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. . . .22 that house John Hill lives, together with the Solemn Covenant which he and others in the parish subscribed to. Mr. Parker for the Earl of Derby, Mr. Meoles23 for his tenants as Chief Lord of Liscard, and others met to set Stones for the green Ways in Liscard f1eld and for meeting of the Boundaries of the Common of the Townships, set three stones one at the back of Gills House, one in a green Slack2* out of all ways above twenty Rood below the Stone Bark Hill to the westward, and one in the Bottom of the Channell, all three stones making a Norwest Line. According to Ditch of the Glebe Land call'd Rathborn's Yard,25 Mr. Ball aforesd broke the middle stone in three pieces with a Smithy hammer.
"As there was a great man called Wally, so there was a great man call'd Lee who had a Kirk situated near the westward of the Kirkway, I suppose in or very near that close called Cross Acre Hey, and his tower stood near the Kirk as by the closes call'd Old town Heys, and other Calant Signes which have been found by Digging appears. Lees Kirk fell, and Wally's wanted a priest.26 The people of Liscard and Seacomb went to Lees Kirk and came through Liscard town fields, the Lounds under Seacomb way, and so up Kirkway to the Kirk; and Wally's and Pooltown people to Wally's Kirk. Mr: G(l)over said that the the right name of Liscard was Liskirk, this Lee, whose Mansion house was that of John, Al5 Long Youngs, Descendantly has his turbary from that part of Bidstone Moss now called Liscard Longways,2? came through the Rushes28 in at Urmson's Yate up Long Ditchway, down Watts Cabbin Hey, thro the Oldfields' hey and so home.29 If his team or Carridge ware set broke or otherways disabled that he could not reach home that night (for men did but little in a day) he loose(d) his Cattle and left them there, because it was not then call'd Wallazey Leasow, but Wally's Lees way. Wally to prevent differences compounded with Lee that Lee and his people Should pay 2dper horse for every horse he kept, Except a stone horse in a Tether or Coppy, not bringing them on. The Lees-way is now taken in by the people of Wallazey. After the Discontinuance of the Kirk as aforesd all the incolants agreed to carry all the materials of Lee's Kirk to Wally's and build one greater Kirk which is the present Church tho' built at Severall times as it were in Cantils. Wally's Coat of Arms is in the Window next to the South Door in red Glass :3° and the Cross called Weeping Cross was a stone about 4 yards Long and stood near the south door and the stump is yet in the ground and stands cut with a Tenon and Set in a Mortice in a stone a yard within the ground, it was much defaced in the Civil Wars by Soldiers shooting at it. Afterwards broke in three pieces in King William's Wars by the Charles Gallies men and finally irreligiously employ'd by Thos- Cotton3' for steps for the Stile that Leads from ye Church to the Cross in Wallazey, he hewed off all the curious cuttings that was on it.32 After the Churches were consolidated Lee's people were obliged to carry their dead up the Great Lane leading from the town to the Hose, up the Kirk way thro Kirby Sytch thro Oldfield hey up Watts Cabin Hey along that way or Rake call'd Little Breck and to prevent which trouble they agreed to find \that] Yate called Stonebridge Yate to fence Wally's field for ever, and so had a way thro' the now Townfield of Wally's.33 Seacomb Burying way is by Ly'd Yate alias Lytch Yate34 by Wally's lately Litherland's, but now Mr. Mainwarings HalUs and so to Wallazey. Both Wally and Lee were in the Jurisdiction of Halton, hence Halton fee in which Court they say all our Ancient Customs are recorded. Before the Diss-forestation of Worrall36 all the flatt land called the Moss on which the Salt tide flows was a Wood insomuch that I have heard Richd Watt say that he had heard old people to say, that a man might have gone out of tree tops from the Meoles to Birkenhead, a token whereof is in finding of large tree roots when getting of turfs, which roots lye a great way in the sea at this Present. When this present Church was built being built at severall times, as aforesd severall strangers came and worked some a week some a fortnight, at their own proper Charges, and went away without any pay or Reward. More particular one Man as a Master Workman and others Dependent on him Came and got Stone and dresst them and built that Arch of the Church next to Birds, Gills, and Balls forms, the workmanship being different from the other arches, and Departed without any pay. When the neighbours ask'd them Whence they came they answered out of the Woods. The Steeple was built in 1530.37 I have heard Old Richd Watt say, that his Old Aunt Tomlinson told him that when she was a little girl she carried Drink in a Pitcher to the Workmen building the Steeple, and that the Master workman
« Some words have evidently been omitted here.
24 "Slack, n, a small valley, or dell (Local)."—Imp. Die.
25 This boundary between the townships of Liscard and Wallasey does not cross the Hose in the same line as the present one. The line runs now, as then, from the Water-tower as far as Rathborn's Yard, now Pye's Yard (W. 433a), the field on the west side of the road called Hose Side, and opposite to the Captain's Pit, where it would reach the edge of the Hose or Common. Stone Bark Hill is included in a large piece of ground called "Sionebark" (W. 450, and L. 485), or "The Warren," belonging to the family of the late Mr. John North, until lately one of the few remaining bits of the Hose, and celebrated for its blackberries and its rabbits; the latter the descendants of the hordes that so troubled Liscard in 1753 (Appendix £). The present boundary runs over the top of the hill, but Robinson makes it run 160 yards to the westward. A "rood " as a measure of length is stated, in A Cavalier's Note Book, to be 24 feet; therefore 20 roods = 100 yards.
