Kirkby is a town with ancient roots, but a very modern feel. Mentioned in the Doomsday book, we know that there has been a settlement here for over a thousand years, and the font in St. Chad’s dates back to that time. It is humbling to think that for half of Christian history, children in Kirkby have been christened in the font that is now in the present St. Chad’s.
Remaining an agricultural village for hundreds of years, the area was changed irrevocably by the Second World War, when the Royal Ordnance Factory was built. At the time, it was well away from any settlement, so that in the event of an accident, no houses would be affected. After the war, the factory was converted into Kirkby Industrial Estate, with major employers moving there, such as English Electric, AC Delco, Kraft, Kodak, and many more.
To allow for the ‘slums’ in Liverpool to be cleared, the City decided that it needed to build new towns on the outskirts, and so they bought the land for Kirkby off the Earl of Sefton, and began building in the early 1950s.
One of the stipulations that the Earl put in place, was that no one should build too close to St. Chad’s, which is what gives St. Chad’s such a wonderful green space all around it.
As the new estates were built, it was felt that each needed their own churches. These began, meeting in barns, huts, schools, etc. until eventually, the three of them built their own new buildings. The four churches have always been sister churches, and have a proud tradition of close working and friendship, a tradition that endures to this day. Sadly, in 2016, the decision was taken to move out of St. Mark’s church building, which was the end of an era in Northwood.
The churchmanship of the parish has varied, and each church has its own different history, but it’s fair to say that on the whole, the parish is nearer the top of the candle than the bottom! These days, we welcome most styles of worship, music and spirituality within the Christian tradition, and are inclusive and broad in our theology.
There is more history on the individual churches’ pages – please do browse around and have a read.