Thornton Hough was mentioned in the Doomsday book under the name of Torintone, this is most
likely derived from Norse descent. The present day name of Thornton Hough was brought about when
the only daughter of Roger de Thorneton, the local landowner, married Richard de Hoghe during the
reign of Edward II. By the beginning of the 19th Century Thornton Hough with a population of just
165, formed part of the great Neston Estate owned by Baron Mostyn of Mostyn in Flint. The village
was sparce and rocky, with the inhabitants mostly being from farming stock.
In 1847 William Mortimer visited the village and wrote the following:
"The ancient and extensive hall of the Leightons has been taken down, and some farm buildings erected on
its site with materials. Most of the land is of very indifferent quality, which indeed may be said of the whole
parish. The entire township abounds with rock. The village is built on a slight elevation, the only street of
which is cut through solid sandstone, presenting a very unpleasant appearance, and though it posses a few
tolerably good houses, the greater portion are of a very inferior description".
Two years later the land was broken up into separate lots and the village and surrounding land was
sold at auction in 1849. Through marriage, a large area of land on the east side of the village
eventually came into the ownership of Joseph Hirst who had already rebuilt much of his own village at
Wilshaw in West Yorkshire.
In 1866 Joseph Hirst began construction of the All Saints Church. All Saints Church, was built in
1867/68 by Joseph Hirst. Its tall steeple which dominates the skyline has, unusually, five clock faces,
the fifth being added so that Joseph Hirst could see the time from his bedroom window in Thornton
House. The graveyard is the resting place of many local dignitaries including Joseph Hoult, the
steamship owner, The Bamford family of Raby Hall, and several members of the Lever family including
the late Lord Leverhulme who died in 2000. Alongside All Saints stand the vicarage and parish hall
which were also built by Joseph Hirst between 1866 and 1868. The first vicar, the Rev. John Wesley
Aldom M.A. took office when the church was consecrated in 1868, and the vicarage has been the home
of the incumbent ever since. The parish hall was originally the village school until it closed in 1953,
and the schoolmistress lived in the cottage attached to the school.
Over the following five years Joseph began a large building project and was responsible for much of
the village main infrastructure and buildings including the adjoining vicarage, the villages first
educational school and the row of cottages behind the church known as Wilshaw Terrace. Joseph
lived in nearby Thornton House from where he oversaw all of his building projects. Five years later
Joseph Hirst died at his home in Wilshaw, Yorkshire in 1875 leaving behind the remains of a flourishing
In 1888 William Lever moved into the large hall of Thornton Manor. Over the next few years he
began purchasing much of the land around the village and surrounding areas. He too embarked on a
building project and like Joseph Hirst he had his eyes set on leaving his stamp on the area. It was
William Lever who began to adopt the Black & White half timbered Tudor look around the village which
we see in Thornton Hough today.
His next accomplishment was to build the second school of the village, the previous becoming too
small for its capacity and poor education materials. In 1905 he set about building the villages second
church St Georges Parish, with his wife laying the foundation stone the following year. The church was
decorated in a classic Norman style and internally complimented with extensive Romanesque stone
carving, it was deliberately kept low to avoid competition with All Saints. The church is built on the site
of the original village smithy and a row of cottages which included the premises of the local butcher.
The church was indeed grand in design and the doors were opened the following fall in 1907 by
William Lever himself. The first minister was the Reverend T. Langstone Burrows who came from
Lever's home town of Bolton. Alongside the church stands the village War Memorial, erected on land
donated by the church in 1919. Other building projects included road design, a smithy, villas and a
Opposite St George's stands the present village school. Originally known as St. George's School and
later the 'Lever School', it was erected by William Lever in 1904/5. The school was in operation until
1939 when it closed for the duration of the war. During the war the building was used by the army,
and eventually reopening in 1953 when the pupils were transferred from the old parish school.
In the centre of the village on what was once the turnpike road from Neston to Woodside, stands the
Seven Stars Hotel. It has been recorded as being in existence since at least 1849 when the licensee,
a Mr Joseph Dunn; was also the shopkeeper. The inn was operated for many years by the local
Birkenhead Brewery. Many visitors to Thornton Hough still enjoy a pint in this old pub, and it remains
today the villages most well recognised ale house.
Standing almost opposite The Seven Stars inn is a group of houses known as Wilshaw Terrace, these
old dwellings were built in a solid row of terraced homes by Joseph Hirst in 1870. The building on the
end with the conical roof which is now the Turret Tea Rooms, was originally the village stores and also
served as the post office until it moved to its present premises along side the village club in 1904.
The current post office was built on the site of a former Wesleyan Chapel, the building being erected
by William Lever as a Liberal Club in 1904. It was renamed after the WW1, and more recently became
the home of the local branch of the British Legion. The two buildings which sit either side of the village
club used to be two separate shops. The one on the right became the post office, replacing the
original post office in Wilshaw terrace. The other, which now serves as a bar for the club was
originally a butcher's shop replacing the shop demolished to make way for St George's church.
The Smithy sits further down the hill at the junction of Smithy Hill and Neston Road. It was built in
1905 again by William Lever to replace the original smithy which was also demolished when St
Georges Parish was built. The smithy is decorated much like the rest of the village in its traditional
half-timbered back and white construction mock Tudor decor. A large chestnut tree used to sits in its
grounds to compliment the smithy on its old world charm.
Another historic building is the Women's Institute which was built in the early 1930's. Next to the
building is a pair of white cottages, which had been purpose built for Mr Williamson and his family. Mr
Williamson was a famous face in the village, he was a local merchant who travelled from his home in
Copley House just outside of Brimstage.
Despite all of these beautiful and historic buildings, the villages most famous land mark has to be the
village green. You cannot pass through the village of Thornton Hough and not admire the large green
area at the centre of heart. The old green is surrounded by houses built c1892 by William Lever in the
typical Port Sunlight style and designed by many of the architects who worked for Lever on Port
Sunlight village. On the south side, the black and white houses known as The Folds are laid out in the
form of traditional almshouses, whilst the block of houses on Neston Road, which replaced a group of
thatched cottages, originally included a girl's orphanage.
Manor Road is named after the now famous Thornton Manor which stands proudly just on the
outskirts of the village. The gate house creates a huge impression on passers by and serves as a
taster of what is to come once inside the fine building. The Manor house was built in the 1853 on land
bought from the Mostyn family. In 1888 William Lever moved into the fine Manor and by 1913 had
extensively extended the house to create the building as it appears today. The Manor with its
extensive gardens was home to several generations of the Leverhulme family until it was sold in 2001
following the death of the third, and last, Lord Leverhulme, and is now in private ownership
Click to enlarge