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.

Though neither of these are Childwall Abbey.
Not All Saints Church.
Or the Childwall Abbey Hotel.
Childwall in 1849.

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.’

See what I mean?

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.

The church is lovely and looks like an abbey.
And the churchyard contains wildflowers.
Lesser trefoil.
‘And lovely velvety orange moss, like a carpet’ Sarah says.

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.

At the common-spotted orchids quickly found.
And the harder to find tiny Tufted Vetch.
A glorious place.

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.

Walking across the drive which led up to the house.

And though the house isn’t there any more there are some bits of its stable block.

These are inside the part of the wood now owned by Lime Pictures. Photos borrowed from one of the local sites listed above

So Childwall Fields, a glorious place recovered from a dubious history.

We’ll be back.

Published by Ronnie

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place: http://asenseofplace.com.

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  1. Lovely post as always, Ronnie. Do you think might ever do some of you great bus route journeys again?

  2. I’d love to visit and explore Childwall church more closely. A school friend lived nearby so I know the area, and I’ve done a great walk across the wooded areas of Childwall and Allerton, but I’ve not visited the church. Also, aren’t there meant to be strange rumours around ‘Bloody Acre’ to the north of the church yard?! :)

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