Pre-History – 1799

Pre-history – 1299

65,000,000 BC Tyrannosaurus Rex walked down Bridge Street (well, he might have done!).

c1000 BC Evidence of a Bronze Age settlement found at Grappenhall.

74 AD The Romans arrived – River Mersey crossed by a ford at Latchford. Manufacture of glass, iron, bronze and pottery at Wilderspool (to about the 4th century).

5th -11th centuries Saxons and Danes followed the Romans.

c642 Saxon Parish Church of St Elphin founded.

642 King Oswald slain at Winwick.

c1070 Warrington Castle built at Mote Hill, behind Parish Church of St Elphin.

1086 Warrington is recorded in the Domesday Book. Other local names include Arpley, Howley, Latchford, Orford, Bewsey and Sankey.

1086 Domesday Book records a church on the site of present day St Mary’s Church by Lymm Dam.

1120 Probable date of first Grappenhall Church. This was St Wilfrid’s and it was built of sandstone which came from a local quarry. The earliest gravestone to be read is of the Drinkwater family of Thelwall dated 1624. 

1150 First Norman Parish Church built in the town by Matthew de Villars, 2nd Lord of Warrington.


1216 Population of Warrington estimated to be 550 people by William Beamont.

1233 William le Boteler, the fifth baron of Warrington, died.

1255 Town given a royal charter to hold a weekly market. See Warrington Market for more. [Listen out on Radio Warrington for the five to one joke!]

c1256 William le Boteler moved to Bewsey Hall.

c1260 Castle on Mote Hill destroyed by fire.

c1260 Warrington Friary Established (Wetherspoon’s pub, The Friar Penketh, now stands on the site).

1285 First bridge over the Mersey at Warrington.

1285 A third Charter of 1285 gives permission for a weekly market on Wednesdays and to extend the July fair by five days.


1310 Tolls introduced by Edward II to repair Warrington Bridge (they were lifted in 1504).

1321 Streets of Warrington are paved – first in the county of Lancashire.

1325 Market Street mentioned.

1352 Ferry crossing of the Mersey near Hollins Green mentioned in a murder trial close to the present day location of Warburton Bridge.

1354 Norman Parish Church pulled down, new one built by William Fitz William le Boteler.

c1357 Hill Cliffe Baptist Chapel established. The exact date isn’t known, but is said to be found on a stone in the burial ground.

1369 2nd bridge over the Mersey at Bridge Foot. A Hermit Friar named Brother John in Registers at Litchfield was licensed to celebrate divine office in the chapel at the foot of this bridge. A son of Sir John le Boteler left 20 marks in his will for the repair of his father’s bridge when he died in 1420.

1386 Scrope and Grosvenor case of arms tried at the Friary. Read more here and here.


1407 Sankey Brook contained fish.

1459 Warrington fought in the War of the Roses.

1465 The Legh Manuscript of life in Warrington is produced.

1465 The following areas of town are listed: Pighill, Cockhedge, White Cross, Slutchers Lane, Newgate Street (later Bridge Street), Sankey Street, Winwick Street, Butter Market and Church Street.

1465 Population 1,341 (191,084 in the 2001 Census).

1465 Sir John Fitzjohn le Boteler murdered at Bewsey.

1495 Warrington Bridge at Bridge Foot rebuilt in stone by the Earl of Derby (3rd bridge on the site).


1526 Warrington Grammar School founded by Sir Thomas le Boteler.

1536 Warrington Friary closed.

1561 Barley Mow pub built on what is now called Old Market Place in Golden Square (the oldest building still standing in the town).

1586 The “Golden Grey” ship sailed from Liverpool with cloth manufactured in Warrington.

1588 Population approximately 2,250.

1597 Boteler estates sold.

1599 Thomas Dallam (from the then-village of Dallam) delivered an organ to the Sultan of Turkey after one was requested from Queen Elizabeth I (she lived from 1533 to 1603).


1617 James I stayed at Bewsey Old Hall. He knighted Thomas Ireland during his visit.

1624 Wilderspool Causeway built.

1632 Black Horse pub, Liverpool Road, built (still standing today).

1641-2 The Civil War – the King’s standard raised at Warrington, due to its river crossing and the road north.

1642-3 Warrington Siege began and ended.

1646 OCT 16 Elias Ashmole made a Freemason at Warrington, in first recorded initiation.

1647 Town Bell given to the town by Col. John Booth. It was erected in the Court House at Golden Square and is now in Holy Trinity church tower.

1648 Town captured by the Parliamentarians.

1648 AUG 20 Oliver Cromwell slept in the town. He stayed at The Spotted Leopard (later General Wolfe) pub on Church Street, next to the current Cottage restaurant.

1648 Pin making industry established in the town (Pinners Brow and Pinners Brow Retail Park commemorate the industry).

1649 JUN 10 Richard Warburton married Ann Domvill at Lymm.

1651 Battle of Warrington Bridge.

1653 William Booth appointed as Postmaster of Warrington.

1656 Plague house built at Latchford (it was called this after the outbreak of plague when it affected the residents). It has now been demolished.

