Huyton Origins and History


The township of Huyton is one of ancient origin. In the Domesday survey of 1086 the name of the settlement appeared as Hitune meaning literally 'High Town' and was held, together with the manor of Torboc (Tarbock), by a local lord named Dot. These manor lands were a portion of the area between the Ribble and the Mersey known collectively as the West Derby Hundred (WFN100). The spelling of the township's name varied from Hitune (1086); Houton (1258); to Hyton and Huyton (1292), the latter becoming the recognised spelling from 1300 onwards.

The focal point of Huyton is the historic Parish Church (HU92/12) dedicated to St. Michael which stands (as many churches of this name), occupying high ground on a ridge and therefore visible throughout the township. There may have originally been a Saxon church on this site but a church certainly existed here in the 12th Century for it was granted to the Priory of Burscough, by Robert, son of Henry de Lathom (whose family are remembered by the present-day Lathom Road). The present church building is of medieval origin, which, despite having been subsequently altered over many centuries, retains notable features of the different periods. Within the church is an early Norman font (WFN145) found buried under the Tower in 1872. A second font of octagonal design and a rood screen, which date from the 15th Century, were added later. The list of past clergy begins with Richard de Walton who was rector in 1254.

In the 14th Century, the lordship of the 'de Lathom' lands including Huyton, Roby and Knowsley, changed to the Stanley family by marriage. In 1485, Thomas, Lord Stanley, became the first Earl of Derby (KN47), a title given to him by Henry VII in appreciation for the Stanley family's support at the Battle of Bosworth. Also around this time the Harrington family acquired the tenancy of the manor of Huyton Hey by marriage. From that time the two families were to figure heavily in Huyton's future.

The descent of the Harringtons remained supporters of the Catholic faith throughout the Reformation period. However, due to broken lines of descent, the manor of Huyton Hey passed to the Molyneux family, later becoming Molyneux-Seel through the female line. A portion of the Molyneux-Seel land Huyton Hey Manor farm (HU26) on Huyton Hey Road, is the township's oldest surviving secular building. Originally with a datestone of 1670, it was recently renovated and enlarged, and now houses a residential care home (WFN2). Adjacent to Huyton Hey Manor is a small park area called Paradise, which was made into a children's playground by the local Council after the land was donated by Lady Carr-Saunders (formerly Molyneux-Seel).

With changing industrial development during the 19th Century, the area of Huyton Quarry expanded rapidly. Quarrying took place here, as did coal mining; the area at various times boasted a coarse earthenware pottery, an iron works, a gas works, a blue works, an electric lamp works (WH94:A2/3) and later a chairmaking factory. Short streets of terraced housing (HU88) were built throughout this portion of the township to accommodate the workforce.

Other places of worship appeared during the 19th Century. Park Hall (HU187) the original Congregational Church in Huyton Hey Road, was built in 1856 with the attached school (LS/X/168) completed in 1861. In 1890, a larger church (WFN79) at the junction of Victoria Road and Seel Road was built. Similarly, the original Roman Catholic Chapel of St. Agnes (LS/X/135) of 1861, was replaced by a modern style structure completed in 1965.

Railway transport brought inevitable change to the area following the success of Stephenson's Rocket at the nearby Rainhill Trials and the subsequent development of the Liverpool to Manchester Railway in the 1830's. Huyton station (WFN83) remains today a vital link in the local transport system.

Although much of old Huyton village was pulled down in the 1960's to make way for road widening and the Shopping Centre (HU20), there are still buildings of note remaining within other parts of the township. These include Hurst House (WFN45), built around 1830 (now occupied by the clubhouse of the local golf club), and The Hazels (WFN106), an impressive red brick house of 1764, which for many years was part of the C. F. Mott Teacher Training College on Liverpool Road. During the 19th Century it was also the home for members of the Pilkington family, the glass-makers of St. Helens. The site is once again being developed, with the Hazels becoming a hotel within a new business park complex.

Huyton College (HU93/189), close to Huyton Station, was a complex of Victorian villas, which became collectively Liverpool College for Girls (HU319). Although the school opened in 1894, some of its outlying buildings in 'The Orchard' and St. Mary's Road, date from the 1850's and were formerly occupied by merchants and ship owners. Other surviving large old buildings are now employed as residential homes for the elderly, including Thornton Leigh (WFN74) in Huyton Lane and Yewtree, on Roby Road, now called St. Helena's.

The Beecham (HU264) family resided for many years in Huyton. Their estate encompassed the area now occupied by Blacklow Brow, The Rooley, and part of Tarbock Road. Their residence, Ewanville (HU249) was occupied by the family between 1885-1928. A few years later, the estate was sold and developed.

During the Second World War, some houses in the Jeffrey's Crescent (HU54) area around Page Moss and the Coronation Drive and Reva Road area in Swanside were damaged by bombing which took place from late 1940, up to the 'May Blitz' of 1941 during which, a number of civilians were killed. Also, early in the war, an internment camp (HU94/14) was set up in Huyton to house German and Austrian nationals who had been detained for fear of collaboration and spying. They were placed in unoccupied council housing where a number of streets were fenced off with barbed wire.

Huyton expanded greatly when land owned by Lord Derby was sold to the Liverpool Corporation in the 1930s. Housing estates, mostly post-war, appeared over a wide area and this increase in population required changes to Huyton-with-Roby's infrastructure. Redevelopment took place around the Derby Road and Archway Road area (HU167) which included road alterations and the demolition of many old structures such as the old Infants School building (HU92/43) and bank building (HU228), as Huyton Village was transformed into a modern town centre. This change is clearly evident through a study of photographs of Derby Road taken in the 1870s (HU147), the 1950s (HU153) and in 1977(HU20) before it was pedestrianised. (figures in brackets are reference numbers of photos in the main site)




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