Mike Royden's Local History Pages

The Influence of Monastic Houses and Orders on the Landscape and locality of Wirral

(with particular reference to Birkenhead Priory)

Robert Storrie

And did those feet in ancient time, tread the Mersey shoreline?

Beauty without virtue is a flower without perfume.
French Proverb.

(right: Priory Church - pencil drawing by Edward Cox (late19thc) )

The Priory of Birkenhead is situated off Ivy Street Birkenhead. Ivy Street being a turn off from Chester Street [A41] proceeding from Woodside Ferry/Bus Terminal. Once in Ivy Street one must be aware of the modern motor machine [or] the swinging cradles on skip vehicles. Thence the collection of prefabricated workshops and warehouses. This collection of industry and commerce has the grand title of The Priory Industrial Estate . Granted the monks were industrious, but never to the extent one witnesses today. The visitor once in Ivy Street must look for the spire of St Marys [church demolished] and then one is guided to Birkenhead Priory. The Priory has been witness to countless vandals ; Henry VIII who in 1536 dismissed the monks from their home , then civil war, thence the industrial revolution, Lairds [1858] ripped and clawed away the headland "Brea", gone the wild roses of the Brea, Birch trees long gone.

Visitors to Birkenhead Priory, states the historian Jean McInniss,
"Could scarcely recall now the beauty of its former setting. These folk [visitors] as they stood there looking about them with eyes of interest. Could have no idea what the Priory, had once been as it stood on its beautiful peninsula, surrounded on three sides by water, a headland of oak and birch and meadow crowned with red sandstone". (1)

Should it be so that a visitor to the Priory could have no idea of or visualise the Priory without the collection of prefabricated sheds! Then I think it right and proper to introduce the visitor to the 13th Century and a small river craft, that one hopes will give them some idea of the beautiful latter day environs, of the Mersey culminating in the vista of a residence - a solitary residence owned by God , tenanted by his Benedictine Order of Monks, no roads, no dock, that would intrude and disturb the dead in the Priory cemetery (2), no fabricated sheds, no hustle and bustle and no thoughts of heritage and its trappings, just a visit to the Original Priory of Birkenhead.

The Priory Chapter House(6)

As I have previously recorded that for one to appreciate the environs of the Mersey one must journey by boat. With no hydrographic knowledge and only a small clinker boat (3), I leave the Irish Sea at that point one knows today as Southport(4) then I enter the narrow River Mersey, to my port side and for that matter ahead of my craft. The answer of why the Mersey was so narrow prompted me to excuse Ptolemy (5) for not observing the Mersey. For to Port the land was densely forested down to the shore line, Formby, Crosby, both hamlets yet so far inland that habitation was not witnessed.

The renowned Roman geographer Ptolemy in 130 A.D. records mention of a River Dee . However Ptolemy fails to give mention or record details of the River Mersey. The question arises - why did that Roman geographer fail to see the Mersey? First and foremost one must dismiss the fact that what one beholds today in the form of both the River Dee and River Mersey are those that existed in 130 A.D. In respect of the Mersey , no recordings of the River Mersey [or] nautical information was available until the 15th Century. For example, 1331 Edward III s Liverpool, first contemporary map published giving mention to Liverpool - however no indication of Irish Sea [or] River Mersey!

By way of research and visits to the shore line of the banks of the Mersey reason convinces me that Ptolemy in 130 A.D. did behold the mouth of the Mersey. For the simple reason it was just a narrow water inlet , of no consequence. The historian H. Grindon states - Had the Mersey been what it is today then Ptolemy could never have overlooked the Mersey. . If one is to accept that the Mersey was but an inlet, what would have brought forth the Mersey one views today from a river inlet?

The small craft was manageable in navigating the water channels of the Mersey. For the River displayed equal sand banks to that of water! Little would change that until 1858.(7) However to emphasise my point I record the notes of Captain Greenvile Collins, in 1693, for in his book , Great Britain s Coasting Pilot . He states -

That at the Hyle Lake running along the coast of Wirral, great ships that belong to Liverpool, put out part of their lading until they are light enough to sail over the sand flats.

