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Hic portus alii effodiunt: hic alta theatris
Æneidos Lib. i. 427.
In commencing the History of Liverpool, we are presented with no records of very ancient date, nor any monuments of great antiquity, showing the taste and ingenuity of men in remote ages ;here are no inscriptions, written in characters which the hand of time has almost obliterated; nor are there found in this spot any of the relicks of by-gone days, to afford employment and pleasure to the antiquary. On the contrary, every thing bears the stamp of modernness; every edifice, every street, wears the impress but of yesterday.
Though to the historian Liverpool affords but scanty materials for deep research and elaborate disquisition, yet its sudden rise and vast increase offer ample matter to the contemplation of the statesman and the political economist; and perhaps its history, notwithstanding it possesses little of the rust of antiquity, may present to the philosopher and patriot a fair fund of instruction and delight; for whether we contrast its present great importance in the national scale, or compare its wealth and grandeur at this day with its former poverty and insignificance, we must be strongly impressed with the vast change that has been effected in the state of society since the period when this borough first began to appear in the annals of Britain.
In the map of Doomsday-book, corresponding with the great national survey made by William the conqueror, we find that portion of the eastern bank of the Mersey, on which Liverpool stands, called Esmedune, from which circumstance, as well as the relative situations of the various adjoining townships, many of which still bear the same names by which they are designated in this document, it is very probable that the present site of the town was at that period known by this
It is said that “Edelmund held Esmedune: it is worth thirty-two pence.* Lancashire is not found in the Saxon Chronicles, though the adjacent counties in the kingdom of Northumbria are mentioned several times; neither does it occur in Doomsday-book, in which ancient record it appears to have been surveyed with the two neighbouring counties; the northern part being included in Yorkshire, and the southern portion, situate between the Ribble and Mersey, in Cheshire.
Liverpool is stated to have first assumed its present name about the year 1089, but from what circumstance appears to be altogether uncertain. It is evident that a fortress was erected here immediately after the Norman conquest, and amongst various authorities
may be cited the following from Kenion's MSS. where it is said that “ Roger de Poictou, earl of Lancaster, prudently stationed his barons in the most vulnerable places to preserve his earldom in quiet:-- 1st. He built a castle at Liverpool, against the passage over the water from Cheshire, and there placed his trusty friend, Vivian Molyneux, to be governor and castellanus in the utmost limits of his earldom.” Liverpool is likewise mentioned in a tailliage made in Lancashire in the eleventh year of the reign of Henry III., in which it is stated that
MKS. S. d. The town of Lancaster paid. 13 0 0 The town of Liverpool paid.
11 7 8 The town of West Derby paid. 7 4 The town of Preston paid
15 0 6
It is also stated in the twenty-third of Edward I. that “ Adam Fitz Richard and Robert Pinklowe, burgesses of Liverpool, were elected to represent this borough in parliament. And they were guaranteed to come in the time specified in the writ, by John de la More, Hugh de Molendo, William Fitz Richard, and Elias le Baxster.”
Amongst the Harleian MSS. deposited in the British Museum is a document enumerating the fees and salaries paid to some of the officers of the Duchy of Lancaster, in the twenty-second of Edward III. in which is the following:
“ Thomas Molineux, constable of the Castle of Liverpool. . £6 13s. 4d.
The same, head forester of Simonswood and king's parker of Croxteth. . £3 10s. 4d.
"The same, high steward of West Derbyshire and Salfordshire. . £5 Os. Od."
During the same reign, amongst the grants made by Henry Duke of Lancaster, it is said that
“The Duke to Richard de Dynesargh of Liverpool and his heirs.
“ Grant of a Messuage and Appurtenances in Castle-street, Liverpool, which formerly belonged to Benedict le Stedeman, late constable of Liverpool castle, at 4s. rent per annum, and by services as the other tenants of that town did for their Messuages."*
* Rolls of the Duchy quoted by Baines.