History of the Borough of Sefton
In accordance with the Local Government Act 1972, Sefton Metropolitan District Council was formed on 1 April 1974, by the amalgamation of the county boroughs of Bootle and Southport, the municipal borough of Crosby, the urban districts of Formby and Litherland, and part of West Lancashire Rural District.
It is named after the village of Sefton, near Maghull. When the then district was created, a name was sought that would not unduly identify it with any of its constituent parts, particularly the former county boroughs of Bootle and Southport.
The area had strong links with the Earl of Sefton and a Sefton Rural District Council covering some of the villages in the district existed from 1894 to 1932.
Following an application made in the form of a petition to the Privy Council, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II approved the grant of a Royal Charter on 17 April 1975 conferring the status of a Borough on the Metropolitan District of Sefton. The Charter enabled the Council to appoint a Mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton at the first meeting of the Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council held on 24 April 1975.
Details of the Past Mayors of Bootle, Crosby and Southport up until May 1974 and details of the Past Mayors of Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council from April 1975 can be accessed on the downloads section of The Mayor of Sefton webpage.
The Molyneux Family and the Cross Moline Crest
Like lots of wealthy noblemen from the Middle ages, the Molyneux family were descendants of the knight, William de Molines, who came over during the Norman Conquests from a town called Moulineaux, in Normandy, France.
The Molyneux family settled in Lunt, Sefton and they lived in a Hall there near the present-day St Helen’s Church. They owned most of the Sefton area but over the years were also granted land in Liverpool. In 1473, the family was granted land in Croxteth to create a deer park.
In 1535, the family’s principal residence was Croxteth and by 1575, they had built the first Croxteth Hall in West Derby. Their family crest was the Cross Moline, and it can still be seen at Croxteth Hall.
The Molyneux family derived their name from the French “moulin-eaux”, a watermill, and the Molyneux arms, was a cross-moline (from the Latin “molinum”, a mill) representing the iron cross at the centre of a millstone. In heraldry the ‘Moline’, sometimes called the Cross Moline is a cross having arms of equal length and curved back at the ends.
The moline cross is from the arms of the Molyneux Earls of Sefton who were major landowners of this area. The title Earl of Sefton was created in the Peerage of Ireland in 1771 for the 8th Viscount Molyneux. The Molyneux's powerful allegiances led to an acquisition of lands and wealth throughout the period 1100–1700 when the family were Lords of the manor at Sefton.
The 7th Earl of Sefton died childless in 1972, and despite an extensive international search the title was eventually declared extinct. The seat of the Earls of Sefton was Croxteth Hall, and it was bequeathed to the City of Liverpool in 1973. At this exact time, the first meeting of Sefton District Council was held in May 1973. This transitional council eventually became the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton, and during the next 11 months worked out how the combined local authorities would function as one unified body.
Crest of the Borough of Sefton
The use of the Moline Cross, with its historical links to the area was approved by the Sefton District Council on 21 February 1974 as the then district motif, in a modified form with a ribbon wave azure below it, symbolising the coastal nature of the then district and has been used as the crest of the Council ever since that time, and it is featured on the Chain of Office of the Mayor of Sefton.
The Heraldic description of the Crest is:
“On a square lozenge azure, a stylised molined cross.
Below a ribbon wave azure symbolising the coastal nature of the borough”
The logo used on all Council stationary is set out below, which includes the Council Crest: