St Oswald's Church, Warton

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St Oswald's Church, Warton
St Oswald's Church, Warton.jpg
St Oswald's Church, Warton, from the northwest
St Oswald's Church, Warton is located in the City of Lancaster district
St Oswald's Church, Warton
St Oswald's Church, Warton
Coordinates: 54°08′39″N 2°46′10″W / 54.1442°N 2.7694°W / 54.1442; -2.7694
OS grid referenceSD 498,723
LocationMain Street, Warton, Lancashire
WebsiteSt Oswald's Church, Warton
StatusParish church
DedicationSaint Oswald
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationGrade II
Designated2 May 1968
Architect(s)Sharpe and Paley
Paley, Austin and Paley
Architectural typeChurch
StyleGothic, Gothic Revival
Spire height62 feet (19 m)
MaterialsPebbledash with sandstone dressings, slate roof
ParishSt Oswald, Warton
Vicar(s)The Revd Robin Figg
Reader(s)Mrs Annette MacKenzie; Mrs Janet Thompson.
Churchwarden(s)Mrs Sue Hopwood,
Mr Chris Hopwood

St Oswald's Church is in the village of Warton, Lancashire, England. It is an active Anglican parish church in the deanery of Tunstall, the archdeaconry of Lancaster, and the diocese of Blackburn. Its benefice is united with those of St Mary, Borwick and St John the Evangelist, Yealand Conyers.[1] The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.[2] The ruined remains of the medieval rectory survive next to the present vicarage to the west of the church.


The present church is probably built on the site of a church in existence prior to the 12th century. It was largely rebuilt in the 15th century, retaining part of the wall of the south aisle.[3] The north aisle was either added or rebuilt in the 16th century.[4] In 1848–49 renovation work was carried out on the south arcade by the Lancaster architects Sharpe and Paley.[5] More extensive restoration work was carried out in 1892 by Paley, Austin and Paley, successors to Sharpe and Paley.[3] This consisted of renewing windows in the clerestory, the north aisle and elsewhere, and reconstructing the roof.[4] The church has historical connections with the Washington family,[3] ancestors of George Washington, first president of the United States.[6] Since 1977, a Flag of Washington, D.C. has been in the church; it was given by American soldiers and normally hangs in the church, except on the Fourth of July, when it is flown from a flagpole outside.[7]



The church is pebbledashed with sandstone dressings, and has a slate roof. Its plan consists of a west tower, a nave with north and south aisles and a clerestory, and a chancel. The tower has angle buttresses, three-light bell openings, and a battlemented parapet with corner pinnacles. The former west door has been partly blocked, making it into a window, and over this is a small niche.[2] The tower is 62 feet (19 m) high.[4]


The tower once bore the arms of the Washington family, but these have been moved and are now re-set inside it.[2] The tower holds three bells, hung for full circle ringing, but currently unfit to be rung. The second bell dates from 1571, the tenor from 1731, and the treble from 1782. The second and the frame in which the bells are hung are considered to be of historical significance.[8][9] In the southeast chapel is a sedilia that is considered to date from the late 13th or early 14th century. The font is cylindrical and lead-lined, and carries the date 1661. Incorporated into the 19th-century pews are coats of arms, one of these being of the Washington family that is dated 1614. In the southwest aisle are the arms of Queen Victoria. In the church is stained glass by Shrigley and Hunt, Ward and Hughes, and F. Burrow, and memorial wall tablets by George Webster. There is more stained glass in the vestry by Shrigley and Hunt; this depicts Saints Oswald, Patrick and Aidan.[3]

External features[edit]

The churchyard contains the war graves of eight service personnel of World War I, and a Royal Artillery soldier of World War II.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ St Oswald, Warton, retrieved 25 June 2015
  2. ^ a b c Historic England, "Church of St Oswald, Warton (1308887)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 9 April 2015
  3. ^ a b c d Hartwell, Clare; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2009) [1969], The Buildings of England. Lancashire: North, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, p. 681, ISBN 978-0-300-12667-9
  4. ^ a b c Farrar, William; Brownbill, J., eds. (1914), The parish of Warton, Victoria County History, pp. 151–161, retrieved 22 June 2010
  5. ^ Price, James (1998), Sharpe, Paley and Austin: A Lancaster Architectural Practice 1836–1942, Lancaster: Centre for North-West Regional Studies, p. 71, ISBN 1-86220-054-8
  6. ^ History of the family of "Washington", AncestryUK, retrieved 22 June 2010
  7. ^ (near Lancaster), Lancashire Warton, near Lancaster, Lancashire Check |url= value (help),, retrieved 18 November 2012
  8. ^ "Warton—S Oswald or Holy Trinity", Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers, 24 June 2009, retrieved 23 June 2010
  9. ^ "Database of historically significant bells and bellframes", Church of England Churchcare website, 29 October 2007, archived from the original on 29 July 2010, retrieved 23 June 2010, enter "Warton" in "Parish or Location" text box, and click "Search"
  10. ^ WARTON (ST. OSWALD) CHURCHYARD, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, retrieved 17 February 2013