STORETON

Storeton is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1085 as Stortone, and like many other Wirral names derived from the Old Norse Stor-tún meaning "great farmstead" presumably another early Viking settlement. The village is made up of Great and Little Storeton, which is classified as a hamlet and sits on a long ridge of sandstone which gently slopes away at a point where five roads meet, in the village is an old Hallclick for big pic dating back to the 14th century (allegedly the nephew of King Arthur resided at Storeton Hall and it has been thought that the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight refers to Storeton Hall), not much is left of the ancient village but a few old houses and cottages are scattered around the area and local records tell us that a windmill which is now demolished, once stood in Keepers Lane overlooking the surrounding cottages. Little Storeton appears to have been the centre of the settlement. This settlement appears to have contracted a little over the years, as house platforms are visible in the area. When viewed from Storeton Ridge, it can be seen that the Hall and village occupy a low but distinctive ridge of their own, and along this ridge passes part of the Roman Road from Chester to Wallasey Pool. A study of the local road system before levers causeway was built reveals how the existence of Roman Road has influenced the lanes here. The lane known as Roman Road has been dismissed as the genuine article because slabs forming a packhorse track are visible along its course, but where the line of the lane and the Roman Road merge, the Roman Road surface still exists about half a meter below the slab.

The Wirral was declared a forest by Randle de Maschines, the 3rd Earl of Chester between 1120 and 1129. The fact that the Wirral was now classed as a forest meant that many new strict laws came into place. for around 200 years Storeton was the base of the tyrannical Master Forrester of Wirral. A name that struck fear into many as the laws stated that it was forbidden to fell trees, dig pits, grow crops, cultivate land or build dwellings outside of the designated areas. Those living in or around the forrest were not allowed to own grey hounds and their dogs had to have their nails removed in order to stop potential damage to local game and most notorious was the protection of all deer and game within the Wirral which was only allowed to be hunted by the Earl or anyone who had been given special permission by his office, also one which stated that the township and everybody in it was responsible for any game found dead within the forest and punishments could be spread throughout all of the residents. One well documented case was in 1347 when the township was fined £184 for forest offences, and 1357 fines for new ploughings, felling of trees,and building of dwellings outside of designated areas totalled more than £1000. Punishments for killing game were extremley serious and included blinding with red hot pokers and the amputation of the perpetrators 2 bow fingers. To enforce the laws which came with the new status of forest the Earl created the position of Master Forrester.
            The first holder of this position was known as Alan Sylvester who had a tall job enforcing the whole of the peninsula, he created the position of under-forester to help him enforce these laws. Six people were employed in this post, all reporting directly to Sylvester. The Abuse of power and the lawlessness in which these enforcers operated are widespread and highly recorded. Indeed after a short period of time theft, corruption, beatings and blackmail became regular play in their day to day dealings. To add insult to injury the people who lived within the forest (now the whole peninsula) had to pay a tax known as "puture", unfortunately for the local population it was the Master Forrester and his six under-foresters who collected these taxes. "The Wirral Horn" was presented to the Master Forrester as symbol of authority and still exists today, however its new home is across the Channel in Jersey. The horn passed down through generations to the Earl of Cromer, descended through the female line of the Sylvesters who now live on the island. The horn was placed on documentation related to the Master Forester and his men and descriptions remain of the foresters uniforms which were said to be emblazed with the Wirral Horn upon their surcoats. After the death of Sylvester the position passed to his son Ralph. However upon his death he had no sons and as a result the office was passed to his son in law and from there on through many generations. In 1360 the Master Forrester was the notorious William Stanley the 1st who built himself a throne of power in the area, this was known as Storeton Hall. In 1376 King Edward III granted Wirral a charter of disafforrestation removing its status and all laws associated with it.

STORETON WOODS

Situated on the ridge above the village (owned by the Friends of Storeton Woods and covering 31 acres) The woods have grown up on the site of a quarry that was present since the times of the Roman occupation. The quarries were up to 200 feet (61 m) deep in the 1900's and, from the 19th century,a tramway was used to transport stone to the quayside at Bromborough. A portion of the tramway embankment still exists as footpath and a section of the rails have been re-installed by the Bromborough Society. Some rails were embedded at a former level crossing on Rest Hill Road until 1979 when they were buried under a new layer of tarmac. The tramway ran along the southern border of the current woods, into Hancock's Wood and thru a tunnel under Mount Road. It then ran in a sweeping curve to Bromborough.Much of the route of the tramway can no longer be seen but the original tunnel under the Chester to Birkenhead railway line is still in use as footpath opposite the end of Quarry Road East.Most of the village is built from locally quarried stone from Storeton Ridge. The stone is a creamy sandstone and was used for cladding the Empire State Building in New York also in many other buildings and constructions, as with Birkenhead Town Hall and Sankey Viaduct in Cheshire. The quarry was filled in with spoil from the excavation of the Queensway Tunnel in the 1920s.footprints of a Chirotherium (dinosaur type creature)

         The quarry was also the site of the discovery of dinosaur footprints, the species was named Chirotherium Storetonese after the site of discovery.Red Hill was an area of the woods where there was a well known and much visited old gate. It is said that couple’s frequently used to hold hands over the gate and make a wish. This became known locally as "the Wishing gate".

            In October 1944 an USAAF Liberator Bomber number 42-50347 from the 445th Bomb Group exploded without explanation over the fields between Little Storeton and Landican with the loss of all 24 servicemen on board. The loss included 15 commissioned officers who were being taxied back to Tibenham after seeing more than 30 successful combat missions. In recent years a memorial stone has been erected by a local man who witnessed the aftermath of the crash as a teenager. The stone is coloured in the USAAF colours blue and yellow, with 24 yellow bricks each representing a life lost.
crash sitememorial on nearby industrial estate
          Some dials might recognise this actor
In August 1943 he was finally assigned to the 445th Bombardment Group at Sioux City AAB, Iowa, first as Operations Officer of the 703rd Bombardment Squadron and then as its commander, at the rank of Captain. In December, the 445th Bombardment Group flew its B-24 Liberator bombers to RAF Tibenham, Norfolk, England and immediately began combat operations. While flying missions over Germany, Stewart was promoted to Major. In March 1944, he was transferred as group operations officer to the 453rd Bombardment Group, a new B-24 unit that had been experiencing difficulties. As a means to inspire his new group, he flew as command pilot in the lead B-24 on numerous missions deep into Nazi-occupied Europe. These missions went uncounted at Stewart's orders. His "official" total is listed as 20 and is limited to those with the 445th. In 1944, he twice received the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions in combat and was awarded the Croix de Guerre.(see pic below) He also received the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters. In July 1944, after flying 20 combat missions, and was made Chief of Staff of the 2nd Combat Bombardment Wing of the Eighth Air Force. Before the war ended, he was promoted to colonel, one of very few Americans to rise from private to colonel in four years.At the beginning of June 1945, Stewart was the presiding officer of the court-martial of a pilot and navigator who were charged with dereliction of duty when they accidentally bombed the Swiss city of Zurich the previous March – the first instance of U.S. personnel being tried over an attack on a neutral country. The Court acquitted the accused.

Read more at and thanks to friends of storeton woods
and Old Wirral.Com  : plus Wiki of course
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