Warton shown within Lancashire
|Population||2,315 (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
Warton is a village and civil parish in the City of Lancaster in north Lancashire in the north-west of England, close to the boundary with Cumbria, with a population of around 2,000. It is a village steeped in history; its earliest recording as a settlement is made in Domesday Book written in 1086. The nearest town to Warton is Carnforth, which was originally part of Warton parish. It has connections to the first President of the United States, George Washington: Washington's ancestor of seven generations, Lawrence Washington, is rumoured to have helped build the village church of St Oswald. The parish covers an area in excess of 11,000 acres (45 km2) and is predominantly rural. The parish of Warton had a population of 2315 recorded in the 2001 census,
The exact origins of St Oswald's Church (formerly Holy Trinity) and its associated parish are unknown. It is believed that the church in this parish was established well before the Norman Conquest in 1066. The oldest portion of the church is the south wall which is of 14th-century origin, though the earliest recorded incumbent dates from 1190.
By the start of the 13th Century, Warton had flourished into an important staging post on the route north to Carlisle, Northumbria and Scotland. So much so, it was granted a charter for a Wednesday market, gallows and ordeal pit in 1200 during the reign of King John. The grant of borough status by the town's lord, the baron of Kendal, later in the thirteenth century confirmed the economic importance of Warton at that period.
The oldest surviving architecture other than the church is the ruined rectory, built around 1267; records exist of work being carried out on the rectory until 1332. The ruins are in good condition with the gables surviving to almost their original height (around 30 ft). Now in the care of English Heritage, it is a rare survival of a large 14th-century stone house with great hall and chambers. It served as a residence and courthouse for the wealthy and powerful rectors of Warton.
Warton is the birthplace of the medieval ancestors of George Washington, the first popularly elected President of the United States. Lawrence Washington, seven generations prior to George Washington and his family, arrived in Warton around 1300, and Robert Washington, Lawrence's great-grandson, is rumoured to have help build the clock tower of St Oswald's Church. The Washington family coat of arms, three mullets and two bars, can be found in the church and is said to have inspired the design of the flag of the United States. The flag of the United States of America is displayed on the village church flag pole every July Fourth. The flag was donated to the village after US soldiers had visited the village during WWII and having returned to the USA contacted their state senator about the birthplace of the Washington family. The donated flag was one of which had flown above the Capitol Building in Washington DC.
The village continued to expand during the 16th and 17th century, a large number of houses being built to line the backbone of the village, Main Street, running through Carnforth, Warton, Yealand Conyers and Yealand Redmayne
Until the 18th century, Warton was a minor provider of limestone quarried from Warton Crag. With the invention of the steam locomotive this industry boomed, causing Carnforth, the small hamlet where the local railway station was placed, to expand and outgrow Warton in a matter of decades. A number of the old 17th century lime kilns can still be found dotted around Warton Crag, disused due to their inefficiency.
The advancement of Carnforth's iron industry and locomotive progress meant that Warton expanded as a place for the workforce to live, and a number of cheap terraced housing filled up the gaps on Main Street around the turn of the 20th century. By the 1940s Warton had two council estates, a large number of shops and at least two public houses. Warton now has a cricket club since 1907 and they were crowned westmorland league champions for the first time in 2007.
- "Parish headcount" (PDF). Lancashire County Council. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
Media related to Warton, Lancaster at Wikimedia Commons