Less than four miles down river from Crosby is the Village of Bootle [Botull (1213)] It is at this point that one beholds the Wirral coast to starboard. First the magnificent isle known as Welshmans Isle, [Wallasey]. Credited with having been a refuge to Roman soldiers of intermarriage to Britons, following the exit of the Romans from Chester. In truth Welshmans isle was [at risk] accessible by a vast waste of marshland [Bidston]. Leaving the Isle to starboard, forest vast forest land did justice to the thoughts of jean McInnis of that beauty of the Wirral coastline upon the Mersey at my chosen point and of no hardship to throw overboard into the Mersey my feeble looking anchor. Making my way to the rocks (8) on the shore I behold rising above me vast woodland, lush grass, embroidered with a multitude of wild flowers in a variety of colours growing in profusion, all is very peaceful, the intermittent calls of birds enhancing the tranquillity of the headland. The headland that would bestow the name of a future hamlet and subsequently a town.

Historians have differing explanations for the origin of Birkenhead, I proffer the following theory:
The suffix head derives from an earlier heved from the Scandinavian word Heafod meaning headland. Thus the name Birkenhead means headland of birch trees .

One other theory suggests that the prefix Birken derives from an inlet of the Mersey known as the Birkett - which can be traced from Tranmere Pool [now Cammell Lairds Basin], extending at one time over the present day A41 close to the Castle Hotel, thence as far as Central underground station, then flowing at one time along Borough Road also known at one period in time as Happy Valley.

To return to the Headland, leaving Ivy Rocks at the shoreline one must now tackle the undergrowth, the trees and other hazards, the climb culminates only when ones feet sink into the lush grass field [now Church Street], to ones left ahead overlooking Tranmere Pool - Birkenhead Priory.

Oh that the camcorder was yet many years away from my necessity! North, South, East and West of my stance was but green. Across the Mersey on the opposite bank of the Mersey habitation was visible a cluster of cottages close to the foreshore [Water Street] the Royal Town of King John (1207), it would have surely been incomprehensible to those of the embryo of Liverpool. That prosperity would come to that wooded Brea that protruded out into the Mersey. However it would be inaccurate to imply that a small number of fishermen did not use their boats out of Liverpool to Birkenhead. Fo r if the coin be handsome boat owners would ferry the devil , let alone those pilgrims going to Chester's Benedictine Abbey (1092-1540), passengers would at risk disembark at the cove at the woods-side (9), thence if refreshment was not called for at Birkenhead Priory. It was then the gruelling walk along the Old Chester Bridle Road to the Abbey.

Still walking through the lush grass of the Brea, I approach the Priory, my thoughts match those of my own pilgrimage to the beautiful Abbey on Iona in Scotland. I stood by the Priory water-well set well back thirty five feet from the Priory, [now covered by a factory unit]. Who had the inspiration for what I behold, why, for so how!

Research informs one that what I beheld, was the inspiration of one certain Christian gentleman. A gentleman who like I had walked the lush grass Brea, and what he beheld pleased him, his name and title being the Third Baron Hamo de Mascy of Dunham, Baron of the Earl of Chester, Hamo de Mascy dedicated the land and priory on the Brea to St James the Great .

There are no recordings available now relating to the commissioning of Birkenhead Priory, but historians generally accept the writings of the eminent Sir Peter Leycester, who ascribes the founding of Saint James Priory to Sir Hamo de Mascy. Leycester is more cautious in identifying the founding date and suggested that it was during the reign of Henry II (1154-1189). Sir Peter had also come into possession of documentation which mentions the involvement of a certain Prior Oliver, during the reign of King John. However Sir Peter concludes that the Norman architecture of the charter house of the priory suggests that the priory was in fact founded in the first half of the twelfth century. I can find no evidence to contradict this suggestion or the theory that Hamo de Mascy was the founder of Birkenhead Priory.

Why did Hamo de Mascy build an establishment for the monks upon the Brea? Furthermore, why did he pay for this building from his own purse? Without any charter documents in existence I can only present the reader with the words of one William Machesbury: There was no wealthy man in England but thought shame of himself if he had not contributed to the building of a monastery.

What do we know of the men who came to reside on the upper reaches of the birchwood covered headland south of the present Church Street, Birkenhead? From whence did they come?

