Warburtons - A Random Selection




      In perusing the mass of information collated over the years one has been very conscious of the danger of discarding any items as valueless, or sacrificing any matter for the sake of continuity or literary finish.

      It was decided that all information, irrespective of its genealogical links, would be placed before the reader to enable a picture to be formed of life in bygone Warburton and incidents in the lives of Warburtons, which perhaps, have never been revealed before now.

      From a practical approach, it has been necessary to condense certain matter (the Wills in particular) for practical reasons, but trust it has in no way reduced its interest.

      This chapter, therefore, is more in the nature of a miscellany of interesting facts and incidents.


      The Cheshire Salt industry has an extensive history of its own and contributed in no small measure to the prosperous rise of Liverpool. Salt was discovered on the periphery of Warburton many years ago, and brine is still pumped at Heatley Heath. The Saltmen of Cheshire enjoyed a natural monopoly and many bought shares in the ownership of Flatts or barges to carry salt for proprietors to Liverpool via the Weaver and Mersey. The following Certificate presented at Northwich on 13th January, 1736, is a record of a cargo which showed no profit for the owner, Mary Warburton:

.....Thomas Dale of Witton, gent, Ralph Walker, master of the Fflat or vessel called the Lyon and John Warburton another mariner on the said vessel appearing this day made proof upon oath that Dale, as agent for Mary Warburton, widow, George Venables Vernon Esq., and Jonadab Vernon, gent. on 26 November last, shipped 1120 bushels of Rock salt...to be carried down to Liverpool...The barge or Fflatt was holed at Acton Bridge by striking a stake or stone and was then and there covered with water, entirely sunk and all the rock salt perished.

      The records of the Chancery Court has always been a source of information for the historian. Its great volumes contain the aspirations, hopes and tragedies of many, and during the searching of these pages, the following extracts were made concerning Warburtons of whom it must be said may not necessarily be related in any direct sense.


      In the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603) a George Warburton, of Langeworth, Berks, pleaded with others to be released as surety for £360 for Thomas Leake who borrowed the sum from one Robert Loader towards the liquidation of his debts. It is not difficult to appreciate the importance of unresolved debts to the individual since it meant freedom or death.


      In 1598 John Stanlowe, of Lincoln, sued William Warburton and others for payment "...about five years ago he sold to Wm. Chubbs, butcher, one mare, a cow and calf...and William Warburton and Joan, widow of Chubbs have now conspired together to avoid payment".


      On 4th May, 1646, Thomas Warburton, of Over Tabley, Cheshire, with others, sued George Witherby, of Whiston, Lancs, for the recovery of the title deeds of an estate at Horsenett, near Whiston, upon which Witherby, by his father and grandfather, had resided for many years.

      It appears that following grandfather George's death, the property went to Isabell, his sister and heiress. By her marriage to Thomas Grace, she had three daughters, Margaret, Jane and Clois, all of whom married.

      Following the death of their parents, they inherited part of the estate. Jane had married Peter Warburton and their children, Thomas, Susan and Richard, would have continued the inheritance, had not a Peter Witherby arrived on the scene. He was a bastard reputed to be the son of grandfather George. In true novel style, he assailed the manor house, and took forceful possession not only of the property, but also the deeds and all relevant evidence, and ejected Thomas.

      He married and had one son, George, who was now faced with ejection.


      John Warburton, of London, found himself in financial difficulties which brought him before "the Noble Court of Common Pleas". It is recorded on 30th January, 1663, that several years previous at the request of and for the debt of Sir Richard Grosvenor, Bart., John and he had entered into a bond with a Thomas Greenfill, an ironmonger, of London, in an obligation of £200 for payment of £100 with interest at a date long since expired.

      This bond was for several years extended at the request of the presumably impoverished Sir Richard. Realising there was little chance of recovering his money, Greenfill had Warburton arrested and put on bail to the court. To stay any further charge under the suit, and avoid embarrassment, Sir Richard paid Greenfill £50 in cash, and in addition, a Thomas Brookes, gent, no doubt a friend of his, agreed to a payment of about £500, the bond for which was taken in trust for Sir Richard by Greenfill for further security and to be kept by him. This was accepted, and Greenfill agreed to take no further action.

      However, he went back upon his word. His attorney, Richard Roper, now being dead, could not be called to give evidence of the agreement and his wife Sarah, did not recognise the arrangement. Warburton begged the court, therefore, to subpoena Greenfill and Sarah Roper to abide by the trust. Whether or not his case was successful is not known, but a debtors prison was a very grim place.


