Moreton and Leasowe

The name Moreton comes from the Anglo-Saxon More - meaning a Lake and Ton - meaning Town. It was originally known as Moreton-cum-Lingham and was bounded by Great Meols to the West with Bidston and Wallasey to the South and East. Before the embankment was constructed, it was 3000 acres of tidal lagoon between one and two metres below sea level with most of the remainder little more than one metre above.

Lingham means Heather Island and is derived from the Norse words Lyng - meaning heather and Holm - meaning island. Leasowe - from the Anglo-Saxon Leasowes - means Meadow Pastures.

Early Days

Moreton, Lingham and Great Meols have been occupied since before Roman times. Moreton became part of the Parish of Bidston and was the wealthiest and most productive part of the area run for the Birkenhead Priory. Although it was allowed to become run down during the early 1800's, the introduction of the Wirral RailwayLine in 1866 brought day-trippers from Liverpool and further afield.

By 1900 Moreton was again thriving and was even being recommended by doctors as a place for a holiday or a place to live because its fresh air and clean sea was seen as beneficial for conditions such as rheumatism. Moreton's association with health attracted the attention of Margaret Beavan who chose Leasowe as the place to build the Liverpool Open-Air Hospital for children with tuberculosis - later to become the Leasowe Children's Hospital when the National Health Service came into operation in 1948.


Moreton's population has grown from 165 in 1665 to the present-day figure of around 24,500. It was 210 in 1801 and 597 in 1901. There was a big jump between 1911 and 1921 when it went from 898 to 2,531.

On 1st August 1928, Wallasey extended it's boundaries to include Moreton and by 1941 the population had grown to 5,000 -- expanding to over 7,700 in 1951.


The first road into Moreton was built from Great Meols in 1841 but it was not until 24 years later in 1865 that Moreton railway station was built on the Wirral Railway Line. It was opened on June 18th 1866, initially as a single-track line. In it's early days, the shelter on the Liverpool side of the line was used by the Moreton Football Club as a changing room.

Leasowe station was built in 1895 when the Wirral Line was being converted to a double-track line. The line was electrified in the mid 1930's but, amazingly, a footbridge over the track was not added until 1947.

Cole's Bus Service was the first motorised bus service in Moreton. Initially running between Moreton Shore and Moreton Station, the service was extended from the station to Moreton Cross when Birkenhead Municipal Transport started their service to Moreton Cross in 1920. The Crosville service started in 1925 with Wallasey joining, in 1928. Cole's service last ran in 1926.


Christ Church in Moreton was built in 1863 at a cost (which included a school) of 8,000 UK Pounds. It was built on land donated by Mr. Tom Webster. Mr. William Inman the Shipping Magnate of Upton manor donated the money for the buildings.

Moreton's first Roman Catholic Church was built in 1923 at a cost of 1,200 UK Pounds. The money was raised by public subscription. The Church was pulled down in 1955 and replaced with the one which exists today.

Public Houses and other Notable Buildings

Dating from the seventeenth century, the oldest of the three main public houses in Moreton was the Plough Inn and the Druids Arms. In the early 1930's it became known simply as the Plough Inn.

The Farmers Arms dates from the late 1700's and even in the early 1900's, parts were still being used as a farm.

The youngest public house, the Coach and Horses dates from the early 1800's. The original building was knocked down and replaced in 1928.

The Moreton Church of England School was built for a cost of 745 UK Pounds and was opened on 21st February 1861. The bricks used to build it were hand-made from a marl pit on the stretch of road between Moreton and Great Meols (The Meols Stretch). The school was pulled down in 1975.

Leasowe Lighthouse [Photograph] was built in 1763 with 660,000 hand-madebricks and is the oldest lighthouse in England. Originally two were built - the second was a quarter of a mile out to sea but was washed away duringa storm in 1769. It was replaced by one on Bidston Hill in 1771.

Vessels would line up the two lights and would then be able to enter the Rock Channel or the Hoyle Lake for safe anchorage. It was last used on 15th July 1908.

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