The Ancient and Loyal Corporation of Sefton

In his book, “Liverpool and its canal”, Mike Clarke says that there was a committee of Liverpool businessmen, merchants and tradesmen who were in charge of building the canal in this area.  Much of the land that the canal was cut through belonged to the Molyneux family, and the family’s 1769 estate maps trace the route.  The head of the Molyneux family at that time was the First Earl of Sefton, and he had to do business with the Liverpool committee building the canal. In fact, records held at Lancashire records office indicate that the Earl of Sefton handled quite a lot of the purchasing.

Actually, most of the Liverpool committee were probably members of a social club called “The Ancient and Loyal Corporation of Sefton” which met every Sunday at the Church of St Helen in Sefton Village, for the service.  After the service, they would take an early lunch and spend the afternoon playing games such as bowls. In the evening, they would return to the Church Inn, which they called “The Mansion Rooms”, for dinner and then conduct the ceremonial business of  the “mock corporation”.  It wasn’t a real corporation, but they had all the things a corporation usually has, including mayoral chain a paddle and mace, which are now held at the World Museum in Liverpool.

Now, St Helen’s Church was the Molyneux family church, and the Earl attended services there.  So you can bet the Earl discussed a lot of canal business with the other members of the corporation on those Sunday afternoons.

The Book “Sefton. A Descriptive and Historical Account” by Caroe and Gordon (Published in 1893) describes the Ancient and Loyal Corporation of Sefton .