Mike Royden Books

Online publication catalogue for historian and writer Mike Royden. Details about all books and how to order. Signed copies available. Books include studies on the Home Front in both wars across Merseyside, Wirral and Chester. Plus the story of the Cheshire village of Farndon during WW1.
Mike Royden's Local History Pages

Local History of Liverpool, articles, photos, maps, bulletin board, record office information, University courses, useful links, plus much more. Essential for Local Historians!
Royden History.Co.Uk

Web Sites designed and maintained by Mike Royden - Various Local History Sites - including aspects of Merseyside History, World War One Battlefields and local men who fought, and a History of Ellesmere Port/South Wirral
Holt Local History Society

Our Welsh neighbours with whom which our history is so entwined. Founded in March 1992, their aim is to promote the study of the History of Holt and the surrounding area.
St. Chad's Farndon Parish Church

History of St. Chad's Church contained within the general church website.
Farndon & District Brass Band Pages

Now in its 110th year, the popular local brass band now has its own web site.
BBC WW2 History - Farndon Memories

On the 14th October 2004, BBC researchers came to Farndon Memorial Hall to record villager's stories for the Peoples War website creating a lasting archive of WW2 stories. See here for some of the results of Total Recall Farndon.

Farndon, Cheshire

Tweets by Farndon

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Farndon (Cheshire) Local History Pages
(left: Farndon Bridge)

Farndon is a village in the county of Cheshire, England, on the banks of the River Dee, 8 miles south of Chester, and close to the border with Wales. Linking Farndon to the Welsh village of Holt on the other side of the Rive Dee is the famous medieval bridge originally constructed in 1339. John Speed (1542-1629), the famous cartographer was born in Farndon, and King Edward the Elder died here in 924.

Some historians believe that Farndon was the location of the first ever competitive horse race with riders, in a local field on the banks of the River Dee. Nearby, Chester Racecourse is said to be the oldest racecourse in Britain.

The village was at one time famous for its strawberries, which were grown in the surrounding fields. Today, this is no longer the case and the nearest fields are now in Holt.

Farndon has a population of about 1,800 people. There are several buildings of historical interest including the Grade I listed bridge over the Dee and at least sixteen Grade II structures. There are also other buildings of interest not included in listed status which can also be viewed walking around the village including the two public houses, and Farndon Hall, a former Victorian school house. There are pleasant riverside walks, places to eat and drink, such as Lewis's Cafe, The Raven, The Hare, and Little Churton's Restaurant.

This is not a complete site by any means and research is ongoing. Contributions are most welcome.


Follow us on Twitter @FarndonCheshire

Holt & Farndon Community Archaeological Project

Townfield Lane site - a Roman Fortlet?

A cross border archaeology project has been launched for the communities of Holt & Farndon, giving people the chance to discover and get hands-on with their local history. The site lies at the bottom of Townfield Lane near the bank of the Dee and may well be associated with the Roman Tile and Pottery Works upstream at Holt. Full details here.

Holt & Farndon Community Archaeological Project

Townfield Lane site - the results so far

Following the excavation of the Townfield Lane site in September 2022 and post-dig analysis, site leader Chris Matthews of Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust gave a talk in early 2023 - the excavations confirmed the presence of Roman activity as well as the ditch enclosure, but also unexpectedly uncovered evidence of extensive metal working. View Chris' talk on YouTube here.

Farndon Village Buildings

There are numerous buildings in the village which add to the architectural interest and character of Farndon. Click here to view what has been covered so far, including inns, private homes, schools, shops and even a cinema. All the public houses have been covered, including the Raven (the Farndon Arms), the Hare (the Greyhound), and the Nag's Head (now Lewis's Cafe).
The latest is in Churton - the White Horse - which has undergone extensive refurbishment after purchase by chef Gary Usher. The full story is here.

A river tragedy from the 1960s

A harrowing story of a river tragedy from the mid-sixties which took place close to Farndon Bridge. Christine Haywood, originally from Liverpool, tells the story of her family holiday in a Farndon riverside cottage, which came to an abrupt end in tragic circumstances.

