Prescot is believed to be Anglo-Saxon in origin, with the name 'Prescota-cot' meaning a 'priest cottage'. It was the centre of an extensive parish, within the West Derby Hundred which included fourteen other townships including St Helen's.
In 1333 the Lord of the Manor, William D'Acre, was granted the right to hold a weekly market and the town's importance is reflected in its inclusion on the Bodleian Map of Britain drawn by Gough in 1350. The manor was sold in 1391 to John of Gaunt and on his death passed to his son, who subsequently became Henry IV. In 1447 Henry VI included both the Manor and Rectory of Prescot as gifts to establish a college at Cambridge University [subsequently King's College]. The Royal Charter gave the people of Prescot exemption from paying certain tolls, it also gave them a degree of self-government and the town adopted the college crest as its own. Due to the distance from Cambridge the daily running of the town was left to the Steward, his appointed deputy and the Court Leet (the local town council).