Altcar (St. Michael)

ALTCAR (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Ormskirk, hundred of West Derby, S. division of the county of Lancaster, 6 miles (W. by S.) from Ormskirk; containing 490 inhabitants. This place seems to be the Acrer of the Domesday survey, at which period it was held by Uctred; it was afterwards held by the abbots of Merivale, and continued with them till the Dissolution, soon after which it was possessed by the family of Molyneux. The parish takes its name from the river Alt, and the word car, meaning low land; and comprises 3582 acres, mostly in meadow and pasture: the surface is level, and the soil partly alluvial and partly a sandy loam containing a mixture of marl. The Alt bounds the parish on the south, having various channels by which the marshes here are drained, and the lower lands thus present the appearance of a Dutch farm with drains and embankments. The grounds are subject to floods, which are carried off by a steam-engine, erected in 1842, the water being thrown into the Alt, which merges into the Irish Sea at Formby Point. A large quantity of hay is produced in the parish; and there is a good stone-quarry, the material of which is used for building purposes. A court baron is held annually in May, and an adjourned court in October. The principal village, called Great Altcar, is a straggling place, consisting chiefly of farmhouses, extending on a slight eminence towards the church, which stands in the western extremity of the parish. Little Altcar is a hamlet adjacent to Formby; and Altcar Hall is an ordinary farmhouse, over the door of which were formerly the arms of the noble family of Molyneux. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £108; patron and impropriator, the Earl of Sefton. The church is a neat structure with a campanile tower, erected in 1746, and repaired in 1841. A school, built in 1840, is supported by subscription, aided by £8 per annum from the noble patron; and the interest of a few small bequests is appropriated to the poor. On the coast, near the mouth of the Alt, oak, ash, and fir trees are dug up, after ages of immersion in a subterranean forest at that place.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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