Place:West Derby Hundred, Lancashire, England


NameWest Derby Hundred
Coordinates53.43°N 2.91°W
Located inLancashire, England
:the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

The hundred of West Derby was an ancient division of the historic county of Lancashire, in northern England. It was sometimes known as West Derbyshire, the name alluding to its judicial centre being the township of West Derby (the suffix -shire meaning the territory was appropriated to the prefixed settlement).

It corresponds roughly to areas of Merseyside north of the River Mersey and also covered parts of the modern West Lancashire Borough, Wigan Borough of Greater Manchester, and Warrington Borough and Halton Borough in Cheshire.

The ancient ecclesiastical parishes included were:

The ancient parishes were ecclesiastical and covered a specific geographical area, sometimes equivalent to that held by a manor. Usually a parish was divided into townships, some of which were chapelries where there was a "chapel of ease" allowing inhabitants to worship closer to their homes. The priests in charge of the ancient parishes were responsible for recording births, marriages and burials, but if a chapelry had a permanent priest in charge, the records might be held at the local chapelry instead.

The names of the ancient parishes, their townships and chapelries have developed (not without alterations here and there) into the names of the civil parishes we are familiar with today.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Domesday Book

When the Domesday Book was compiled in 1086, this hundred was composed of three separate hundreds of West Derby, Warrington and Newton in Makerfield. The hundreds possibly united in the time of Henry I who reigned from 1100 to 1135. The hundred is surrounded on the west by the Irish Sea and in the southwest and south by the River Mersey and the smaller Glazebrook, to the east is Salford Hundred and to the northeast the River Douglas and Leyland Hundred.

Apart from the manor which contained West Derby Castle, said to have been built by Roger of Poitou, there were several other manors which were owned by the Lord of the manor for his own use. At the time of the Conquest in 1066 these manors incorporated six berewicks (or supporting farms) encompassing the villages of Thingwall, Liverpool, Great Crosby, Aintree, Everton, Garston and Hale.

Expansion of the boundaries

By the end of the 12th century the three separate hundreds had united and West Derby Castle was an important administrative centre rivalling the town of Lancaster in the north of the county. Its position was strengthened by its proximity to the Port of Liverpool, which was founded by King John (reigned 1199 to 1216), trade with the county of Cheshire across the River Mersey and the passage of ferries from Liverpool to Birkenhead.

Court and laws on the hundred

During the existence of the hundred a Wapentake court was held every three weeks with the steward of the hundred officiating. There had been a courthouse in West Derby since the time of the Vikings. The present courthouse situated in West Derby is from a building which was constructed during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The court was used for the presentation of minor offences, or breaches of any laws within the hundred.[1] The King, or lord of the manor had his own bailiff, who was the officer to the sheriff, who had the duty to ensure peace within the hundred and collect any taxes or levys from the people. From the reign of Stephen of England (died 1154) to that of Henry IV (reigned 1399-1413), this office was a hereditary title held by members of the Walton family of Walton on the Hill. By the fifteenth century the master of the forest was held by members of the Molyneux family, who also held the title of steward of the hundred.

Land changes hands

On 18 October 1229, Henry III granted all land from the Ribble to the Mersey, including West Derby, Liverpool, the village of Salford, and the wapentake of Leyland to Ranulf, Earl of Chester and Lincoln. When he died in 1232 without any heir the land was inherited by William de Ferrers, through his wife Agnes, sister of the late earl.[1] The land was then passed on to his son William, and then to his son Robert. In 1263, Robert held court against several people who had committed offences against the deer of his forest. In 1266 he rebelled against the rule of the King Henry III and was beaten at the Battle of Chesterfield, following this he was stripped of his title and land, which returned to the hands of the Crown, which was then given to Edmund, the King's second son, who was later created Earl of Lancaster. The title and land followed the line of descent of honour of Lancaster from Edmund until it was merged into the Crown in 1413, and is vested in the reigning monarch.