Farndon During the First World War

November 2016 saw publication of Village at War as part of the Farndon WW1 Project. Written by Mike Royden, with contributions from several Farndon villagers including Peter Gauterin, plus a foreword by the late Duke of Westminster, Village at War gives a fascinating insight into everyday life during the First World War. Mike Royden introduces readers to the both the national context and the local picture as the effects of the war began to take hold. In a series of short, information-packed chapters he describes, in vivid detail, what it was like for those living through those increasingly dark years of the war; the call for duty, the hardship of families left at home, attitudes towards 'aliens', rationing, the Defence of the Realm Act, conscientious objectors, prisoners of war, and, surprisingly, air raids. Throughout, he concentrates on the lives of the local people - on their experience as the war dragged on over four years. 

The second half of the book details the individual stories of all the men who lost their lives from the local communities in the Farndon area of West Cheshire. This book is a useful tool for anyone researching the effects of the First World War on local communities at home, as well as the stories of the men who left them to fight abroad. 

Village at War has now sold out, but occasionally second hand copies become available online.


Tales from the 'Pool - A Collection of Liverpool Stories by Mike Royden

From the most detailed study of Liverpool Castle yet to appear in print, to the most up to date account of the Liverpool Hitlers, Mike Royden has produced a fascinating collection of stories about the Merseyside area, including grim accounts of the workhouse and two stories of gruesome murders. Two chapters look at aspects of Liverpool’s role in the First World War, while the story of Titanic survivor Ruth Bowker, unknown until now, appears for the first time.

Fully illustrated with over 90 images, this collection will delight those interested in delving into detailed historical accounts of Merseyside heritage. Signed copies available if ordered through eBay, and locally at Farndon Post Office.

Click image for further details.

Farndon Roll of Honour Booklet

Mike Royden and Peter Gauterin have teamed up again to produce a twelve-page booklet in memory of the men of Farndon listed on the village war memorial, lost in both the First and Second World War. The aim was to produce a quality booklet with the names of the fallen, plus a short biography of each man who did not return, to give a brief insight into their lives, rather than just having a name on the memorial. The booklet is well produced and a fitting publication in their memory.

Copies will be available for Remembrance Day services at St Chads, and may be available in the church afterwards. Alternatively, a PDF copy can be downloaded here.

For Everton fans, Mike Royden was also asked by Everton FC to produce a similar booklet in memory of their players lost in both wars. You can download a copy here.

Farndon War Memorial Project

New website launched for the centenary of the First World War. War had a devastating effect on the small population of Farndon and the First World War took the lives of many well known young men of the neighbourhood. The Weaver familiy were particulalrly hit hard who lost two sons.

There were no government provisions laid down on how to commemorate those who were lost, just a set of proposals, leaving the parishes and local organisations to decide what would be fitting in their area. In Farndon there was equal support for a war memorial and some form of community hall. As a preference could not be agreed, it was decided to have both - the war memorial was erected in the churchyard, and the Memorial Hall facing the church, in which there was also placed a plaque in the entrance hall. The Hall has altered considerably since its first construction - a photograph can be found on the new site. There are also two war graves in the churchyard, plus numerous headstone memorials to those who lie in battlefield cemeteries abroad.

Please visit the site to see how far the research has moved on and to read about those that lived and died through those war years.

Based in Churton

by Andie - professional archaeologist

Wonderful blog pages by Andie, a Londoner and experienced archaeologist. History, archaeology, walks, flora and fauna, it's all here in fascinating detail - including numerous studies on the Farndon/Churton area. Well worth a visit!

Farndon Village - Listed Buildings

There are numerous listed buildings in the village adding to the archtictural interest and character of Farndon. All buildings of listed status are included here, with full detail and photographs.

Farndon Village - Then and Now

Here is a selection of archive photographs of the village, set up to view the same scene today as you roll the mouse over the picture - an interesting look at the village through its changes.

If you have a photograph you would like to contribute it will be gratefully received.

Farndon Village - Photographic Archive

This is intended to be as full a collection of Farndon archive photographs to found anywhere on the internet or in local record offices. They have been collected from a variety of sources over the last few years. I have uploaded the largest images possible for download and use by all. If they are to be used anywhere public, please drop me an email - I usually request acknowledgement of the website to promote further publicity and use.

If you have a photograph you would like to contribute it will be gratefully received.

