Ancient Lineage of Magna Carta Baron: William de Warenne

Norwich.jpg (50340 bytes)William the Conqueror was a third or fourth generation Viking whose ancestor was reportedly from Honefoss in what is now Norway, near the Oslofjord. The de Vermandois connection relates to one of the small post-Carolingian Frankish kingdoms along the northern border of present-day France.  Princesses from the Frankish kingdom married de Warennes on at least two occasions. Perhaps this was done to placate the fierce Vikings and to enlist their help for defensive purposes. This strategy was used by the King of France who arranged similar marriages for his daughters in 911 when he recognized the Duchy of Normandy under Rollo aka Rolf or Hrolf, an altogether evil king. [1]

The House of Warren can be traced to Hugh of Normandy, born 990, later ordained Bishop of Contances. He married a sister of Gunnora, the wife of Richard I, Duke of Normandy. Rodulf, son to Hugh, a benefactor to the Abbey of La Trinite du Mont, died c1050. He married first Beatrix and secondly Emma. Emma became the mother of his son William created Count de Warenne of Normandy and later first Earl of Surrey. [2]

William de Warenne, son of Rodulf, was born in Normandy and accompanied William the Conqueror to England in 1066. At the Battle of Hastings, he commanded a detachment and was rewarded with estates and manors in Norfolk becoming the first Earl of Surrey. Before 1070, William de Warenne married Gundred, a lady with disputed parentage since many scholars disbelieve she was the daughter of the Conqueror.  Some contend she was the Duke's daughter as proven by her tombstone at St. John's Church, Southover, Lewes: "Within this Pew stands the tombstone of Gundrad, daughter of William the Conqueror, and wife of  William, the First Earl of Warren, which having been deposited over her remains in the Chapter-House of Lewes Priory and lately discovered in Iffield Church, was removed to this place at the expense of William Burrell Esq. in 1775 A.D. [3]

Gundred died in childbirth at Castle Acre May 27, 1085, and was buried in the Priory of Lewes in CountyAcrecas.jpg (7821 bytes) Sussex. Four of her children matured: William Son & Heir, Reginald, Gundred, and Edith. William, now Earl of Surrey, rebuilt, enlarged, and strengthened Lewes Castle which is now used as the museum of Sussex Archaeological Society. William de Warenne founded Cluniac Priory in 1078, now a ruin, and endowed the chapter house of the Priory. He married secondly a daughter of William, sister of Richard Guet of Montmirail, and died June 24, 1088, from wounds received at the siege of Pevensey. He is buried near Ely Cathedral in East Anglia. [4]

Acrepror.jpg (16013 bytes)Centuries came and went and the de Warenne family became the Warren family of England. Edward Warren, Esq. born 1605, son of John Warren, was baptized May 19, 1605 according to the Register of Wood Plumpton Parish. He was placed under the guardianship of Sir John Radcliffe Kn. of Ordall, Lancaster. He married Margaret, second daughter of Henry Arderne of Harden, near Stockport. Of his eight children, Humphrey Warren Sr. was born June 7, 1632, and immigrated to Maryland with his son, Humphrey Warren Jr. about 1662. He settled in Charles County sometime prior to December 23, 1672, when he was made Commissioner of Charles Co. In June of 1676, the province awarded him 525 pounds for his part in investigating an Indian uprising. In 1683, with the title of Captain, he was one of the commission established to select and purchase town lands and sites for surveying and laying out port towns.[5]

Humphrey Warren Jr. , son and heir of Humphrey Warren Sr., was b. c1655, d. 1695 in Charles Co. Md. He was twice married. The proven wife was Margarey Cage Rowland, daughter of John Cage and widow of Robert Rowland.  Humphrey Warren Jr. married his second wife, Margery Rowland, sometime after 1676 and before July, 1680. [6]  The will of Margarey Rowland Warren's father, John Cage,  dated Feb 12, 1676, named his daughter Margarey Rowland. Surname Cage alternately spelled Coge & Cooge.  Five sons were born to the second marriage, the last after his father's death: Notley Warren, Benjamin Warren, Charles Warren, John Warren, and Humphrey Warren III.  After the death of Humphrey Warren Jr., the widow Margarey Warren married (3) Thomas Burford. [7]

Humphrey Warren Jr. made his will 14 Aug. 1689, Charles Co, Md., with codicil 21 Jan 1694/5; probated 24 Feb 1694/5. He left to his wife Margery Warren "Hatton's Point," of 500 acres. After the wife's death, the plantation was to revert to first son named in will: Notley Warren. Benjamin Warren, second son named in will, received "The Hills" of 190 a. and "Warren's Discovery" of 280 a. Charles Warren, third son named in will, received 50 a. of "The Hills" and 100 a. of "Smoot's Purchase" bought from Edward Smoot and "Wicomico's Fields" 100 a. of land purchased from Wm. Smoot. John Warren, fourth son named in will, received 400 a. on west side of Wicomico River formerly owned by John Gooch. An unborn child was to have 2 tracts including "The Town House" of 170 a. The codicil to his will dated 21 Jan 1694/5 named Humphrey Warren III as "unborn child." [8]

John Warren, son of Humphrey & Margarey Cage Warren, was b. June 18, 1687 at Hatton's Point.   A Rent Roll shows "John Warren son of Humphrey  was seized of Smoothly, 100 a. surveyed Jan. 25, 1652/3 for William Smoot; West Hatton 500 a. surveyed June 22, 1663, for Thos. Hatton; Wicomico Fields 100 a. portion surveyed April 7, 1666 for Richard Smoot, all in Wicomico Hundred; and Warren's Discovery 280 a. surveyed July 31, 1683, for Humphrey Warren in Pickawaxen."  He married Judith Townley. [9]