To those questions I can but proffer a brief sketch of the historical foundation of the Order. Firstly, the new residents were followers of the Order of Saint Benedict, a community made up of sixteen monks, with a Father Prior as head of the community. The origins of the Order of Saint Benedict lie in fifth and sixth century Italy, where numerous wise men lived in the steadfast belief that they were not of this world, but nevertheless that it was God s will that they should live in the material world. These men lived a very harsh and humble life, depending on the charity of the rich, whilst at the same time offering succour to all who came to them. Amongst these wise men was a certain Benedict , who had a vision of a collective order in which all the wise men of God came out of their isolation and formed a brotherhood. Yet the members of this brotherhood retained their steadfast belief that they were not of this world.

The idea of a collective brotherhood did not appear to those who cherished their solitary lifestyle as their preferred path to witness to God. However some of Benedict s contemporaries saw his vision as a challenge, and founded a monastery on a mountain top above the village of Cassino, in Italy (529). Benedict would never know that one day his vision would inspire the world wide brotherhood of Saint Benedict.

Saint Augustine took over the leadership of the Order of Saint Benedict upon the death of its founder in 547 and when Pope Gregory instructed him, in seventh century to go forth and convert England.

He foresaw the role that the monks of Saint Benedict could play in the crusade of conversion. So the history of Monte Cassino is inextricably linked with the foundation of Birkenhead, for this religious community founded the monasticism of our area. The original Saxon monastery at Chester was dedicated to the Lady Saint Wereburgh; this monastery later fell to the Normans in 1095.

It is worth mentioning that during the battle of Monte Cassino (1939-1945) the monastery was to all intents and purposes destroyed, the shell-torn building being re-built on the original site of the monastery of Saint Benedict. In 1964 the monastery was rededicated.

A visit to Chester cathedral is well worth the time, for within the cathedral area one can still see the monastery records which give credit to Hugh Lupus as founder.

What would be the vital factors influencing Hamo de Mascy s choice of the Brae as the site for the priory of St James? I am certain that the principal reasons would be the same as those of the architects appointed by the merchants of Liverpool in the nineteenth century and those of the twentieth century. In each century the Brae afforded a panoramic view across the Mersey. In the twelfth century the scenic backdrop was but a hamlet, today it is a great city one beholds.

I have mentioned how the Liverpool fishermen would, if the coin be handsome, ferry small parties to the wood-side shore.

Alas, these unofficial ferry men were to be scuppered! For in 1330, King Edward III granted the Benedictine monks sole right to operate a ferry service from Birkenhead to Liverpool, with permission for a fare charge to be made.

Where did the monks ferry service operate from? There are three schools of thought on this question;

Firstly, the most obvious comes from the place name Monks Ferry, which is situated off the promenade fronting present day Priory Wharf Housing Estate. However the foreshore was fronted by treacherous rocks, later known as Ivy Rocks. Furthermore the area was subject to strong currents on each tide. It is also likely that the monks would find it extremely difficult to load and discharge their boat due to the distance from the priory to what is now commonly known as Monks Ferry. It is recorded that the monks sold their produce at Liverpool town market; it is unlikely that they would want to haul sacks of grain such a long distance from the Priory. It is worth mentioning that what one sees today and refers to as Monks Ferry slipway is actually a wharf! It was at one time used by tugs as a coaling berth, and at low tide the mobile steam crane rail lines can be seen. At the end of the wharf there is a 10 foot 9 inch drop at low tide! Finally, the wharf is 95 feet out into the River Mersey from the original shore line of the twelfth century. My calculations are taken from a survey of the foreshore and wharf in 1987.

The second school of thought is that Woodside was the Benedictine monks base for their ferry service to Liverpool. Due to lack of any concrete evidence in any form, this can only be described as folk lore, better still myth.

A third theory arises from a painting dated circa 1796 in Birkenhead Art Gallery depicting the headland, which affords a view to the north of Wallasey Pool, and to the south that of Tranmere Pool. This painting also depicts the Priory, and it is interesting to note that there is both a slipway and a boat house depicted in Tranmere pool. Therefore it is my opinion that Tranmere Bay was the base for the monks boat service. The bay offered shelter from the strong winds and tides of the Mersey. From my own maritime research over many years, I have come to the conclusion that the old boat house of the Benedictine monks would have been situated 500 yards to the rear of the old Cammell Lairds gates opposite the Castle Hotel on the A41. For one must be aware that half of the one time Tranmere Pool has been back filled leaving what is known as Lairds Basin.

It worthy of mention in relation to the Monks Ferry Service, that it was by no means cheap, for one to use the service to illustrate the fact I set out the toll charges thus 1357 A.D.

