In the Domesday Book of 1086, Knowsley was known as Chenulveslei, becoming Knuvesle in 1199; Knouselegh in 1258; Knouleslee in 1261; Knusele in 1262; and Knouslegh in 1346. The pronunciation varies between 'Nowsley' and 'Nosely'.
The village of Knowsley developed as a direct result of the Lathom/Stanley family better known as the Earls of Derby with their vast estate and residence at Knowsley Hall. The manors of Knowsley, Roby, Huyton and Tarbock were all held by the Lathom family before the year 1200. The small local community which by 1900 had only reached 1,325 residents in the main relied upon Knowsley Park directly or indirectly for their livelihood.