Liverpool History Society Questions

A selection of Liverpool history questions submitted to the Liverpool History Society

>Thomas Leyland and Walton Hall

> Can you help, I am looking into the history of Walton Hall and have established that a Liverpool Slaver and Banker, Thomas Leyland once own the hall.  Do you have any information relating to this gentleman and particularly his family`s involvement with Walton Hall.


Simon Gheet

Walton Hall around the time of its demoliton
Thomas Leyland Slaver & Banker


02/12/2009 - Posted by | Thomas Leyland and Walton Hall


  1. Hello Simon,

    Leyland is an interesting person although nothing is known about Leyland's early life, but by 1768 he was living in Liverpool where he worked for an Irish merchant, Gerald Dillon, with whom he went into partnership. In 1776, they won £20,000 in the state lottery and, he invested his winnings in building up his business interests which included slavery. He was elected mayor of Liverpool three time and by 1782, Leyland was in business on his own. He traded in many commodities, including slaves. The profit on one voyage made by Leyland's slave ship 'Lottery' in 1798 was more than £12,000 (more than £900,000 today). In 1802, Leyland purchased the estate of Walton Hall north of Liverpool. In the same year he became a partner in the banking firm of Clarkes and Roscoe, which was an unusual alliance because William Roscoe was sympathetic towards the abolitionists. Leyland left after two months and established his own very successful bank – Leyland & Bullins – in partnership with his nephew, who was also involved in the slave trade. The money Leyland had made from slave trading could therefore be loaned to other slave traders and further profits made. The bank was owned by the Leyland family until 1901. In 1908 it was taken over by Midland Bank.

    Liverpool's government was dominated by slave traders in this period. By 1787, 37 of the 41 members of the Liverpool council were involved in some way in slavery and all of Liverpool's 20 lord mayors who held office between 1787 and 1807 were involved. Leyland was himself mayor three times between 1798 and 1820. When he died in 1827, he was one of the richest men in Britain. His widow Ellen continued to live in Walton Hall until her death in 1839. Thomas' nephews Richard and Christopher Bullin inherited the estate. The brothers took the Leyland name and coat of arms as per their uncle's will. Richard moved from Fazakerley into the grand hall after his aunt's death, but he and his brother Christopher died childless so the hall passed onto their sister Dorothy and her husband John Wrench Naylor.

    Walton Hall, the home of the Brere family and others, was sold to John Atherton in 1746. Atherton had made money out of the slave trade. The Atherton family sold the estate to Thomas Leyland. Walton Hall fell into disrepair after the death of Dorothy and was demolished around the turn of the century. The land was eventually bought by Liverpool City Council. Walton Hall Park and Avenue was then laid out. The origins of the park date back to Henry de Walton steward of the West Derby hundred in 1199.


    Rob Ainsworth
    Liverpool History Society

    Comment by Liverpool History | 02/12/2009 | Reply

  2. hi were in walton park was the hall situated?

    Comment by Anonymous | 20/02/2010 | Reply

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