Farndon - A View from the Tower

Ever wondered what the village looks like from the church tower? So did John Speed when he was practicing his map making skills back in the early 1600s. Click here for a variety of views taken in more recent times.

Farndon Community Club
The old Farndon Sports & Social Club was taken over by Farndon Community Trust on 1 May 2016 and re-branded Farndon Community Club. It is the aim of the Trust (a registered charity) to make The Club accessible for sporting and social activities for residents of Farndon and surrounding villages. This is a club for the Village and your continued support will ensure that it succeeds in its aims. Visit the website for current events and club facilities.

Lewis's of Farndon

A new coffee shop, Lewis's of Farndon, has opened in the new High Street development on the site of the old Nag's Head Inn. ‘At Lewis’s of Farndon you’ll always get a warm welcome', says Alison Lewis, 'a relaxing experience, great food, and of course, fabulous coffee. As a family run business, located in the heart of Farndon, we’re proud to serve a wide variety of distinctive and exciting coffee drinks from ethically sourced Arabica beans that are freshly ground for every cup. Add to that our range of speciality teas, soft drinks, mouth-watering cakes and freshly prepared hot and cold dishes, and we’re sure you’ll leave us as a satisfied friend!’ Click here for full details.

Farndon Neighbourhood Development Plan

In March 2012 Farndon Parish Council established a small Steering Group to consult local residents, and based on the opinions of the village, prepare a Neighbourhood Plan for the 20 years from 2016 to 2030. Now completed, the Neighbourhood Plan covers Farndon Parish plus the settlement of Kings Marsh to the east, and all of Crewe-by-Farndon hamlet, which have been added to the parish following the boundary changes of April 2015.

Farndon residents have been involved in the development of the Plan from the very beginning, through the distribution of a series of information leaflets, village meetings, coffee mornings and afternoons, drop-in discussion events and completion of two household and one business questionnaire. Alongside the consultations, information was gathered about possible development sites, brownfield sites, the scope and structure of the local economy and associated employment opportunities, traffic and wildlife surveys, plus several more aspects of life in the village.

The Farndon Neighbourhood Plan is based on both legislative requirements and the views of the local community.

Every attempt has been made to provide a local planning document on which to base a realistic approach to future growth in Farndon, be it for housing, service provision or economic development, whilst recognising the limitations imposed by the flood plain to the east and the high speed road to the south. Please click the image for a PDF download of the complete plan.

Henry Bowen of Farndon - fireman on the Lusitania

The sinking of the Lusitania in May 1915 remains one of the most controversial events of the First World War, or indeed any war. But did you know there was a Farndon man on board, helping to keep the engines going on her crossing from New York to Liverpool? Click here to read a full account of the events and the aftermath, and what became of Henry Bowen.

Farndon-Holt Village Walks Leaflet

Designed by Mike Royden (webmaster of this site), glossy leaflets are available free in most local outlets, shops, hotels, garden centres etc. Following the installation of steps on both sides of the Dee riverbank at the A534 village by-pass it is now possible to complete a circular walk from the Farndon Bridge to the by-pass and back on the opposite bank.

Click the illustration to download a PDF copy of the complete leaflet.

John and Roger Massie

Read about Allen Croft's epic account of the Massie Military dynasty - Admirals, Brigadiers, Major-Generals - all with links to the hamlet and chapel of Coddington near Farndon

Local War Heroes - Latest research

After again visiting the WWI Battlefields in to carry out research, I also took time to track down the resting places of some of the men of Farndon recorded on the War Memorial. There are now several reports online and the rest are in preparation to be gradually uploaded. Reports include Lance Corporal Frank Moscate who was in the 4th Battalion Tank Corps, a recently formed regiment and a pioneer soldier of the early tanks. Click here for more

Battlefield visit by local Farndon residents Ken Wakefield, Neil Lewis and Colin Capewell, visited the battlefields in Belgium and France. They also traced the resting place of Charles Williamson of the Old Red Lion in Churton, who is recorded on the Farndon War Memorial. Click here for Ken's report and photographs.

