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The District of Sefton, Liverpool
in the County of
-- Lancashire --

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This corner of England was one of the bastions of Roman Catholicism, a tendency reflected in the Burial records of St Helen’s, a Church of England institution. During the 38 year period spanning 1813 to 1840, one-in-two burials in the church graveyard were of Catholics whilst in 11 of those years - particularly 1815 and 1820 – such interments exceeded those of C. of E. adherents. Indeed, two Catholic priests were buried at Sephton; James Parker of Liverpool in 1822 and Richard Pope of Netherton in 1828.

Two of the villages within the parish boundary contributed one third of the Catholic sub-total in the St Helen’s Burials Register; 159 interments were of Catholics from Ince Blundell compared with 15 Anglican burials from the same village, while comparative figures for Little Crosby were 77 Catholic versus 1 C.of.E burial. Distinctive local names to be found in the Register are from largely Catholic families; Alcock, Bibby, Blundell, Lovelady and Wharton; and from largely C of E families Almond, Aspinwall, Moss, Rothwell and Serjeant.

Prior to the Victorian expansion of the Liverpool dock system, the Sephton parish shoreline extended some five miles Northward from Litherland. The dangers of taking to the seas in the early nineteenth century are also reflected in the Burials Register as recovered bodies were buried at Sephton. Such events were not infrequent, averaging two per year between 1816 and 1840. In 1831, a particularly bad year, six bodies were washed ashore during late August, probably as a result of a shipwreck following a storm at sea.

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