash Harry have to say? Les Turners arcade
as is the Coach & Horses, both old and new Image: Jack Woollam.
Cole's Bus Service was the first motorised bus
service in Moreton. Initially running between Moreton Shore and Moreton
Station, the service was extended from the station to Moreton Cross when
Birkenhead Municipal Transport started their service to Moreton Cross in
1920. The Crosville service started in 1925 with Wallasey joining, in
1928. Cole's service last ran in 1926.
Although Moreton has been occupied since Roman
times, the first road into Moreton was not built until 1841, from Meols,
the railway followed in 1865. The railway shelter on the Liverpool bound
side was used by Moreton FC as a changing room.
On 1st Agust 1928, Moreton became part of the
Borough of Wallasey.
The Moreton Church of England School was built
for a cost of £745 and was opened on 21st February 1861. The bricks used
to build it were hand-made from a marl pit on the stretch of road
between Moreton and Great Meols (The Meols Stretch). The school was
pulled down in 1975.
Moreton Cross - Station Road became
March 18th 2010
The Cross, around 1914. From Upton Road,
looking at what is now Pasture Road, to the left and right is now Hoylake Road.
It was then Birkenhead Road and Pasture Road
was Station Road.
Centre was a sweet shop, where you went down some steps into the shop, in wet
weather it flooded. I think the bookmakers William Hill now on this site.
Here are then & now images, the
latter From Feb 29th 2012
Pasture Avenue, the junction of Pasture Avenue and Danger Lane with the turn to Lombard
Road in the background.
This map shows where I believe the image is taken from (X) and the direction of
the camera is towards the right of the map. January 2011: I have had an
email from Peter Bromilow (right) who confirmed that this IS the Coronation Day
and not VE Day as originally told to me.
My name is
Peter Bromilow. I was born in Moreton in 1963 on the terrace in Garden Lane
opposite the loos you had to go up some steps and there was 7 x 2 up 2 down
houses in a row with the gardens in the front. My family lived in 5 of the house
and we were all born at home, the picture of Pasture Crescent at the Queens
coronation is correct as the lady on the left in the front holding the baby
girl is my aunty Beattie holding my cousin Susan their name was Povy my aunty
was from pasture avenue no 93 and their name was Middleton, my mum was the
youngest of 10. My mum and dad still live in Moreton behind the library and I
pass through every day going to work in Hoylake I know what you mean about how
it has lost its charm from when we were kids I notice this a lot as me and my
cousins, aunty and uncles still live around Moreton.
Feb 2012: Email from Janet
Smith nee Sadler, daughter of Alice. She believes that the lady marked as
Tom Bolton's mum is in fact Janet's mum. Lived at No 72.
2010: Tom Bolton sent me an email, there is a lady in the image which will
almost certainly be his mum, as far as he can recollect. He tells me:
Although I am Tom Bolton in
those days as a kiddy I was Adrian (my first name) Bolton I lived in a
bungalow 73 Pasture Avenue with my brother and sister (twins) Vince and
Rose. I went to Sacred Heart which in those days was not a Primary
but (I think a secondary modern) a school were you started at 5 and left
at 15. Mr Carolan was head teacher.
(I remember that name, Primary head?) Or was he juniors before Conroy?
Sacred Heart was never a Sec Modern, so Tom is mistaken there. Unless it
replaced Tommy Buckets after I had left Moreton.) Bev my partner and I now run
Wirral Swallows and Amazons Adventure Group taking disadvantaged and
children with disabilities on exciting adventure of a lifetime holidays.
This year we are taking groups from schools. We started
our charity in 2003 and have had the good fortune to already have helped
nearly 3000 children to have exciting outdoor adventure holidays. As kids
we had the freedom to make our own adventures, climbing trees in the
woods, jumping the Birket our own games but nowadays its not safe for
children to go out unaccompanied, its a shame really, so we give them
opportunities to enjoy safely doing scary exciting activities.. so its
nice to put something back in to help others. Tom copied the image and
marked his mum.
