Our March 2022 talk - reviewed by Mike Chitty

Stuart Rimmer came to Gateacre Chapel on 13th March to talk about his book Lost Manors: A history of the townships and alehouses of Gateacre and Childwall. He explained that it was originally intended as a companion volume to his previous book on the pubs of Woolton, but once he started to look at the source material - in particular the manorial court records, written in an archaic script that he had to teach himself to decipher - he realised that there was a lot more to be written about than just the pubs.

The title refers to the fact that the manor and township of 'Little Woolton' was made up of three separate pre-17th century manors: Little Woolton, The Holt and The Lee. Stuart explained how Holt Hall, built by William Brettargh, and Lee Hall, once occupied by John Hays Wilson, were at one time important local buildings, but both are now demolished and commemorated only by road names.

By 1659 the three manors had been amalgamated, and a Manor Court House serving not just this enlarged Little Woolton area, but also Childwall, was established by the new Lord of the Manor, Peter Legay. It stood where part of the Black Bull pub is today, at the heart of Gateacre Village. The manor court had a number of important roles, and appointed local residents to carry them out. Its tasks had fascinating names such as 'privy search', 'hue and cry', 'hill looking' and 'ale tasting', and also included the inspection and maintenance of ditches, hedges and highways.

It is the records of this manor court which enable the identification of local alehouses - and Stuart has managed to research the history of more than 20 of them. He also described how he has been able to identify 'the Gate Acre' - the piece of land that, he believes, gave its name to the village - as reported in our last
Newsletter. Stuart led us through the history of some of the pubs within the areas now known as Gateacre, Childwall, Belle Vale and Netherley. Some are familiar to us because they still exist, others are identifiable as buildings now in use as private dwellings, but the majority have vanished without trace. Those that survive as pubs are the Black Bull, the Bear & Staff, the Brown Cow and the Childwall Abbey. All of these were originally much smaller than they are today.

(To be continued)

You can read more about the book 'Lost Manors' in our May 2021 Newsletter.

To order a copy direct from the publisher, visit

- or you can buy the book from Amazon UK

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