For most of its existence the village was a close-knit and largely self-contained community, obtaining its livelihood almost entirely from agriculture.
Old farmhouses and other buildings from its past survive, restored and altered, with their outbuildings, as private houses or commercial premises.
Near the Green, the Old Hall has stone mullioned and transomed windows and a stone entrance porch.
Opposite stands the half-timbered Red Lion, a public house until 1928, forming an attractive background to any organized activities that take place on the Green. The Nag’s Head, not many yards away, was built in 1738. The Pollard Inn, at the south-west corner of the Green until later buildings encroached upon the open space, was originally Corner House Farm, with an ancient stone wing.
On the south side of the Green, the Memorial Hall, originally ‘Willaston Literary Institute, Reading Room and Library’, built at the end of the nineteenth century, has been thoroughly renovated, an asset to the village.
Neolithic axeheads, from some 4,000 years ago, have been found in Willaston, though they do not prove the existence of a settlement in the area.
The earliest surviving occurrence of the name Willaston, ‘the settlement of Wiglaf’s people’, is in Domesday Book, as the name of the hundred of Wilaveston (later Wirral), and a possible explanation for Willaston’s large green is that it was the place of assembly for the hundred. The name ‘Edelaue’, also in Domesday Book, is preserved in Hadlow Road and several field names between the Wirral Way and Chester High Road.
Although many of the early lords of the manor of Willaston, including the Trussells, Stanleys, de Veres and Sir Christopher Hatton, were prominent in national affairs, none was resident. But in 1619 Willaston was sold to several local men, and instead of extinguishing the manorial rights, they decided they should act as lords of the manor by rotation – an unusual if not unique practice. The manor court continued in existence until 1907.
Willaston’s Anglican church was built in 1855, but until 1865 the village was one of the eight townships in the ancient parish of Neston. The present Methodist chapel, in Neston Road, dating from 1889, replaced an earlier one built in 1838 on land behind Cherry Brow Terrace.
The first real village school in Willaston, originally a single room, was built in 1859 on the Green. The present school in Neston Road was opened in 1930. The old school was then demolished, and on 6 May 1935, on part of its former site, the copper beech tree was planted to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary.
A branch railway line from Hooton to Parkgate was opened in 1866, but closed to passengers in 1956, and to goods trains in 1962.
The track was later taken up, and the linear Wirral Country Park was opened in 1973. Hadlow Road Station has been refurbished as one of the places of interest in the park.
The Green is surrounded by several former farmhouses – Cherry Brow, Corner House, White House, Laburnum, Green Lantern, The Farm, Pear Tree, Old Hall, and Smithy Farm.
Two interesting buildings lie outside the village proper. The mill, the largest of the Wirral windmills, dates from 1800 and once provided substantial employment for the village. In 1930, when the sails were damaged in a storm and sawn off, work at the mill stopped. One of its millstones now forms the main feature of the village sign on the Little Green. The Lydiate is a mansion erected near Birkenhead Road by a wealthy Victorian merchant.
Most of this information was written by David Morris.
Willaston Heritage, (ISBN 0953222004) by EC Bryan pub. Willaston Residents’ & Countryside Society.