The Parish Church of St Oswald
The old established church within the parish is dedicated to St Oswald, King and Martyr, with prior dedication to the Holy Trinity.
Oswald was born in 604, the son of Ethelfrith King of Northumbria. In 616, his father was deposed and killed by his uncle, Edwin, following which Oswald then fled to Scotland. It was while there, he was converted to Christianity at the great Celtic monastery of St Columba on the Scottish island of Iona.
Following the death in battle of Edwin in 633, Oswald returned to Northumbria where he was crowned king. In 635, he defeated and killed the King of the Welsh, Cadwallon, at the battle of Heavenfield just north of Hexham.
Oswald is also noted for persuading one of St Columba's disciples, St Aidan, to move from Iona to found a monastery at Lindisfarne, off the coast of Northumbria. From here, with the King's blessing, St Aidan converted Oswald's subjects to Christianity.
St Bede, in the Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, claimed that Oswald established himself in control of most of England during his reign. But in 642, Oswald was killed at the battle of Maserfeld near Oswestry by the pagan King Penda of Mercia who then ordered the body of his adversary to be dismembered. Oswald's head, however, was recovered and sent to the monastery at Lindisfarne where it became a holy relic.
During the Viking raids of 875, the monks of Lindisfarne fled for safety. They carried with them St Oswald's head together the monastery's other great treasures such as the body of St Cuthbert and the Lindisfarne Gospels. Eventually, the descendants of the Lindisfarne monks founded a great new monastery at Durham where the head of St Oswald, buried in St Cuthbert's tomb, remains to this day. Oswald was canonised some fifty years after his death and his feast day is 5th August.
The church is situated near the centre of Warton on Main St at OS Map Reference SD 498723. Behind it as a backdrop is Warton Crag with its nature reserve.