Moreton was, when
I lived there, a relatively small place where nearly everyone knew
everyone else. Policeman like "Flash Harry" would lurk rather than
patrol his beat and woe betide you if he caught you "messing about"
- a clip across the back of the head was the order of the day.
Nobody complained, unlike nowadays, it meant you deserved it! I have
had recourse to revisit Moreton a few times and am dismayed to see
such a nice little place has degenerated into a haven of shops
selling those £2.99 hand painted ornaments, sun tan parlours and
fast food joints. The atmosphere has completely vanished that I
knew, to be replaced by modern, hustle and bustle, no parking
spaces, like many towns the length and breadth of the country.
Moreton was once described as "unremarkable - Moreton in the Mud
etc". In the late 50s and 60s it did actually develop character and
charm, but sadly it did not last. I suppose its called progress.
Nothing stands still, does it?
I stood there, on
Moreton Cross, where Les Turner's tobacconist used to be under the
little arcade, next to the Plough, and watched the world go by, just
as I used to do in the 60s, sitting on the stone wall alongside
Oakenholt Road which led to the Clinic. The wall has gone now,
(2012) its a supermarket. Nobody was paying any attention to each
other, young mothers with overloaded prams screeching at the mongrel
struggling alongside. Cigarette hanging out of the corner of her
mouth, trying to gossip on her mobile phone. The child with jam
stained bib about its neck. The teated bottle of Ribena nestling on
the canopy. The teenager runs out into the traffic, of which there
is vast amounts for such a relatively small area. He is heedless of
the swerving motorbike and accompanying horns. Progress? No, surely
Ken Burnley in his book "Portrait of Wirral"mentions a book I had read years ago, from the
library. "The Rise & Progress of Wallasey", and mentions the
optimistic tone of this 100 year old book, as it is now. I used to
call it the Rise & Fall of Wallasey! Sorry, but progress in Moreton
and Wallasey died around the same time the socialist incumbents took
residence in the Town Hall and a long time tradition of Tory Members
of Parliament were eventually ousted to be replaced by a socialist
feminist. (Who, in 2008, married her "partner"; also female.) Yes, I
am biased and not afraid to admit it. I have purchased a copy of The
Rise & Progress of Wallasey (reprint 1974).
Also the advent of
container shipping killed off what was left of dockland trade on the
Wirral. I worked in many jobs up to when I joined HM Forces as a
soldier. One of these was a trainee miller with Spillers at Pauls
Mill on the docks. It was then a car park for the Warship Museum
which was closed down as it has fell to the developer who are now
building "luxury" flats (2007). Next will come the "marina" I
suppose, then it will be fenced off so Mr Joe Public cannot wander
the docks as he used to. Luxury flats bring in more revenue to the
Council than Historic Museums.
As a youngster and
then a young man in Wallasey I had high hopes of a good life, house,
nice wife and trips with the kids to Bidston or the coast. I am not
too sorry these dreams did not materialise. The latter dreams
anyway. I did get the good wife, kids and house but not the rest on
Merseyside! Strangely enough, although I am not being too kind to
Moreton, it was still the place where I was "dragged up" as I like
to phrase it. I do often manage to haul myself back up to the
beautiful Wirral. In Feb 2004 I spent a beautiful, freezing, couple
of hours walkingBidston Hill,
subject of its own page in here. What follows now is by no means the
definitive version, there is much hidden, much forgotten and much
unsaid. But here is some local history. I have provided as much as I
have found to date.
The name Moreton means village on the lake.
