House of Premonstratensian canons: The priory of Warburton

Page 171

A History of the County of Chester: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1980.

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There was a short-lived cell (fn. 1) of the Premonstratensian abbey of Cockersand (Lancs.) at Warburton on the Mersey border of Cheshire and Lancashire. Some canons may have been established there during the 1190s when the Cockersand canons were involved in a dispute with Leicester abbey. (fn. 2) After the death of John the Constable in 1190 Adam de Dutton gave the moiety of the vill of Warburton, which he had acquired with his wife Agnes, daughter of Roger, son of Alfred de Cumbray, to the church of St. Mary and St. Werburgh of Warburton and the Premonstratensian canons there. (fn. 3) The grant was made for the benefit of the souls of Adam's son, John, who was buried at Warburton, and of John the Constable, and for the bodies and souls of Roger the Constable and his wife, who were evidently alive at the time. (fn. 4) Adam de Dutton and Geoffrey, another of his sons, witnessed a grant by their friend and associate, Gralam de Lostock, to the canons at Warburton of lands in Lostock Gralam whose bounds they had marked with crosses and also of pasturage for 40 cows and 20 mares for three years and for 60 sheep for one year. (fn. 5) Adam de Dutton was seneschal of Halton for the constables of Chester and in the closing years of the 12th century and the early years of the 13th some small grants of land across the Mersey in Lancashire were made to the canons at Warburton by those who held lands which formed part of the Widnes fee of the barons of Halton. Richard of Tarbock, the brother of Robert of Lathom who founded Burscough priory (Lancs.), granted land in Tarbock in Huyton; (fn. 6) Amabel, the widow of Robert of Lathom, gave land in Knowsley in Huyton; (fn. 7) her step-son, Richard, made a grant of land in Allerton in Childwall which was increased by Richard of Allerton and his son, Robert. (fn. 8) Sigerth of Sutton made two grants of land in Sutton in Prescot to the prior and canons of Warburton, one of which was witnessed by the three brothers, Adam, Hugh, and Geoffrey de Dutton; after her death, however, the lands were re-granted to Cockersand abbey. (fn. 9) In the same way Alan de Halsall, who held part of Maghull in Halsall from Roger the Constable, confirmed to Cockersand the grant of an assart which had originally been made to the brethren at Warburton by one of his subtenants. (fn. 10) Those grants and re-grants indicate that the community at Warburton had failed to establish itself, and before 1216, Roger, abbot of Cockersand, surrendered to Geoffrey de Dutton all the gifts made by his father, Adam, 'to us and our house of Cockersand in Warburton', apart from eight oxgangs of land in return for which the abbot and convent undertook to maintain a chaplain at Warburton to say masses for Adam's soul. (fn. 11) In 1271 Cockersand abbey sold the advowson of the chapel of Warburton and all their land and rights there to the second Geoffrey de Dutton for 80 marks. (fn. 12)


  • 1. There is no evidence to support the suggestion (D. Knowles and R. N. Hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses, Eng. and Wales (2nd edn. 1971), 336, 400) that the cell superseded a hospital. One surviving reference to a prior at Warburton (3 Sheaf, 1, pp. 34–5) indicates conventual organisation.
  • 2. V.C.H. Lancs. ii. 154.
  • 3. Cockersand Chartulary, iv (Chetham Soc. N.S. xliii), 735–6. For Adam de Dutton and his wife see Barraclough, Early Ches. Charts. 21–2.
  • 4. Cockersand Chart. iv. 735–6.
  • 5. Ibid. 737–8. For the association of Gralam de Lostock with Adam and Geoffrey de Dutton see Barraclough, Early Ches. Charts. 18, 24, 25n., 32, 41.
  • 6. Cockersand Chart. iv. 607–8; V.C.H. Lancs. iii. 177.
  • 7. Cockersand Chart. iv. 606–7; V.C.H. Lancs. iii. 158.
  • 8. Cockersand Chart. iv. 599–61; V.C.H. Lancs. iii. 129.
  • 9. 3 Sheaf, 1, pp. 34–5; Cockersand Chart. iv. 596–8; V.C.H. Lancs. iii. 356, 358, 360.
  • 10. Cockersand Chart. iv. 543–4; V.C.H. Lancs. iii. 215.
  • 11. Cockersand Chart. iv. 738–9; V.C.H. Lancs. ii. 157–8; H. M. Colvin, The White Canons in Eng. 142 (where conventus is ascribed to Warburton rather than Cockersand). Roger, 'priest of Warburton', witnessed a deed to which Agatha, dau. of Adam de Dutton, was a party: John Rylands Libr., Arley Charts. Box 1, no. 102. Abbey Croft, adjoining the old rectory in Warburton, is traditionally supposed to be the 8 oxgangs confirmed to Cockersand by Geoff. de Dutton: P.N. Ches. ii. 35; N. Warburton, Warburton: the Village and the Family (London, 1970), 26.
  • 12. Cockersand Chart. iv. 735, 739–40.