Village History

Pre- History

Early Settlement

Medieval Period

Modern Period

Early Settlement

As mentioned on the previous page Ince derives from the Celtic word Hinne, making the transitions Ines 1212 to 1350; Hynis 1242 and finally Ince by 1360. It is this word that gives us a hint as to who the first settlers where. The name Alt is also a Celtic word so it would appear that there is some evidence in the place names to suggest Celtic settlement. A celtic carved head was found near Lydiate and another similar statue possibly of Celtic origin was found in Blundellsands in 1978.

Once again there is no real direct evidence for this early settlement in Ince Blundell and there is a gap in our sources between the Bronze age and the Roman period. In nearby Little Crosby an aerial survey conducted by Liverpool Museum in the 1980's and 90's spotted a possible Iron age/Romano circular enclosure. Could a similar structure lie buried under the fields of Ince? What is known, is the fact that the Romans largely ignored south west Lancashire due to its marshes and the fact that it was off the main route to the north which ran near Wigan. Life in Ince Blundell probably continued much the same as before the Roman invasion, the iron age overlapping the Roman period. After the departure of the Romans in 406CE the Anglo Saxons pushed northwards, but although the Celts resisted around 613 King Ethel-Frith defeated them near Chester and opened up Lancashire south of the Ribble. The Anglo Saxons had settled much of the Lancashire coast by 650. Again with a scarcity of concrete evidence place names help us to see the pattern of this settlement. Sefton, Thornton, Aughton, Walton, Bootle , Melling and Netherton all being local examples of Anglian names.

West Derby Hundred
This Anglo Saxon settlement probably continued until the ninth century when Norse invaders of Norwegian descent began to arrive on our coast. At the same time Danish invaders established there own Kingdom in Northumbria in 876CE with York as its capital. The North of the country was therefore heavily influenced by people of Norse origin an influence that once again is now only really traceable through place names. Locally we find Norse names in Hesketh, Crossens, Birkdale, Ainsdale, Argarmeols, Formby, Ravenmeols, Altcar, Crosby, Lunt, Litherland, Kirkdale, Toxteth, and Aigburth. Inland we find Aintree, Croxteth, Scarisbrick, Ormskirk, Tarlscough, Burscough, West Derby, Kirkby, Roby and Thingwall.

It is generally agreed that the Norse did not arrive as ‘Viking’ invaders but as farmers and fishermen looking for land to settle. However, the hoard of Viking silver dated to 915 found at the Harkirk in Little Crosby in 1611 does seem to point to a time of unrest. Somebody obviously buried their treasure next to a significant landmark yet failed to retrieve it, this could hint to wider strife and turmoil in the area.

In Ince Blundell itself a number of field names appear to have Norse origins. Wranglands which is behind the Village Hall, Gatefield (land by a road) adjacent to Hall lane in front of the Keepers Cottage. Rowenholne (rough riverside land) Thoupool opposite Lady Green Garden centre and Carcald (an area of brushwood near a well). Some of these field names are still in use by local farmers and it is very satisfying to think that we have a thousand years of living history in the village of Ince Blundell with people still using Nordic words.

Due to the mixture of cultures and customs there were two systems of land measurement in use. The Anglo Saxon Hide and the Danish carucate. Along with the larger measurements of the Hundred and the Danish wapentake. The use of the term wapentake as the principle measure of land administration survived in Ince Blundell into the eighteenth century. The titles in use also varied Thegn in Anglo Saxon and Dreng in Danish.

In the Domesday survey of 1086 the land of south west Lancashire was described as ‘Inter Ripam and Mersham’ between the Ribble and the Mersey . Ince Blundell is listed as part of the Hundred of West Derby and the Domesday book describes it thus “ Three Thegns held Ince as Three Manors. There was half a Hide equal to three carucates worth three shillings .” Unfortunately we have no record of who these thegns were.

A hide was the area of land needed to support one free family for a year, which was as much land as could be ploughed in a year. It is said that a hide is roughly equal to a carucate. At the time of the Norman Conquest the King held the chief manor of West Derby in demesne while much of the surrounding land was held by a man called Uctred. Uctred's property consisted of seventeen estates and he was obviously a man of considerable power and influence.

After 1066, the day to day existence of the ordinary people of Ince Blundell probably changed very little. The most significant change would have been a change of overlord. William the conquerer granted all the lands between the Ribble and the Mersey to Roger of Poitou who gave Ince Blundell and other lands to Paganus de Vilars. By Domesday 1086 it was in the Kings hands for Roger de Poitou had been banished from the country by the King. Paganus however, remained untouched by the events that affected his patron. For Ince Blundell however, it seems that there was no imposition of a military lordship and the land was granted to Roger de Stainesby some time before 1150 to hold by a Knights service. By the beginning of the twelfth century Ince Blundell had become part of the Barony of Warrington and between 1180 and 1195 some land at Ince was being held by Richard Blundell from the Botilers of Warrington and so began the association of Ince with the Blundells.

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