      About 1640 Jeffrey Warburton, of Essex died. He bequeathed in his will the greater part of his large personal estate to his brother Thomas, of Cawley, Chester, who with John Allen the Overseer was made an executor. Jeffrey had married Margaret Reddish, whose niece was an old family retainer and in such a position of trust had charge of the keys of his ready money and valuables. The Overseer, contrary to his trust as executor, gave a copy of the will to her which served no other purpose than to make her grossly dissatisfied with Jeffrey's provision and to tempt her to make it worthwhile; which she evidently did, for Thomas, realizing his loss, brought the matter before the court. He accused her, Thomas Rogers and a Judith Smith of robbing him as a beneficiary under his brother's will.


      William Warburton, the second son of Peter, of Hefferston Grange, was born in 1592 and settled at Shelton during the Civil War, 20 years after the death of his uncle, William of Shelton.

      During this turbulent period, when in 1645 the tide of victory was sweeping in the Parliamentary forces, sacking churches and hunting Royalists, and with Charles's head already destined for the block, William sought refuge in Shelton, Nottingham, where he remained for two years. There he lived with his former servant Thomas Birtles.

      He was most anxious to get into Newark, then under siege by Parliamentarian troops. Birtles, who frequented the town regularly, became associated with a dubious character named William Reason who was untroubled by morals or conscience when it came to earning money. Between them they connived with some soldiers of Colonel Staunton's Regiment (and who pretended to serve under Francis Thorney, late Colonel of the Regiment) to smuggle Warburton through the Army lines. This was successfully done but Warburton had little cause to thank his guides, for no sooner had they brought him to his destination, than they blackmailed him for their silence.

      Completely in their power, large sums of money were extracted from him. Not content with this and possibly because of his resistance, he was subjected to many humiliations which culminated in deliberately exposing him to the Plague, which was then raging in the town. Whilst weak and seriously ill, they dragged him from his bed and carried him, half dead, to Reason's house, where the latter's servant Alice Davyes "was set to rob him".

      The outcome of this atrocity is not clear, but evidently the virulence of the Plague was not sufficiently strong enough to kill him for he lived on for eight years and filed the suit against Birtles on 12th June, 1649.

      On his deathbed, 23rd May, 1653, he made a nuncupative will to which, strange to say, Alice Davys was a witness. Alice may have recanted her intention to rob him and had in fact become his servant.

      The will was proved in London on 29th December 1655, but confusion over the adminstration clouded the issue. In the Nottinghamshire Act Book, under 10th October 1662, the record shows that Administration of the "...Goods of Richard (sic.William) Warburton of Shelton, Co., Notts., deceased intestate (sic. but with will annexed and goods unadministered) granted to William Warburton's son and Richard Warburton's son".

      There was no Richard Warburton of Shelton to whom this grant could relate, only William who died 1653 (9 years previously).

      It is extraordinary that not only the Christian name is wrongly entered, but the statement that he died intestate!

      It was not until 1st December 1669, fourteen years from the time his will was proved, that his widow was granted the administration.


      The following is an interesting note on Richard Warburton, third son of Peter, of Hefferston Grange (2nd son of Sir Piers Warburton, of Arley).

      Richard was knighted at Newark Castle on 22nd April, 1603. He was a Naval officer and pensioner to Queen Elizabeth, by whose intervention he was appointed Captain of the "Brill" by Sir Francis Vere.

      He was knighted by James I, having recently married Anne Vavasour, maid of honour to the Queen. Anne was probably the daughter of Sir Thomas Vavasour, who had served with the Earl of Leicester in the Flemish expedition of 1586 and was received at court on his return. He was among those who raised forces and vessels against the Armada. Among the State papers (temp. Elizabeth) is a letter explaining why he (Richard) had suddenly returned from a voyage owing to trouble with the master of the vessel, as explained to the Lord Admiral.

      A letter of 6th December, 1602, from John Chamberlain to Dudley Carelton has a postscript which reads as follows: "...I have kept the letter open a day or two as the post lingered. The bullet is cut out from under the bone of Sir Francis Vere's eye and he is perfectly cured. The Queen's letters have wrung from him a Captain's place in the "Brill" for Warburton the Pensioner".