It was one of the 4 towns making up the parish of Bidston, the
others being Bidston, Claughton and Saughall (The Hall of the
Willows). It was bounded by
Great Meols to the West with
Bidston and Wallasey to the South and
East. Before the embankment was constructed, it was 3000 acres of
tidal lagoon between one and two metres below sea level with most of
the remainder little more than one metre above. The geology was that
of blown sand in drifts covering the land, and salt marshes going
around reaching Wallasey Pool, below Bidston. Lingham means Heather
Island and is derived from the Norse words Lyng, meaning
heather, and Holm, meaning
island. Leasowe - from the Anglo-Saxon Leasowes - means
Meadow Pastures. The higher area of Bidston and Wallasey Village
were built upon the sandstone hills, rising to 180 feet above the
surrounding area. Moreton was, quite literally, the village in the
marsh. There was no sea wall at all, no protection from the sea, and
land went much further out to sea than it does now. Evidence of this
lies in the long gone petrified forest which I shall include later.
Moreton, Lingham and Great Meols have been
occupied since before Roman times. Moreton became part of the Parish of Bidston
and was the wealthiest and most productive part of the area run for the
Birkenhead Priory. It formed part of the Manor of
Eastham in Norman times. Earl Hugh being the Lord. Holding part of his Manor is
a man by the name of Hamon de Mascy, whose descendants became Lords of Bidston.
During the medieval period of the Manor's history, Moreton was the most
productive of the 4 towns. Moreton even paid for its own chaplain! In 1170,
Birkenhead Priory was founded and a goodly portion of the tithes of Moreton were
given in support of this endowment. The records of Pope Nicholas IV record the
money earned from 6 curacates of land, which included Moreton.
-1190 Hamon de Mascy gave Moreton to his brother John, it being formerly held by
Matthew of Moreton. In 1293 Hugh del Brom (Bromborough maybe?) gave
William, son of Alan de Moreton rights to cultivate 3 acres of wasteland in
Moreton. In 1307, Henry son of William of Moreton, prosecuted Robert, son of
Henry de Salghale (Saughall) and others for trespassing on land in Moreton and
for cutting his grass in Sargham Massey. In 1341, there was a murder, at least a
recorded one. Simon, son of Roger del Brom, killed William, son of Henry de
Moreton, in Moreton, and fled. He escaped justice but three of his accomplices
were fined for aiding him! The entire village was fined in 1359 for failing to
be fully represented at the Judges Eyre Court in Wirral.
In 1397, the
Manor of Bidston was sold by John Lestrange to Sir John Stanley, an ancestor of
the Earl of Derby.
In 1402, the
Hundred Jury (Wirral was also know as the Hundred) was specially called together
to hear a letter patent issued by the Prince of Wales in which Henry le Brwyn,
of Moreton, Roger del Brom and others had driven cattle from north Wales into
the Hundred of Wirral. The law they were alleged to have broken was probably
designed to secure a supply of meat for the Kings Armies in North Wales. The
defendants were taken to Chester Castle for judgement. The result is unknown.
In 1438, on
November 30th, an inquest was held at Bidston on Robert Benet, killed at Salgham
by William Anyon by striking him on the head with a mall. This jury, which
included a Thomas Benet of Moreton, and Henry Benet of Salghall, returned a
verdict of felony. Anyon, who had fled, was declared an outlaw.
The Earl of
Derby's accounts for the years 1521 - 1522 show Moreton having paid:
Rent of free
tenants for Military Service
Rent of free tenants at will 114 6d
Rent of one house with dovecott & butt
Rent of one tenement with 1 butt acquired
By the lord from John Whitmore to hold by
the Lord immediately after the death of
George Whitmore (note: the said George is dead) 8 0d
the Manor of Bidston was bought by William Steele, a lawyer of some note, who
also held the positions of Recorder of London, Chief Baron of the Exchequer and
Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
Birkenhead Priory suffered along with most of the country's religious
establishments in Henry VIII's suppression. In 1544 its lands in Moreton were
leased to Edward Plankney but on the expiry of this lease the lands were sold to
Richard Barnard and Robert Taylor. Also, following the suppression, the Nuns of
Chester had land owned by themselves in Saughall given to the new Bishop of
Chester and then, soon after, was surrendered to the Crown. Land that belonged
to the Priory in Saughall was also siezed, both sets of land being sold to Sir
Robert Dudley, of the Privy council, and to William Glascour.
