Monday, 4 September 2017

St. Mary's Church, Walton, Liverpool

There has been a place of worship on the site of St. Mary's Church probably for over a 1000 years; the circular perimeter wall around the church suggests a pre-conquest religious site, akin to some early medieval Welsh churches, and indeed the name Walton suggests a Romano-British settlement. There is also a Saxon cross shaft that can still be seen in the church that has been dated to the tenth century and a church on the site was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. This church was rebuilt in 1326, and was subsequently added to during the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the church we see today was, apart from the tower, rebuilt between 1947 and 1953, after being destroyed by bombing in 1941.

The church site has many other historical features; the Grammar School is situated nearby and, according to the information supplied by the school, has a foundation date of the late 1400s, though the building itself was only erected in 1615. The school closed in 1871 and a famous Welsh name associated with both the church and the school during the eighteenth century was the poet Goronwy Owen, who was Curate in the 1750s. There is also a Norman font, old gravestones that reveal old local names such as James Musker, and Nicholas Gregson - a bricklayer from Liverpool. A Pierre Melly drinking fountain can be found in the church yard wall, now sadly vandalised and out of use. The church and Grammar School combine to create a true hidden historical gem of Liverpool, and you can still feel the village-like atmosphere set within a historical oasis, a feeling that can be extended when sat in the beer garden of the Black Horse next door.

The weathered sandstone base of a cross outside the church. 

The Norman Font. Modern repairs can be seen after it sustained damage from the bombing in 1941.

The Saxon cross shaft.

The Grammar School building.

The tower of St. Mary's Church.

The pitted sandstone of the church yard wall.

The Melly drinking fountain showing date.

Bedford Road opposite the church stretched down to the docks.

All photos by Dr David Harrison

© Dr David Harrison 2017

1 comment:

  1. An interesting post. I like the concept of bringing the Saxon Cross into the middle of the church (they normally lurk at the back or the porch).