St Bridget’s Parish Church - History and Facts | History Hit

St Bridget’s Parish Church

Wirral, England, United Kingdom

St Bridget’s Parish Church in the Merseyside town of West Kirby was founded by Irish Christian Vikings around the 11th century and amongst other treasures houses the 10th century Hogback Stone.

Amy Irvine

18 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Phil Nash / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0 & GFDL

About St Bridget’s Parish Church

St Bridget’s Parish Church is situated in the town of West Kirby and is an active Anglican parish church in the diocese of Chester. It is a designated Grade II listed building.

History of St Bridget’s Parish Church

The first wooden incarnation of St Bridget’s was built around 900 AD and over the centuries has been added to, redeveloped, altered and even rebuilt into the beautiful building you see today.

A second church, this time made of stone, appeared around 1150 and the third about 200 years later. Other iterations appeared in the 18th and again in the 19th centuries and while the church is impressive itself, many visitors come because of the amazing archaeological finds.

Most of the Norman-era column and wall fragments, an intricately carved child’s coffin and a footbath (suggesting the church was used as a place of pilgrimage), elaborate 13th century grave slabs and various other artefacts from the church spanning 1,000 years are in the West Kirby Museum but the star of the show at St Bridget’s is the Hogback Stone.

Dating from the Anglo-Norse 10th century, the Hogback Stone is a carved – like a hog’s back – piece of (possibly Welsh) sandstone used for monumental purposes. This particular stone includes carved roof shingles and are typical designs associated with Scandinavian dwellings during the age of the Vikings, essentially stylised ‘houses of the dead’.

St Bridget’s Parish Church today

As well as the various additions to the building and archaeological finds, visitors can also see Charles Kempe’s stunning 19th century stained glass windows, beautiful ironworks, an intricate Norman-designed font and the tower replete with 200 year-old bells. The churchyard also contains the war graves of 11 Commonwealth service personnel, 9 of World War One and 2 of World War Two.

The church falls into the Anglo-Catholic tradition of the Church of England, being described as “moderate catholic” and “Liberal Modern Catholic”. St Bridget’s Church is usually open Monday-Friday afternoons from 2:30 to 4:30pm.

Getting to St Bridget’s Parish Church

St Bridget’s Church is in the town of West Kirby, in the Wirral, Merseyside, around 12 miles from Liverpool. A train from Liverpool Lime Street station takes 43 minutes to reach West Kirby, the nearest station, which is approximately a 10 minute walk away from the church.

If travelling by car, take the A59, through the Kingsway tunnel until the road merges with the B5192, then take Village Road and Rectory Road towards Church Road. The journey takes approximately 25 minutes.