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Kirkby, Merseyside

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This is a positive page for all things Kirkby, Merseyside. Please feel free to update any category with sourced information or just add memories'

Not all sections will contain information but it is set up this way so people with a greater knowledge can add to it.


History and it's influence on Kirkby (if at all)

Ancient Britain (Prehistoric)

Neolithic Britain c12,000 BC–c2,750 BC

The Beaker people and the Bronze Age c2,750 BC–750 BC

Although thought to have been founded aound 870 AD excavations in the grounds of St. Chad's Vicarage found evidence of a bronze age settlement.[1]. The 1995 excavation revealed evidence of a structure, pottery, tools and charcoal. And later a 'bronze socketed axe' and a 'bronze spearhead Undated)' had been found. [2]

Iron Age c750 BC–43 AD

The Middle Ages

Roman Britain 43 AD–Approx 425 AD

While there was no known Roman settlement or road in or around where Kirkby would develop there was a report of a very small find of roman coins in 'the township of Simonswood' in the brook bearing the same name in 1893. and in the same report it was noted that in Kirkby there was found the remains of a roman pavement and a crock. Neither of which survives today. The same article has a footnote proposing a small road may have passed close to the area.[3]

Anglo–Saxon(The Dark Ages) 42 AD-51066 AD

Tradition has it that a settlement and a simple chapel was founded here in 870 AD[4]


Norman period 1066–1154

Kirkby or Cherchebi (first mentioned 1086 in the Domesday Book). The church village. From Old Norse kirkiu-býr. Karkebi (1186); Kierkebi (1207), Kyrkeby (1288).[5]

The Anarchy 1135–1148

The Plantagenets 1154–1399

Hundred Years War with France 1337–1453

Wars of the Roses 1455–1485

Early Modern Britain

Tudor period 1485–1603

Stuarts Period 1603-1717

Georgian Britain 1714-1837

Victorian Britain 1837-1901

Edwardian Britain1901-1914

Modern 1

The Great War (WWI) 1914-1918

Inter-war Years 1918-1939

The Second World War

Modern 2

Britain Since 1945

Governance of Kirkby Through the Ages

Pre-Roman Rule

Excerpt from Peoples of Britain by Dr. Simon James
From an early stage, the constraints and opportunities of the varied environments of the islands of Britain encouraged a great regional diversity of culture. Throughout prehistory there were myriad small-scale societies, and many petty 'tribal' identities, typically lasting perhaps no more than a few generations before splitting, merging or becoming obliterated. These groups were in contact and conflict with their neighbours, and sometimes with more distant groups - the appearance of exotic imported objects attest exchanges, alliance and kinship links, and wars
At the end of the Iron Age (roughly the last 700 years BC), we get our first eye-witness accounts of Britain from Greco-Roman authors, not least Julius Caesar who invaded in 55 and 54 BC. These reveal a mosaic of named peoples (Trinovantes, Silures, Cornovii, Selgovae, etc), but there is little sign such groups had any sense of collective identity any more than the islanders of AD 1000 all considered themselves 'Britons'.
However, there is one thing that the Romans, modern archaeologists and the Iron Age islanders themselves would all agree on: they were not Celts. This was an invention of the 18th century; the name was not used earlier.[6]

Roman Rule

Greco-Roman civilisation displaced the 'Celtic' culture of Iron Age Europe. These islanders actually became Romans, both culturally and legally (the Roman citizenship was more a political status than an ethnic identity). By AD 300, almost everyone in 'Britannia' was Roman, legally and culturally, even though of indigenous descent and still mostly speaking 'Celtic' dialects. Roman rule saw profound cultural change, but emphatically without any mass migration.
However, Rome only ever conquered half the island. The future Scotland remained beyond Roman government, although the nearby presence of the empire had major effects. The kingdom of the Picts appeared during the third century AD, the first of a series of statelets which, during the last years and collapse of Roman power, developed through the merging of the 'tribes' of earlier times.[7]

The Dark Ages

By the sixth century, most of Britannia was taken over by 'Germanic' kingdoms. There was apparently complete discontinuity between Roman Britain and Anglo-Saxon England; it was once believed that the Romano-British were slaughtered or driven west by hordes of invading Anglo-Saxons, part of the great westward movement of 'barbarians' overwhelming the western empire. However, there was no such simple displacement of 'Celts' by 'Germans'....Contrary to the traditional idea that Britain originally possessed a 'Celtic' uniformity, which first Roman, then Saxon and other invaders disrupted, in reality Britain has always been home to multiple peoples. While its population has shown strong biological continuity over millennia, the identities the islanders have chosen to adopt have undergone some remarkable changes. Many of these have been due to contacts and conflicts across the seas, not least as the result of episodic, but often very modest, arrivals of newcomers.[8]

Medieval Rule from The Normans through to the Wars of the Roses

The Tudors, The Stuarts And Cromwell

Sections Still To Be Added

Post 1945 to the Present Day

Knowsley Metropolitan Council Coat of Arms

Official blazon
Arms : Azure a Pair of Scales Or between in chief two Bees volant proper and in base a Cross Moline Gold.
Crest : Out of a Coronet composed of four Roses Gules barbed and seeded proper set upon a Rim Or a Mount Vert thereon a Cormorant wings elevated and addorsed holding in the beak a Slip of Oak leaved and fructed also proper, Mantled Azure doubled Argent.
Motto: 'FIDE ET INDUSTRIA' - By faith and industry

Origin/meaning The arms were officially granted on November 25, 1958.