Ferry Over The Mersey Fees(10).
Foot Passengers - Liverpool Market Day - d
Foot Passengers - Other Days - d
Foot Passengers - With Laden Pack - 1d
One man and - With Laden Horse - 2d
One man and - Unladen Horse - 1d
- Quarter Sack of Corn - 1d

Calculation based on year 1330 and most important that those tolls are single , in the 21st Century had the monks operated the Ferry it would be 1.90 single to Liverpool. [Early ferry single to Liverpool Winter 2002 1.15.].

So with an earlier petition to Edward II in 1317 requesting that the monks be able to build a lodging house between Church Street and Chester Street. For reason that free hospitality was straining the Priory purse, this petition was granted. So one now has a ferry service with the option of staying over during inclement weather on the Mersey and to be paid for by the traveller - ferry and hotel!

To the reader being unfamiliar with Birkenhead, it would be mundane to record the districts that in ancient times came under the Priory title deeds, suffice to say the Priory Estates extended from the Priory west for five miles, to the south for over four miles including the Manor of Claughton, the Manor being the central farming base, in all excellent endowment of lands.

The monks other than being strong in their beliefs, must have been strong physically, for Liverpool Town Market was held in Castle Street, entailing loading grain at Tranmere Pool, the oar work across the Mersey [no Pier Head Landing Stage] into the Pool , hard to port at the rear of Liverpool Castle to the Pool Landing Stones, thence carriage along Pool Lane [now Liverpool Crown Courts] in Castle Street, no mean task for the men of God who arose a four a.m.!

We read in the Liverpool Town Books of the monks of Birkenhead Priory having Rooms in Water Street,
Where such corn as they [the monks] had left unsold on market day, was carried up those back stairs of stone into an upper room, and there lay till next market day.

I have by intention not presented the reader with a guided tour of the Priory, in that I have hope a visit to Birkenhead Priory, even though parts of the structure have long gone, will be enjoyed and inspire one to know they will have trod where ancient feet have trod.

Mention must go to those in authority for preserving that which remains the beautiful Chapter House is intact and at 11.15 a.m. Sunday Worship takes place. To visit the Chapter House is rewarding in that no tour can bring back the reality of being in the company by sense of the Benedictine monks.

It was a sad and undignified manner that King Henry VIII should send into the Great Hall of the Priory, his representatives in 1536 to read out the proclamation of the Act of Suppression. Of the majority of monasteries, this being the low monasteries with income less than 200 per annum, those richer monasteries being suppressed later in 1539. Birkenhead being the lower category was placed into the hands of the bailiffs. The monk s Chapter House passes to the Chester Churches authorities intact as I previously recorded.

In 1545 the Priory was handed over to a good servant of the King , this being Ralph Worsley of Worsley, Lancashire. Who gained the property and rights on payment of 568-II-6d! After the death of Ralph Worsley in 1572 all rights were passed on to Thomas Powell of Denbigh after he married Ralph Worsley s eldest daughter.

The wealthy Liverpool merchant John Cleaveland bought the Priory in 1709, on his death Francis Price of Flintshire was now the owner having married Cleaveland s daughter. The Price family ownership lasted for 150 years. In 1896 it was bought by the Birkenhead Borough Council. 1980 Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council commences restoration work.

Gone now the pretty flowers, the nestling birds amongst the trees (11)and lush grass on the brow, long gone the solitude. Never to go is the memory of the pioneering monks of Birkenhead. The ruins of their Priory still stand to this day as a monument to the first industrial settlers in Birkenhead.

From that vast wooded area overlooking Liverpool Town, the lush grass followed after the monks tranquillity has been replaced by industrial quest for wealth. I hope the reader has gained to some extent, insight to those settlers of Rose Brea in 1150 A.D. in depth reading be it for pleasure [or] study of Birkenhead Priory will be found rewarding.

Robert Storrie (April 2003)


"Birkenhead may not be endowed with material things, but it's spiritual history should be a help, an inspiration and encouragement to us all "

W.F. Bushell, Reference to Priory (1950)

In those years of the mid 12th Century the gossip within the Hamlet of Liverpool may have been founded on the goings-on on the opposite bank of the Mersey. For activity on the other side, especially the felling of trees in the first instance gave rise in true Liverpudlian manner in that small boats were launched into the Mersey from the shoreline at Water Street. It is not beyond imagination that the boatmen on return informed the peasant mob that over the "other side" they were to have neighbours in the form of "holy men".