      It is possible, though uncertain at the moment, that his father was William Warburton of Shelton, referred to earlier. His father, after distinguishing himself as a Royalist in the Civil Wars of the 17th Century, married Frances, daughter of Robert Awfield, of Etson in Notts, settled at Shelton and became Coroner of the County. His second son, George, who became Town Clerk of Newark, was the father of William, the future Bishop. William was born at Newark on 24th December, 1698, Christmas Eve, and tutored at Oakham Grammar School until 1714 under his cousin, who was also the father of Thomas Warburton, Archdeacon of Norfolk.

      He was articled as an attorney in 1714 but apart from this there is no concrete information until his ordination as a Deacon in York Cathedral 1723, Priest in 1727 to Greaseley, Nottinghamshire, Dean of Bristol in 1757 and Bishop of Gloucester in 1760. He died on 7th June, 1779, at the Palace in Gloucester and was buried near the west door of the Cathedral, four years after the death of his only son at the age of 19.

      Although his merit is controversial, he was a preacher and writer of some power, and the records of his friendship with Pope and other writers as well as political contemporaries make interesting reading.


      Among the many abstracts of wills, administrations and documents made from the records of the consistory court at Chester, is the following example of just "how many jackdaws can sit on a tree".

      Thomas Warburton, a bachelor, of Lymm and Warburton, died on 15th December, 1817, at his brother's farm, where he had come to reside for the few remaining years of his life. His will was proved on 4th January 1818, by a James Taylor and Peter Warburton, his nephew, as executors. Peter's brother Richard, next of kin, was appointed by the court as administrator.

      Allegation ex parte James Taylor, executor - Exhibited 2nd July 1818.

(1) The said Thomas Warburton died 15th December last past, a bachelor; leaving Mary Hollinworth, widow, his natural and lawful sister and also Richard Warburton, Peter Warburton, James Warburton. Hannah Plant, Mary Holt, John Taylor, James Taylor (the plaintiff) Mary Kitchen, Peter Gerrard, Thomas Gerrard, Betty Shaw, Hannah Gerrard, Alice Hayes, Christians Irlam, Ann Gerrard, Margaret Yates, Joshua Coupe, Alice Starkey, Ann Coupe, Hannah Shalcross, Ellen Gorse, and Maria Coupe his lawful nephews and nieces who together with the said Mary Hollinworth are the only persons entitled to a distribution of his personal estate in case he died intestate. (2) At the time of his death he was possessed of real estate of £600 value and £2000 personally. He was 75, weak and infirmed in body and mind. During the last 15 years he lived at Little Heatley to a Moiety of which he was entitled, but several years previously (he lived) with his brother Richard who died in his lifetime. (3) When living with his brother, in January 1798, he had a mind to make his will and did request his nephew Peter Warburton who happened to be in his father's barn near to his father's house, to come into the house and help him make a will. Peter found his uncle writing in a copy book, that deceased had then written the first two lines and requested his said nephew to write the names of the several legatees and Peter Warburton and James Taylor as executors. (4) Five days after the funeral Peter Warburton opened the chest with key in deceased breeches pocket and found gold coins and papers including the Copy book. He replaced the contents but next day re-opened the chest and read the will to Peter Warburton brother of Richard Warburton: January the fortis 1798. This his my last will and testament Peter Warburton, James Warburton and Martha Dyer, John Taylor, James Taylor and Mary Cichen. The above names are to have share of the property all equal Peter Warburton to have messuage at Litel Hetly during his life and then they share alike. Thomas Warburton to letter of this Will stand fearm and fast. Execitors Peter Warburton James Taylor. 1818 Oct.29. Sentence read and promulgated between James Taylor executor and Richard Warburton administrators. Thomas Maudsley, surrogate. Probate issued 2nd November 1818.


      In the reign of George III the reports and evidence given before Select Committees make reference to a Thomas Warburton, and although of no known relationship, is worthy of recording.

      During the 18th century Parliament had become seriously concerned over the conditions and treatment of lunatics purported to prevail in asylums. Public indignation, wafted into flame by reports made by escaped inmates, had stirred the Government into action. In 1774 commissioners were appointed to grant licences and to pay annual visits to each house or asylum so licenced in order to ensure that the standard of living and care was at least commensurate with the committee's requirements. But, laudable as the intention may have been, it was not carried into full effect. In 1807 and 1815 adverse reports were made by Select Committees of the House of Commons and into the picture of public enquiry came Thomas Warburton. Born in the 18th century he was a much respected and influential man of property. He owned four houses for the insane in the Metropolitan area of London - Talbot's, The White House and Rhodes, all at Bethnal Green, and Whitmore House at Hackney. Paupers and private patients were sent under licence to these houses by the local authorities from Marylebone, St. George Hanover Square and St. Pancras. As many as 300 patients were in the White House in 1815 and, costed at 9/- a week, each afforded a lucrative income for Warburton in addition to his other institutions.

