Left: Footage taken from Mike Dodd (ex Tower Captain of the church bells) in 1969 shows the area of Childwall how it used to look.
It is pleasing to see that very little has changed over the years and that the area has still retained its village feel. We start with the double decker bus climbing Childwall Valley Road. We then see a view of the church from Score Lane park (with horses from Childwall Stables). Finally, a view of the rear of the church and Graveyard.
Below left: In this video taken in the same year, we start with a glimpse of the Childwall Abbey. Taken from both the graveyard and from the top of the tower - very little has changed apart from the sad loss of Childwall Stables. We are taken to inside the church tower and see one of the experienced ringers 'ring up' the tenor bell. Lastly, we see the bell ringers walk from the tower to the church.
The History of Childwall can be neatly summed up just a handful of buildings - All Saints Church, Childwall Abbey Pub, Childwall Vicarage and Childwall Hall. However, the expansion of the village also takes in many other historical and some unknown area's. Childwall Park (Now Childwall Woods) and Childwall Cottage, Childwall House, Stand House, Childwall House Gatehouse and Childwall Priory Farm are just a few examples of 'lost' buildings and features.
We can view this information better on two maps: (Click to enlarge images.)
We see that the map (right) shows the current boundary of Childwall Woods, the Vicarage, the Church, and Childwall Abbey Pub and Childwall Stables. It is interesting to note that the entrance to Childwall Hall and its Stable Block is still being used by Lime Pictures who produce Hollyoaks.
The latest 'birds eye view' of Childwall shows the amount of green that surrounds the village. Sadly by this time, we have lost Childwall Cricket Fields to housing and the Childwall Stables have long gone (and is now a car park). However, the view of the Church on the hillside has not changed for hundreds of years. The biggest change is to the location of Childwall Abbey Road/Taggart Avenue (as it is today). We now see a large Sandstone Quarry in place of the row of shops today. Stand House would have been on the corner of Dunbabin Road and Rabbit Lane has now been renamed at Stand Park Avenue). Stand Park was the infamous Childwall Polo Ground (where light aircraft used to land on the fields!).
The earliest reference to Childwall Hall is from the 1700's.
In 1728, Isaac Greene married Mary Aspinall, heiress of the Ireland family of hale. This building (much like the Church Tower) was demolished in 1780 and a new Hall was built by Greene.
Childwall Priory was a farmhouse and is said to have stood on the location for over 500 years before being demolished in the early 1930s. The Church-like side was added in the 1820s and perhaps this is where it gets the name Priory from.
Other improvements included the Octagon Room, a billiard board, an oak Gothic sarcophagus and Grecian lamps.
Bamber Gascoynes only child, Frances Mary, married Viscount Cranborne, 2nd Marquess of Salisbury in 1821, this uniting the extensive estates of both families. Frances Mary did not live at Childwall Hall after her marriage and the house was let to many tenants. In 1947, the 5th Marquess of Salisbury presented Childwall hall to Liverpool Corporation, who intended to establish a county college. However the house was found to be riddled with dry rot, requiring expenditure of 25,000 on remedial work alone. In view of this and the general unsuitability of the building for use as a college, the house was sadly demolished.
The drive way appears to be more or less the same position as the small alleyway leading off Childwall Valley Road next to the Dentist shop to get around the rear of the shops. It follows the same line as the alleyway towards Orton Road and the farm appears to have been placed between what is now Orton Road and Paignton Road. Childwall Priory Farm was demolished when the surrounding roads were built up.
Only a portion of the old wall remains, nevertheless it sufficiant to suggest the great antiquity of the place. Childwall Abbey is a quait mixture of the fifteenth century and the twentieth century. Pass by the old motor cars and in to the courtyard and pass through the low entrance in to the entrance hall and it seems an easy transition from the days of George V to the day when Harry VII, the first Tudor King of England was crowned by an owner of Childwall.
The splendid old oak furniture , the old spinning wheels, the old engravings, paintings and armour with which the hall is decorated, captivates the imagination at once and when the eye lights on the wonderful old window at the head of the beautiful stairway, it does not need to be an antiquary to conjure before one's eyes pictures of long-vanished monks, Lords and Knights who have been sheltered within the Abbey walls. On every side breathes the spirit of old romance, and once the spectator knows the great and stirring history of the land of Childwall, the Abbey becomes invested with a new charm than even its exquisite beauty could not give.