In 1545 the
earliest record of Moreton's population with 21 families living there (12 in
Saughall Massie). By 1663 the figures remained the same.
In 1561, Thomas
de Smythe Saughall Massie and William Rathbone de Murton are registered as
keepers of Ale houses.
In 1653 the Manor
of Bidston was bought by a William Steele, lawyer of some note, who also held
the positions of Recorder of London, Chief Baron of the Exchequer and Lord
Chancellor of Ireland. The
estate again changed hands in 1662, this time it was sold to Lord Kingston of
Rockingham Co Roscommon. In 1665 he undertook a highly detailed survey of his
Manor. The survey contained lists of the tenants of the four townships and maps
showing the houses and roads, each field bore a name and that of its tenant. The
survey of Moreton shows the main street passing through the village, now known
as Pasture road. A back lane running parallel, was Chapel Lane, now Barnston
Lane. The geographical orientation of the main street is SW to NW. The east side
of the main road, that which favoured Wallasey, had tenants Henry Robinson,
William Bennett, Richard Lenaker and James Bird. The west side, favouring north
Wales, had two homes of the Urmston family, Thomas Watt, William Hancock, John
Rathbone. Many paths crossed between the houses. A chapel stood on the western
side of the village green (the location of which is not mentioned) with a
maypole to the north. Nearby was the Tithe Barn and Pound. The town bull was
kept in a field on the edge of the village bordering Saughall Massie. Other
prominent names in Moreton were William Dod(d). John Anderton, John Gowen, Ellen
Graviner, Richard Pemberton, Thomas Urmston and john Upshon. A piece of land,
outside the village boundary,was given to the village constable. Saughall
Massie, in the same survey contained names Edward Wainwright, Mary Smith, John &
Sir Robert Vyner became the Lord, and Vyners have been there right up to the
20th Century. (2012) The Hall is now privately owned by 'whoever'??
A Mill stood on what is now the corner of Acton Lane and Saughall
Road. Little is known of the Mill. In 1598 it was sold to John & Henry Bennett.
In 1719 owned by the Vyner's and occupied by Esther Martin at a rent of £6 per
year. In 1762, Thomas Kirk, paying the same rent. (Inflation was obviously not a
problem back then!). It stood until approx 1870, the last miller said to be a
Richard Hale. The Mill actually collapsed, parts of which were taken to Bidston
Hall, turning part of a steam mill for another 20 years. The names of Dod(d) and
Benet (Bennett) are still prominent in modern times. I had a Philomena Bennett
in my class at school in Moreton. The Dodds are a well know local building
company, their yard is still at the top of Bermuda Road. I think it moved sides
thats all! Joseph Kitchinghman who lived near Mother Redcaps in Wallasey,
described Moreton's Mill as:
"The old mill at Saughall Massie
stood about a mile from the village. It was a most remarkable wooden structure,
with strong oak beams and gaunt, primitive sails, standing alone on a rough base
of stone, with a large wheel to turn the wooden mill round on the ground. The
mill stood entirely by itself a little way from the edge of the moss. Secret
meetings of various kinds, political and otherwise, were held in the old mill,
which was away from civilization. It was supposed to be haunted, and there were
ravens in it."
lived at Old Hall Farm, Barnston Lane (was previously called Chapel Lane) in
1719. His home was licensed to conduct religious meetings. He was the son of
Robert Wilson of Bidston Hall. Towards the end of the reign of Charles II, a
troop of horse searched the Hall for arms as well as in other local places. At
this time Daniel is described as "of Lingham". They took away 122 guns, pistol
etc. Daniel married Mary Ensdale, and on 18th August 1689, they baptised Robert,
their son. He shares the same birthday as me, but not the year!! His grandson,
Thomas, was probably the next tenant of Barnston Lane following Daniel's death
in 1737. Thomas' sister, Catherine Gardener was the next owner of Old Hall Farm,
the Wilson connection being severed.
