Much Woolton, Lancashire Genealogy

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England Gotoarrow.png Lancashire Gotoarrow.png Lancashire Parishes

Chapelry History

Much Woolton is an Ecclesiastical Parish in the county of Lancashire, created in 1827 from Childwall, Lancashire Ancient Parish in the Prescot deanery of the Diocese of Chester.

Other places in the parish include: Thingwell [ Thingwall].

In 1826 a chapel was built on a site a little below the present building. Holding around 200 people the church was built of the locally quarried sandstone. The population of Woolton village grew steadily in the 19th century and the church was felt to be too small. The church records indicate that the building was somewhat of an eyesore and built “in the worst style of British church architecture”. By 1885 matters came to a head and it was decided that a new church should be built.

A number of wealthy merchants had moved into Woolton by this time and they agreed to support the building of the new church. The foundation stone was laid in 1886 and it opened for worship on 31st the following year. The old church was taken down stone by stone and reassembled in the Toxteth district of Liverpool. The new church was built from local sandstone in the so-called perpendicular style developed in the late 15th century.

The 90-ft high bell tower contains 8 bells and is the highest point in Liverpool with commanding views of Lancashire, Cheshire and the Welsh hills.

The modern parish of Much Woolton St Peter is in the Diocese of Liverpool.

WOOLTON, MUCH, a chapelry, in the parish of Childwall, union of Prescot, hundred of West Derby, S. division of Lancashire, 6 miles (E. S. E.) from Liverpool; containing 2216 inhabitants. The ancient name Wolveton points to a Saxon proprietor, Wolf; of whom, however, there is no record. The Irelands, of Hutt, the Lathoms, of Parbold, the Norreses, and the Bretarghs, the last of whom held the Hall, were early proprietors; and the Knights of St. John had a house here, their lands lying in Little Woolton. The property is now held of the crown by the Marquess of Salisbury, lord of Childwall. The chapelry comprises 930 acres, and is beautifully situated amidst hill and dale; the air is salubrious, and mansions of the wealthy abound. Among the seats are, Woolton Wood, that of Henry Ashton, Esq.; Beaconsfield House, of Ambrose Lace, Esq.; and the seats of John Crosthwaite, Esq., and Mrs. Thomas Foster, on Woolton Hill. The views are extensive from the higher grounds, including the course of the Mersey, the Cheshire hills, and the mountains of Wales. A large stone-quarry is wrought. The chapel, dedicated to St. Peter, is a handsome structure of stone, with a tower and small dome; it was erected in 1826, and enlarged in 1840. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Vicar of Childwall; net income, £170, with a house. The tithes of Much Woolton and Thingwall have been commuted for £145 payable to the lessee of the Bishop of Chester, and £35. 5. to the vicar. Woolton Priory, in a luxuriant vale below the village, consists of a Roman Catholic chapel, built more than a century ago; a house for the priest, the Rev. Samuel Phillips, who has been 22 years resident; two schools, and five acres of land. In the chapel is an altar-piece, the Enthronement of the Virgin, by Perugino; also the Taking down from the Cross, by Quintin Matsys; the Entombment of Christ, after Vandyke; an Ecce Homo, and other paintings. The Wesleyans have a place of worship; and there are excellent schools connected with the Established Church. Some springs on the hill are strongly impregnated with iron.

From: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis (1848), pp. 663-670. URL: Date accessed: 03 August 2010.

The Beatles connection

Almost certainly the most important meeting in popular music history” is how the first meeting of John Lennon and Paul McCartney has recently been described. The meeting took place at St Peter’s Church Hall on the evening of Saturday, 6th July 1957
Whilst waiting to play at the church dance that night, John Lennon and the other members of the Quarrymen Skiffle Group were introduced to the young Paul McCartney by a mutual friend.

Although Paul McCartney has denied any association with the Eleanor Rigby of the song, the headstone of Eleanor Rigby can be found in the graveyard of St Peter.

Eleanor Rigby gravestone Woolton Lancashire.jpg

As with many of McCartney's songs, the melody and first line of the song came to him as he was playing around on his piano. The name that came to him, though, was not Eleanor Rigby but Miss Daisy Hawkins. In 1966, McCartney recalled how he got the idea for his song:

A promotional poster for the single from the UK.“ I was sitting at the piano when I thought of it. The first few bars just came to me, and I got this name in my head... 'Daisy Hawkins picks up the rice in the church'. I don't know why. I couldn't think of much more so I put it away for a day. Then the name Father McCartney came to me, and all the lonely people. But I thought that people would think it was supposed to be about my Dad sitting knitting his socks. Dad's a happy lad. So I went through the telephone book and I got the name McKenzie. ”

Others believe that Father McKenzie refers to 'Father' Tommy McKenzie, who was the compere at Northwich Memorial Hall.

McCartney said he came up with the name Eleanor from actress Eleanor Bron, who had starred with The Beatles in the film Help!. Rigby came from the name of a store in Bristol, Rigby & Evens Ltd, Wine & Spirit Shippers, that he noticed while seeing his then-girlfriend Jane Asher act in The Happiest Days Of Your Life. He recalled in 1984, "I just liked the name. I was looking for a name that sounded natural. Eleanor Rigby sounded natural."


Civil Registration

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Online index of Lancashire Births, Marriages and Deaths Lancashire BMD

  • Prescot

Church records

Include here information for parish registers, Bishop’s Transcripts and other types of church records, such as parish chest records. Add the contact information for the office holding the original records. Add links to the Family History Library Catalog showing the film numbers in their collection

Parish registers for Woolton, 1826-1904 Microfilm copy of original records housed at the Liverpool Record Office, Central Library, Liverpool.
Liverpool Record Office call no.: 283 WOO 2/1-3; 3/1; 4/1-3; 5/1.
Woolton is a chapelry in Childwall parish.

Baptisms, 1826-1889; Marriages, 1837-1904.
2147929 Items 4 - 7
Burials, 1839-1901; Banns, 1839-1890.
2147930 Items 1 - 4

Bishop's transcripts for Halewood, 1839-1871 Microfilm of original records at the Lancashire Record Office, Preston.
Includes records of Woolton.
Woolton is a chapelry in the parish of Childwall.

Baptisms 1839-1871 (Halewood); baptisms 1826-1874, burials 1830-1854 (Woolton).
1068855 Item 3

Census records

Include an overview if there is any unique information, such as the census for X year was destroyed. Add a link to online sites for indexes and/or images. Also add a link to the Family History Library Catalog showing the film numbers in their collection. for details of public houses in the 1881 census

Poor Law Unions

Prescot Poor Law Union, Lancashire

Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Lancashire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.

Web sites

Add any relevant sites that aren’t mentioned above. forinformation about the parish and virtual tour of the church British History online