The gold cross upon the blue background of the shield is the heraldry of the Molyneux family, Earls of Sefton, who eventually possessed the whole manor of Kirkby. The gold pair of scales represents the balanced industries of the great trading estate at Kirkby, and the two bees symbolise the community working and living together here as a complete social unit. A heraldic play on the place name is also incorporated with the cross (representing the old parish church around which the Urban District has developed) and the bees - Kirk-by.

The mantling is in blue and white, which are the livery colours of the Earls of Derby who formerly held a moiety of the manor of Kirkby until it was acquired by the Molyneux family. The crest above the helm comprises a coronet of Lancaster, being a gold rim set with four roses (only three visible) which are here intended to stand for the four areas of Northwood, Old Kirkby, Southdene and Westvale. The celebrated cormorant, or liver bird, from the arms of the City of Liverpool, represents the part played by that city in the development of modern development of Kirkby. Instead of having the familiar seaweed, or laver, in its beak, the bird holds an oak sprig with an acorn which not only symbolises the sturdy and steady growth of the new Urban District from a small beginning but also serves as a reminder that much of Kirkby's original rural character is still being preserved within its boundaries.

The Motto re-iterates the connection between the church and this modern industrial town, fusing two ideals which are both always applicable [9]

Knowsley Metropolitan Council Coat of Arms

Official blazon
Arms : Or an Eagle neck embowed wings addorsed and inverted perched upon a Cradle therein an Infant proper swaddled Gules on a Chief dancetty of three points downward Azure a Cross moline between two Bees volant Or.
Crest : On a Wreath Or and Azure perched upon two Coils of Cable lying one upon the other a Cormorant wings elevated and addorsed proper holding in the beak a Balance Or
Supporters : On the dexter side a Griffin Or charged on the wing with three Roses Gules barbed and seeded proper and on the sinister side a Griffin Sable beak and forelegs Or charged on the wing with three Fleurs de Lys Or.

Origin/meaning The arms were officially granted on January 8, 1976.

The main charge in the arms is an eagle carrying a child in a basket. This was the crest of the Lathoms and Stanleys, and comes from the arms of Huyton-with Roby UDC. The gold field is from the Lathom family arms. On the chief dancetty is a cross Moline canting arms of the Molyneux family, between two bees , symbols of industry, from the arms of Kirkby UDC.

The crest has a "liver bird" or cormorant, showing that Knowsley is a suburb of the City of Liverpool. He holds a pair of scales in his beak, the manufacture of which is an industry in Kirkby.The supporters are two griffins. The dexter griffin is coloured gold, and comes from the arms of the Earl of Derby. The red roses o the wing are for Lancashire. The sinister supporter is black and comes from the arms of the Bold family, holders of Whiston manor. He is charged on the wing with gold fleurs-de-lys for John of Gaunt, who held the Manor of Prescot.

The motto - BY FAITH AND INDUSTRY - is a translation of Kirkby's FIDE ET INDUSTRIA.[10]




Rivers and Lakes

Fauna and Flora


Cross in the grounds of Kirkby Parish Church

The name Kirk-by means Church and Settlement. Its origin may have taken place prior to the Norse who are believed to have arrived via Ireland around 900 A.D.. It is further believed that a simple Chapel existed here about 870 A.D., this tradition being inscribed on a stone at the base of the Cross which was erected within the present Kirkby parish church grounds in 1875. Though there is no evidence to support this claim, a chapel is known to have existed on this site after the Norman Conquest.[11]

An early surviving artefact of the period is a red sandstone Norman font which is now located inside the present parish Church of St. Chad. This indicates that the practice of baptism has taken place from at least that early period onwards to the present day

In the Domesday Survey of 1086, Kirkby was mentioned as Cherchebi, one of the six manors held by Uctred; the others being Roby, Knowsley, Crosby, Maghull, and Aughton. In the 11th Century, the area now known as South Lancashire was identified as the land between the Ribble and the Mersey. This land was divided into six Hundreds or Wapentakes, Kirkby being part of the Derbei Wapentake, or West Derby Hundred. It is believed that this Hundred, originally contained around thirty settlements with a total population of around 2,000 people; Kirkby’s proportion therefore may have been as few as 70.

Over the centuries, the ownership of land around the Kirkby settlement passed through the hands of many families and it was not until the Molyneux family purchased the manor lands in their entirety in the 16th Century (partly in the 1560 s and partly in 1596), that a semblance of continuity existed.

The Molyneux family like many others in the area were staunch Catholics who retained their religious beliefs despite the pressures of the English Reformation. Their patronage of Kirkby was lost though in 1747 as a result of the head of the Molyneux family taking up holy orders in the Catholic Church.
Conversion to the Church of England came with the marriage of Charles William Molyneux in 1768 and a few years later in 1771, he was created Earl of Sefton. The Manor of Kirkby continued to be held by successive Earls of Sefton until 1947 when the land was sold to the Liverpool Corporation.

By 1766, the ancient Kirkby Chapel was in a decayed state and the then minister Reverend Thomas Wilkinson raised funds to replace the building which was duly constructed in plain red brick.

The present parish church of St. Chad was begun in 1869 and consecrated in 1871 by the Lord Bishop of Chester; located adjacent to the old Chapel. It was designed by Paley and Austin in red stone and has many Gothic and Norman features which give the appearance of an older structure. The old chapel was taken down in 1872, its stone used to build a wall around the new church. Both chapel and church were dedicated to St. Chad, who in the 7th Century was the Bishop of Lichfield.



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