Warburton Lee

Alan Jenks recently sent me a copy of the obituary of Mrs Warburton Lee of Broad Oak, near Whitchurch, from the Crewe Chronicle of March 31st 1934.

Warburton Lee, or Warburton-Lee, is a name I’ve come across before, but I’ve never determined the origin of the name. Mrs Warburton was the wife of J H Warburton Lee, and mother of Captain Bernard Warburton Lee of the Royal Navy. From Wikepedia:

[Bernard]Warburton-Lee was 44 years old and a captain in the Royal Navy when the following action took place during the Second World War, for which he was awarded the VC.

On 10 April 1940 in Ofotfjord, Narvik, Norway, in the First Battle of Narvik Captain Warburton-Lee of HMS Hardy commanded the British 2nd Destroyer Flotilla, consisting of five destroyers (HMS Hardy, Havock, Hostile, Hotspur and Hunter), in a surprise attack on German destroyers and merchant ships in a blinding snowstorm. This attack was successful, but was almost immediately followed by an engagement with five more German destroyers, during which Captain Warburton-Lee was mortally wounded by a shell which hit Hardy’s bridge. For his exploits in this engagement he was posthumously awarded Britain’s highest decoration for valour in combat, the Victoria Cross. During the Second World War, only 23 Victoria Crosses were awarded to members of the Royal Navy and Royal Naval Reserve, of whom only approximately 11 survived. In 1942 he was also awarded the Norwegian War Cross.

The obituary also mentions that Mrs Warburton Lee was the daughter of Mr Joseph Armitage, and married in 1885. The registration of this marriage shows that Emmiline Vernon Armitage married Joseph Henry W Lee in Ellesmere, Oswestry, Shropshire.

Joseph Warburton Lee was said to be directly descended from Philip and Matthew Henry, 17th century divines and commentators. A bit of digging on Google revealed a book: The Life of the Rev. Philip Henry A. M. by Matthew Henry. This showed that Philip’s son Matthew (presumably the author of the book, though I haven’t checked it) married Mary Warburton, the daughter of Robert Warburton of Hefferston Grange, on July 8th 1690.

The Warburtons of Hefferston Grange are a branch of the Warburtons of Arley Hall, though my tree of the Arley family doesn’t extend to Robert and Mary. I have no idea how the Henrys became Warburton Lees.

Researching Warburton Lees is not straight forward. Searches for Warburton-Lee in censuses on Ancestry return all Warburtons and Lees. Using Warburton as a forename has a few hits, but mainly recent ones. Often Warburton is reduced to an initial. It is also clear that other Lee families have introduced Warburton as a middle name for their own reasons.

If anyone has more information of the Warburton Lees I would love to hear from you.

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