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]

"Sir Roger de la Warr, the third Baron, son and successor of John la Warr, one of the commanders of Cressy, shared himself in the glory Poictiers, and took a leading part in the capture of the French king. With reference to this exploit, it is recorded that much contention took place, as he defended himself with great valour; and the pressure upon him becoming great, such as knew him cried out, 'Sir, surrender, or you are dead;' where- upon he yielded, according to Froisard, to Sir Dennis Morbeck, a knight of Artois, in the English service; but being forced from that captain, more than ten knights and esquires claimed the honour of taking the royal prisoner. Among these, the pretensions of Sir Roger la Warr, and Sir John Pelham (ancestor of the Pelhams, Dukes of Newcastle, and of the Lords Yarborough and Pelham) having been acknowledged the strongest, Lord de la Warre had, in commemoration of so valiant an exploit, the crampet, or chape, of the captive prince's sword; and Sir John Pelham had the buckle of a belt as a memento of the same achievement. His lordship continued for several years after Poictiers in the French wars, and acquired in every campaign an augmentation of renown. " [3]

"William de la War, and Amabel his wife, occur in 1194 in Surrey and Warwickshire (Rotuli Curiae Regis). Dugdale commences the pedigree with John La Warre, who about twelve years afterwards received from King John the Manor of Bristolton, a part of the Honour of Gloucester, and died in 1212. His son Jordan joined the revolt of the Barons, and though he returned to his allegiance in 1215, Fulk de Bréant and William de Cantilupe being sureties for 'his future Fidelity,' was again in arms against the Crown in his old age, and only made his peace after the 'murder of Evesham, for battle,' says one chronicler, 'none it was.' A second Sir John de la Warr, styled junior, and most probably his brother, was one of the two wardens of Kenilworth Castle, and was slain by an arrow shot during the siege." [4]

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." [5]

The Subsidy Rolls of 1327 list Henry atte Warr and the Lancashire Feet of Fines list John la Warre in 1310. [6]

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, Delaware, Delawarr 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.

Warr Ranking

In the United States, the name Warr is the 9,878th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [7]

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
  • Thomas Warr, who landed in Maryland in 1648 [8]
  • Bernard Warr, who landed in Maryland in 1677 [8]
Warr Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Eliza Warr, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 [8]
  • George Warr, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [8]
  • Samuel Warr, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [8]
  • John Warr, who landed in New York, NY in 1829 [8]
  • Charles Warr, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1835 [8]

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
  • Mr. Harry Warr, English convict who was convicted in Dorset, England for 10 years for forgery, transported aboard the "China" on 193rd January 1846, arriving in Norfolk Island, Australia, he died in 1846 [9]
  • Joseph Warr, aged 33, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Prince Regent" [10]
  • Joseph Warr, aged 23, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1849 [10]
  • Elizabeth Warr, aged 21, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1849 [10]
  • Mary A. Warr, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1849 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

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

West Indies Warr migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [11]
Warr Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • William Warr, aged 19, who arrived in Barbados in 1635 [8]
  • Mr. William Warr, (b. 1616), aged 19, British settler travelling aboard the ship "Expedition" arriving in Barbados in 1636 [12]

Contemporary Notables of the name Warr (post 1700) +

  • James Warr, American politician, Mayor of Riverton, Utah; Elected 1989 [13]
  • Brent Warr, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Mississippi, 2008 [13]
  • 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. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 1 of 3
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  7. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 5th February 2021, retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/china)
  10. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) "PRINCE REGENT" 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849PrinceRegent.htm
  11. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  12. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 29th September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  13. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 26) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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