It is without any doubt that the historical significance of the Priory would be a forged relationship with the Hamlet by "the pool". In present day definition the monks extended "job creation". News spread, more so after the creation of Liverpool Town by King John in 1207, that pilgrims to Chester now had hospitality awaiting them "on the other side" with refreshment to strengthen them on that long trek to Chester. Obviously the boatmen to being refreshed in monetary terms. One is now aware that the Priory monks handled contracts from Liverpool Town Council; the repair and binding of the town's record books - a craft born out in the Priory's scriptorium by skilled monks.

The Priory monks being extensive land owners and astute in trade, were welcome to trade in Liverpool - their marketplace being Castle Street and rented store rooms in Water Street. All was not one way trade for hardware, oil, rope, wire, nails etc the monks purchased in Liverpool Town.

What you may ask was the influence of these holy men and their Priory? Influence, that is, by way of landscape in the locality. First and foremost they were founding fathers of Birkenhead, the Priory itself was a beacon reflecting homage, hospitality to the towns people of Liverpool. The Priory had great influence as they beheld it, illuminated by oil lamps at night or silhouetted before the bright southern sunrise.

"Every life is a profession of faith and exercises An inevitable and silent influence."

HenriAmiel (1828-1881)


Charter of Sale

To Ralph Worsley                 From Henry VIII

"... do give and grant to the before mentioned 'Ralph Worsley and all the house and scite of the late Priory of Byrkenhedd, in our County of Chester, suppressed and dissolved by the authority of Parliament and all the church belfry and churchyard of the same late priory, and all our houses, edifices, mills, barns, stables, dove houses, orchards, gardens, land and soil whatsoever, as well within as without, and being by or near to the scite, in closure, compass, circuit, and precinct of the same late priory, also all that our messuage and tenement with the appurtenances now or late in the tenure and occupation of Robert Molyneux and one dove house, one mill and all the fish yards and 2 acres of meadow and 8 acres of arable land and one parcel of land where flax used to grow, and all the ferry and the ferry house and the boat called the ferryboat and the whole profit of the same with all and singular their appurtenances, situate lying and being in Brykenhedde and Bydeston, and in Kyrekeby Walley, otherwise called Wallasey, in the said County of Chester, to the said priory heretofore belonging and appertaining and lately being parcel of the possessiong thereof, and being in the proper hands management, or occupation of the prior of the same late priory, we do further give, and for the conditions afore said, do by these presents grant to the before-mentioned Ralph Worseley the aforesaid house and scite of the said late priory, and the aforesaid lordships, manors, messages, lands, tenements, meadows, feedings, pastures, rents, reversions, services and all and singular other the premises the last prior had held or enjoyed..."

The acquisition of the priory by Ralph Worsley came about through his friendship with Henry VIII. The sale of the Priory and its estate was undoubtedly, financially beneficial for Worsley, even though the Priory had already been neglected for thirteen years since the expulsion of the monks.



1275 King Edward I resides at the Priory for three consecutive nights.

1277 King Edward I resides at the Priory for four consecutive nights, having first visited Chester Town. There he gave outline plans of his campaign of war against the Welsh. A window in Birkenhead Town commemorates this event.

1317 Petition to King Edward II from the Prior informing the King of the strain on the Priory s house keeping purse due to expenditure for overnight accommodation and food for those prevented from crossing the River Mersey to Liverpool due to inclement weather.

1318 King Edward II gives consent to the Prior to erect a lodging-house to accommodate those unable to cross the Mersey due to inclement weather. King Edward II permitted the Prior to charge a reasonable rate for accommodation and food in the lodging-house built subsequently at the south end of the present Church Street.

1330 King Edward III grants the Prior and his monks the sole right to operate a ferry service from Birkenhead to Liverpool town for which a fare could be levied. Prior to this date, passengers made voluntary contributions for their journey in the form of food or small coin .

1340 The Prior s records reveal an increase in the number of pilgrims seeking hospitality. Pilgrims visited the Priory who were also visiting Chester and Hilbre Island, off the coast of West Kirby.