      Warburton was related by marriage to the senior surgeon of St. Luke's hospital, Mr. Dunstan, whose son had married Warburton's daughter. The younger Dunstan was appointed visiting surgeon to the three Bethnal Green houses, where in the year 1810-11 over 100 patients died of typhus.

At the inquiry set up by the Select Committee in 1816 and at which Warburton was called to give evidence, he escaped censure, but in 1827 he again came under severe scrutiny and questioning. The evidence and interrogations before the Committee make very grim reading indeed. He was suave and evasive, but there was no concealing the harsh and scandalous treatment to which his patients were subjected, nor the cruel and mercenary character concealed by the handsome genteel appearance. Even if he did not physically take active part in the neglect and brutality afforded the creatures, he was equally guilty for his condonation and total disregard for their welfare or, indeed, their very lives. Equally involved was his son John, who held medical degrees, and was a visiting physician. No criminal proceedings were taken against Thomas Warburton; indeed the Committee were not empowered to do so - that was a matter for the courts - but his asylum was thereafter placed under the control by them, under the new Act, and he was, in danger of losing his licence, forced to upgrade the conditions. His son-in-law, together with the staff at the White House were discredited, but although shunned by society, he lived on to old age, and was able to pass a profitable business on to his son, Dr John Warburton, who died in 1850. The White House continued under its modified and improved condition, until as late as 1921 when the few remaining inmates were transferred to Salisbury. The premises had been sold by the trustees to the local authorities of Bethnal Green. The Red House, a three storey 18th century mansion in which Warburton lived, and which at one time had formed part of the nefarious White House was pulled down. The sole beneficiary, fortunately or unfortunately, was never able to realise nor use the fortune which had fallen into his hands, for he was a certified lunatic named Thomas Frederick Warburton! JOHN WARBURTON, STAND, NR.MANCHESTER John Warburton was born at Stand, near Manchester, in October, 1776. His parents were poor and lived in humble circumstances and, in consequence, John's education was very scanty. Of his father, little is known except that he was a member of the established Church and very hard working - a lot common to most of the poorer class in the 18th century. Their misery and hardships were very apparent and it was not surprising that many sought escape in abandoning the higher moral codes and principles which influenced the lives of the more affluent, who could afford to bear them. John was no exception to this environment. His mother, perhaps, had the greater influence over his life, and unconsciously directed his path, albeit a hard one, to the Baptist ministry. At the age of 16 he was already a gambler, and habitué of the alehouses. His conversion to the religious life came in the early years of his marriage and following a visit to Bolton. He walked there out of curiosity to hear the organ which had been installed in a newly built church and to "enjoy myself by spending a few shillings that I had at the various public houses on my way home". The passionate religious zeal which possessed him soon earned for him the dangerous tag of "Antimonian" and it was not long before he was being victimised by his associates and publicly abused by his neighbours. But this adversity served only to stimulate him to greater efforts. By occupation, he was a "house" weaver and this livelihood was very precarious, demanding most of his waking hours if he intended to feed his growing family. He received no payment until the completion of his piece and its delivery to his master. The following extract from his memoirs Mercies of a Covenant God illustrate in some measure the hardships he, his family and many others of the same social stratum endured in that industrial period of history: .....My landlord insisted on my quitting the house and going into the ground cellar, where I kept my loom and used to weave, as he wanted the apartment in which we lived for himself. As I owed some money for rent I complied; but my wife having been so lately confined, was so much affected by the dampness of the place and indeed, it was a sad place to sleep in, that she, for a time nearly lost the use of her hands for she was taken with cramp in her hands and fingers so that she could but seldom either dress or undress herself or child. Work was now very bad and provisions immensely dear. Flour being five pence or six pence a pound. It was what we called 'barley times' for there was scarcely anything for the poor except barley ....We had three small childrens and had lost one about six months before. In the hope of getting my piece out, if it were possible by Saturday, I worked very hard; but this hard work and the want of nourishment, our food being principally barley, so exhausted me that I was obliged, through weakness to leave off on Friday and the very time we had not one morsal of food remaining...for husband wife or child; the wife too with an infant at her breast ... Timely intervention of some friends, impressed by his religious fervour and faith, relieved their dismal plight but it was soon followed by further demands from his landlord to vacate the cellar and to pay his debts or be faced with the bailiff, eviction and the workhouse or prison. Their situation was aggravated by the further pregnancy of his wife "....my wife, who was a fruitful creature (much too fruitful, many thought for the times and our situation) was again in the family way..." Again his friends came to his aid (as they seem to have done on so many occasions throughout his life) and cleared his debts. So, John Warburton continued to live on the charity of his friends. Eventually he entered the Baptist ministry and supplied at various towns, including a chapel in Matthew Street, Liverpool. But it was at Bury where he began to preach regularly, although he and his family still faced poverty and adversity. Whatever opinions may be formed of John Warburton's attitude towards life, there is no question or doubt about his staunch belief and determination to dedicate his life to religious service. He received his first salary of 25/- per week at Rochdale, where a new chapel was built and where, incidentally, a further child was born. Eventually, he settled with his large family (eight were still living) at Trowbridge. He died in February 1857, a respected and highly esteemed minister of the Baptist Church.


