Warr History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Warr is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin and comes from the family once having lived near a dam or weir on a river. Warr is a local surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Other types of local surnames include topographic surnames, which could be given to a person who lived beside any physical feature, such as a hill, stream, church or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. This surname comes from the Old English words wær and wer, which mean dam, or weir. The surname Warr may also refer to people who came from a place named Ware. A third interpretation of the derivation of this surname comes from the Old English word, war(e), which means wary, or cautious. In this sense, the surname would have been given to someone who was of a cautious disposition. Members of the Warr family settled in Devon, prior to the Norman Conquest of 1066.

Early Origins of the Warr family

The surname Warr was first found in Devon where the first record of the family was Herebertus la Guerre in the Pipe Rolls of 1179. A few years later, John la Werre, la Guerre was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1187 and 1195 in Gloucestershire. The name was "originally de la werre, de la guerre, 'of the war', a warrior." [1]

"It was formerly prefixed by the particles De la, as in the ancient family De la Warr." [2]

Another source claims the name was Norman in origin: "from Gar or Garde, near Corbeil, Isle of France. Ingelram de Warda occurs in Northamptonshire 1130, and Ralph de Gar in Norfolk, temp. Henry II. In 1296 and 1280 Stephen de Ware and Thomas de Ware are mentioned as holding fiefs [in Norfolk.] From the latter descended the Lords of Tottington, Pickenham and Dudlington." [3]

The Subsidy Rolls of 1327 list Henry atte Warr and the Lancashire Feet of Fines list John la Warre in 1310. [4]

Early History of the Warr family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Warr research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1594, 1666, 1772, 1846, 1798, 1588 and 1632 are included under the topic Early Warr History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Warr Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Warr family name include Ware, Wares and others.

Early Notables of the Warr family (pre 1700)

Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Warr Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Warr family to Ireland

Some of the Warr family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 75 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Warr migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Warr surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Warr Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Warr, aged 19, who arrived in Barbados in 1635 [5]
  • Thomas Warr, who landed in Maryland in 1648 [5]
  • Bernard Warr, who landed in Maryland in 1677 [5]
Warr Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Eliza Warr, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 [5]
  • George Warr, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [5]
  • Samuel Warr, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [5]
  • John Warr, who landed in New York, NY in 1829 [5]
  • Charles Warr, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1835 [5]

Australia Warr migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Warr Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Warr, aged 33, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Prince Regent" [6]
  • Joseph Warr, aged 23, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1849 [6]
  • Elizabeth Warr, aged 21, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1849 [6]
  • Mary A. Warr, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1849 [6]
  • Josiah Warr, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Gipsy Queen" in 1850 [7]

New Zealand Warr migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Warr Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Henry Warr, aged 22, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hermione" in 1878

Contemporary Notables of the name Warr (post 1700) +

  • James Warr, American politician, Mayor of Riverton, Utah; Elected 1989 [8]
  • Brent Warr, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Mississippi, 2008 [8]
  • John James Warr (1927-2016), English cricketer who played in two Test matches for England
  • Thomas Warr (1733-1775), English builder, architect and local politician in Bath
  • Antony Lawley 'Tim' Warr (1913-1995), English rugby union player
  • Peter E. Warr (1938-2010), English businessman and racing driver
  • Simon Roderick Warr (1953-2020), Welsh radio broadcaster, television personality, author and teacher
  • Steve Warr (b. 1951), former Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman
  • Danny Warr (b. 1905), Australian rules footballer
  • Steve Warr (b. 1954), British television director and producer


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  4. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  5. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) "PRINCE REGENT" 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849PrinceRegent.htm
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) GIPSY QUEEN 1850. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850GipsyQueen.htm
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 26) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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