A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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This township lies along the Ribble, and much of the surface in the south-west is less than 25 ft. above sea level. In the east and north-east is higher land and on it the village is situated. Warton Bank and Warton Brow overlook the river, and formerly there was a ford from this side to Hesketh, a guide being stationed there to conduct travellers across. The area is 2,540½ acres, (fn. 1) including 8 acres of salt marsh. In 1901 there was a population of 446.
The principal road is that going west from Preston to Lytham, which divides into two branches after passing through Warton village, these joining again later. Cross roads go south to the Ribble and north to Wrea Green.
Before the Conquest WARTON, then assessed as four plough-lands, was one of the members of Earl Tostig's Preston lordship. (fn. 2) After the creation of the barony of Penwortham it is found incorporated therewith, (fn. 3) passing from Bussel to Lacy and the Earls and Dukes of Lancaster. By the Bussels it appears to have been granted to a younger member of the family to be held by the third part of a knight's fee, for about 1190 it had come into the possession of Quenilda daughter of Hugh son of Acard Bussel, who was married to Roger le Boteler, (fn. 4) and had a number of children —Richard, Stephen, Thomas, Adam, Roger and Siegrith. (fn. 5) The family were benefactors of the religious houses at Lytham and Cockersand, Quenilda's husband becoming a monk of the former, (fn. 6) and the descents can be traced for some time, (fn. 7) but the manor of Warton appears to have been alienated about 1220–40 to some of the Woodplumpton family, (fn. 8) and thus in 1242 it was recorded that Thomas de Beetham held the third part of a knight's fee in Warton of the Earl of Lincoln's fee (of Penwortham). (fn. 9)
The Beetham estate, known as the manor of COWBURN or Cowburgh, (fn. 10) descended regularly in the family till the time of Edward IV. An estate first acquired by Adam de Yealand about 1230 (fn. 11) and held after him by Conyers and Singleton of Broughton (fn. 12) came in time to be regarded as a moiety of the manor of Warton. Thomas de Beetham on acquiring Warton gave a general confirmation to the monks of Lytham of the lands they held. (fn. 13) He died in 1248 or 1249, and it was found that he held three plough-lands of the Earl of Lincoln by the third part of a knight's fee, receiving only 4s. 4d. a year and certain white gloves, others having been enfeoffed freely, (fn. 14) Sir Ralph his son and heir died about five years afterwards; his daughter Joan was only seven years old (fn. 15) and appears to have died a little later, for at inquisitions made in 1255 (fn. 16) and 1257 it was found that Ralph's brother Robert was his heir. (fn. 17)
Sir Robert de Beetham confirmed the Lytham charters, and agreed with the monks as to the bounds of Bryning and Warton on the Lytham side (fn. 18); he also gave land in the Bankhouses to Stanlaw Abbey. (fn. 19) He was succeeded by his son Thomas before 1302, (fn. 20) and Thomas by his son Ralph in or before 1317, in which year William de Tours and Emma his wife called upon him to warrant to them certain land in Warton claimed by John de Astenthwaite and Margaret his wife as dower, Margaret being widow of Thomas de Beetham. (fn. 21) In 1346 it was recorded that Queen Isabella, in right of the fee of Penwortham, held three plough-lands and a third for the third part of a knight's fee in Warton which Sir Ralph de Beetham and Thomas son of Gilbert de Singleton held of her in moieties, rendering 3s. 4d. yearly for castle ward. (fn. 22) In 1361 Robert de Beetham and his tenants held the third part of a fee of the Duke of Lancaster. (fn. 23)
Thomas Beetham of Beetham held a moiety of the manor in 1431 by the sixth part of a knight's fee, Nicholas Singleton of Broughton holding similarly the other moiety (fn. 24); while in 1445–6 Thomas Beetham and Thomas Singleton held three and one-third plough-lands for the third part of a fee, paying relief equally. (fn. 25) Thomas Beetham was succeeded by his son Sir Edmund, who conveyed his manor of Cowburn, which extended into Bryning, Kellamergh and Ravenshaw, with his other manors, &c., to trustees, with remainders to his brothers Roger, William and Richard, and then to his cousin John. He died in 1472 and his brother William succeeded, (fn. 26) but Richard was in possession in 1483. (fn. 27)
From this time the Beetham Manor disappears from the records and its lands were said to be held of the Crown in right of the duchy, though Gervase Middleton still retained some land in 1548. (fn. 28) The Singletons sold their moiety of the manor to James Gerard in 1598, (fn. 29) and John Gerard of Haighton had an estate there in 163 5 (fn. 30); but the manor with much of the land seems to have been acquired by the Sharples family, (fn. 31) and was in 1652 sold to James Ash ton. (fn. 32) It is not mentioned again.
The land was from an early time divided among a number of freeholders, (fn. 33) as appears from the inquisition of 1249 above cited. Warton (fn. 34) and Collan (fn. 35) occur among the early surnames; and the inquisitions of the 16th and 17th centuries show a number of landowners, (fn. 36) but few of them seem to have been resident. The Singletons at one time had a house at Warton, and a John Singleton (fn. 37) died in 1592 holding a messuage there and land in Whittingham. James Browne of Lower Birches, (fn. 38) William Dixon, (fn. 39) William Dobson, (fn. 40) Richard Noblett, (fn. 41) James Smalley (fn. 42) and John Thistleton (fn. 43) had small estates in Warton. Robert Thistleton the son of John had his estate sequestered 'for his popery' in the Commonwealth time; he died in 1653. (fn. 44) Two ' Papists' registered estates in 1717. (fn. 45)
The Lytham Priory lands were after the Dissolution held by the Cliftons. (fn. 46) The abbeys of Cockersand (fn. 47) and Whalley (fn. 48) and the Knights Hospitallers (fn. 49) also had lands in Warton.
In connexion with the Church of England the former St. Paul's was built in 1722, (fn. 50) and consecrated in 1725, being replaced by the present building in 1885–6. A separate parish was assigned to it in 1846. (fn. 51) The vicars are presented by the Dean and Canons of Christ Church, Oxford.