Located just four miles from Liverpool city centre and five minutes from the M62 motorway, Childwall Abbey Hotel is within easy reach of the many attractions of Liverpool. The Childwall Abbey constructed in the 15th Century, is the oldest part of the village.
However, the tradition that Childwall was the location of an abbey may have begun when Childwall Hall was extended in an ecclesiastical style. This can also be said of the church like Childwall Priory. The title of Childwall Abbey was first applied, not to the hotel as it is today, but to Childwall Hall, built in 1780 by Bamber Gascoyne.
In design, the hall was reminiscent of an ecclesiastical institution, and the inn and hearse house were built in the same tradition. As the years went by, the correct name Childwall Hall increased in popular use. Thereupon, as there were plenty of Gothic touches to the old inn, the name was transferred to it. It has remained ever so since.
It does not need to be an antiquary to conjure before one's eyes pictures of long-vanished monks, Lords and Knights who have been sheltered within the Abbey walls. On every side breathes the spirit of old romance, and once the spectator knows the great and stirring history of the land of Childwall, the Abbey becomes invested with a new charm than even its exquisite beauty could not give.
The Inn has always been a favourite stopping place of distinguished actors who have been staying in Liverpool, and many have scratched their names on the old windows of the beautiful room which faces the church.
Among the many well-known theatrical names to be found are those of Henry Irving, Ellen Terry, E.J. Willard, Ruth Vincent and J.M. Barrie. Irving was fond of smoking a cigar in the old room facing the garden and Ellen Terry was never so happy as when she was roaming through the beautiful old gardens with its bowling green, on which, if tradition is to be believed, bowls have been played long before the days of Drake and Raleigh.
Part of the building is said to be a renovated chapel, probably that of St Thomas the Martyr which was known as far back as 1484. The original inn, not then named as at present, was apparently early 17th Century, but a portion of original wall still remains and the building is certainly redolent of medieval days.
Irving was greatly interested in the many quaint epitaphs which are to be found in the Churchyard, especially this curious epitaph - "Sacred to the memory of John Jones, who departed this life in his 95th year, June 1st, 1517. My sledge and hammer both decline, my bellows they have lost their wind, my fire is extinct, my forge decayed, and the dust in my vice is laid. My coals are spent, my iron is gone, my nails are driven, my work is done".
Irving was deeply interested in the beautiful old furniture of the Inn, especially the old panels taken from the original Church and the wonderful collection of autographs presented to Mrs Rimmer, the former pro-priestess of the Childwall Abbey Inn, by late friends of the Marquess of Salisbury. " Of course, the Childwall Abbey Pub is still open for a drink, splendid food or perhaps to stay the night.
Throughout the ages, past custodians have not been entirely kind to the interior of the property. The ground floor has been almost completely changed and remodelled. Some say for the better to make it more ‘open plan’, some say for the worse as we have lost the sweeping staircase and the smaller individual rooms.
We have attempted to provide a ‘then and now’ photo opportunity to determine what was the ‘past and present’ views of the pub to give some indication of it’s grand entrance and smaller rooms.