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Elizabethan era and the Civil War

Home > History > Elizabethan era and the Civil War

In 1571 the inhabitants of Liverpool sent a memorial to Queen Elizabeth, praying relief from a subsidy which they thought themselves unable to bear, wherein they styled themselves "her majesty's poor decayed town of Liverpool." Some time towards the close of this reign, Henry Stanley, 4th Earl of Derby, on his way to the Isle of Man, stayed at his house, the Tower; at which the corporation erected a handsome hall or seat for him in the church, where he honoured them several times with his presence.

By the end of the sixteenth century, the town began to be able to take advantage of economic revival and the silting of the River Dee to win trade, mainly from Chester, to Ireland, the Isle of Man and elsewhere. In 1626, King Charles I gave the town a new and improved charter.

Few remarkable occurrences are recorded of the town in this period, except for the eighteen-day siege of it by Prince Rupert of the Rhine, in the English Civil Wars in 1644. Some traces of this were discovered when the foundation of the Liverpool Infirmary was sunk, particularly the marks of the trenches thrown up by the prince, and some cartouches, etc., left behind by the besiegers.

The first cargo from the Americas was recorded in 1648. The development of the town accelerated after the Restoration of 1660, with the growth of trade with America and the West Indies. From that time may be traced the rapid progress of population and commerce, until Liverpool had become the second metropolis of Great Britain. Initially, cloth, coal and salt from Lancashire and Cheshire were exchanged for sugar and tobacco; the town's first sugar refinery was established in 1670.

In 1699 Liverpool was made a parish on its own by Act of Parliament, separate from that of Walton-on-the-Hill, with two parish churches. At the same time it gained separate customs authority from Chester.