A video tour exploring the history of St Elphin’s Church in Warrington
- Credit: James Balme
Our history man visits St Elphin’s Church in Warrington and discovers the tale of a knight married three times by the time he died at the age of 33.
Bewsey Old Hall been a part of Warrington since the 13th century. Prior to its construction, the land was home to a monastic grange before it was demolished to make way for an early-medieval hall. The hall that stands today was built by William Fitz Almeric Le Boteler in the 15th century.
Bewsey Old Hall was home to the Lords of Warrington between the 13th and 17th centuries and in 1617 was visited by the first Stuart king, James I. It was here, in 1429 AD, that a son was born to John Boteler and his wife Isabel and this child, also called John would one day become the 13th Baron of Warrington.
He was to grow strong and as a Boteler family, represented a family that had been in Warrington and the surrounding area for many hundreds of years. In 1442 Sir Peter Gerard purchased the wardship of young John Le Boteler and on the 18th of August, 1444, John wed Lady Margaret Gerard of Kingsley, daughter of Sir Peter.
John was 15 years old and Margaret was just 14.
By the age of 20, John was to become a Knight of the Shire
Margaret bore at least five children: John, Margaret, Elizabeth, William and Isabel, but in the year 1452, was to die aged 22.
John married again – to Elizabeth Dacre – a union that ended in divorce. His third bride was Margaret Stanley, who was to survive her husband, whose death was recorded at Bewsey Old Hall on the 24th of February 1463, aged 33.
Upon his death, Sir John was taken to St Elphin’s Church in Warrington where he was buried inside the church in an alabaster tomb chest.
The tomb remains today and is lavishly decorated and surmounted with the effigies of Sir John and his first wife, Lady Gerard of Kingsley, holding hands for eternity.
My film, In Search of the 13th Baron, shot in Warrington can be viewed for free with many other local history films by visiting my channel, youtube.com/Tvpresenter4history.
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Bewsey Old Hall – birthplace of Sir John Le Boteler in 1429 AD
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St Elphin’s Church in Warrington first built by Sir William Boteler in 1354 AD
The tomb chest of Sir John Boteler and Lady Margaret Gerrard