After leaving the historic village of Sefton, we headed for Little Crosby, via a quick stop to look at the War Memorial in the village of Hightown…
Status: Sefton District, Merseyside (historically Lancashire), Village, England
Eating & Sleeping: N/A
Attractions: Hightown War Memorial, Merseyrail, Little Crosby Hall, Crosby Hall Educational Trust (CHET), St Mary’s Church, Little Crosby Museum etc
On the way towards Little Crosby, we pulled up briefly in the small village of Hightown, at the centre of which stands the Hightown War Memorial. It was designed by Herbert Tyson Smith (1883 – 1972, Liverpool Sculptor), and features a large kneeling Angel bearing a wreath on top of the main column.
Hightown is well known for an old military base called “Fort Crosby”, the remains of which can be found on Hightown beach. The Fort saw much use during World War II, with Prisoners of War from both Germany and Italy being held here. It was later decommissioned as it is no longer in use.
Until sometime in the 20th century, the Fort was accompanied by the Hightown Lighthouse, built in 1839. It sadly later burnt down, and no trace of it remains.
Flowing into the Irish Sea at Hightown is the river Alt, where a number of batteries from the War stand. It is rather poignant that to create them, rubble from the Bootle Blitz of 1941 was used, from the destroyed houses in the nearby town of Bootle. To access the village you can take a train from either Liverpool Central or Southport, at either end of the Northern Line of the Merseyrail Network which stops in Hightown.
Moving on, we made a quick stop at the “Crosby Hall Educational Trust (CHET), an educational attraction for children and young people housed in the old stables of Little Crosby Hall. In the 1st picture you can see the main buildings of the trust, which were once farm buildings, listed as dating back to the 18th century.
The 2nd picture features the Dutch Barn, created in the 19th century as a Hay Barn, however it is now used for storage, mainly for vehicles. In the final picture the stables themselves can be seen, where the horses would originally have been kept. They were closed off when we visited so I am unsure whether there are still horses there or not, but I am guessing not.
This complex of buildings is incredible, and unlike anything else we have seen in this area. It’s almost like an old-timey village all on it’s own, and it’s a shame we couldn’t see the Hall itself. Little Crosby Hall is private, and located down a small road that runs next to the Stables. It dates back to 1786, when the previous house of 1609 was rebuilt out of sandstone and ashlar.
On google Satellite View it looks to be a decent size, with large acres of land around it, including open countryside and vast gardens.
We wandered round to the main village centre, and stopped outside the Roman Catholic Presbytery to nearby St Mary’s Church. The Presbytery is the building in the centre of the row, and has an attached Chapel, which is now a Convent.
The Presbytery originally dates back to 1719, however it was presumably enlarged by 1850 due to the presence of date stones on different parts of the building covering both dates. The original buildings here are listed as being from the 18th Century but they have obviously being altered many times over the centuries, as the Covent also has a date stone, from 1859.
Little Crosby as a community is quite strict religiously. Up until recently, no Protestants were allowed to live in this Catholic Village, however this has changed, although they still need permission from the local Squire (the Blundell Family) before they can move in. The village is also thought to be the oldest Roman Catholic village in England, and it also appears to be one of the most traditional, as a lot of modern improvements haven’t been adopted here, including Street Lights. It appears to have changed little over the last few centuries, and remains a pleasant look back through time.
The Church of St Mary’s lies directly to the right of the Presbytery and associated buildings, cutting a dramatic figure in the heart of the village. The building was completed by a duo of Architects, Matthew Ellison Hadfield (1812 – 1885, architect behind Sheffield & Salford Cathedrals) and John Grey Weightman (1801 – 1872), in 1847. As religion and the Catholic Faith is so important in Little Crosby, the Church is the focal point of the community.
It’s a beautiful building, with stunning sandstone on the outside, and it looks out onto the main road into the village. It characterises Little Crosby brilliantly, and within the 50 ish houses lies a well preserved 17th century village. This was the end of our trip to the village, but we had a great time exploring the villages of Sefton District, from Sefton itself, to Hightown, to Little Crosby. They all have a rich history, and look stunning in this countryside setting.