The Woodchurch was originally a farming area and ancient village of the Wirral Hundred, known
mainly for its parish church and the neighbouring Arrowe Park country estate. Construction of a huge
housing estate complete with shops, schools, industry and leisure facilities began immediately after
World War II. Whilst this was being created the original village of Woodchurch with its long crooked
paths and small crooked cottages were completely destroyed. Now only Holy Cross Church and its
adjoining school remain of the ancient village.
Census shows that the population was 52 in 1801, 96 in 1851 and 140 in 1901. Woodchurch
underwent a massive boom in population after the new housing estate was completed during the
From the 1950s to the 1980s the CO-OP operated a clothes factory and industrial laundry on
Woodchurch Road and its water-tower and chimney were local landmarks. It is now the site of an
The housing estate is populated by mainly low income residents, with well above average levels of
unemployment and many are owned by the local authority. In the early 1980s during a period of
exceptionally high national unemployment, the area gained a reputation for drug and social
problems. During the latter half of the 1980s the estate was given a face-lift in an effort to over turn
its poor reputation. Today its social problems are largely a thing of the past although unemployment
levels are still above average for the Wirral.
A stroll around the Woodchurch estate reveals some of its past through its road names. They are a
teaser at life that once was but which has now been overcome by modern housings. Names such as:
- Ganneys Meadow
- Home Farm Road
- Common Field Road
- Meadow Crescent
- Yew Tree Close
- Orrets Meadow
- Woodland Road
Several descriptions of the old village survive, amongst them are these two:
Mortimer in 1847 wrote:
"The township of Woodchurch contains 317 acres, of the annual value of £429, and by the census of
1841 it had 114 inhabitants. The manor of "Wude Church" which was given to the abbot and convent of
Chester, at the original endowment in 1093, continued in their possession until the dissolution. It was
afterwards granted by Queen Elizabeth to Peter and Edward Grey, upon whom many concealed lands and
inappropriate livings were conferred. They sold the manor and estates to Launcelot Bostock of Lancashire
and Francais Hiccocks of Horsham in the latter, as survivor they became vested, and after several
subsequent alterations the manor and considerable amount of the township was purchased by Thomas
Wilson DD Prebendary of Westminster a son of the venerated bishop of Sodor and man. Dr Wilson who
died 15th April 1784 by his will, dated at Bath 1779 bequeathed his property in this parish to Thomas
Macklin of Derby with remainder in default of male issue to Thomas second son of Thomas Patten of Bank
Hall in the county of Lancaster upon condition of assuming the name, arms and crest of Wilson only. On
the entail being barred in the year 1823 Mr Wilson resumed the surname and arms of Wilson after Patten
and his eldest son and heir John Wilson Patten of Bank Hall, one of the representatives in Parliament for
the Northern division of Lancashire is at present lord of the manor of Woodchurch".
Philip Sulley in 1889 wrote:
"There is one licensed house in the area of Woodchurch, “The Horse & Jockey”.
For reasons stated under the township of Landican, a church probably existed here from Saxon times,
certainly from Norman 1093ad. The advowson descended with the manor of Landican till the
reformation. By various gradiations it descended to the Revered Bryan King, rector and from his son
Reverend Joshua King to the present rector Reverend Philip Raulin Robin Honorary Canon of Chester who
also holds the patronage of Oxton. The present value of living is stated in the clergy list at £1004 per
annum and the population of the parish is 840. The manorial right of the parish have lapsed and there is
no hall. There is one large farm that of Mr Thomas Monk".
Above: Old cottages in
Woodchurch destroyed during
housing expansion in the 1950s.
Left: The newly created Home
Farm Road in 1965.