This map has popped up twice for me recently, as someone asked me for a scanned copy, an a second person posted this image on one of the many great Liverpool history pages on Facebook. It’s a moment of Liverpool’s very early days captured on parchment.
My favourite thing about this map is its ‘obviousness’ and clarity. To a landscape archaeologist, this map of Liverpool is such an easy model to read. For a start, the Pool itself – “Ye Se Lake.” – is there, centre stage. We know straight away where the small town gets its name. Read more
The council pulled down Liverpool Castle itself in 1715 and St George’s Church built in its place. However in 1895 E.W. Cox drew a reconstruction for the Historical Society of Lancashire and Cheshire. In the first decade of the 20th Century the first Viscount Leverhulme built a reconstruction of the ruins of the castle in the village of Rivington near Chorley. Today it stands in Lever Park, a large area of woodland on the east bank of Rivington Reservoir.
Liverpool Castle reconstruction
The replica Liverpool Castle stands on high ground overlooking the reservoir. Though of course it can never quite match the shape of the landscape in medieval Liverpool, the lake acts as a stand-in for the Pool. (Compare this plan on Wikipedia with the satellite view on Google Maps). The position of the River Mersey itself would have been in a west to east direction, on the north side of the two most complete towers at Rivington.
The castle was incomplete by the time of Lord Leverhulme’s death in 1925. Work stopped, though the majority of the intended layout was in place. Today the castle has its fair share of graffiti, and evidence of fires and drinking are all around. However, it’s a great place to go to get a feel for one of Liverpool’s lost gems.
These references all relate to what we know of the original castle. (See also Lerpoole 1572 – Historic Liverpool)
Liverpool Castle, The Gatehouse Record, http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/English%20sites/1867.html, accessed 28th September 2019
Liverpool Castle, Pastscape (Historic England), https://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=67505&sort=4&search=all&criteria=liverpool%20castle&rational=q&recordsperpage=10, accessed 28th September 2019
Gladstone Jr, R., 1907, A Report on Liverpool Castle, 2nd October 1559, Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, vol 59, https://www.hslc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/59-7-Gladstone.pdf, accessed 28th September 2019