The word "Spital" was a term given to a place or building that acted as a hospital or colony for
'lepers'. There has been evidence that a leper colony existed a long tat Spital however no
physical remains stand today. It is recorded that in 1283 the brethren of Bebington were
given licence to use the forested land where Spital stands today to be used as a hospital for
lepers. To average Joe the name Spital has been obviously derived from this former colony,
however; some researchers argue that the name may translate to "hospitality". In this case
they believe that this was due to the large proportion of people who worked as servants at
the Poulton estate in Poulton Lancelyn. Further research shows that other villages across the
UK with the name "Spital" in their title, can be put down to hospitals being in the area many
years previously and i would therefore conclude in this case that Wirrals "Spital" is indeed
derived form the former leper colony.
The first recorded dwelling in the Spital area was a small chapel built sometime before AD 1183
which was dedicated to "St. Thomas Becket the Martyr" who was murdered at Canterbury in
1170 . This was confirmed at the time by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and in addition to the
chapel it was recorded that ploughed land, a disused mill and a fishery were also in existence.
It is not known who built this chapel but it was most likely used by the workers and the
owners of the Poulton Estate, which was founded in 1133 in Poulton Lancelyn. It most likely
that the old leper colony was attached to the chapel already in the area, but there are no
remains of either today. Poulton cum Spital and Spital Old Hall were the original names for the
village until part of this was formally dropped at the end of the 19th century.
Poulton was for 3 centuries the home of one of the oldest families in Wirral... The Lancelyn
Green. It was during the 13th century that William Lancelyn, granted the abbot 3 butts of land
in Poulton to enclose and use a grange and a dwelling. In addition he allowed them to build a
bridge on land between Bromborough and Bebbington. It is well documented that the
Lancelyn family were of some adequate wealth and standing, and records show that the family
held courts in Poulton, Bebington, Meols, and owned land in Larton, Leighton and Pensby.
Poulton has always been a separate hamlet to Spital, however both are relatively small and
have always been scarcely populated. The area became more popular during the 20th century
after Spital Station on the Chester to Birkenhead railway was connected to the Mersey Railway
line in 1891, and businessmen and workers could easily reach places of work, primarily in
More recent years has seen the demolition of the Old Station masters house at Spital. The
great building was in use for over a century and unfotunately like so many of Wirrals great
buildings it was knocked down to make way for new developments. I am currently trying to
fina a photograph of this old house as it was demolished before i started the website. Spital
became a particularly popular place to live with sea merchants and ships' captains due its
proximity to the River Mersey and Irish Sea during the height of maritime activity in the area.
The area was originally part of Cheshire when on 1 April 1974 it was absorbed into the new
administrative county of Merseyside created through the reforms of the Local Government Act
1972. Spital has since grown and is now part of the larger town of Bebington which borders
Birkenhead. Poulton Cum Spital border ran up to the River Clatter which separated the areas
of Brimstage and Poulton Cum Spital. Today the zoning has changed and that area now has
its own name, Clatterbridge. In addition the word "Poulton" was dropped from the name and
today the area is known purely as Spital.
The Clatterbridge area is more famous for its for hospital rather than its Brook. After the
ending of the workhouse system in 1930 , Wirral Workhouse was renamed Clatterbridge
County General Hospital. The hospital became part of the National Health Service changed its
name to Clatterbridge Hospital.
In 1958 the hospital became a centre specialising in Oncology. The centre was built in to
enlarge cancer care services from a cramped site on Myrtle Street in Liverpool. Today the site
has been expanded and the hospital has been awarded 3 out of 3 stars in the NHS scoring
system making it a specialist unit very well known amongst oncologists around the United
Kingdom. More into click here