Barnston Lane May
The Old Carrs forms part of Saughall Massie and western Moreton. The word
Carr means Marsh. Carr Lane is now an area of extensive new housing put up in
the property boom years of the 1980's and 90's. Before this is was but fields,
and the Brickworks. The part of Moreton known as Sandbrook is now Sandbrook Lane
which runs from the Cross (By Sacred Heart Church) to Manor road in Upton, this
also follows the SW-NW alignment of the main road, Upton Road. Local area names
here, in 1665, include The Banakers, Neeve Wimbrick, Gosty Pellitan Hey,
Barcroft Hey, Werrethey and Cherrie-Tree Hey.
of the sea was a constant threat to those living on the low lying lands of
Moreton. Thomas Wilson's will of 1775 records that "the closes of land called
The good Ovens and Two Pastures Gates by sold by my executors. But, if the Two
Pastures Gates cannot be sold by reason of the encroachment of the sea, a close
called the Marled Heaps was to be sold"
In 1781 rural
recreation included Bull Baiting in Moreton. Cock Fighting was not uncommon,
especially around Easter and Whitsun.
In 1841 a
turnpike was opened which afforded a much needed route between Birkenhead and
West Kirby, passing through Moreton, Meols, Hoylake & West Kirby.
Although it was allowed to become run down during the early 1800's, the
introduction of the Wirral Railway Line in 1866 brought day-trippers from
Liverpool and further afield. By 1900 Moreton was again thriving and was even
being recommended by doctors as a place for a holiday or a place to live because
its fresh air and clean sea was seen as beneficial for conditions such as
rheumatism. Moreton's association with health attracted the attention of
Margaret Bevan who chose Leasowe as the place to build the
Liverpool Open-Air Hospital for children with tuberculosis - later to become the
Leasowe Children's Hospital when the National Health Service came into operation
in 1948. Now demolished and is an estate of the "trendy" luxury apartments.
Ellen Usher, Sub Postmistress Moreton
Moreton's involvement in WW2
was minimal. There was a large kitchen set up, or Central Cooking Depot, in
October 1941, possibly where Cadbury was until its closure, certainly in Pasture Road, for
feeding displaced and homeless but it was, thankfully, never used. Few homes
were damaged or destroyed in Wallasey by German bombers. It was used to provide
school meals however.
(I look at this and then at the German fortifications in France - one shell
would have demolished this!)
Recollections of a World War 2
Bill Boyle (email Nov
& Dec 2011)
tells me his WW2 recollections: During ww2 there was two American army camps based in Moreton one was
on Fellowship Field on Pasture Road they were African-American soldiers whilst
on Moreton Common the white American soldiers were based, both camps were under
canvas. Some of the boys from my school Upton Road went on messages such as fish
and chips from Swords the local chip-shop they were given small packets of
biscuits or condoms by the soldiers for going for fish and chips for them. When
I asked about the condoms, Bill replied," I thought it would raise eyebrows they
were eleven or twelve I was one of them, the boys took the condoms to school and
blew them up like balloons a young teacher Miss Ruddock confiscated them from
the boys and stuffed them in the pockets of her floral smock they were all
dangling out of her pockets as she blithely tripped along the school corridor.
However, when I went to try my luck all I received was a mouldy packet of
biscuits. The camp we went to was the African-Americans on Pasture Road of
course all the soldiers were confined to camp so we went for fish and chips for
During WW2 my family and I
lived on the Birkett Avenue estate at Leasowe during summer months we
practically lived on the beach at Leasowe Bay when the tide was in two German
POWs frequently came to swim in front of Leasowe Castle I have no idea where
they came from only that they came along the promenade from the direction of
Hoylake or West Kirby. During the schools summer holidays I travelled by Ribble
Bus from Skelhorn Street in Liverpool on my own to stay with my Auntie and Uncle
in Melling, Lancashire and was put to work on Swifts Farm I worked alongside
Italian POWs who came to the farm in a Crawfords Biscuit van they were quite
happy and I tried to join in with them when they sang their Neopolitan arias.
