The pretty Wirral village of Thornton Hough bears the hallmarks of history
PUBLISHED: 12:34 26 October 2012 | UPDATED: 22:46 23 October 2015
Thornton Hough's modern appearance harks back to the past. This pretty Wirral village bears the hallmarks of history
Thornton Hough derives a lot of its ‘olde worlde’ charm from its origins as a model village, developed by philanthropist William Lever.
It’s a slightly deceiving image, as Lord Leverhulme’s architects had adeptly used a wide variety of materials that make many of the buildings look older than they actually are.
He was by no means the first person to enjoy the attractions of the area. Yorkshire Mill owner Joseph Hirst had bought farmland in 1866 and built a church, a school and Wilshaw Terrace.
However, it was William (Hesketh) Lever who expanded the area and developed housing for family estate workers and company staff quite similar to that at Port Sunlight. Another shop, the school, a social club and congregational church made this a very attractive place to live.
Of course, the village has more ancient origins. It is Torintone in the Domesday Book but the name was established when the daughter of local landowner Roger de Thorneton, married Richard de Hoghe during Edward II’s reign. By the beginning of the 19th century, Thornton Hough formed part of the Neston Estate.
Thornton Hough is now an Area of Special Landscape Value, a protective designation to preserve its character and appearance. It has 22 listed buildings and since 1997 it has been a conservation area.
Hirst employed Kirk and Sons of Huddersfield to design All Saints Church and its vicarage, a school and school master’s house and Wilshaw Terrace before 1870. All Saints Church is a Grade II listed building built in 1867; it has a tower displaying five clock faces. The north transept window, designed by H Gustave Hiller is a memorial to James Lever.
The village includes some notable buildings including Thornton Hall, once the home of wealthy shipping merchants, the Bamford Brothers of Liverpool and believed to have been built in the mid 1800s. It was transformed into a hotel in 1954 and many of its original features remain intact including oak carvings and the ornate mother of pearl embossed ceiling in the Italian Room.
Lever’s Cheshire’s home, Thornton Manor, built in an Elizabethan style dating from the 1840s, is now a wedding venue and provides facilities for corporate functions. Thornton House, a grade II listed building built by Douglas and Fordham in 1893 is a two storey timber-framed house in a mock-Tudor style on a stone base. Thicketford built in 1892 is preserved in a largely unaltered condition and Hesketh Grange, a grade II listed building, was built in 1894 for Lord Leverhulme’s father.
Where is it?
Thornton Hough is roughly ten miles from Liverpool and 10 miles from Chester and part of the Clatterbridge Ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral in the parliamentary constituency of Wirral South.
There is car parking at Smithy Hill and local venues also offer free parking to visitors.