A severe winter in Hale a few decades ago

The home of John Middleton, the giant Childe of Hale

Childe of Hale | St Mary's Church | Duck Decoy | Icehouse | Hale Hall | Lighthouse | Mersey Ford | Manor House | Housing

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Village Green and War Memorial

AS A centre of human habitation Hale probably dates from before the Norman Conquest. The name Hale is thought to derive from an Anglo-Saxon word (halh) meaning a corner or angle of land, which perfectly describes Hale's position on a promontory on the north bank of the river Mersey.

Those who painstakingly cleared the thickly wooded land were rewarded with a rich arable soil for agriculture. At this time settlements were being developed on both sides of the estuarial Mersey, but Hale had a natural attraction. It was the first upstream point where the river Mersey could be forded on foot—at least at low tide.

While wooded areas around Hale were gradually being cleared for agriculture and controlled timber management a large area of forestland to the north was retained for the king's hunting enjoyment. It was called Halewood, or Hale's Wood, but even the tenant of Hale wasn't entitled to infringe on the king's hunting privileges, which he guarded jealously.

Go to: Hale in later centuries

Hale Head at high tide

Hale is officially known by the Post Office as Hale Village. But it's not a village at all. It's a township. And its chief citizen is not a chairman, or a mayor, but a full-blown Lord Mayor. This is not pretentiousness. Hale got its charter before Liverpool, even if only just. King John granted Hale its charter in 1203. Liverpool had to wait another four years, until 1207.

We have a Liverpool postcode, but Hale isn't in Liverpool, nor even in Merseyside. Lancashire has been its home for virtually all its life, but now it's in Cheshire.

Hale's ancient charter gives it the rare right to elect Freemen. These, in turn, elect the township's Lord Mayor and other officers from among their own number. Freemen are, of course, quite distinct from the parish council, which is an elected body. The Freemen are traditionally drawn from the local community, but recently have included distinguished men from further afield who have served the wider community.

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