Honorary Freedom of the Parish

Honorary Freedom of the Parish


Under the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 parish and town councils were given the ability to confer the honour of Honorary freedom on to an individual. The Freedom of the Parish is the highest honour the Parish Council can give.

June 2021 saw the conferment of the Honorary Freedom of the Parish on Reverend Canon Kath Rogers, vicar of All Saints with St Frideswyde Church, in recognition of her valued and outstanding service to the community. At the Annual Meeting of Thornton Parish Council on Monday 7 June 2021 it was unanimously agreed that Honorary Freedom be conferred upon Kath for her hard work and commitment to the community.


The citation on the scroll reads:

“At a meeting of the Council it was unanimously resolved to grant REVEREND CANON KATH ROGERS the Honorary Freedom of the Parish. We the Council grant you this highest honour we can bestow for the valuable and eminent services to the community of Thornton for many years. We loudly applaud your valuable and sterling service whilst thanking you most sincerely.”

The vice-Chair of the Parish Council presented the scroll at Kath’s last service that was held in the open air and said:

“The first mention of Thornton or “Torentun” in recorded history appears in the Domesday Book compiled in 1089 although the name, being comprised as it is, of two old English elements tells us that it was founded some time prior to that date.

Until the 1930s Thornton was largely a rural location but in the ensuing years its population started to grow (from 312 people in 1931 to 1,290 in 1939). Today it stands at around 2,000.

Despite a long history, Thornton isn’t the scene of an important battlefield or historic event. However it is significant for a number of crosses- wayside crosses as points in the landscape to stop at: one being the Brooms Cross and another on Green Lane, now converted into a sundial.

The Molyneux family, whose original local base was Sefton Hall, had a long association with the township of Thornton and this was consolidated in 1773 when Charles William Molyneux, the first Earl of Sefton, acquired all of the land in Thornton from the various people who owned it.

It was the last Earl of Sefton, Hugh Molyneux, who gifted an area of his land to the Diocese of Liverpool for the purposes of building a church and a rectory in the 1940s.

St Frideswyde’s was the new church for Thornton and it was opened and dedicated by the Bishop of Liverpool in 1952.

In December 2011 St Frideswyde’s underwent a merger with All Saints and in the following February Kath became the new vicar of the newly combined All Saints with St Frideswydes (ASSF). Prior to this appointment Kath was ordained in 2008 after ordination training.

The merger of St Frideswydes with All Saints created a large new parish and over the last decade, under its vicar, it has flourished.

It says on the ASSF website that Kath is committed to making the church a place for all ages, to worship God and enjoy friendship with other people who are on a journey with God. Looking out here today, we can see and reflect on how successful this aim has been; from messy church, Toddler Church, Sunday School, Ventures preschool (of which Kath is the Chair) (and awarded the Liverpool Diocesan Child Friendly Award), along with uniformed groups, to Chair-bound exercise classes, and dementia-friendly services, the church is truly a place for all.

The Hub acts as a meeting place and a haven for the community.

During her time at the church, Kath has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people across the community, caring for others as well as important work including Citizen’s advice, raising awareness of modern slavery and focusing on tackling climate change. The church was given a silver Eco church award last year by environmental organization A Rocha UK in recognition of its environmental work.

Kath’s outstanding  contribution to the community has been recognized for some time but now, on your retirement, the Parish Council is proud to bestow upon you the highest honour that it can: the Honorary Freedom of Thornton.

Since 2009 the Parish Council has been able to grant the status of Honorary Freeman or Freewoman. This, I believe, is only the second time that Thornton has bestowed this upon anyone. So this is an indication of the high esteem we as a community hold you in. Thank you for your exceptional work.”

Full report from The Champion newspaper here: The Honorary Freedom of Thornton given to hardworking Reverend | Story from Champnews

awardRev Canon Kath Rogers being presented with the scroll by vice-Chair Cllr James O’Keeffe with Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Clare Carragher


Councillors Thornton Parish Councillors with Mayor of Sefton Cllr Clare Carragher, Mayoress of Sefton and Honorary Freedom of Thornton recipient Rev Canon Kath Rogers

The Honorary Freedom of the Parish is given to individuals who have done good work,  given exceptional service or other notable undertakings that benefit the community of Thornton.

Section 249 (5) of the Local Government Act permits a local council to admit, further to a council resolution, to be honorary freemen or freewomen of the place or area for which it is the authority

a.  persons of distinction


b.  persons who have, in the opinion of the authority, rendered eminent services to that place or area.

Under the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 parish and town councils were given the ability to confer the honour of Honorary freedom on to an individual. The title confers no powers on the individual and is entirely ceremonial.  The title is a mark of distinction upon the person whom the Council wishes to honour and represents a thank you to the recipient.

This is an award solely in the gift of the Council and confers no material honours or special privileges nor does it entitle the person to participate in the proceedings of the Council meetings or in any ceremonial events. It is purely an honour awarded for merit.



The Freedom of the Parish of Thornton has been granted to the following people:

  1. Reverend Canon Kath Rogers [Resolution of Council- Monday 7 June 2021]