Joseph Warmington

Joseph Warmington was baptized in St Peter’s Hook Norton on 8 Apr 1737, the youngest son of John Warmington and Patience Beale. It is possible to trace a few events in his life but it is patchy and speculative for two reasons. Firstly he seems to have moved around a fair amount and secondly his family were almost certainly baptized in Baptist churches where the records have not been traced.

He married Mary Young on 4 Jul 1757 in Hook Norton. The couple had at least three children before Mary died at the age of 44 in 1774.

Two of the subscribers for a petition for the new Baptist church built in Hook Norton in 1718 had been James Beale and John Young. One suspects that James Beale is closely related to Joseph’s mother. We know that Joseph’s father-in-law was called John Young.

The persecution of the early Baptists in 17th century Hook Norton must have remained an influence on Joseph and if he and his brothers were christened in the Church of England, his marriage to Mary Young in 1757 certainly brought him closer to the Baptist faith and appears to have influenced the upbringing of his children. Joseph’s sister, Ruth Warmington, married a James Wilmot, also in 1757 – again we can surmise that he is a descendant of the James Wilmot preacher at the Baptist church who had been imprisoned back in 1664 for his non-conformity. His father was probably Daniel Wilmot who was the pastor from 1692.

This all puts the Warmingtons at the heart of the Hook Norton Baptist community.

In the parish register it describes the young Joseph Warmington, on his marriage, as a yeoman – both he and his wife were literate. Joseph’s children that we know of ended up in the City of London, two ¬†as businessman and members of City livery companies. They all, in turn, had their children baptised in Baptist or non conformist churches.

His eldest surviving son was John Warmington born in about 1766. Victorian genealogies record John Warmington’s parents as Joseph and Mary Warmington of Hook Norton but give no detail. Nowhere in these histories does it give mention of any of John’s siblings.

However, it is possible to accurately identify two or possibly three other children despite no baptismal records.

The will of Joseph’s mother-in-law, Mary Young sheds some light. Mary Young died in August 1774. She insists in her will that a dissenting minister preach at her funeral. She had been a widow since 1758 when her husband had died. As Mary Harris she had married John Young in 1715 and she names a number of her grandchildren. Her daughter Mary Warmington, it states had recently died (buried 21 May 1774, Hook Norton) and Mary leaves apparel and linen for her deceased daughter Mary’s eldest daughter Sarah Warmington.

Joseph’s daughter Sarah, herself, can be traced to her marriage to Edward Smith in St Botolph’s Aldgate on 13 Jan 1782. Edward Smith was a taylor in the City of London. The London non conformist records show that the Smith children’s grandparent’s names were Joseph and Mary Warmington. In 1816 the London Gazette records the dissolution of a partnership between Edward Smith and Joseph Warmington, both taylors and drapers..

This Joseph Warmington is undoubtedly another son of Joseph Warmington. In 1799 Joseph Warmington gains the freedom of the City of London, having served an apprenticeship with the Worshipful Company of Paviors, and joins the Haberdashers. Here it states that Joseph Warmington’s father is Joseph Warmington of Kenilworth, Warwickshire a poulterer.

Now Joseph’s son John Warminton has similar papers for his admission to freedom of the City of London in 1787 to The Worshipful company of Butchers. Here the father is described as Joseph Warmington of Winslow, Buckinghamshire, farmer and Butcher.

At first these might seem to be unconnected but instead give a much clearer view of the life of Joseph Warmington (snr) after he became a widow with a young family in 1774.

Firstly there is a marriage in Kenilworth on 6 Apr 1780 between Joseph Warmington, widower of Hook Norton, Oxfordshire to Elizabeth Buttler, widow, of Kenilworth. Therefore we know that Joseph moved and one can suspect that his young family found a new step mother.

The connexion with Winslow is somewhat harder, but may be connected with the large tannery there. It is more than possible that Joseph sought out and accumulated property and business amongst a growing community of like-minded baptists and non conformists. The connexions allowed him to put his sons into good apprenticeships that brought them to London as traders and businessmen at Leadenhall market and Smithfield.

The Victorian family tree states that Joseph Warmington died in 1797 aged 60. No trace of his burial or where he died has yet been found.

It is clear that Joseph Warmington was above all a farmer with a strong sense of purpose, who transformed the careers of his family way beyond a small holding in an Oxfordshire village. This was by dint of his religious convictions and independent mindedness. His son John Warmington escaped the land by training as a ‘professional’ butcher. This led to a number of Warmington tanneries in subsequent generations and ultimately to the heights of the British establishment with the Warmington baronetcy awarded in 1909 to his great grandson Sir Cornelius Warmington.

One other enigmatic ‘City of London’ record needs to be squared with this. In 1731 a John Warmington, Master Haberdasher, took on an apprentice. It seems impossible that this is Joseph’s father – but it seems extremely coincidental that Edward Smith and Joseph’s son Joseph Warmington are later to take up haberdashery. This as yet unexplained link may also somehow provide a bridge or explanation of how the Warmingtons were able to move so rapidly from being yeoman farmers to Masters of Livery companies in the City of London. There are a number of other non-conformist Warmington taylors and drapers in the city 1800-1820 and this needs further research.