Bringing Wirral's past back to life

Wirral Archaeology

Project – The Wirral Shore

Miles of golden sand fringe the Wirral Peninsula where it meets the Irish Sea. For the unwary, there are treacherous mud banks and unexpectedly deep channels. The Dee estuary embraces three small islands – Hilbre, Middle Eye and Little Eye all with their own place in history.
The sand stretches from New Brighton on its northerly corner to West Kirby on its southern aspect. New Brighton is best known for its origin as a slightly vulgar Edwardian holiday resort and West Kirby as a genteel residential zone, but there is so much more to this captivating stretch of coast.

In the year AD 902 Ingimund and a motley band of rogue Vikings, who had been expelled from Dublin and then Anglesey, landed on the southwest corner of Wirral to seek asylum. This was unexpectedly granted by Aethelflaed – the Warrior Queen of Mercia. It was the beginning of the Viking influence on Wirral, the shadow of which is still with us today.

But long before the Vikings set a mailed boot on the Wirral shore the Romans were busily expanding Meols as a significant port and as an alternative to navigating the slowly silting Dee to Deva (Chester).

At about the same time, the shelving shore at Meols was becoming a beach market accommodating traders from many of the communities bordering the Irish Sea. Customers may also have included Roman soldiers, administrators and others from further afield. Judging by the huge number of finds from the ever-shifting sands it was a busy and thriving place. At that time the beach extended seawards for over a mile from where it is today. Indeed there are images of submerged tree trunks way beyond the current low water mark.

But it doesn’t end there. Tales abound of the wreckers operating on this stretch of coast. In 1690 William III’s armies were billeted in the area before departing to fight in Ireland and in the eighteenth-century Wallasey was home to the infamous Mother Redcap and her band of smugglers.

The Wirral Shore offers plenty of opportunities for research and that is exactly what we shall do. Why not join us?

Wirral’s Farms and Fields

Wirral's Farms and Fields

Wirral’s Farms and Fields

Yes, we take them for granted, barely giving them a second glance as we whizz along in our motor cars.   Grazing cows, bleating sheep and a few areas of ploughed earth constrained by overgrown hedges.   They’re just fields.   We may catch a glimpse of a footpath sign even a farmhouse or too and that’s it.   Forgotten. Ignored. Neglected.   But as good historians should we not be asking ourselves, why?   Why are those fields there?   Why are they irregular shapes?   Who decided on the boundaries and why?   How did the footpaths arise?    Why are the ponds there and who put the fish in them?   What stream does the Clatter Bridge span?   Why is this damned lane so narrow and twisty?   So many questions, the answers to which may just shed some light on all the other projects with which we are involved.   Those answers are a vital part of the jigsaw that makes up the historical evolution of Wirral, the glue that holds the whole three-dimensional edifice together. It all provides clues to the lives and practices of the inhabitants. It shaped their existence, as it does ours.

The study of tithe maps, estate maps and old field names, will often provide clues to the area’s history.   Ancient Wills and inventories also provide unexpectedly helpful clues

We will research specific farms and their adjoining fields to discover how they evolved and developed over the centuries.   We will analyse the primary sources and build up a database of knowledge relevant to the history of Wirral’s countryside.   We will examine the Medieval Charters, many of which are held by Manchester University Library.

 

This is a unique project which will lead to a much-needed and deeper understanding of the region’s past.   This is basic research into an hitherto untapped area of investigation.  

 

If you are interested in Wirral’s landscape and would like to know how it became what it is today, then join us – this is the group for you!   

PAS Finds Released

Wirral Archaeology CIC is proud to show a few of the finds from our project ‘The Search for the Battle of Brunanburh’

These finds have been assessed by PAS – Portable Antiquities Scheme and can be viewed on our

Search for Brunanburh gallery page.

Gallery – the search for brunanburh

PAS - Portable Antiquities Scheme Dirham find

Battlefield Trust Presentation

 
Wirral Archaeology were pleased to host members of the Battlefield Trust on 18th September to an event to discuss the Battle of Brunanburh.
 
Speakers included
 
Dave Capener author of “Brunanburh and the Routes to Dingesmere”
Chas Jones author of “Finding Fulford- The Search for the First Battle of 1066”
Stephen Harding author of “Ingimunds Saga – Viking Wirral” and “Viking Mersey”
Peter Jenkins from Wirral Archaeology
 
Attendees were also taken for a walking tour around Storeton and were treated to a display of  replica weapons and tools by members of Wirhalh Skip Felagr along with some finds made locally by Wirral Archaelogy.
 
The event has received great feedback and was hopefully thought provoking to those attending. 

Wirral Archaeology feature in new Bernard Cornwell book.

Wirral Archaeology are grateful to Bernard Cornwell for his shout out in the notes for his latest book “War Lord”

 

You can buy the book from your local book shop or from the usual online places.

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