Friday, 6 May 2016

Irby- a village on the Wirral

Irby is a village on the Wirral Peninsula, England. The village covers an area of 20 square kilometres. To the north of Irby lies the associated hamlet of Irby Hill.

The name Irby is believed to be of Viking origin, meaning; "the settlement of the Irish".  Other nearby towns and villages with the Viking "by" suffix in their name include Frankby, Greasby and Pensby, where I live.

The village was formerly a township in Woodchurch Parish, Wirral Hundred, Cheshire County.  On 1 April 1974, local government reorganisation in England and Wales resulted in much of Wirral, including Irby, transferring from the county of Cheshire to Merseyside.  As an administrative entity Merseyside was subsequently abolished leaving many inhabitants unsure where on earth they live! 

The population was 96 in 1801, 180 in 1851 and 146 in 1901. According to the 2001 Census, Irby had a population of 6,110.  Whilst not being diverse in terms of ethnicity, Irby is an economically diverse neighbourhood, possessing a mixture of large 1930s built private houses together with an estate of 1970s built homes in a range of sizes and an element of 1950s built council housing all in close proximity. In this respect it is regarded locally as a desirable place to live.

The small shopping area has a varied selection of shops including a barber whose dog seems to find life pretty enjoyable.

Despite the typically suburban character of most of its neighbourhoods, Irby is surrounded on all sides by a large amount of green belt and woodland.

Most of the old buildings in the village are constructed of sandstone which is the largely hidden bedrock underlying the visible boulder clay.

The view from the crossroads by the library stretches across the River Dee to the hills of Wales.

 Outside the library are the village stocks.

A reference to the existence of a mill at Irby was made in a rental agreement of 1431, whereby tenants were expected to "...grind at Irby Mill to the 16th measure." This referred to the miller receiving this amount in flour as a toll. This original wooden structure was replaced by a post mill in the early 18th century. After being disused since about 1878 and in a very dilapidated condition, the mill was demolished in 1898.  Along with a similar structure in Burton, it was one of the last post mills of its kind on the Wirral.  The demolition work was carried out by unskilled labour hired by the miller. They removed the brick base first, resulting in the whole structure becoming dangerously unsafe and crashing to the ground, narrowly avoiding injury and loss of life. 

The Irby Mill public house, which opened for business in 1980, stands adjacent to the site in a building formerly known as 'Irby Mill Cottage'.

The Anchor Inn is one of the oldest buildings in Irby, and, according to an entry in the BBC Domesday Project, was built as a cottage in the 17th century. 

The Shippons is a sandstone village pub, which was converted from old farm buildings.

As can be seen from these two photos the inn sign has recently been repainted and cows have been added to the farmyard.  Since shippon means cow-shed or cow barn it is only right that the sign should include some cows

The village has a nice cafe as well - Aroma.

It is often a bit noisy but it does great cappuccino and  lovely scrambled egg with smoked salmon. 

Nearby Irby Hall was constructed in the early 17th century, with an entrance façade added in 1888.

The hall was built on the site of an 11th-century moated manor and courthouse of St Werburgh's Abbey.  The moat is now dry, but has a prominent outer bank.  Irby Hall was made a Grade II listed building in 1962.


  1. The places I should visit but never will. Thanks for this look round.

  2. Thank you for this interesting excursion in and beautiful pictures from your wider neighbourhood!
    Up in Yorkshire, there are many places with Viking names, such as Thirsk, York (Yorvik) and many -bys (Kirkby, for instance). I've been to Denmark and Bornholm several times, and near where my aunt lives is a small town named Akirkeby, so I made the linguistic connection the moment I first saw these place names on my very first Yorkshire Holiday 16 years ago.

    I would have never guessed that "shippon" has anything to do with cows!

  3. Gosh CJ that brought back so very many happy memories (not a few of which were spent in The Anchor in the days when I often used to stay at Ron and Leslie's meaning no driving). Oddly I seem to recall when you and I've been in that the café wasn't exactly a quiet place but that's probably a good sign in many ways. I'll doubtless be down this summer and perhaps we'll get more exploring done. I might not climb the rock at Thurstaston though.

  4. What a lovely place, thanks for the visit. Love learning about place names and suffixes. Now I'll know when some place is of Viking origin.

  5. Such an interesting place and history. If i could get away for a month, it's the kind of quiet place i'd like to stay!


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