Smugglers and pirates were a real threat in the 1700's particularly to the Wallasey area, adored by both.  They would
often take wealthy residents and ransom them for money. There reputation also shows that they were also keen on
kidnapping the poor and keeping them on board against their will to help out with labour on their vessel.  This could also
be said of the smugglers nemises, the Royal Navy.  

The Royal Navy notoriously picked up young and able men and recruited them into the ranks many times against there
wishes, but the great terror of the sailors was the press other side of the Black Rock that they might conceal themselves
in Cheshire, and many a vessel had to be brought into gang. Such was the dread in which this force was held by the
sailors, that they would often take to their boats on the port by a lot of riggers and carpenters sent round by the owners
for that purpose.”

Two entries in the Wallasey parish registers, both in 1762, refer to the risks the sailor ran. Under the date of 29th March,
appears, ' William Evans drowned in endeavouring to escape from a cutter lying at ye Black Rock'; and again on 6th
November, 'John Goss sailor drowned from ye Prince George tender in his Majesty's Service', the tender being the ship to
which the men were sent immediately on being 'pressed.'

In his notes Mr Kitchingman says:
"Except in Mr Stonehouses Streets of Liverpool there does not seem to be any information
to be obtained from writers about this spot.  I can readily understand this as it was so out of the way and used for such secret
purposes.  I came on the scene and rooted it out for myself".  

In another place, he says: "My father lodged at Mother Redcap's in 1820, and many of the notes of the old house here set
out were made by him in that year".

encamped on the Leasowes awaiting embarkation for Ireland.  There is a tradition that at the time of King William's and
a place from which pilots boarded vessels, besides being put to other uses.  In 1690 the troops of William III were
encamped on the Leasowes awaiting embarkation for Ireland.  There is a tradition that at the time of King William's
embarkation, dispatches were conveyed in a roundabout way to Chester, from Great Meols to Mother Redcap's, and then
by fishing boats up the Mersey to Stoke and Stanney, instead of from Meols via Parkgate.

At an earlier period a small privateer called the Redcap cruised between here and Ireland. She took several dispatches
for King James's partisans up to Stoke and Poole on the secluded upper reaches of the Mersey where some of the old
Roman Catholic families resided.

Mr Coventry, a pilot well versed in Wallasey and Liscard folklore, stated that he had been told by his ancestors that
several of King James's adherents, landed at Mother Redcap's.  On one occasion three persons of some distinction were
hurriedly landed from a ship.  Horses were in readiness, and without a word the travellers rode off rapidly towards 'The
Hooks'.  Very soon afterwards a boat with an armed crew came from up river and made a hurried search.  Mr Coventry
said that the explanation his father heard at the time was that these refugees had made their escape from Ireland and
were intending to proceed for refuge up the river towards Stoke or Stanney, but the tide being out, horses had been
obtained here.  The armed boat had been lying in wait higher up the river above Seacombe Point, and discovering the
probability of a landing being made at Mother Redcap's, hurried down the river to intercept it.

The smuggling went on in this area for century's and storeys denote that on one occasion when the smugglers were
desirous of getting a cask of rum or some other merchandise away from one of the hiding places, but were prevented by
the unwelcome presence of a duty officer.  So it was arranged that one of the smugglers was to creep down to the shore
from the Moor, and lie down in his clothes in the water, at the edge of the receding tide.  The attention of the solitary
officer at Mother Redcap's was called to the supposed body which had been washed ashore, and he made his way to it
as quickly as possible.  He had removed the watch, and was going through the pockets when the corpse came to life,
sprang up, and laid out the surprised officer with a swift blow from a melee weapon.  By the time he had come to, the
rum had been removed from Redcap's, and started its journey to the moss at Bidston.  

No blame could be attached to the 'drowned man' who stated:  
"He was walking along the shore, when he must have had a
fit, for the next thing that he became aware of was that he was lying in the sand with his pockets being rifled.  Thinking he
was being robbed by a stranger he attacked".

On another occasion a ship with tobacco on board was wrecked, and the watching officers saw two men run from the
part of the wreck on the shore, along the beach northward, with two small bales as though they were about to depart
for the Wallasey side.  It took some time on the soft sand to overtake them, and when they were caught the packages
were found to contain cabbage leaves and ferns.  In the meantime their friends had made free with the real tobacco in
the wreck.  

Old Mr W. Whittle told Mr Kitchingman about 1896 that there was a great dispute concerning the right of way on the
premises about 1750.  It seems that when a dead body was found on the beach it was brought here and taken in by the
back door.  On removal for interment, on account of some superstition it was taken out by the front door.  Certain people
claimed that if twelve bodies passed through in one year it gave a right of way for living people to pass through the
house at any hour, day or night.  An attempt was made once and once only, for a fierce fight ensued.  

Whittle at one time had an idea of purchasing this cottage, but hearing this story which came from his wife's
grand¬father, he consulted Mr W. H. North, senior, about the legality of the supposed right of way; but Mr North only
laughed at him.  Doubtless the attempt referred to was a dodge on the part of the coastguard to obtain right of entry
into the house.

Mr W. Coventry once told Mr Kitchingman he believed Mother Redcap was a comely, fresh-coloured, Cheshire-spoken
woman, and that she had at one time a niece to help her, who was very active but very offhand in her manners, and
who afterwards married a Customs officer.

The first steam voyage across the Atlantic from Liverpool was made in the year 1838 by the City of Dublin Company's
steamer Royal William, 617 tons, 276 horse-power.  She left the Mersey on 5th July.  A party of the Liverpool Dock
trustees and shipowner's assembled at Mother Redcap's to witness the departure, and a cannon was fired from the front
of the house as a farewell salute when the steamer passed on this side of the river to enter the Rock Channel.
Mr J. Askew, the harbour-master, and Captain Dobie, of Messrs Brocklebank's ship Rimac, made speeches, and the belief
was expressed that the vessel would not get beyond the Cove of Cork.

Mr J. Kitchingman was, it is said, born in the house in Withens Lane, lately the Horse and Saddle Inn.  When he retired
from Warrington, where he practised as a solicitor, he purchased and restored, in 1888, Mother Redcap's which had
previously been a fisherman's cottage.  He gave the land in front of it, when this portion of the promenade was made, on
condition that it should not be used as a thoroughfare for carriages.  When Royalty came to open a new addition to the
Navy League Buildings, the royal and other carriages did drive along this part of the promenade, which so annoyed Mr
Kitchingman that instead of leaving his house to the district, he left it instead to be used as a Convalescent Home for
Warrington people, as his family belonged to that town.  As it was not suitable for this purpose, the powers were
obtained to set aside the will, and the property was sold.  Mr Robert Myles became the purchaser, and he opened it as a
café, bearing once more the name of Mother Redcap.

The small white cottage style tavern was demolished in 1885 and was rebuilt in 1888 in a mock Tudor style although it
did continue being a public house.  This is the taller building with spires which can be seen several old pictures that
eventually became the café.  Unfortunately this building also demolished, this time in 1974 to make way for flats.  
Nothing now remains of Mother Red Caps except the solitary archway that marked the entrance, a bygone to a time of
smuggling and maritime history.  
Additional Pictures
Additional Pictures
Early Painting
The Tudor Red Caps
Cllick to enlarge
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