=6 See Note 20 If the Lees Kirk—which may have been an oratory, served by Birkenhead Priory—ever existed at all, it must, I think, have been near the top of Earlston Road, where the narrow pathway runs through into Mount Pleasant, and Mount Road. Earlston Road and this path I take to be Kirkway. I have not identified "Cross Acre Hey," but Old town Heys is that part of the new Cemetery which lies nearest to the house and grounds called "Earlston," and previously "Rosebank." This house, which has an older house incorporated in the building, is named in the Tithe Maps "The Old Manor," and may be "John, Al* Long Young's" Mansion House. Near this place, and where the house " Breck Hey" now stands, stood a windmill, which is shown in a chart of the Port of Liverpool dated 1814, and the three cottages at the top of Earlston Road are called Kirk Cottages, the original single one bearing the same name. A path known as "Kirby Sytch" led from near the Captain's Pit to Kirkway, following probably the line of the present Mount Pleasant. Both Kirkway and Kirby Sytch were in use in Robinson's day, and he must have known their positions, but both names are now lost.
There is an impression, shared in by many, that the traditional lost church near Leasowe Lighthouse was Lees Kirk; but Robinson—the only authority for the latter's existence—distinctly places it near Liscard, whereas a site to the seaward of Leasowe Lighthouse would be quite outside the parish of Wallasey.
'7 Not given in the Wallasey Maps.
=8 Probably Rush Hey, W. 58, on the edge of the Moss.
29 See Note 33, and Appendix C.
3o See Appendix A (The Church).
3' Frequently mentioned in the Churchwarden's Accounts as receiving payments for repairs.
32 The Cross probably received its name of "Weeping Cross" from the old custom of the Priest meeting the funerals at the churchyard cross. The south side of the Church is the usual position. The base stone, mentioned above, was, I believe, in the yard of the Old Hall, when that building was pulled down in 1862-3.
33 This road from Liscard to Wallasey—1'.«., along Rake Lane, Earlston Road, and Mount Pleasant to the Captain's Pit, and thence through the f1eld path to Claremount School, and along "Little Breck " (lately Top Lane, but now called Claremount Road) to the church —seems to be an immensely long way round, but, doubtless, was originally taken in order to pass those stones or crosses which "stood at the foot of the Kirkway, and near in the great "Lane that leads from Liscard to the Hose," and "near the mar1e pit in "Kirby Sytch" (Captain's Pit), where the bier would be put down, prayers said, and the bearers rested.
The following question was asked in " Articles to be enquired of within "the Archdeaconry of Vorke, by the Churchwardens and Sworn men," 1630-40:—"Whether at the death of any there be praying for the dead at "Crosses or places where Crosses have been, in the way to Church." (Brand's Pop. Ant.) And Pennant mentions that in North Wales the funeral precessions stopped at every crossway, the bier laid down, and the Lord's Prayer rehearsed, and also at the churchyard gate.
After this custom had dropped out, the Liscard people would naturally wish for a shorter way to carry their dead ; hence the opening of Stonebridge Yate, Gate, or Road, which I take to be the present road from Liscard to Wallasey, or else some fteld-way.
3* "Lichqate. The gate of a churchyard through which the corpse at a "funeral is brought in. . . A.S. licc, corpus. . . Lick Read. The road "by which a corpse passes for interment. It is supposed that a right of road "is obtained by the passage of a funeral." (Leigh's Cheshite Glossary.) Doubtless this road is the present highroad from Seacombe to Wallasey.
3S Poolton Hall. See latter part of Note 18.
3* " The forest of Wirrall was dis-forestcd in the year 1376, by King "Edward III, in consequence of a request made by the Hlack Prince in "behalf of the inhabitants of Chester, who had sustained many damages, "grievances, and suits, by reason of the said forest ; it is probable that the "forest has been ever since in cultivation." (Lysons.)
had but three pence ^ Day. The Church was
Dedicated to Sl- Hillaries.38 I have often Enquired of old People what Parsons they could remember or had heard of but none could ever informe me of any before Parson Fletcher, who was only a reader and procured one now and then to preach. Thomas Fletcher Clericus was Bury'd November ye 6th 1619 and in all probability was parson here near 40 years, because we find one Mr. John Gorstilowe parson of Wallazey Bury'd January the 9,h 1579 of whom our Old people could never Inform me of any such parson. After Fletcher came Dr- Snell who built
37 See Appendix A (The Church).
38 The church is dedicated to S. Hilary, and though tradition says that it was founded by that saint, there is, I believe, no record of his ever having been in Britain. In " The Early Church in Strathclyde " (Trans. Hist. Soc, vol. xl, n.s. 4), the present Rector of the parish church suggests that the original dedication may possibly have been to S. Kentigern, whose festival is held on the same day; but Mr. Cox's theory ("Wallasey Church," Trans. Ches. Arch. Sac, 1886-7), ascribing the foundation to S. Gerntanus, appears to me quite as probable. S. Gerntanus and S. Lupus were no great distance from Wallasey at the time of the "Victoria Hallelinatica," about the year 447-8, during the second visit of the former to Britain, having been sent by the Gallican Church to suppress the Pelagian Heresy. What more likely than that these foes to heresy would dedicate a church to that greater one of a century earlier, S. Hilary of Poictiers? It is worthy of note that about the time of this visit to Britain, S. Hilary of Ar1es, a brother-in-law of S. Lupus, died, as his friends thought, a martyr's death. May not this have had something to do with the dedication, by two of those friends, of a church to his great namesake?
There is a singular appropriateness in this dedication, S. Hilary always being represented as standing on an island. He is generally surrounded by serpents, and holds several volumes of his writings in his hand, and bears his pastoral staff and mitre. In the illuminated list of rectors, in the vestry of the church, and on the banner bearing his effigy, S. Hilary is represented as holding a model of the old church, in reference to his supposed foundation.