Sir Peter Warburton of Arley, fifth baronet, was the only son and successor to his father, Peter, who married Lady Elizabeth Stanley. He was born on 27th October, 1754, and at the age of 17 had matriculated at Oxford. He married Alice, daughter of the Rev. John Parker, of Astle, Cheshire, but had no children, and his death in 1813 marked the end of the male descent and the expiration of the baronetcy. He was buried at Great Budworth Church and his widow later, in 1837, at the age of 75. The manor and estates of Warburton and Arley passed to his great-nephew, Rowland Eyles Egerton-Warburton, son of the Rev. Rowland Egerton and Emma Croxton, whose mother was the youngest sister and co-heiress of Sir Peter Warburton. She married James Croxton, of Norley Bank, Cheshire. Croston, the historian, records that Rowland Eyles Egerton "on succeeding to the estate assumed the additional surname of Warburton by Royal licence". Burke, on the other hand, states that the additional surname was assumed by his father on marriage to Emma Croxton.


Rowland Eyles Egerton-Warburton was born at Arley Hall on 14th September, 1804. He was brother to James Francis Egerton-Warburton, father of Katerine Anne (who later became known as Sister Kate) and Geoffrey, who took Holy Orders. A man of resolution and foresight equal to his big stature, Rowland was a keen sportsman, endowed with a good sense of humour. He was well known for his prowess in the hunting field and popularly referred to as "Rowley" the steeplechase rider and well fitted the Victorian concept of a country squire. He took a practical interest in the welfare of his tenants on the family estate at Ashton, Warburton and Great Budworth, and sought to develop them into ideal homes and farms. The houses he built were of red brick purposely as an artistic contrast with the surrounding green foliage. He inaugurated the Arley Wakes and May Day festivities and brought together landlord and servant - a very venturesome project in the Victorian era. But if he were admired for his practical abilities, he was equally respected for his culture. He possessed a magnificent library from which emanated his famous couplets, many of which are to be found on the signposts round and about Arley Hall, and the volume of hunting songs which were acclaimed in the world of field sport. He became known as the blind poet of Cheshire. As a young man, he became greatly interested in the Tractarian movement and was one of the first members of the English Church Union. The present Arley Hall was built in 1840 at his instigation by a local architect named Lathom, of Northwich. Three houses have been erected on site, but the only survival of earlier buildings are the 17th century stables, a timber "Cruck" barn of greater age and very similar to that which once served the Bent Farm at Warburton, and the oak doorway which is now in the school (previously a tithe barn) at Arley Green. It has been said that the new Hall encased the remains of the old, destroyed by fire, but Egerton-Warburton, after studying Crewe Hall, which had in the 18th century been encased in masonry, decided to rebuild. In 1831 he moved temporarily to Norley, and the work of demolition and rebuilding commenced using timber and brick grown and made on the Arley estate. Annexed to the Hall, he had built a family chapel (dedicated September, 1845) where the whole household assembled daily for Choral Matins by a surpliced choir. It is recorded that he never missed his worship. Even hunting mornings "...he always appeared in scarlet and buckskins. On into his old age, so long as he was able to get about, in spite of blindness which overtook him during the last twenty years of his life, it was touching to see him kneeling still as he had done for past years..." so wrote Katherine in her memoirs. When he became infirm, he was carried downstairs and wheeled into the chapel. In 1885 he built on similar lines to that at Arley, a new church at Warburton and bore the total cost of £9,000 himself. Over the fireplace in the gallery of Arley Hall inscribed under his direction, are the words "Hope confidently, do valiantly, wait patiently" and this motto seems to hold the essence of his character. Blindness is a tragic affliction and to one so active, so interested in all that life held about him, it must have been a great blow. It would be impossible to assess the mental hardship he suffered throughout the many years of darkness he endured, yet he bore this forced inactivity without bitterness and "waited patiently" until his death in 1891.


