Sefton, Lancashire Family History Guide

Sefton is an Ancient Parish in the county of Lancashire.

Other places in the parish include: Thornton, Orrell and Ford, Orrell, Orelland Ford, Orell and Ford, Netherton, Lunt, Little Crosby, Ince Blundell, Ford, and Aintree.

Alternative names: Sephton

Parish church: St. Helen

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1597
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1619

Nonconformists include: Roman Catholic

Adjacent Parishes

Parish History


A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

SEFTON (St. Helen), a parish, in the union and hundred of West Derby, S. division of Lancashire; containing, with the townships of Aintree, Great and Little Crosby, Ince-Blundell, Litherland, Lunt, Netherton, Orrell with Ford, and Thornton, 6164 inhabitants, of whom 395 are in Sefton township, 7 miles (N.) from Liverpool. Previously to the Conquest, “ Sextune,” one of the original parishes of Lancashire, was held by five thanes. The family of Molyneux or Molines subsequently settled here. William des Molines, so named from Moulines, a town of Bourbonnois, in France, is mentioned in the Norman Chronicles as a man of noble origin, held in high esteem by the Duke William, afterwards William I. of England. In the roll of Battle Abbey, his name stands the eighteenth in order; and soon after the Conquest, he acquired, by gift of Roger de Poictou, the lordships of Sefton, Thornton, and Kerden, of which he made Sefton his chief seat. Richard Molyneux, of this family, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1586; and, on the institution of the order of baronets, 22nd May, 1611, was the 2nd baronet advanced to that dignity, by James I. Sir Richard, his successor, was elevated to the peerage of Ireland, by the title of Viscount Molyneux, in 1628; and Charles William, the 9th viscount, was created Earl of Sefton, in November 1771. The townships or manors in the parish now belonging to this noble family, are, Sefton, Litherland, Orrell and Ford, Netherton, Thornton, Lunt, and Aintree.

The parish extends seven miles in length and four in width, and comprises 9525 acres, of which 1140 are in the township of Sefton. The western townships are bordered by the Irish Sea and the mouth of the Mersey, a range of dreary sandhills forming a barrier along the shore, which is lined with marshes and covered with rabbit-warrens. The river Alt, fed by numerous rills, flows by Aintree, Lunt, and Ince-Blundell, and discharges itself into the sea to the north, below Formby Point. At Sefton, this stream resembles a canal, and in wet seasons overflows the meadows, a flat district extending several miles, which, during inundations, assumes the appearance of an arm of the sea. The Leeds and Liverpool canal intersects the parish. The principal halls are those of Little Crosby and Ince-Blundell. Sefton Hall existed in 1372, and was a stately pile, with a circular moat (still in existence) inclosing about a quarter of an acre of elevated ground, opposite the church. The farmhouse which subsequently occupied the site of this ancient seat of the Molyneuxs, has been taken down, and all that now remains of the mansion is a few heaps of stones scattered from its strong and massive walls. A brewery here, established about a century ago, is conducted by Mr. Molyneux Rothwell. The pursuits of the inhabitants are chiefly rural.

The living is a rectory, valued in the king’s books at £30. 1.8.; net income, £1378; patron and incumbent, the Rev. Richard Renshaw Rothwell. The tithes of the township of Sefton have been commuted for £211, and the glebe consists of 5 acres. The church is a large and handsome structure, and one of the finest in the county, originally erected in 1111, and partly rebuilt in the reign of Henry VIII. by Anthony Molyneux, a distinguished preacher, then rector. It is partly Norman, and partly in the later English style, with a lofty spire; and the interior is remarkably elegant. The chancel, separated from the nave by a magnificent screen, contains sixteen richly-sculptured stalls, and numerous monuments to the family of Molyneux, of whom Sir William performed signal acts of valour under the banner of the Black Prince, at Navaret; as did Sir Richard in the battle of Agincourt, and another Sir William in that of Flodden-Field. In what is called Lord Molyneux’s chapel are several modern monuments of the family, one of them, particularly fine, in white marble, to the memory of Caryll, Viscount Molyneux, who died in 1699. At Great Crosby, Seaforth, and Waterloo are distinct incumbencies; and the Roman Catholics have chapels in several places. A sunk forest on the coast, is one of the most remarkable characteristics of the parish; and so abundant is the timber imbedded in the earth, generally two feet or more below the surface, that fifty loads of trees, chiefly of oak, arc sometimes found in a single acre.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848


The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1851

Aintree, a township in the parish of Sephton, co.-palatine of Lancaster; 6 miles north-north-east from Liverpool. Pop., in 1801, 260; in 1831, 247. Houses 42. In 1801 it was returned with that of the township of Ford, Litherland, and Orrell, at 588. Acres 840. A. P. £1,222. Poor rates, in 1837, £170.

Source: The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales; A Fullarton & Co. Glasgow; 1851.

Parish Records

Lancashire Archives

Lancashire FH & Heraldry Society

Manchester Archives and Local History


Lancashire BMD

England, Lancashire, Parish Registers 1538-1910

England, Lancashire Non-Conformist Church Records, 1647-1996

Catholic Parish Registers of Liverpool 1741-1773

St James’ Cemetery Burials Liverpool

Manchester Burial Records

England, Lancashire, Oldham Cemetery Registers, 1797-2004

England, Lancashire, Rusholme Road Cemetery 1821-1933

Oldham Burial Records

Tameside Burial Records

Chorlton Upon Medlock Burials 1821-1933


Lancaster Convict Database 1800s

Lancashire Fusiliers

Lancashire Infantry Museum

Loyal North Lancashire Regiment

Lancashire Roll of Honour

St. Helens Roll of Honour

Lancashire Police Records

Lancashire Lantern - archive of local old photographs, postcards and other images

Manchester Local Images

Records for England

Births and Baptism Records

England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975

Great Britain, Births and Baptisms, 1571-1977

England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

Marriage Records

England Marriages, 1538–1973

Great Britain Marriages, 1797-1988

England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

Death Records

England Death Records, 1998-2015

England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991

Great Britain Deaths and Burials, 1778-1988

England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

England and Wales, National Index of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1957

England and Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1640-1660

Non-Conformist Records

England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977


England and Wales Census, 1841

England and Wales Census, 1851

England and Wales Census, 1861

England and Wales Census, 1871

England and Wales Census, 1881

England and Wales Census, 1891

England and Wales Census, 1901

England and Wales Census, 1911


United Kingdom, Merchant Navy Seamen Records, 1835-1941

War and Conflict

Great Britain, War Office Registers, 1772-1935

United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners’ Service Records, 1760-1913

United Kingdom, Royal Hospital Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners 1760-1887 (WO 122)

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915

United Kingdom, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920

United Kingdom, World War I Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps Records, 1917-1920

Newspaper Archives

British Newspaper Archive, Family Notices

British Newspaper Archives, Obituaries


  • County: Lancashire
  • Civil Registration District: West Derby
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Chester (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Chester
  • Rural Deanery: Liverpool North
  • Poor Law Union: West Derby
  • Hundred: West Derby
  • Province: York