A Family History...
Let me begin by setting up some historical background. As many of the Warners know our lineage finds its way back to Great Britian and Germany. If one was to research our actual name (see name, crest, Motto page) you would find that the name Warner is of Anglo-Saxon origin.
The first historical mention of the region is from the Massaliote Periplus, a sailing manual for merchants thought to date to the sixth century BC, although cultural and trade links with the continent had existed for millennia prior to this. Pytheas of Massilia wrote of his trading journey to the island around 325 BC. Later writers such as Pliny (quoting Timaeus) and Diodorus Siculus (probably drawing on Poseidonius) mention the tin trade from southern England but there is little further historical detail of the people who lived there. Tacitus wrote that there was no great difference in language between the people of southern England and northern Gaul and noted that the various tribes of Britons shared physical characteristics with their continental neighbours.
Julius Caesar visited southern England in 55 and 54 BC and wrote in De Bello Gallico that the population of southern England was extremely large and shared much in common with the other Iron Age tribes on the continent. Coin evidence and the work of later Roman historians has provided the names of some of the rulers of the disparate tribes and their machinations in what was to become England.
There are surprisingly few historical sources for Roman England, we have only one sentence describing the reasons for the construction of Hadrian's Wall for example. The Claudian invasion itself is well-attested and Tacitus included the uprising of Boudicca, or "Boadicea," in 61 in his history. Following the end of the first century however, Roman historians only mention tantalising fragments of information from the distant province. The Roman presence strengthened and weakened over the centuries, but by the 5th century Roman influence had declined to such a point that the peoples who were to become the English were emerging.
In the wake of the Romans, who had abandoned the south of the island by 410 in order to concentrate on more pressing difficulties closer to home, what is now England was progressively settled by successive, and often complementary waves of Germanic tribesmen. Among them were the (more commonly mentioned) Angles, Saxons and Jutes together with undoubtedly large numbers of Frisians and Ripuarian Franks who had been partly displaced on mainland Europe. Increasingly the Romano-British population was assimilated, a process enabled due to a lack of clear unity by the native inhabitants against a unified armed foe, and the culture pushed westwards and northwards. The settlement of England (alternately, the invasion of England) is known as the Saxon Conquest or the Anglo-Saxon (sometimes "English").
In the decisive Battle of Deorham, in 577, the native people of Southern Britain were separated into the West Welsh (Cornwall and Devon) and the Welsh by the advancing Saxons.
Beginning with the raid in 793 on the monastery at Lindisfarne, Vikings made many raids on England.
The Saxons founded a settlement beside the River Sheaf, which was called Scafield or Escafeld (later to become Sheffield in South Yorkshire) and it was at Dore (now a suburb of the modern city) that Egbert of Wessex received the submission of Eanred of Northumbria in 829 and so became the first Saxon overlord of all England.
Having started with plundering raids, the Vikings later began to settle in England and trade, eventually ruling the Danelaw from the late 9th century. There are many traces of Vikings in England today, for instance many words in the English language; the similarity of Old English and Old Norse led to much borrowing. One Viking settlement was in York (which they called Jorvik).
England during the Middle-Ages...
The defeat of King Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 at the hands of William of Normandy, later styled William I of England and the subsequent Norman takeover of Saxon England led to a sea-change in the history of the small, isolated, island state. William ordered the compilation of the Domesday Book, a survey of the entire population and their lands and property for tax purposes.
The English Middle Ages were to be characterised by civil war, international war, occasional insurrection, and widespread political intrigue amongst the aristocratic and monarchic elite.
Henry I, also known as "Henry Beauclerc" (on account of his education), worked hard to reform and stabilise the country and smooth the differences between the Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman societies. The loss of his son, William, in the wreck of the White Ship in November 1120, was to undermine his reforms. This problem regarding succession was to cast a long shadow over English history.
During the disastrous and incompetent reign of Stephen (1135 - 1154), there was a major swing in the balance of power towards the feudal barons, as civil war and lawlessness broke out. In trying to appease Scottish and Welsh raiders, he handed over large tracts of land. His conflicts with his cousin Matilda (also known as Empress Maud), whom he had earlier promised recognition as heir, were his undoing: she bided her time in France and, in the autumn of 1139, invaded (with her husband, Geoffrey of Anjou and her half-brother, Robert of Gloucester).