However, another group of Italian POWs (probably Fascists
- mk) came one day and they were lazy and coarse and just sat around
Leasowe Children's Hospital in
WW2, another memory from Bill Boyle: During ww2 when I was a boy if I went
down Ditton Lane at the back of Leasowe Hospital which was then a TB hospital I
could see the patients lying in their beds on balconies open to the elements
apparently the sea air was a cure for TB* the patients were on those balconies
summer and winter. One day in the 1940s my mother and father went off for the
day somewhere leaving me in charge of my little sister Dorothy and baby brother
Sam I took them down the lane opposite Leasowe Hospital past the tiny cottage
and up to the promenade. The tide was in so we sat on one the embankment
slipways with our butties and bottle of water I lifted Sam out of his pram and
he was happy crawling about until he cut his wrist on broken glass I had to wrap
his arm in towels as the blood was spurting out so much. I put him and
Dorothy in the pram and started for home whilst going past Leasowe Hospital two
young women who worked there were coming out of the hospital. They looked at
the pram which was full of blood, one of said where are you going I replied home
they said quick take him into the hospital and to cut a long story short the
doctors kept Sam in for blood tranfusions and he was there for the night . Only
for those young women he would surely have died. (Note:
*If TB didn't kill them pneumonia bloody well did! - mk).
The vicar of Christ Church Mr
Wormald came to my school Upton road and asked for boys to join the church choir
during ww2 so I joined along with several other boys however most of the boys
dropped out so there was only me and my friend John Daniels from Birkett Avenue
left. In those days the church organ was worked by bellows and had to be pumped
by using a long wooden lever attached to the bellows. Sometimes the man who
pumped the bellows did not turn up so a couple of us choir boys had to do it one
Sunday me and John Daniels were told to do that job but during the sermons etc
we both dozed off. Mr Riley the organist would stamp his foot on the floor to
wake us up to start pumping the bellows again.
Some times at the weekend
after a bombing raid by The Luftwaffe during the night, the following morning I
would go to Harrison Drive to collect the shrapnel from the German bombs which
landed on the green dips at Harrison Drive and the bomb craters would still be
smoking and by the end of the war I had a shed full of bags of shrapnel.
However, mother kindly gave the lot to a rag and boneman. (Just
think, what would they have been worth on eBay, mothers do not think, do they? -
A Fun Fair in my day there was
one at the junction of Pasture Road and Leasowe road I was a pupil at East
Way school when some of the boys from the school broke into the shooting
gallery at the fairground and stole air rifles for their punishment they were
sent to the Capenhurst Remand home were they remained until the end of the war.
Moreton's population has grown from 165 in 1665
to the present-day (2000) figure of around 24,500. It was 210 in 1801 and 597 in
1901. There was a big jump between 1911 and 1921 when it went from 898 to 2,531. On 1st August 1928, Wallasey extended it's
boundaries to include Moreton and by 1941 the population had grown to 5,000 --
expanding to over 7,700 in 1951. In 2004 Moreton barely resembles its own past, being built upon at an alarming rate, almost now touching Meols in the west, Greasby to its southwest and Upton, where there is now no discernable boundary. The population is probably treble what it was in the 1960s. The green belt between Bidston and Moreton
is disappearing also as the housing creeps along Fender Lane towards the River
in Moreton: 1821: 273 1831: 247 1841: 330
1851: 350 1861: 361 1871: 455
1891: 464 1901: 597 1911: 898 and 1921: 4029
The massive rise
in 1921 was due to the acute housing shortage after World War 1. It must have
been quite a jolt to those who had been living there all these generations. The
above figures do not include Saughall Massie which did not see rises of any
significance. Also responsible for the growth was the appearance of the shanty
town on Pasture Road and Moreton Shore, along with caravans. There were 2000 of
these temporary dwellings. Sanitation was not high on the Council list of
priorities, nor a water supply. In 1928, under an Act of Parliament, Wallasey
absorbed Moreton, and in 1933 Upton and Saughall Massie. Following the 1928 Act,
roads, sanitation and sewage were greatly improved.
