The Parish Churches of St. Mary and St. James, West Derby
St Mary's church replaced the old West Derby Chapel, which was Chapel-of Ease to Walton Parish Church.It was not until about 1700 that West Derby merited a
Curate of its own (served from Walton) although the ancient parish of West Derby
goes back many centuries.The first real reference to a church here was in 1360
when Richard le Jay and John del Brakes came to fisticuffs in the Chapel and a
West Derby was in the Diocese of Lichfield, until 1542 when it became part of
the Diocese of Chester. The first recorded Curate is Robert Bolton in 1550. The
chapel appears on old prints as a plain oblong building with a stumpy turret-like spire. It stood, it is believed on the site of an older straw-thatched building, contemporary with the castle. In the 1850s when it was pulled down to make way for St Mary's on the adjacent site, its ancient dripstones revealed the presence of an earlier Saxon edifice. In 1880 St Mary's became part of the newly formed Diocese of Liverpool.
The original chapel sundial (1793) can be found mounted on the external wall of St Mary's south transept.