Stephen was captured and his government fell. Matilda was proclaimed queen but was soon at odds with her subjects and was expelled from London. The period of insurrection and civil war that followed continued until 1148, when Matilda returned to France. Stephen effectively reigned unopposed until his death in 1154, a year after reaching an accommodation with Henry of Anjou, (who became Henry II) in which peace between them was guaranteed on the condition that the throne would be his by succession.
The reign of Henry II represents a reversion in power back from the barony to the monarchical state; it was also to see a similar redistribution of legislative power from the Church, again to the monarchical state. This period also presaged a properly constituted legislation and a radical shift away from feudalism.
The Black Death, an epidemic of bubonic plague that spread over the whole of Europe, arrived in England in 1349 and killed perhaps up to a third of the population. International excursions were invariably against domestic neighbours: the Welsh, Irish, Cornish, Scots and the French, with the principal notable battles being the Battle of Crécy and the Battle of Agincourt. In addition to this, the final defeat of the uprising led by the Welsh prince, Owen Glendower, in 1412 by Prince Henry (later to become Henry V) represents the last major armed attempt by the Welsh to throw off English rule.
Edward III gave land to powerful noble families, including many people with Royal blood in their veins. Because land was equivalent to power in these days, this meant that these powerful men could now try to make good their claim to the Crown. The autocratic and arrogant methods of Richard II only served to alienate the nobility more, and his forceful dispossession in 1399 by Henry IV lay the seeds for what was to come. In the reign of Henry VI, which began in 1422, things came to a head because of his personal weaknesses and mental instability. Unable to control the feuding nobles, he allowed outright civil war to break out. The conflicts are known as the Wars of the Roses and although the fighting was very sporadic and small, there was a general breakdown in the authority and power of the Crown. Edward IV went a little way to restoring this power but the spadework was generally done by Henry VII.
The Wars of the Roses culminated in the eventual victory of the relatively unknown Henry Tudor, Henry VII, at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, where the Yorkist Richard III was slain, and the succession of the Lancastrian House was ultimately assured. Whilst in retrospect it is easy for us to say that the Wars of the Roses were now over, Henry VII could afford no such complacency. Before the end of his reign, two pretenders would try to wrest the throne from him, aided by remnants of the Yorkist faction at home and abroad. The first, Lambert Simnel, was defeated at the Battle of Stoke (the last time an English King fought someone claiming the Crown) and the second, Perkin Warbeck, was hanged in 1499 after plaguing the King for a decade.
In 1497, Michael An Gof led Cornish rebels in a march on London. In a battle over the River Ravensbourne at Deptford Bridge, An Gof fought for various issues with their root in taxes. On June 17, 1497 they were defeated, and Henry VII had showed he could display military prowess when he needed to. But, like Charles I in the future, here was a King with no wish to go "on his travels" again. The rest of his reign was relatively peaceful, despite a slight worry over the succession when his wife Elizabeth of York died in 1503.
King Henry VIII split with the Roman Catholic Church over a question of his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Though his religious position was not at all Protestant, the resultant schism ultimately led to England distancing itself almost entirely from Rome. A notable casualty of the schism was Henry's chancellor, Sir Thomas More. There followed a period of great religious and political upheaval, which led to the Reformation, the royal expropriation of the monasteries and much of the wealth of the church. The Dissolution of the Monasteries had the effect of giving many of the lower classes (the gentry) a vested interest in the Reformation continuing, for to halt it would be to revive Monasticism and restore lands which were gifted to them during the Dissolution.
It is during this time that we find evidence of a Sir Edward Warner. Sir Edward held the position of Lieutenant of the Tower (Tower of London) during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
Religious Conflict ...
A number of assassination attempts were made on the Protestant King James I, notably the Main Plot and Bye Plots of 1603, and most famously, on 5th November 1605, the Gunpowder Plot, by a group of Catholic conspirators, led by Guy Fawkes, which was stoked up and served as further fuel for antipathy in England to the Catholic faith. It is during this time, 1637, that our direct ancestor William Warner came to teh New World looking for freedom for his two sons and daughter. There are many Warners listed in England's rich history, from John Warner Sheriff of Notingham to Sir Edward Warner who was the Lieutenant of the Tower (London Tower) during the