Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Hale Village, near Liverpool

I normally post up a summary of the latest history walk around a part of Liverpool so the students can be reminded of some of the historical details and share the photos. The most recent history walk was around Hale village, situated on the Mersey in-between Widnes and Speke, a hidden gem of a village with a rich history indeed.

Hale has managed to keep its village feel despite the industry on the Mersey and is now somewhat out-of-the-way, tucked on the banks of river, but up until the eighteenth century, a ford over the river leading into the village was one of the main crossing points. The church has a tower that dates from the fourteenth century, the rest of the church dating from 1758-9, though there were later restorations and additions, especially after a fire in 1977. There was Hale Hall, situated in what is now the park, and had been the seat of the Ireland family from the medieval period. The Ireland family married into the Blackburne family, and the Hall continued to the residence of the family until the 1930s, and was demolished in 1981. Sir Winston Churchill was said to have stayed at the Hall.

There is also the ‘Childe of Hale’, a resident giant John Middleton, born 1578 – 1623 and was 9 feet 3 inches tall, who, according to the story,  was the body guard to Sir Gilbert Ireland. Ireland took Middleton down to London were he fought the Kings champion and won, and on his way back to Hale, he stopped off at Brasenose College where he left a hand print that was still on display for Samuel Pepys to mention in his diary on the 9th June 1668. The giants grave is in the church yard. The aesthetic feel of the village is helped by the thatched cottages, one of which is said to have been Middleton’s cottage.
The gatehouse for Hale Hall, now the entrance for the park 

Date of 1876 on the mock-Tudor gatehouse

Vine Cottage dated 1858

A cottage in Hale

According to local tradition, this was the giants cottage, his legs sticking out of the two windows when he slept. It's a nice tradition. 

The front of the 'Giants Cottage'.

Another thatched cottage in Hale.

The interior of St. Mary's Church in Hale.

The hatchments in the church are copies, the originals destroyed in the fire of 1977. The commemorative brasses still show the creases from the heat of the blaze.

The door to the belfry.

The winding steps that lead to the top of the tower which dates from the fourteenth century.

The gravestone of John Maddock who drowned in the Mersey in 1819. Hale was also a fishing village and many young men from the village earned a living from the river, be it fishing or trade.

The Giants grave in the church yard.

Just outside Hale village is the Beehive pub.

The date above the door shows 1805.

A barn opposite the Beehive.

All photos by Dr David Harrison
© Dr David Harrison 2017.

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