Formby is a Viking village. Norsemen settled here about 900 AD, naming the place 'Fornebei'. This is either from a Norse personal name or means 'The Old Place'. Perhaps former settlers came back to Formby - to the 'Old Town'. A local saying is that “those with the sand of Formby in their shoes will always return”. Local people were called 'Sandgrounders'. Formby has become famous in recent years for the pre-historic Neolithic footprints found in exposed sediment layers within the inter-tidal zone of the shore as well as the more mythical ghostly dog 'Trash' said to have been seen occasionally on the beach and the more delectable Formby asparagus still cultivated here. Its exposed but strategic position overlooking the risky approaches to the River Mersey' prompted the establishment here of the World’s first Lifeboat Station in 1776.
Many Norse names still exist in the area: Ravenmeols, Argarmeols - ('meols' meaning sandhills). 'Slack' - the wet area with brackish water between the sandhilJs and the inner dunes. 'Kirk' - Norse for church hence Kirklake Road which leads to St Luke's Church on the site of a mediaeval chapel, near which there was once a lake. Freshfield takes its name from its railway station which in turn was named after a certain Thomas Fresh. In the mid-19th century this gentleman leased an area of sandy land most of which subsequently became the Formby Golf Club. More importantly he was responsible for bringing in huge amounts of 'night-soil' from Liverpool. This provided valuable fertiliser for local farmers from which asparagus cultivation flourished for many years. In the later Victorian period the area later developed as a pleasant residential area
To see items of interest on a Google map of Formby with links to articles and photographs please click here