Prenton is recorded as "Prestune" in the Doomsday Book of 1086. The book describes Prenton as a vast scrub land
headed mainly by forests and dense canopy's. The forest is recorded as being 9 miles square and of great
importance to the settlement. The name Prenton derives from "Pren" meaning "wood" in old British and "ton" which
is Saxon meaning "village". This would indicate that the name came from the meaning of Settlement in the wood. We
are certain of the importance of the woods not only because of the given name of the village but also because in the
doomsday book the village is recorded as having the most densely populated and tallest trees out of all of the
surrounding villages. The village also occupies at strategic location having been sited at the top of a gently sloping
hill which would have given vantage points across the river Mersey and looking over the ever increasing population of
industrial Birkenhead. Several small waterways used to flow through the village of Prenton and history has recorded
the presence of a large water mill in the village which used to sit at Prenton Dell.
William Webb visiting the Prenton area in the 17th century's noted:
"One race of Haukenhuls have a fine house and demesne. The present owner there of John Oakenhall Esquire. Little else
of interest will be found in Prenton until your path leads you across the Golf Course, and then you will be most interested
in keeping clear of badly sliced golf balls, fir they drive over the pathway, and a story is told of a poor pedestrian who was
walking over the links being struck on the head by a golf ball. He waited patiently for the striker to arrive, and then blurted
"Are you aware sir, that your ball struck me on the head? and the reply that was vouchsafed to his query was, "Oh, Did it?
Where did it bounce to?"
The Old Hall to which Webb refers is Prenton Old Hall which stood in a sheltered dingle, surrounded by trees of
extreme height. The hall was eventually abandoned by its lords, it subsequently fell into disrepair and is now part of
a an large farm house with some of its original build still remaining situated on Prenton Dell Road at the corner of
Prenton Dell Avenue.
The near by Saddle Club was part of a larger farm called lower farm. The farm was tied to Prenton Hall which is listed
in the Doomsday Book. The Saddle Club started life as a winter shelter tucked down below a shallow ridge, then
changing to a Small Mill. The mill was used to grind the local wheat into flour. Local tales speak of a terrible death in
the building. It is said that a local farmhand was courting the Miller's daughter, but the Miller did not approve of the
relationship. One day he discovered the couple making love and was so enraged he threw the lad across the mill,
only to be crushed to death under the huge stone grinding wheels. His ghost is claimed to have been seen by
patrons and staff of the building to this day, and the twisted tree is said to hold the spirit of the doomed young
lovers. Eventually the building was converted into a full working Farm with a large selection of live stock , it stayed
like this for many years till the late 50s, moving full over to a Riding stables, sadly in the 70s the farm was sold off,
and broken up in to separate areas. The building today is known as the Saddle Club and operates as a public house.
Another old public house is sited on the junction of Woodchurch Road and Storeton Road and is called the 'Halfway
House'. The public house dates back to at least 1879 and continues to serve ale to the village today.
The centre of Prenton in the 21st century is Woodchurch road, around which a hive of shops and large houses have
crept up. However in the century before Prenton was situated around the more affluent area of Waterpark Road and
the adjoining streets. As time has gone by the centre has shifted somewhat and the area has changed adapting to
time and commerce. The game of golf was in the late 19th century was gaining popularity and by 1905 Prenton had
its own golf club which is still highly popular with the locals.
Another bygone of Prenton's past is the old electric tram terminus which sat at the corner of Storeton Road and
Prenton Road West and ran a constant service shuttling passengers into Birkenhead town centre.
Much of Prenton's housing dates back to the late Victorian or early Edwardian period but there is little reminder of
anything else of age within the village except for a small Edwardian water fountain next to the war memorial on
Prenton Hall Road and the ancient road running from Prenton to Storeton known locally as Roman Road or Monks
|A Painting of a Lane in Prenton 1907
|Woodchuch Road 1952 (Cartridge World)
|Prenton Road West Trams c1915
|Prenton Road West Trams c1915