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Over the generations the power and influence of the Molyneuxes, as they became, grew steadily.

They lived for hundreds of years in a moated manor house at Sefton and also had a base at Liverpool Castle where they were hereditary constables responsible for law and order.

In time they owned much of Liverpool and were powerful barons. Family members were warriors over more than 850 years of English history from the Conquest to the First World War. 

They distinguished themselves in famous battles such as Agincourt and Flodden and fought in the Crimea and many other wars.

Croxteth Hall was originally a hunting lodge built in Tudor times. The Queen Anne wing was built about the time the family moved from Sefton to Croxteth Hall.

It grew into a stately home as new portions were added until the early 1900s. 

West Derby Courthouse was presided over by the Molyneuxes as hereditary stewards of the manor court. The muniment cupboards are thought to have come from their Sefton home.

One of the most dynamic family members was William, the 4th Earl, who redesigned much of his estate and West Derby Village before his death in 1897.

That year his son and heir Charles, suffered a severe head injury while riding in a steeplechase at the Grand National meeting. 

He became 5th Earl but was never seen in public again after he was declared a lunatic and confined to Croxteth Hall, cared for by his sister and specialist nurses. Charles died in 1901 without recovering and was succeeded by his brother Osbert who had two sons, Hugh (the last Earl) and Cecil.

Cecil joined the Royal Navy and was killed in the Battle of Jutland, the biggest naval battle of the First World War, in 1916. Aged just 16, he was a midshipman on the battle cruiser flagship HMS Lion which received a direct hit. He was buried at sea with 98 comrades. 

His heartbroken sister Lady Evelyn, who had always suffered from poor health, died the following year, aged 14. Hugh married an American divorcee and had no children.

When he died he generously bequeathed Croxteth Hall and much of its estate to the people of Liverpool. The Grade II-listed Hall combines a number of architectural styles. The original Tudor hunting lodge can be seen at the rear. Its appearance was changed after being encased in brick about 1800. The stunning Queen Anne wing with its fine brickwork and stone carvings is the leading exterior part of the Hall. The most outstanding interior feature is the Edwardian entrance hall with its sweeping staircase featuring family portraits. 



West Derby was the home of the Molyneux dynasty, Liverpool’s oldest

family which ended in 1972 with the death of Hugh Molyneux, 7th Earl of Sefton. Sadly, he had no close blood relatives after a series of tragedies blighted his family in late Victorian and Edwardian eras. Hugh could trace his ancestry directly back to William de Moulins, one of William the Conqueror’s trusted knights who fought at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

The battle saw the death of English king Harold and victory for the Norman who was crowned William I.

William de Moulins was listed number 18 on the battle’s roll of honour later put up at Battle Abbey, built by the new king to commemorate his triumph. Moulins was awarded land in Sefton, then a desolate wilderness, when Liverpool did not exist: just a farm and possibly some fishermen’s cottages stood where the great city would grow.

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