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The Lyon family

1066 - 2015

The village of Warkworth in Northamptonshire is very small and nothing remains of Warkworth Manor or Castle.  The church does exist and is well worth a visit.  It is in the middle of a field and a little difficult to find but a treasure house of information about the early Lyon family.  


The magnificent tomb of Sir John Lyon (1289) can be seen above, his parents are also entombed alongside him with other members of the family commemorated in the church. This is the most visible place, apart from Glamis where we can see proof of the Lyon family’s existence.


Anyone wishing to visit the church, near Banbury, will be welcome if you contact me for

more information about a visit.


There  is much dispute among genealogists about whether Warkworth Castle is  in Northumberland. Throughout the next few chapters the name Warkworth will appear many times. A problem is that there were two Warkworths, one in Northumberland and one in Northamptonshire.


90% of genealogy entries on the web list Northumberland as the home of a branch of the Lyon family which is incorrect. Northumberland is in the north east of England on the Scottish border whilst Northamptonshire is in central England.


Some previous histories of the Lyon family have stated that some of them settled in a Walkworth Castle in Northumberland. A ruined Warkworth Castle does still exist in Northumberland, however that Castle was granted to Roger Fitz Richard by King Henry II of England (1154-1189). This was mentioned in a Charter dated 1157 to 1164.


When in 1345 the last of this family died, the Castle was passed by King Edward III (1327-1377) to Henry de Percy. It has been owned by the Percy family for hundreds of years and never owned by a member of the Lyon family. The Percy family have been the Earls and Dukes of Northumberland for many generations until the present day.


They have historically supported the English Royal families because Northumberland was often invaded by the Scots and Warkworth Castle was built as a defence against such attacks. The Lyon family have, on the other hand, usually supported the Scottish cause. It is inconceivable that the Lyon family would ever have lived in the Percy family home, Warkworth Castle in Northumberland.


I think the confusion has arisen because there is another Warkworth, in Northamptonshire. As much of the early history of the Lyon family is in Northamptonshire this was almost certainly the home of the Lyon family at that time. In fact there was a Baron Lyon of Warkworth, Northamptonshire in the 1400s.


There is some doubt that this Warkworth in Northamptonshire was a castle in the usually accepted meaning of the word.  It was like a castellated tower but was really a very ornate manor house which no longer exists, unlike its namesake which is still in ruins in Northumberland.

To find out more about Warkworth and its history buy the book!


Warkworth, Northamptonshire

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The catafaulque of Sir John Lyon (1289) and his parents are proof of the early days of the family in the 14th century.