Wallasey (St. Hilary)
WALLASEY (St. Hilary), a parish, in the union, and Lower division of the hundred, of Wirrall, S. division of the county of Chester; containing, with the villages of Egremont and New Brighton, the township of Seacombe with Poolton, and the township of Liscard, 6261 inhabitants, of whom 942 are in Wallasey township. This parish, situated in the north-west corner of the county, is a peninsula of triangular form, bounded on the west by the Irish Sea, on the north-east by the Mersey, and on the south-east by a branch of the Mersey, called Wallasey Pool or the new Birkenhead Float. Bordering on the sea are sand-hills, forming a natural barrier against its encroachments. Many handsome houses and marine villas have been erected on the banks of the Mersey, and the villages near the river are much frequented for bathing. An act was passed in 1845 for paving, lighting, and otherwise improving the parish, and for establishing a market. By the sea side is an ancient mansion denominated Mockbeggar Hall, or more properly, Leasowe Castle, formerly a seat of the Egertons. The building originally consisted only of an octagonal tower, with square turrets on the alternate faces; in 1818 great additions were made to it, and many alterations since, so that the castle is now of considerable extent. It is a decorative stone structure containing several handsome apartments, among which is one fitted up with the oak panelling that covered the walls of the celebrated Star Chamber at Westminster, and which was purchased on the demolition of the old Exchequer Buildings, in 1836. Between the village and the shore is the inclosure (formerly a common) named the Leasowe, where races, of very early origin, were held till 1760; here the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth ran his horse, in the reign of Charles II., won the plate, and presented it to the daughter of the mayor of Chester. The parish comprises 3276 acres, whereof 3015 are in cultivation, and the remainder sand-hills, which are now designed for building-plots: 1789 acres are in Wallasey township. The soil varies from stiff marl to sand; the general surface is flat, and there are some quarries of sandstone. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £11. 0. 2½.; net income, £393; patron, the Bishop of Chester. A tithe rent-charge of £230 is paid to the bishop, and one of like amount to the rector, who has 30 acres of glebe. The church, rebuilt about 90 years since, except the tower, which bears date 1560, stands in the centre of the parish, on a hill composed of red-sandstone: it was enlarged in 1837. There were two other churches prior to the Dissolution, appropriated to Birkenhead Abbey, but no traces exist of them, though a path is still called the Kirkway. A school is endowed with land producing £90 per annum. Near the rectory-house, under an ash-tree, is a very large and curious bed of muscle-shells. At Egremont and Seacombe are separate incumbencies, of recent creation.
Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.