The Inn has always been a favourite stopping place of distinguished actors who have been staying in Liverpool, and many have scratched their names on the old windows of the beautiful room which faces the church. Among the many well-known theatrical names to be found are those of Henry Irving, Ellen Terry, E.J. Willard, Ruth Vincent and J.M. Barrie. Irving was fond of smoking a cigar in the old room facing the garden and Ellen Terry was never so happy as when she was roaming through the beautiful old gardens with its bowling green, on which, if tradition is to be believed, bowls have been
played long before the days of Drake and Raleigh. Irving was greatly interested in the many quaint epitaphs which are to be found in the Churchyard, especially this curious epitaph - "Sacred to the memory of John Jones, who departed this life in his 95th year, June 1st, 1517. My sledge and hammer both decline, my bellows they have lost their wind, my fire is extinct, my forge decayed, and the dust in my vice is laid. My coals are spent, my iron is gone, my nails are driven, my work is done".
Irving was deeply interested in the beautiful old furniture of the Inn, especially the old panels taken from the original Church and the wonderful collection of autographs presented to Mrs Rimmer, the former pro-prietress of the Childwall Abbey Inn, by late friends of the Marquess of Salisbury. "
Nearly 50 years later in 1309, Sir Roger de Holland presented Childwall to the college of Secular Cannons at Upholland. The gift was not appreciated, for the Seculars discovered that Childwall was a wilderness more suitable for complentative monks and they gave the place to the Benedictines. The Benedictines kept Childwall until the dissolution of the monasteries when it came under the judisdiction of the See of Chester. It later became invested, in 1880, to the See of Liverpool. The population of Childwall in 1901 was 219. Ever since 1913, when Childwall was absorbed by Liverpool, the surrounding open space and farmland have gradually been eaten away by the sprawl of the city. Some years ago, the area around the Childwall Abbey was made in to a conservation area and this part has survived and still manages to retain much of its old rural beauty and character.
Childwall's history goes back to very early days. Domesday book records that there was one priest there, holding one carucate of land (about 50 acres). This, however, was not for his own use but for the poor of the parish, extending to the Mersey from Garston to past Hale.
in 1094 Count Roger Poges of Poitou granted the pattronage of Kydewell to the Abbey of St Martin at Sees in Normandy. Childwall then became attached to to the Priory of Lancaster which Roger founded as the cell of the Abbey. Patronage passed to the Grelleys, Barons of Manchester, during the 13th Century, and a member of that family Herbert Grelley was Rector in 1260.
For more information on the Village of Hale, please go to the link below of which will present you with the Official Website. A highly detailed and well researched website!
The boundary of Childwall Woods has not changed at all. The original entrance to Childwall Hall was from the Gatehouse and through the 'moat' section in the woods which then brought Childwall Hall in to view. This area is still open and can be walked down, but prepare for a muddy reception at the end of the 'moat'. Childwall Woods once housed an aviary - does anyone remember this and could share information? It was located behind the Gatehouse on Childwall Abbey Road.
After his death in 1749, his youngest daughter, Mary, inherited Childwall Hall in addition to land in West Derby, Wavertree, Everton and Much and Little Woolton. In 1756 she married Bamber Gascoyne. Their son, also called Bamber Gascoyne, settled at Childwall in the 1790's serving as Member of Parliament for Liverpool from 1780 to 1796. Interested in literature and friend of a number of famous contemporary authors, he had an extensive library and also collected old master paintings. He also held local shooting parties amongst the local hills. In the early 19th century he commissioned John Nash, the architect, to work on the hall, transforming the house in to a yellow sandstone, sham mediaeval castle.
The Childwall Abbey Inn has been known by this name for at least a Century. After delving in to many records and documents, I have come to the conclusion that it is really a renovated Chapel, probably the Chapel of St Thomas the Martyr. which is known as far back as 1484. It must not be forgotten that a Monastery Chapel often flourished side-by-side with the parish church.