The first mention of the village of Burton was in the 11th century Doomsday Book being referred to as
“Bur Tun”. This roughly translates into todays language as "Village near a fortified place”. The
fortified place in question is referring to the iron age earth work at Burton Point. The ancient
fortification is a single rampart and ditch looking out over what the Dee estuary which would have
been a large river during that age. The Hill fort supported several families and would have been lined
with wooden palisades for defence, smith a single gate heading out towards the sea.
The age of Burton is unknown but it is recorded that Burton was one of the first 500, or so,
communities known about in the region. Burton was on the route taken by the early travellers from
London to Birkenhead via Chester, and so it developed more than other communities and at a rapid
pace. The sight of one of the very early hospitals, built in the 13th or 14th century, St Andrew's of
Denhall, was located between Burton and the hamlet Ness. Only a few stones of it remain today on a
site known as 'Chapel Field'.
In the years either side of 1300 AD the township of Burton was both prosperous and important. It was
the place where several major routes met. The main road from south Lancashire to North Wales led
via the public ferry across the Dee at Burton. Another road went to Chester which at the time was the
principal port of the region, and many of the ships trading into the Dee anchored either off Burton Point
or Denhall. Although not obvious today because of recent works and natural elements Burton Point
was once a very prominent outcrop into the river Dee offering a sheltered harbour to its south east.
In 1875 many skeletons were discovered at Burton Point but no verdict was given as to what caused
the deaths of these people. Some historians believe they may be the victim of battle, others believe
they may have drowned in a maritime accident. In the centuries after 1500 AD, as the River Dee silted
up, the shipping trade was reduced and finally ceased. Neston took over as the main port and trading
centre. Burton has always had a strong connection with the sea, and no where else is it so prominent
as the name of the village church dedicated to St Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors.
The census shows that in 1831 there were 48 dwellings in the village, housing a population 313
residents; which works out to an average of over 6 people per property. As the population grew so
too did the need for entertainment and social dwellings. An old pub in the village which has long since
been demolished was known as the Earth Stopper. It was owned and ran by my great great
Grandmother, 'Anne Medlicott' and husband Edward. When her husband died, Anne continued to run
the inn and tend to 60 acres of farmland with her son. She later opened another public house which is
today Rake Lane, was formally known as “The Royal Oak”. After her death in 1860 the Royal Oak
Closed. I believe that the Medlicotts were very well known in the village of Burton, and that one of her
sons; Jeremiah Medlicott was a bell ringer at St Nicholas Parish. I am looking for further information on
the Medlicotts who moved to Burton from Staffordshire, which is the furthest i have been able to trace
my family history. I believe the maiden name of Anne Medlicott was 'Anne Boyden'.
As recently as 1850 Burton was described in Bagshaws Directory as:
“ A township and small irregular built village, situated in a valley near the river Dee. The township contains
upwards of 1600 acres of land, the whole of which is the property of Richard Congreve Esq, except about 25
acres held by the trustees of the school”.
The school referred to in the above text had been endowed in 1724 by Bishop Thomas Wilson, the
Bishop of Sodor and Man (1663-1755) . Mr Thomas was born and bread in Burton and had returned to
the school in order to provide free education to the children of Burton. A stone commemorating the
Wilson family is on the wall at the north end of the church. On the south side of the sanctuary is a
sedilla and piscina. The school was subsequently completed in 1735 and was used for nearly 200
years. The schools closed its doors for the last time in the early 1900s when it was converted to a
residential dwelling by fellow villager Thomas Wilson, son of Nathaniel Wilson who was born in 1663 in
a small cottage in Burton which still stands today.
The manor had belonged to the Bishop of Coventry and Lichefield in 1753, the Rev Richard Congreve
took a lease on the whole estate. In 1805 Richard Congreves son, also called Richard bought the
Manor and estate for 9500 pounds. He began an extensive building programme starting with a built of
a new Burton Hall on the site. During his project Richard demolished many of the old picturesque
buildings within the village in order to pave the way for his new dwellings and structures. Many of the
oldest buildings were destroyed during this period. The current Manor, today being used as an
educational building is largely the work of Henry Neville Gladstone, son of William Gladstone who has
been the Prime Minister in during Queen Victoria reign. Henry bought the estate in 1903 and set about
an extensive remodelling and extension of the hall to produce what is today the present day Manor of
The village today is close to that which can be seen on a post card. Having met and spoke with many
of the villagers from Burton during this projects I can honestly say that the residents there are the
most friendly people I have met. They are more than happy to share any of there local knowledge with
you, and unlike many villager, everybody will stop to say good morning to you; something which is rare
on the Wirral peninsula now. The village contains many notable different dwellings each in their own
design with many examples of individual architecture.
Barn End towards the south end of the village slightly offset above the street. The large thatched roof
building was once an old ale house, with a cellar hewn out of sand stone rock on which the building
still stands. It was originally known as the Fisherman's Arms and later Noah's Ark and more perhaps
intriguingly the Robbers Den. Once again this shows more maritime relations, and perhaps gives us
an insight into what the old building may have been used for quietly.
Further along is the Coach & Horses which was originally two buildings, now joined together to form
one dwelling house. It is largely in its original state externally and probably pre dates the 16th
century. The right hand side of the Coach was St Nicholas House, built in 1711 by Thomas Bainbridge,
Curate of Burton from 1696 to 1725 and was the official vicarage until 1911, when a new house was
built in Vicarage Lane.
There were two known smithy's in Burton, one of which lay on the village street just below the
church. In 1836 the village Smithy was Robert Venables who was working as late as 1873, although at
that time he was assisted by his son. The business passed to Samuel Henshaw in the early 1900s.
The building was single storey with sand stone walls and a slated roof, although the adjoining lean-to
had a timber fascia with a slated roof. The name Rock Cottage is carved into the sandstone wall at the
rear of the smithy which formed the outer wall of the village Pinfold. A pinfold is an enclosure built to
hold animals which were found straying from their owners land or were found grazing on the common
without common rights.
Sunny Bank Cottage lies opposite Church Farm and is said to be the oldest brick building in the
village. It dates from the latter part of the 17th century. The house has been considerably altered,
the door position changed and the walls rendered. It fronts directly onto the village street close to the
junction of Puddington Lane.
Rock Cottage located near by was occupied in 1851 by William Ashton and the occupier of Ivy Bank
was Thomas Ashton. Both men were described as hard working farm labourers however they were
Pear Tree Cottage is a beautiful house and part of near by Pear Tree Farm. The cottage fronts onto
the village street and is certainly worth a look if walking down the road. A former old barn which is
now also converted into a house, stands behind the cottage. William and Jane Bather were the
occupiers until 1848 when William died. According to the 1851 census the holding was 30 acres but
the individual fields were well scattered. The house has a date stone displaying 1682, possibly
celebrating the coming of age of their son Timothy leather, by the original owners John and Sarah
leather. Resources for some of the above information include "A Wirral Album" by The Heswall Society
and "Wirral Memories" by John M Birtwistle. Both books are certainly worth purchasing and contain
much more information and photographs.
There are many other houses in the road worth a visit but far too many to mention. Some of these
dwellings include Thatched Cottage, Nicholas House, Church House, Rock Cottage, Ivy Bank, Pear Tree
Cottage, Sunny Bank Cottage and Bishop Wilsons Cottage. All in all there is a great deal of history in
the village of Burton and is certainly worth a visit.