Research Tips

  • In 1974 Lancashire was broken into four parts: Great Manchester, Merseyside (covering Liverpool and its environs), the section beyond Morecambe Bay known as the Lake District which became part of Cumbria, and the central part which remains as Lancashire.
  • Lancashire Record Office. Address: Bow Lane, Preston PR1 2RE; Tel: 01772 533039; Email:
  • Cumbria Archives or Barrow Archive and Local Studies Centre. Address: Ramsden Square, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria LA14 1LL; Tel: 01229 407377; Email:
  • Greater Manchester County Record Office located at Great Manchester Central Library, St. Peter's Square, City Centre, M2 5PD; Tel: (Library: 0161 234 1983; Archives & special collections: 0161 234 1979); Email (Library:, Archives & special collections: This covers the ten metropolitan boroughs that have made up Greater Manchester since 1974 and the former county boroughs, urban and rural districts from which they were formed.
  • Liverpool Record Office Address: William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EW; Tel: not provided; Email: This covers the five metropolitan boroughs that have made up Liverpool since 1974 and the former county boroughs, urban and rural districts from which they were formed.
  • County Library Headquarters (for Lancashire), P O Box 61, County Hall, Preston, PR1 8RJ. Lancashire County Libraries have a list of addresses and telephone numbers of local libraries in the modern administrative county of Lancashire. Guide to Lancashire Local Studies Collections, published by Lancashire County Library, gives information about which libraries have local studies sections, the records they hold, and the name of the library holding the information for towns without their own local studies library. Presumably, Preston Harris Library (found in this list) is the central library for the county.
  • John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester has a major collection on Methodists.
  • GENUKI has a page on the entire county of Lancashire and pages for each of the ecclesiastical parishes in the county. Under each parish there is a list of the settlements within it and brief description of each. The list is based on a gazetteer dated 1835 and there may have been a number of alterations to the parish setup since then. However, it is worthwhile information for the pre civil registration period. GENUKI provides references to other organizations who hold genealogical information for the local area.
  • The FamilyTree Wiki has a series of pages similar to those provided by GENUKI which may have been prepared at a later date from more recent data. The wiki has a link to English Jurisdictions 1851 which gives the registration district and wapentake for each parish, together with statistics from the 1851 census for the area.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time, Lancashire, section "Units and Statistics" leads to analyses of population and organization of the county from about 1800 through 1974. There are pages available for all civil parishes, municipal boroughs and other administrative divisions. Descriptions provided are usually based on a gazetteer of 1870-72.
  • The above three maps indicate the boundaries between parishes, and the wider boundaries between rural districts, urban districts, and municipal and county boroughs. Do inspect the Reference Box when using the second and third maps to understand the colour key and the different boundary types.
  • GENUKI lists 19 family history and genealogical societies. There is no guarantee of the continuing existence of any of the societies and the individual websites may or may not be up to date.
  • 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.
  • Rootsweb mailing lists still have entries for the county, for Merseyside, and for individual towns and cities. The Lancashire Rootsweb page includes a list of webpages produced by family historians with connections in the county. Some of these pages may no longer exist.
  • Deceased Online has nearly 5 million records for 60+ cemeteries and crematoria in Lancashire and Greater Manchester available on the website. Wyre Council's four cemeteries are located in Fleetwood, Poulton le Fylde and Preesall added Aug 2015. They provide information going back to 1840, digital scans (or computerised versions) of original burial registers, details of all grave occupants in each cemetery, maps indicating the section in each cemetery for all graves
  • Victoria County History - Lancaster from British History Online (Victoria County Histories), published in book form in the early years of the 20th century. The online Victoria County Histories for Lancashire appear to be complete with 7 volumes (starting at #2). The early volumes of this series (including Volume 1: Natural History to Feudal Baronage) are also online courtesy of the Open Library References to specific parishes will be added to individual place pages in WeRelate as time permits.
  • A description of West Derby Hundred from British History Online (Victoria County Histories), published 1911
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at West Derby Hundred. 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.