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    Default Medieval Liverpool

    Do any parts of Medieval Liverpool still exist or are they buried forever blow exchange flags etc?


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    I doubt it - you'd have to go quite far down if anythings survived the constant building / bombing of recent years.

    It would be nice if they tunred up something for the brithday celebrations.

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    I wonder if there's any medieval undercrofts lurking underneath the streets.

    The oldest surviving building in Liverpool is the Ancient Chapel of Toxteth isn't it, a mere early C17th whippersnapper?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squirrel
    I wonder if there's any medieval undercrofts lurking underneath the streets.

    The oldest surviving building in Liverpool is the Ancient Chapel of Toxteth isn't it, a mere early C17th whippersnapper?
    The West Derby Courthouse is older I think.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev
    The West Derby Courthouse is older I think.
    That makes more sense, Kev. I'm sure I'd read somewhere that the Toxteth Chapel was the oldest blg in Liverpool, but it can't be. Come to think of it, Speke Hall must be much older too.

    Maybes, the chapel in Toxteth is the oldest building in central Liverpool (pushing it a bit, I know) or something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squirrel
    That makes more sense, Kev. I'm sure I'd read somewhere that the Toxteth Chapel was the oldest blg in Liverpool, but it can't be. Come to think of it, Speke Hall must be much older too.

    Maybes, the chapel in Toxteth is the oldest building in central Liverpool (pushing it a bit, I know) or something.
    1688 the Chapel was built. Stanlaw Grange in Aigburth dates back to 1291 and still exists as two houses.
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    Apparently the plan of medieval streets has survived in the area around Castle Street, Dale Street, Tithebarn Street and Chapel Street.
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    How old is StMary's church in Walton. There's been a church on that site for 950 years or so. Is the existing building a relatively recent replacement?

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    Its been rebuilt a few times.....
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    A.D.Williams
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev
    Apparently the plan of medieval streets has survived in the area around Castle Street, Dale Street, Tithebarn Street and Chapel Street.
    Quite correct, Kev. The first seven streets of Liverpool looked like the letter 'H'. Dale Street, Castle Street and Chapel Street we all know. There was also Mill Street/Whiteacre Street which is now Old Hall Street, Moor Street which is now Tithebarn Street, Bank Street which is now Water Street and finally Juggler Street which is High Street by the Town Hall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A.D.Williams
    Quite correct, Kev. The first seven streets of Liverpool looked like the letter 'H'. Dale Street, Castle Street and Chapel Street we all know. There was also Mill Street/Whiteacre Street which is now Old Hall Street, Moor Street which is now Tithebarn Street, Bank Street which is now Water Street and finally Juggler Street which is High Street by the Town Hall.
    Cheers Dave - stuff like this gets me excited. There should be an archaelogical dig or something similar to Chester, we could find alkinds!
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    I wonder how substantial the mediaval buildings were? Wattle and Daub huts? Timber framed town houses? Perhaps even a few stone ones? Anyone know if any "Ye Olde" engravings from years ago exist?

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    'Tewbrook' House - Tuebrook. That's very old. 1600's I think.
    It's supposed to be haunted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lindylou
    'Tewbrook' House - Tuebrook. That's very old. 1600's I think.
    It's supposed to be haunted.
    Tuebrook House - 1615, West Derby Rd L13. A small Lancashire Jacobean house carved with the date and initials of John Mercer. I think its still owned by the council.
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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Default Medieval Liverpool

    James street tunnel, and the Castle moat [Derby Square] are both medieval structures which still exist, but are buried beneath ground. As detailed below:




    Image 1. is a early 1900's survey of a tunnel [that still exists] under James Street, which ran from the Castle moat [Derby Square] to what was thought to be a secure harbour at the bottom of James Street. As James street was much narrower then, the tunnel would have passed beneath the houses that existed on the southern side then. [Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire].

    Zoom-in to view details of the map.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Image 2. a survey of the castle moat, castle, and James Street tunnel [No.14 on map] about Derby Square. It also highlights later developments such as St. George's church, and the Queen Victoria memorial. [Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire].

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Image 3. Photograph the castle moat wall, sloping in rough hewn stone. [Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire].

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Hi Dazza,
    apparently,there is/was some sort of access to the tunnel,or some type of subterranean rooms,from offices around Fenwick street! I was told that legal files,etc,were stored in them,in the early 50's.It would be interesting to find out if this was still possible,even to discount any connection!

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    Thanks Steve that's interesting.

    I know the bank on the corner of Fenwick Street/ Derby Square, and also the one next to it have sub-basements. This is because they are built directly over the moat. They had to go deep with the foundations and so consequently ended up with two storey basements in each building. They are listed as numbers 9 & 10 on the "Image 2" map above.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev View Post
    Tuebrook House - 1615, West Derby Rd L13. A small Lancashire Jacobean house carved with the date and initials of John Mercer. I think its still owned by the council.
    I worked on this house when I was a pup nail bender (1968).