1657 The Earl of Derby passes through the town on his way to his execution.

1660 First mention of Royal Oak pub in Bridge Street.

1665 Plague in Warrington.

1665 Blue Coat School founded.

1675 Quaker George Fox visited Warrington.

1680 Bricks first used for building of houses in the town.

1690 Henry Booth, Lord Delamere, became the first Earl of Warrington.

1694 Thomas Patten made Mersey navigable from Bank Quay to Runcorn.

1695 Warrington’s first glass works opened at Bank Quay.


1700-1761 Horse racing at Latchford.

1702 Cairo Street Chapel built.

1709 The current Holy Trinity Church founded.

1711 Warrington Blue Coat School founded in house behind Holy Trinity church.

1717 The Patten family opened a copper smelting works at Bank Quay.

1717 40th Regiment South Lancashire Regiment raised.

1717 Sugar refining at Bewsey Street, Warrington.

1720 The Society of Friends chapel built in Buttermarket Street.

1724 A series of weirs built on the Mersey at Latchford.

1727-29 A workhouse was established on Church Street.

1734 William Eyres, printer, founder of Eyre’s Press, born in Warrington.

1740s The Saracen’s Head brewery established at Wilderspool.

1745 The Liverpool Volunteer Cavalry defended Warrington Bridge against Charles Edward Stewart, the Young Pretender.

1750 Thomas Patten built the Georgian style mansion, Bank Hall – later to be become the Town Hall.

1750 APR 2 An earthquake hits Warrington.

1755 Work starts on the cutting of the Sankey Canal (opened 1757).

1755 APR 14 Preacher John Wesley first visited Warrington. He re-visited on various occasions until 1790.

1756 Peter Stubs, file and toolmaker, born.

1756 Eyre’s Weekly Journal (also called the Warrington Advertiser) first published – first newspaper in Warrington and Lancashire.

1757 Warrington Flying Stage Coach established from London to Warrington’s Red Lion pub on Bridge Street. The journey took three days.

1757 OCT 23 Warrington Academy established.

1757 Road between Warrington and Prescot completed.

1757 Sankey Canal opened. It was the first canal cut in England during the Industrial Revolution.

1759 SEP Sir Thomas Boteler died.

1760 Circulating Library established, forerunner of the Public Library in 1848.

1761 Howley Quay built.

c1761 Mersey Flour Mills established.

1765 Manorial Rights of Warrington purchased by John Blackburne. The modern Blackburne Arms pub near Orford Park is named after him.

1767 The River Mersey floods at Warrington.

1769 MAR 10 Joseph Williamson, known as the Mole of Liverpool, born in poverty in Warrington.

1770 Bridgewater Canal opened through south Warrington.

1772 Population 7,000.

1772 Basket making carried out at the Twiggery located near Farrell Street.

1773 OCT 2 Packet Boats started a service from Castlefield, Manchester to Warrington via the Bridgewater Canal.

1773 Manchester, Warrington and Liverpool stagecoach began to run three times a week.

1777 St James’ Chapel, Latchford’s first public place of worship, founded.

1777 SEP 14 Earthquake in Warrington.

1777 John Howard (1729-90), prison reformer, visited the Bridewell (Warrington’s former town centre prison) and lodged at a now-demolished silversmith’s shop in Bridge Street, Warrington while he wrote his book. This site is now occupied by the Howard Buildings, a former location of Boots the Chemist, and now Warrington Market.

1779 First Sunday School in the county at St James’ Chapel.

1780 Sankey Wire Mills founded.

1780 Peter Stubs file and tool business started.

1781 Tanning industry started by Matthew Knowles.

1782 Blue Coat School opened on Winwick Street.

1782 Parr’s Bank established by Messrs. Parr, Lyon and Kerfoot. The modern-day NatWest branch on Winwick Street is housed in the old bank building.

1786 Greenall Whitley brewery established at Wilderspool (business set up in 1762 in St Helens). They take over the Saracen’s Head brewery established in the 1740s.

1786 JUN 29 Warrington Academy is dissolved and moved to Manchester College, Oxford.

1787 First steam engine installed in a Warrington factory, Peel’s cotton mill in Latchford.

1787 Edelsten & Son Mersey Pin Works established.

1790 MAY 7 Preacher John Wesley visited the town for the final time.

1791 DEC 6 Fire at Bridge Factory.

1792 JUL 16 A sudden and violent hailstorm ruined local fruit and garden produce. I wondered why supermarket prices went up that week!

1796 Friars Green Methodist Church founded.

1796 NOV 5 The tide reaches Warrington. The Mersey was 4 feet above normal high tide.

1797 J & F Bolton’s Pottery started at Bank Quay (closed 1812).

1798 Loyal Volunteers (“Bluebacks”) raised. Disbanded 1801.

1798 JAN 27 Fire at Mersey Mills.

1799 Nathaniel Greening’s Wire Works established on Bridge Street, later moving into his Britannia Works on Bewsey Road in 1843. The company closed down in December 1980.