Place:Kirkby, Lancashire, England

TypeParish, Urban district
Coordinates53.483°N 2.9°W
Located inLancashire, England     ( - 1974)
Also located inMerseyside, England     (1974 - )
See alsoWest Derby Hundred, Lancashire, Englandhundred in which it was located
Walton on the Hill, Lancashire, Englandancient parish in which it was located
Sefton Rural, Lancashire, Englandrural district in which it was located 1894-1922
Whiston Rural, Lancashire, Englandrural district in which it was located 1922-1958
Knowsley (metropolitan area), Merseyside, Englandmetropolitan borough in which it has been located since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
NOTE: The name Kirkby, meaning "town with a church" is to be found in a number of other counties in England. Within Lancashire there is also Kirkby Ireleth, located north of what is now Greater Manchester.

the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Kirkby (#7 on the map) is now a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley in the metropolitan county of Merseyside in England. Until 1974 Kirkby was in the county of Lancashire where it had been an urban district since 1958 and a civil parish from 1866. From the 1950s through 1970s the town was developed as a means to house the overspill of Liverpool. The population of the town as of the 2011 UK census is 40,472.

Before the establishment of urban and rural districts in 1894, Kirkby had been a township in the ancient parish of Walton on the Hill. In 1894 it was placed in Sefton Rural District which was abolished in 1922. Kirkby was then transferred to Whiston Rural District. It became an independent urban district in 1958.

In 1974 its area was combined with that of Huyton with Roby Urban District, Prescot Urban District, further parts of Whiston Rural District and parts of West Lancashire Rural District to form the present-day Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley in Merseyside, England.

The administrative headquarters of the borough of Knowsley are shared between Knowsley itself and Huyton, about 5 miles to the south.

Image:Whiston Rural with titles.png


Ownership of the land containing modern-day Kirkby – established as the West Derby Hundred in the 11th century – passed through many hands until 1596, when the Molyneux family purchased the hundred in its entirety. In 1771 the Molyneux family were made Earls of Sefton.

Although Kirkby remained agricultural in nature until the mid 20th century, initial transport links to the area began in 1848 with the building of the Liverpool and Bury Railway which passed through what was then the township of Kirkby. The East Lancashire Road (the A580) added road connections in 1935 and industrial development was being considered prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. A Royal Ordnance munitions factory was established in 1939 and completed in 1941. At its peak, the factory employed over 20,000 workers.

After the war Kirkby expanded by providing overspill housing for Liverpool, whose housing stock had been much reduced by the Blitz. A population of 3,000 in 1951 swelled to over 52,000 by 1961, making it by far the fastest growing community in the UK.

Research Tips

  • See the Wikipedia articles on parishes and civil parishes for descriptions of this lowest rung of local administration. The original parishes (known as ancient parishes) were ecclesiastical, under the jurisdiction of the local priest. A parish covered a specific geographical area and was sometimes equivalent to that of a manor. Sometimes, in the case of very large rural parishes, there were chapelries where a "chapel of ease" allowed parishioners to worship closer to their homes. In the 19th century the term civil parish was adopted to define parishes with a secular form of local government. In WeRelate both civil and ecclesiastical parishes are included in the type of place called a "parish". Smaller places within parishes, such as chapelries and hamlets, have been redirected into the parish in which they are located. The names of these smaller places are italicized within the text.
  • Rural districts were groups of geographically close civil parishes in existence between 1894 and 1974. They were formed as a middle layer of administration between the county and the civil parish. Inspecting the archives of a rural district will not be of much help to the genealogist or family historian, unless there is need to study land records in depth.
  • Civil registration or vital statistics and census records will be found within registration districts. To ascertain the registration district to which a parish belongs, see Registration Districts in Lancashire, part of the UK_BMD website.
  • Lancashire Online Parish Clerks provide free online information from the various parishes, along with other data of value to family and local historians conducting research in the County of Lancashire.
  • FamilySearch Lancashire Research Wiki provides a good overview of the county and also articles on most of the individual parishes (very small or short-lived ones may have been missed).
  • Ancestry (international subscription necessary) has a number of county-wide collections of Church of England baptisms, marriages and burials, some from the 1500s, and some providing microfilm copies of the manuscript entries. There are specific collections for Liverpool (including Catholic baptisms and marriages) and for Manchester. Their databases now include electoral registers 1832-1935. Another pay site is FindMyPast.
  • A map of Lancashire circa 1888 supplied by A Vision of Britain through Time includes the boundaries between the parishes and shows the hamlets within them.
  • A map of Lancashire circa 1954 supplied by A Vision of Britain through Time is a similar map for a later timeframe.
  • GENUKI provides a website covering many sources of genealogical information for Lancashire. The organization is gradually updating the website and the volunteer organizers may not have yet picked up all the changes that have come with improving technology.
  • The Victoria County History for Lancashire, provided by British History Online, covers the whole of the county in six volumes (the seventh available volume [numbered Vol 2] covers religious institutions). The county is separated into its original hundreds and the volumes were first published between 1907 and 1914. Most parishes within each hundred are covered in detail. Maps within the text can contain historical information not available elsewhere.
  • A description of the township of Kirkby from British History Online (Victoria County Histories), published 1911
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Kirkby. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.