Derby, West (St. Mary)

DERBY, WEST (St. Mary), a district parish, and the head of a union, in the parish of Walton-on-the-Hill, hundred of West Derby, S. division of the county of Lancaster, 4 miles (N. E.) from Liverpool; containing 16,864 inhabitants. The "Wood of Derby" is described in the Perambulation of the Forests, 12th Henry III., when it was exempted from being disafforested. In the 50th of the same reign, the honour of Derby, with the manor and lands of West Derby, and other places, that belonged to Robert de Ferrers, one of the rebellious barons, was bestowed upon Edmund, Earl of Lancaster: and in 1320, Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, gave the manor of "Westderby juxta Leverpole" to Robert de Holland. On Henry de Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster, becoming king, this, with other manors, went to the crown, with which it remained until the time of Charles I. The manor afterwards passed to various families, among whom were the Stanleys, Legays, and more recently the Greens. The heiress of the last was married to Bamber Gascoyne, Esq., of Childwall; and his daughter, by marriage with the Marquess of Salisbury, conveyed the estate to that noble family. In the Saxon era West Derby was probably the capital of the hundred; and a mound of earth, removed some years ago by Mr. Gascoyne, indicated by its name, Castle Hill, the site of the ancient castle.

The parish is seven miles long and five broad, and includes two of the principal suburbs of Liverpool, with portions of the parliamentary borough; it stands on rising ground, commanding beautiful views of the surrounding country. The Zoological gardens of Liverpool are here; they occupy a pleasant site, encompassed by elevated land, and the natural features of the spot have been judiciously improved by art. The only house of early date is that, not appropriately, called New Hall, the residence for many generations of a branch of the Molyneux family; but the district abounds in elegant modern mansions and villas. Yew-Tree House, with 60 acres, is the property and seat of Lawrence Heyworth, Esq., who also owns Rice House, with 40 acres, occupied by Joshua Heap, Esq. Deysbrook, the seat of R. B. B. H. Blundell, Esq., was rebuilt in 1847, from the designs of Mr. Smirke. The Elms is the seat of Mrs. Mary Thornton and daughters; Staplands, that of the Misses Molyneux; and Ashfield House, that of Mrs. John Clarke. Croxteth Hall is noticed under its own head. Tue-Brook Villa, situated three miles from Liverpool, a private asylum for insane persons in the higher ranks of society, under the management of Mr. and Mrs. Owen, is a handsome building in the Italian style, and admirably adapted for the comfort and classification of the inmates. The court-house for the barony and manor is a dark stone edifice, in which are frequently held courts leet for portions of the hundred.

The living is a rectory, in the patronage of John Stewart, Esq., of Liverpool; income, £1300. The parish church is a plain structure, in the centre of the village. St. James' church was built at a cost of £8000, in 1847, and is in the early English style, with a tower, and a very beautiful interior; it was erected at the sole expense of Mrs. Thornton, of The Elms, in whom the patronage is vested: the living is a perpetual curacy, with an income of £150. St. Jude's church, in Hardwick-street, built in 1841, on ground given by the Marquess of Salisbury, is in the style of the 13th century, and is of brick, with stone pinnacles and ornaments; the cost of its erection was £9000: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of five Trustees. Two full services are performed every Sunday, and a lecture is delivered every Wednesday, at the Union-Workhouse chapel, in Mill-road, Everton. There are also churches at Stanley (or Old Swan), Knotty-Ash, and Edge-Hill, which places are separately described. A Roman Catholic chapel, called Gillmoss chapel, is situated in West Derby, about a mile from Croxteth Hall; it was built in 1823, at a cost of £2500, on a site given by the late Earl of Sefton, and is a plain but neat edifice of brick, in the Grecian style, 75 feet in length and 40 in breadth, accommodating between 400 and 500 persons. Among the schools is one endowed with lands and money in the funds, producing together £34 per annum; and attached to the Roman Catholic chapel is a spacious school for boys and girls, completed in 1840, on a piece of ground the gift of the present Earl of Sefton. The poor law union of West Derby comprises 23 parishes or places, and contains a population of 66,032.—See Liverpool.

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