Hale

HALE, a chapelry, in the parish of Childwall, union of Prescot, hundred of West Derby, S. division of Lancashire, 11½ miles (W. S. W.) from Warrington; containing 645 inhabitants. Among the families connected with this place have been the Waltons, Hollands, Irelands, and Blackburnes: Sir John de Hibernia, ancestor of the Irelands, came over with the Conqueror, and was buried at Hale chapel in 1088. The township is beautifully situated on the northern bank of the river Mersey; it forms the most southern point of land in Lancashire, and comprises 1626 acres. The village is a delightful spot, and one of the most ancient villages in the county: it received a charter from John, of a market and a fair. The Hall, the seat of John Ireland Blackburne, Esq., who is lord of the manor, is a very ancient mansion of brick, with stone ornaments, and a great part of it is covered with ivy: the north front was built in 1674 by Sir Gilbert Ireland; the south front was rebuilt in 1809, from designs by Nash. In the garden and conservatories are numerous fine specimens of rare and exotic plants; among them are, the Corktree, the Tea-tree, and the Sabal Blackburnia, or Blackburne-Palm, considered to be the largest of the kind in Europe: it was presented to the family by Lord Petre, in 1737. On the west side of the parsonage-green is an antique vine, by tradition more than 300 years old; the stem is about a foot in diameter: although rugged, and perforated in several places by age, it still spreads its branches luxuriantly over the adjoining cottages, and produces fruit. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of Mr. Blackburne. The tithes have been commuted for £140, payable to the Bishop of Chester's lessee, Sir John Gerard, Bart., £42. 2. to the vicar, and £1. 17. 9. to the incumbent of the chapel, whose glebe contains 27½ acres. The chapel, dedicated to St. Mary, was rebuilt in 1754, and has tablets to the memory of Sir Gilbert Ireland and others, the maternal ancestors of the present proprietor. A school is endowed with a house and garden valued at £12 per annum, and the interest of £150, for the education of 12 children; the other scholars pay. The interest of £100, to be distributed in cloth to the poor on the 22nd of November in each year; and the interest of another £100, to be distributed on Sundays at Hale chapel, were bequeathed by William Part, the founder of the endowed school. John Middleton, a man nine feet three inches in height, was born here in 1578. In 1617 Sir Gilbert Ireland took him to the court of James I., where he wrestled with the king's wrestler; he died in 1623, and was buried in the churchyard. A portrait of this gigantic person, who was called "the Childe of Hale," is to be seen in the library of Brasenose College, Oxford; and a likeness of him is also preserved at High Leigh.

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

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