Lance Corporal Frank Moscate - the tragic story of a local Tank pioneer

Lance Corporal Frank Moscate was in the 4th Battalion Tank Corps, a newly formed regiment in 1917, and a pioneer soldier of the early tanks. His story is tragic, and begins with almost Dickensian overtones regarding his mother's difficult life and the circumstances surrounding Frank's birth. It ends in tragedy with yet another local life cut short by war. Click here for a detailed account

Farndon Village - Downloads

Books and source material on Farndon are rare - hence one of the reasons for this website. Peter Gauterin has kindly made his 1934 copy of Farndon - Church & Village Records Through the Centuries available for scanning.
Click here for downloads of village history.

If you have any source material you would like to contribute it will be gratefully received.

John Speed - A famous son of Farndon

John Speed (1542-1629) the famous Stuart period cartographer whose maps of English counties are often found framed in homes throughout the UK was born in Farndon. Click picture for more. Click here for more

English Civil War Window

Hidden away in a secluded part of St.Chad's Church is a stained glass window depicting key players and scenes relating to the Civil War. St. Chad's took quite hammering during the war and suffered a great deal of damage. This window itself was damaged but restored in 187- . A very rare artefact, it is featured in many text books on the history of the war. Click picture for more.

King Edward Died in Farndon

Edward the Elder (c.874-877 – 17 July 924) was King of England from 899 until 924). He was the son of Alfred the Great and Alfred's wife, Ealhswith, and became King of Wessex upon his father's death in 899. He died leading an army against a Cambro-Mercian rebellion, on 17 July 924 at Farndon and was buried in the New Minster in Winchester. Click picture for more.

The Farndon Races

The Farndon Races began in 1631 and were one of the earliest competitive horse meetings in the country. They were held in a local field called Farndon Hey on the banks of the River Dee. Click picture for more.

Farndon Bridge

A Grade I listed medieval sandstone bridge links Farndon with its Welsh neighbour Holt on the opposite bank of the Dee. Built in 1339 and it was recorded as having ten arches in 1754 and on the fifth of which stood a large gate tower (see banner picture top left of this page). This tower was demolished to bridge level in the late 18th century and two archs were lost on the Welsh side. Click picture for more.

'In years to come, Liverpool genealogists will be saying: if it isn't in Royden, it isn't worth knowing about'!

Family History Monthly (June 2010)

Tracing Liverpool Ancestors - a Guide for Local and Family Historians
by Mike Royden

Mike Royden is well known on Merseyside as a historian and lecturer who now lives in Farndon. He has appeared on local and national radio, plus several history TV programmes. He has several books to his credit and has now had his latest book published by one of the UK's bggest publishers of History books, Pen & Sword.

Tracing Your Liverpool Ancestors provides a fascinating insight into everyday life in the Liverpool area over the past four centuries. Mike Royden introduces readers to the wealth of material available on the city’s history and it’s people. In a series of informative chapters he describes Liverpool’s history through shipping, manufacturing and trade from the original fishing village to the present cosmopolitan metropolis of today. He includes the living conditions of people, including poverty and the labouring poor, health and the ravages of disease, the influence of religion and migration, education and the traumatic experience of war. He also shows how the lives of Liverpudlians changed over the centuries and how this is reflected in the records that have survived.

According to the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are magazine;
"Among Liverpool's contemporary local historians Mike Royden holds an honoured place, having taught, researched and written extensively on aspects of the city's history and the lives of its people over the past 25 years. There are few people better qualified to write a practical guide to researching family and local history on the city and surrounding area, and Royden has done a great job in this excellent new book.
It has all sorts of strengths: for a start, I don't think I've seen a guide on this sort of subject that has a better range of topics...
It's immediately apparent that a great deal of hard work and a very systematic approach lie behind this book. It's a model of its kind and one I know I will refer to often".
Alan Crosby, Who Do You Think You Are Magazine

Click cover for more information, reviews and how to order.

Churton War Memorial Project

Churton Village, part of Farndon Parish, does not have its own war memorial. The initial idea for the local memorial in Farndon was to include all men in the greater parish, but in practice, although Charles Williamson of the Red Lion was included, it has been discovered that several Churton men were omitted. This was not intentional, but just part of the way names were gathered at the time,as the onus was often on the families to submit names of their relatives themselves, rather than relying on a kind of central database controlled by the government. Click here to read about the project and the appeal for more information from local residents past and present.


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