Katherine Anne Egerton-Warburton was born at the Rectory, Warburton, on the 24th March, 1840, where her father, the Rev. James Francis Egerton-Warburton, held the living from 1832 until 1850. With her brother Geoffrey (who later became Rector of Warburton in 1872) she lived a happy, almost carefree life in the quiet rural surroundings. Her father stimulated his children's interest in their surroundings not only by precept, but by encouraging them to commit to illustrations the happenings of their day. This became a routine, "anything and everything that happened was drawn or sketched, and many dark winter evenings were happily engaged in this way..." Geoffrey, in later life, made several drawings in water colours of the interior of the Rectory, and these are now the treasured possessions of Mrs. W. Daniels, of Heatley, whose mother was housekeeper to the Rector for many years. Katherine's father being a Tractarian, it was natural that she and her brothers should be taught entirely on High Church dogma. He entered the Oxford Movement with enthusiasm and was considered an extremist. He preached in a surplice and used Gauntlett's Psalter, which in those days, created a storm of protests. He also used the Metrical version of the Psalms. His death (according to Katherine's memoirs) "...when I was nine years old, sent us away into the ordinary dreariness of Church matters of the day. We sat, under the dullest of sermons, enforced by pointings from a lavender gloved finger...in a square green baize-lined pew". At the age of seventeen, the pattern of her life was dramatically changed. During a visit to her relatives at Arley Hall, her religious interest was fired into flame by accounts of mission work which was taking place in the dock areas of London by a young priest named Henry Collins. He later joined the Roman Communion and became a Cistercian Monk. The impression made upon her by this pioneer work of Christian social service seemed to have been a key which opened the door to her vocation. On the silent waters of the lake at Arley, surrounded by rushes, she realised she could never remain content again whilst there was a need for mission work among the destitute and oppressed. In August 1858, she went to St. Margaret's Convent, East Grinstead, and was received as a novice. Later the same year, she was sent with two or three other Sisters to work in Soho. Returning in 1861, she took her life vows on 25th March, the day following her 21st birthday. Five years later (1866) the Rev. John Neale (the founder of the society) founded a House of St. Margaret in Haggerton, to which Sister Kate, as she was now known, was directed. In 1868 she was elected Mother of St. Saviour's Priory. The story of her many years of devotion and self-sacrifice among the squalid slums of London, her unfailing belief and faith in the ultimate goodness of God, is made clear in her memoirs Memories of a sister of St. Saviour's Priory and Old Soho Days. After sixty-five years in the service of God, Sister Kate died on the 18th October 1923, at the age of 83. She was buried in a plot reserved for the Sisters in the City of London Cemetery, Ilford.


EXTRACT FROM "THE LONDON GAZETTE" DATED 7 JUNE 1940 Admiralty, Whitehall 7th June 1940 The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the grant of the VICTORIA CROSS to the late Captain Bernard Armitage Warburton, Warburton-Lee, Royal Navy, Captain (D), 2nd Destroyer Flotilla, HMS HARDY, for gallantry, enterprise and daring in command of the Force engaged in the first Battle of Narvik, on 10th April 1940. On being ordered to carry out an attack on Narvik, he learned from Tranoy that the enemy held the place in much greater force than had been thought. He signalled to the Admiralty that the enemy were reported to be holding Narvik in force, that six Destroyers and one Submarine were there, that the channel might be mined, and that he intended to attack at dawn, high water. The Admiralty replied that two Norwegian Coast Defence Ships might be in German hands, that he alone could judge whether to attack, and that whatever decision he made would have full support. Captain Warburton-Lee gave out the plan for his attack and led his Flotilla of five Destroyers off Narvik just after daybreak. He took the enemy completely by surprise, and made three successful attacks on warships and merchantmen in the harbour. The last attack was made only after anxious debate. On the Flotilla withdrawing, five enemy Destroyers of superior gun-power were encountered, and engaged. The Captain was mortally wounded by a shell which hit "Hardy's" bridge. His last signal was "Continue to engage the enemy".