The will of John Warren dated 12 Aug 1713, proved 13 Feb 1713/14 in Charles Co Md. was witnessed by John Maddox, Alexander Contee & Thos. Lewis. He devised to his wife Judith Warren the 500 a. dwelling plantation and Hatton's Point. He divided the remaining property between his two daughters, Mary Warren and Ann Warren. Mary Warren, born 1707, married Notley Maddox Jr, son of Notley Maddox Sr. & Margaret Goldsmith. Mary Warren  received from her father tracts Rich Thicketts with 500 a. adjoining tracts  The Hills and Warren's Discovery. Ann Warren received The Tanyard and Smoot's Purchase. Judith Townley Warren married John Bruce by 30 Jan 1716/17 and had at least four more children by him. [10]

Lewiscas.jpg (13412 bytes) Ancient Castle of the Warenne Family: Lewes Castle, county Sussex, England

"It is a revered thing to see an ancient castle not in decay; but how much more it is to behold an ancient family which has withstood the waves and weathers of time." Francis Bacon                  

In 1066 when Duke William of Normandy conquered England, he imposed his authority on his new realm by rewarding his most loyal supporters with land. The Barony of Lewes, stretching from the coast to the Surrey border, was granted to one of the King's most active companions, William de Warren, who established his headquarters in the Saxon market town of Lewes. The castle was built on the highest point to control the Ouse River valley. William de Warren came from Varenne in Normandy. He received land in over a dozen English counties. Gundrada de Warren died in childbirth in 1085 at Castle Acre in Norfolk where the family had built a Cluniac priory. William de Warren was made Earl of Surrey in 1088, jsut before his death, and the title continued until 1347 with the death of John de Warren, the 8th Earl. Both William and his wife Gundrada chose to be buried in Lewes Priory. St. John's Chapel received the remains of William & Gundred de Warren after their lead coffins were discovered by railway workmen digging on the site of the Priory chapter house. On the floor of the Chapel rests the exquisite Gundrada tombslab of 1160 carved in black Tournai marble with great skill by Flemish master-craftsmen. Decorative features include palmettes and animal heads with a running inscription starting from a Greek cross at the top which bisects the slab lengthwise.

Humphrey Warren Sr. of Charles County Md. descended from William & Gundrada de Warren through William de Warren, 2nd Earl of Surrey, second son Reginald de Warren. (Harleian MS 1967). Humphrey Warren Jr. born c1655, son & heir of Humphrey Warren Sr., was brought to Maryland as a minor. He and his second wife, Margery Cage Rowland, had a son, John Warren b. c1687, who married Judith Townley, who in turn had a daughter Mary Warren who married Notley Maddox of Charles County.

Sources: "Historic Lewes," Lewes Official Guide by Colin Brent, 1995; "Lewes Castle & Barbican House" by the Sussex Archaeological Society, 1997; "Charles County Gentry," by Harry Wright Newman, Clearfield Press Reprint, 1971.

Acre Castle & Priory: county Norfolk, England: William and Gundrada de Warenne 

"Castles Unlimited" by Marvin & Lise Hull: 

1066 Country Walk: Pevensey to Battle to Rye in East Sussex:

For an in-depth look at the lineage of Notley Maddox and his wife Mary Warren,  visit "The Maddox Family" web site:

Return to First Page

Bibliography & Footnotes:Essex.jpg (57438 bytes)

1. OUP English Historical Documents, Vol. II, cited by Dr.          Claude Taylor in Email July 11, 1997 to Pat Doster.

2. Charles County Gentry by Harry Wright Newman, Balto Md: GPC, 1971, p. 275 - 276.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid. p. 277-278.

5. Maddox by W. N. Hurley, Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1994,      p. 206-209.

6. Test. Proceedings of Md. Liber 6 folio 665.

7. Newman, op. cit., p. 190..

8. Maddox Family Records by Roberta V. Wiley, Parkville, MO,      1974, p. 44.

9. Ibid. p. 23.

10. Newman op. cit. pp. 295-296. & Wiley op. cit. p. 23.                       


Charles Co Md. Deeds, Liber 1B No. 3, folio 215:

28 May 1800. John Maddox of Wm. & Mary Parish, convey to Thomas Harris, same parish, Chas. Co, for L2,250  tract of land which on 26th of May 1658 was laid out for William Smoot called Hills of Smootwood which John Maddox held as heir-at-law of John Maddox who was eldest son and heir-at-law of his mother Mary Warren who intermarried with Notley Maddox, and said Mary was one of the daughters of John Warren, surviving son of Humphrey Warren and to whom the said tract descended, and also Wicomico Fields which descended to the said John Maddox as descendant of Humphrey Warren. Hanson's Discovery was also conveyed at the same time to Thomas Harris.

UK Web Sites for William de Warren Family History:

Lineage of William de Warren & Gundred: University of Hull's Directory of Royal Genealogical Data                                                                                          

Brian Tompsett cites documentation for Gundred de Warren as daughter of Matilda's first husband, not Wm of Normandy.

Lineage of William de Warren by David L. Beckwith:                

David Beckwith gives William of Normandy as father of Gundred, wife of Wm. de Warenne.

Magna Carta Barons:

Click on Battle of Hastings; Click on Companions of Duke William; and Scroll to GUILLAUME DE WARREN