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    The Mersey Railway tunnel extended from James St station to Central running up Lord St and Church St. It is deep at James St station, why only lifts can be used to access the platforms, and rises to just below the road level. They used cut and cover tunneling along Lord St/Church St . I don't know where the tunnel rose to near road level and the cut and cover started. I would assume half way down Church St. The cut & cover tunneling caused great disruption when being constructed.

    The rail tunnel is clearly way under the Medieval tunnel for sure. And under the Castle foundations as well as the deep bank foundations.


    The rail tunnel from James St station to Central Station opened in 1892. The tunnel is not used for passengers any longer, reserved for shunting. It can be used for passengers, taking Wirral Line trains to the south of Liverpool on the Northern Line if there is a demand - maybe if there is an extension to the airport. The Welsh were wanting it recommissioned if the Bidston to Wrexham line was electrified and put on Merseyrail - they want access to the airport. New track and uprated signals would need to be installed. Central station would need to be enlarged to take the extra traffic.


    After the Merseyrail Loop Tunnel was constructed in the mid-1970s. The tunnel is shown. A part of it is used for the Link Tunnel, branching off at Paradise St to extend to Moorfields Station.
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    Very interesting Waterways thanks,

    Mersey underground - I guess they couldn't use cut and cover beyond Lord St. as the tunnel would have to follow a naturally sloping gradient for it to pass under the Mersey. And so would need to be much deeper around the James St. area.

    The Medieval James St. tunnel - this was set just above the level of the av. high-water spring tide line. The floor-level being similar to the Natwest bank basement about Derby Sq.

    Of the castle foundations - F. Charles Larkin report of 1927 says that the castle site was 8 feet higher than the present ground level about Derby Square today. Preeson's steps [on earlier maps] would have connected to the higher plateau, so unfortunately no actual built stone remains, just the moat cut out of the natural rock.
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    Double-post.
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    The river is 90 foot deep at low tide at the point the tunnel runs under, with 32 foot tides. The top of the tunnel is 11 foot below the river bed. The Mersey Railway was the world's second underground network. It was the first deep level underground bored in sold rock. Even the stations are bored out of solid rock - the first in the world. London being cut & cover tunnels and stations at the time. The tunnel was to extend to Woodchurch in outer Birkenhead and Birkenhead Central station was designed to accommodate the tunnel - but it never happened. That is why the train do a sharp left out of Birkenhead Central station and onto Green Lane, as straight ahead was to be the Woodchurch tunnel. That tunnel would have really made Merseyrail on the Wirral into a true district metro with most of the town covered.

    The gradient is 1 in 28 on the tunnel stretch between Hamilton Square and James Street stations beneath the Mersey. The steepest incline of ALL on the entire British rail network.

    Just before James St, short dead-end branch tunnels were cut into the Mersey rail tunnel to extend to Huskinson Dock. Again this was not done. One of the branches was used for the Wirral Loop tunnel in the 1970s. The remaining branch tunnel is still there and can be seen on the right from the train when approaching James St station from the Wirral. It is on one of the diagrams I posted.

    James St station at ground level rises from Mann Island and the high-tide mark is around 8 foot below the quays at the river. So, that is 140 foot below the river quay mark at the Pier Head. The tunnel is probably still the deepest part of any urban railway in the world - that needs checking. The station, along with Hamilton Square is very deep. So deep only escalators could manage the depth. The river tunnel is rising all the time and hit just below ground level I would assume around Church St - missing the old castle foundations. I'm sure they would have cut right through them if they had to.

    Was the castle banked up to give a commanding height? That was quite common. Or was the ground naturally raised and skimmed later to level it?
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    This is roughly where the tunnels run. It looks rough, as I'm sure the tunnel along Church St is right under the road.



    The Merseyrail Loop Tunnel can be seen exposed on St.George's plateau.
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    BTW.

    I posted a link in the 'maps' thread yesterday about the Domesday Book online. I did not know there was this thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    Was the castle banked up to give a commanding height? That was quite common. Or was the ground naturally raised and skimmed later to level it?
    The 1927 report [extract below] says it was situated upon a rock of stone, but I expect that some ashlar stone would of had to be used to make-up the established level.




    The castle moat [below] - I've plotted in 'red' the site 8 foot higher as given in the report. Also they cut a 6 inch continuous ledge where the angle of the moat changed direction. This appears of both sides of the moat, almost like a datum.




    Derby Square plan [below] - development after the castle site was cleared.

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Interesting. They dug out the rock to level it. Steps went down from Derby Squ!!!

