The story of our family...for my sons

Sunday, October 28, 2012

...the Botelers (Bulters) did it

Sir Almeric Alberic Lord Warrington Le Boteler, my 20th great grandfather showed that there was practically nothing known about the early history of the town or the family. The Romans formed a camp at Wilderspool called Veratinum in the year AD 79. Excavations on the site of the encampment have revealed the foundations of a great rampart which is supposed to have been destroyed in 607 by Ethelfrith the Saxon King of Northumbria and also the remains of iron and glass makers’ furnaces and potter’s kilns of a very primitive type. In those days the main road to the north and a road from Chester met at Latchford and led to a ford by which the Mersey was crossed at a point opposite the Parish Church and Wash Lane. This ford and a ferry which was subsequently added, served for many centuries as the only means of crossing the Mersey between Liverpool and Manchester, and as the key to Lancashire it was of great importance.

After the departure of the Romans, Warrington fell into the hands of the Saxons who invaded this country in 449 and they named it Werington. Before the Norman Conquest it became the head of a hundred.

Warrington is mentioned in history for the first time in the Domesday Survey of 1086, where it states that Edward the Confessor held Waluntine with three berewicks and one hide of land. St Elphin, the patron saint of the Parish Church, held one carucate of land free of all tax except the gelt which was the amount usually given for the erection of a church. The whole manor with the hundred rendered to the king a farm rent of £15 less 2s, and the population of all the parishes including Warrington, Prescot and Leigh was only 340, .most of whom were dependent on agriculture.

William the Conqueror bestowed the land on one of his followers, Roger of Pictou on the understanding that he should support and defend it. Unable to do this, Roger transferred the manor and hundred on the same terms to Paganus de Villars. First Lord of Warrington, Paganus was the ancestor of the famous Boteler family who figured prominently in the life of the town for four hundred years. To Matthew, the son of Paganus, Henry II ascribed the gift of the Parish Church of St Elphin, then a humble structure of wood, dating probably from the seventh century. According to Beamont the local historian, it continued to be the only place of worship until the middle of the thirteenth century. About that period Sir William Boteler, the seventh Baron, brought to Warrington a body of hermit friars of the order of St Augustine, gave them a small endowment and built them a house on Friars Green. The house was dissolved in 1539 and was sold by the Crown. The buildings subsequently fell into ruin.

The Botelers made a better access to the town by erecting a wooden bridge to take the place of the ferry. In 1322 William le Boteler was enabled by charter to levy tolls towards paving the town and in the time of Henry VIII Leland mentions as a peculiarity of Warrington that it was a paved town and had a better market than Manchester.

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