1357 Ferry Fares:
Foot Passengers Market Day d
Foot Passengers Other Day d
Foot Passengers With Pack 1d
Man With Horse 1d
Man With Laden Horse 2d
Corn Per Quarter 1d

1526 Liverpool treasury records a payment for repair of books [binding] to the "monkes of Byrkhed"

1536 The High Sherrif of King Henry VIII visited the Priory to inform the Prior of the dissolution of the monasteries by the King. This was to be the final chapter for the Benedictine monks in Birkenhead.

1554 Priory sold to a Ralph Worsley, Night Page to the Wardrobe Chamberlain to King Henry VIII for 568.

1575 The Priory is now in the hands of Thomas Powell, who married the eldest daughter of Ralph Worsley.

1644 Parliamentary troops marched on Church Street during the Civil War (1642-1645) under the command of Sir William Brereton. They destroyed the one time Lodging House of the Benedictine monks.

1688 Sir Edward Moore, landlord of Liverpool records that a certain property of his in Water Street had at one time been "ye granary of the Priory at Birket [offshoot of the Mersey at Tranmere Pool] in the Worrall [Wirral]" where corn was stored in a upper room until next market.

1713 Birkenhead Priory bought by the highly respected Liverpool merchant John Cleaveland, Member of Parliament 1710-13 and Mayor of Liverpool 1703.

1716 After the death of John Cleaveland, his daughter married Mr Francis Price of Birkenhead. Francis Price resided in the Mansion House close to the Old Priory, and through this marriage the Old Priory passed down through the Price family for over 150 years. The Mansion House was demolished during 1842-3

1818 The remains of Prior Thomas Rayneford, deceased in 1473 are found. His tombstone is now in the Chapter House, also three skeletons (unknown!).

1819 The foundation stone of St Mary s Church is laid by the Rt. Hon. Lord Kenyor. The Church was built in the grounds of the Old Priory and completed in 1822.

1896 Birkenhead Town Council agree to take responsibility for the upkeep of the ruins of the Old Priory.

1897 Workmen making the remains of the Old Priory safe dig up a gold coin from the reign of Edward III.

1969 St Mary s Church in the grounds of the Old Priory is now found to be unsafe for public worship, with the exception of the spire, the building was demolished. Public worship being transferred to the original Chapter House of the Benedictine monks (1150). The Chapter House was under the jurisdiction of the Chester Diocese.

1979 The ruins of Birkenhead Priory listed as a monument of historic interest.

1980 Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council commences restoration of the Old Priory.


(1) Jean Mclnniss Birkenhead Priory Countywise Ltd 1983 p.6.
(2) Builders of Great Ships, Cammell Lairds In-House Book 1959. p.64.
(3) Scott Robertson, Ships From Scratch, Models Nexus Special Interests, [Maritine] Argus Books Ltd 1994, p. 145, "Clinker Method of Planking. In which the lower edge of each plank overlaps the upper edge on one below, method used on small boats."
(4) Irish Sea, Point of Joining Mersey, aproximately at a point off (or) in Line South/N/West, Information kindly supplied by Crosby Coastguards.
(5) History of Lancashire [Original Text 1882] Leo. H. Grindon Manchester Press 1995 p.5.
(6) The Priory Chapter House
(7) Business In Great Waters, In House Publication Book of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, 1958 p.22-23 - Creation of Queens Channel, Crosby Channel, By way of Dunping Quarried Limestone Along More Than Two Miles of a Sand Bank -Creating Those Channel mentioned.
(8) Ivy Rocks Hazard to Mariners, Ivy Street close to Priory gained name from the Rocks, research taken from student Old Maps of Birkenhead.
(9) Birkenhead-In-Times-Past C.E. Bidston, Leisure Services p.9. Now Woodside Ferry and Bus Terminal. Purchased by Birkenhead Commissioners 1842. Note-Woodside as recorded in this publication Woodside was started by the Monks, simple geographical sense would [or] could only see this myth, as parallel to the myth of Monks Ferry Church Street! [Ivy Rocks].
(10) Birkenhead Priory, Jean Mclnniss, Countywise Ltd 1983 p.45. Note - 1499 prosecuting council on behalf of the crown stated monks tolls being exhorbitant as VA for a man was charged also for a dog! [Quoted by Geo Ormerod].
(11) Brea, Deforested in 1376 by Earl of Chester Known as the Black Prince, son of Edward III.

Robert Storrie (April 2003)

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