On Saturday we went out on one of our wildflower hunts, for the horticulture course Sarah is doing, and found more than we’d gone looking for in a place on the edge of Liverpool neither of us have ever spent much time in, even though it’s only a couple of miles away from where we live in Wavertree.
Arriving in the centre of the ancient village of Childwall we felt like we’d come on our holidays.
In fact there never was a Childwall Abbey, just a grand house done up in the style of that pub that people used to call ‘Childwall Abbey.’
Looking closely at the picture there you’ll see that the place was ‘The Seat of Bamber Gascoyne Esq.” An eighteenth century character we’ve met on this blog before as an enthusiastic opponent of Willian Roscoe’s campaign to end the Trans Atlantic slave trade. Well his house is long gone now but it wouldn’t feel right not to mention whose lives and forced labour paid for much of this this bucolic splendour.
But we’d actually come here to go to Childwall Fields, the grounds of where the house used to be.
There are good local histories here and here of the house and grounds as they passed from the gentry to now being part of the Mersey Forest. So I won’t repeat the history here. Instead we’ll have a look around.
Some of it spent its intervening years in the 1960s and 70s as a landfill site. Reminding me about the The Ralla in Kirkdale and what could yet be made of there.
And though the house isn’t there any more there are some bits of its stable block.
So Childwall Fields, a glorious place recovered from a dubious history.
We’ll be back.