    The Moat would have been topped up by the stream that ran into the Pool - I assume.
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    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
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    how it once was?


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    I do remember reading something about what I think was an old coach house on Sefton Park Road which is pretty old - belonging to one of the old kings I think. Dates back a long time but parts of the structure are incorporated into a newer structure.

    I'll fish for more info.

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    Not Medieval, but info on the rail tunnel that runs under the castle foundations.

    From Scientific American

    The Mersey Tunnel



    We present herewith several illustrations of the new tunnel under the river Mersey, between the two cities of Liverpool and Birkenhead, which occupy a somewhat similar position in respect to each other as New York and Brooklyn. The London Graphic, from which our views are taken, says: An improved connection between the two banks of the Mersey estuary has been a problem for a very long time. There was a ferry across the river as early as the eleventh century. In 1832 the first steam ferry boat, of which we give an illustration, was launched, and since that time the traffic has so greatly increased that the present ferry carried last year 26,000,000 of passengers and 750,000 tons of goods. Schemes for bridges, pneumatic railways, etc., have also been mooted at various times, and as long ago as 1864 a bill for the construction of a tunnel under the Mersey was introduced into Parliament.



    Commercial panics and the opposition of vested interests, however, prevented its passing until 1871. Even then the work was languidly supported, and it was only in 1879, when an arrangement was made with Major Issac, that the work began to advance. Since that time the organization has been so perfect that progress has been unceasing, and among 3,000 men constantly employed, no death has occurred for which a coroner's jury has blamed the company or the contractor.



    The initial boring experiments showed that there was an almost uninterrupted stratum of red sandstone beneath the bed of the river, and through this the tunnel has been made. Though no actual inundation occurred, the percolation of water, owing to the porous nature of the sandstone, proved a source of considerable difficulty. This was removed, however, by the gigantic pumps errected at both ends of the tunnel, of which we give illustrations. They were kept constantly going, and were capable of delivering 300 gallons per stroke. On the 17th January, 1884, little more than four years after the undertaking had been regularly taken in hand, the workmen on the Birkenhead side shook hands with those from Liverpool. So accurate had been the calculations of the engineers, that the centers of the borings were less than an inch apart. The rapidity with which the work had been carried out was greatly due to the use of Colonel Beaumont's boring machine, which is driven by compressed air, and scoops out a tunnel seven feet in diameter; large quantities of explosives, however, were also employed in the excavations.

    The tunnel, which is laid with a double line of rails, is well drained and ventilated. The ventilating tunnel, 7 feet 2 inches in diameter, is placed parallel to the main tunnel, and at a distance of about 20 feet from it. The ventilation is accomplished by means of fans. Two of these, each 40 feet in diameter, placed one at Liverpool, the other at Birkenhead, ventilate the section of the tunnel which lies under the bed of the river, while two smaller fans purify the air in the two extremities of the tunnel which lie beneath the land. When these fans are all at work at once, they can draw out of the tunnel 600,000 cubic feet of air per minute, thereby changing the whole air of the tunnel once in every seven minutes. In consequence of the great depth of the river, and the comparative shortness of the line, the gradients are somewhat severe, but this drawback is obviated by the use of exceptionally powerful locomotives, which will perform the journey between Liverpool and Birkenhead in less than four minutes. At either end lifts capable of raising a hundred persons at a time have been erected, so that there will be very little delay in getting from the streets to the railway which lies so far beneath them. The tunnel is already in full working order, and trains run freely through it. On the Cheshire side, it is joined by the Great Western Railway system. All that remains to be done is the connection of the tunnel railway with the Lancashire railway system.
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    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
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    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    Interesting. They dug out the rock to level it. Steps went down from Derby Squ!!!

    The Moat would have been topped up by the stream that ran into the Pool - I assume.
    The castle site - the steps went from Preeson row up to a much higher Derby square. The page I posted also mentions that carts could not go from James St across to Lord St. they had to travel around the castle site.

    The castle moat water supply - yes, they must of had a system in place. I thought some old sluices had been found that pre-date the old dock?



    The original St. George's church [below] had a raised podium for a churchyard; the church sat directly on it. This design was followed through with John Foster's replacement church [also shown]. 'Preesons steps' would have almost given level access to the raised podium graveyard, but located on the other side of the church shown in the illustration.

    In designing the church - I wonder if they were trying to recreate the natural podium that the castle sat on? Although I think the castle site's natural stone was excavated before the church was built, rather than building directly over it?

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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    Not Medieval, but info on the rail tunnel that runs under the castle foundations.

    From Scientific American

    The Mersey Tunnel



    Interesting that they needed another drain to syphon off all the water collected beneath the railway tunnel. Quite an engineering feat.
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