Dec 2012: I have since been told that, in 2004, Moreton became something of an
independent town alienated from Wallasey but retaining the MP ( a waste of space
she is). Leasowe is also alientated from the Borough.
The first road into Moreton was built from Great
Meols in 1841 but it was not until 24 years later in 1865 that Moreton railway
station was built on the Wirral Railway Line. It was opened on June 18th 1866,
initially as a single-track line. In it's early days, the shelter on the
Liverpool side of the line was used by the Moreton Football Club as a changing
room. Leasowe station was built in 1895 when the Wirral
Line was being converted to a double-track line. The line was electrified in the
mid 1930's but, amazingly, a footbridge over the track was not added until 1947. Cole's Bus Service was the first
motorised bus service in Moreton. Initially running between Moreton Shore and
Moreton Station, the service was extended from the station to Moreton Cross when
Birkenhead Municipal Transport started their service to Moreton Cross in 1920.
The Crosville service started in 1925 with Wallasey joining, in 1928. Cole's
service last ran in 1926.
There was in the
olden days only one main route through the village. This is now known as Pasture
Road but was formerly Station Road. The other main avenue for traffic, the
Turnpike Road, was not built until 1841. This crossed the township in a westerly
direction running from Bidston to Saughall Massie. It was known by a variety of
Fender Lane (after one of the two streams which drain the marsh), Birkenhead
Road, Hoylake Road, Main Road and Village Road. With the incorporation of the
parish of Moreton in the Wallasey Borough it was decided to alter any Moreton
street names which might be confused with similar street names in Wallasey. The
Council also decided that where more than one name was used for a Moreton street
they would resolve all difficulties by deciding once and for all by which name
it would be known. In the case of the Turnpike Road the Council decided that it
would henceforth be known and described as Fender Lane from the Bidston boundary
to Reeds Lane, and Hoylake Road from Reeds Lane to the Saughall Massie boundary.
Barnston Lane (running parallel to Pasture Road) was originally called Chapel
Lane, and the small chapel after which the lane was called, stood there for many
years. A lane opening off Pasture Road was originally known as either Townmeadow
Lane or Mary Anne’s Lane after the owner of a cottage in the lane. In order to
prevent confusion the Council decided that the first 210 yards from Pasture Road
should be called Marylands Lane and the remainder Townmeadow Lane. Similarly the
road which was known as either Lingham Lane or Lighthouse Lane is now known as
Christ Church in Moreton was built in 1863 at a
cost (which included a school) of 8,000 UK Pounds. It was built on land donated
by Mr. Tom Webster of Overchurch Hill, Upton. Mr. William Inman the Shipping Magnate of Upton manor
donated the money for the buildings. Roman Catholics had no church in Moreton
until 1921. Masses were conducted in an old cafe on Moreton Shore. Moreton's first Roman Catholic Church was built
in 1923 at a cost of 1,200 UK Pounds. The money was raised by public
subscription. The Church was pulled down in 1955 and replaced with the one which
was a large rectangular building with a south door. It had a belfry over the
western gable and a cross over the east gable. In 1550, it was listed as having
1 chalice and 1 bell. In 1554 the probable incumbent was Rev William Bymson. In
1571 it was Rev William Edmundson. In September of 1592 George Pemberton of
Moreton was brought before the Court at Chester for "sitting on the cross at
Service time and would not go in at the Warden's request.". An entry in a church
volume records that "Moreton, a chapel in Bidston Parish. Demolished 30 years
ago .... as certified by the minister of Bidston 1719. 1742 records that "Moreton
Public Houses and other Notable Buildings
Dating from the seventeenth century, the oldest
of the three main public houses in Moreton was the Plough Inn and the Druids
Arms. In the early 1930's it became known simply as the Plough Inn. (2011: Now a
supermarket!). The Farmers Arms dates from the late 1700's and
even in the early 1900's, parts were still being used as a farm. The youngest public house, the Coach and Horses
dates from the early 1800's. The original building was knocked down and replaced
in 1928. The Moreton Church of England School
was built for a cost of 745 UK Pounds and was opened on 21st February 1861. The
bricks used to build it were hand-made from a marl pit on the stretch of road
between Moreton and Great Meols (The Meols Stretch). The school was pulled down
in 1975. Leasowe Lighthouse was built in
1763 with 660,000 hand-made bricks and is the oldest lighthouse in England.
Originally two were built - the second was a quarter of a mile out to sea but
was washed away during a storm in 1769. It was replaced by one on
Bidston Hill in 1771, not the present one. Vessels would line up the two lights and would
then be able to enter the Rock Channel or the
Hoyle Lake for
safe anchorage. It was last used on 15th July 1908.
Petrified or Submerged Forest
Known locally as
the Meols stocks, it consisted as a collection of tree stumps, fallen trunks and
roots embedded in turf bog. There was also once a similar forest on the other
side of the bay in Seaforth. In a poem, dated 1636, the forest is mentioned:
"And in summe
places, where ye sea does bate,
Downe from ye shoure, tis wonder to relate,
How many thousands of theis trees now stand,
Black broken on their roots, which once dried land,
Did cover, when turf Neptune yields to showe,
He did not always to their borders flowe"
In 1828 a visitor
to the Wirral wrote:
"This beach at
about half tide level, presents a curious and highly interesting spectacle of
the remains of a submerged forest. The numerous roots of trees which have not
yet been washed away by the sea, or carried off by the neighbouring inhabitants
for firewood, are in a very decayed state. The trees seem to have been cut off
about 2 feet from the ground after the usual practice in felling timber; and the
roots are seen ramifying from their respective stumps in all directions and
dipping towards the clay sub soil"
The trees were at
their largest towards the river Dee, and smallest at Leasowe. They were mainly
Oak and Fir, also present were Alder, Elm and Beech. They gave the appearance of
actually being planted and were of great size. The library of Leasowe Castle was
constructed from these timbers and locals made good use. In the forest itself
discoveries were made in the 19th Century of artifacts dating back to Pre-Roman
days and up to 1700. Mostly small in size they included gold, silver, pewter,
lead, bronze, iron, wood, glass, flint and amber. In many kinds of ornaments and
jewellery. also found were arrows, knives, keys and spoons as well as nails. In
a book called Ancient Meols by Hume, published in 1863, these finds are
catalogued. In the early 1970s there was no trace of this forest, the sea
finally winning the argument, washing away the remainder with the tides. This
process was quite possibly accelerated by the introduction of the massive sea
wall, which caused the tide to turn upon itself, increasing the flow around the
stumps. It was from this very embankment that I last saw these trees in the 60s.
There was not all that much to see by this time, just a few straggled stumps. To
think that after all these centuries, I may have been one of the last to
overlook this spectacle. On a bas relief in Leasowe Castle is the words "From
Birkinheven unto Hilbree, a squirrel may jump from tree to tree"
Moreton Youth Club Location
Centred on Moreton Cross
The house I grew up in on
Hoylake Road, the site of Armchair cottage
Which also contains lots of
emails I have received since opening these pages
Thanks to Ken Clark & Paul
from facebook/wallasey memories for a lot of the old images
My thanks also to all
the members of the Wallasey Group and The Birkenhead Group on Facebook for
their images, help and expertise. Beautiful people all.
Feb 09: Had an email from
Catharine Chalton who tells me that Home Instead Care have taken over 19 Barnston
Lane but that some commercial work
undertaken in the past
prevents the wonderful building from being listed.