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The Whartons are descendents of norseman who conquered the province of Normandy around 900 and settled near Caen in present day France. The first Wharton in England was an officer with William the Conquerer -- Gilbert de Querton (as it was orignially spelled) -- who arrived in 1066 with the Norman invasion of England and married into the de Hastings line.

The de Querton name is probably of celtic origin -- meaning something similar to “a grove of apple trees” or “a hill with apple trees.” The celtic alphabet was designated by trees and the letter Q, or "queirt," was represented by the apple tree. The suffix "ton" was commonly used to denote "a hill" of "by something" (which was often a hill). Names such as Appleton or Appleby may actually be anglisized versions of the de Querton family name. The family name first became Quarton, then Wherton, eventually becaming Whorton. English records indicate that there are many forms of the name -- Warton, Wartone, Whartin, Wharten, Wartun, and Whartun -- though generally Wharton is the spelling most commonly used in America.

Wharton Coat-of-Arms and Estates

Upon his marriage to Emma de Hastings, Gilbert de Querton (the originator of the Wharton line of descent in England) had no coat of arms of his own. He adopted the Hastings coat of arms after making a few changes[1], but the original coat of arms that has come to be known as the Wharton Sleeve is predominantly the Hastings Sleeve. To their credit, however, the Whartons added some notable changes over the years. The maunch is a bordure of lion's paws. It was added approximately 300 years later to commemorate a decisive victory over the Scots at Solom Moss on Solway Firth in 1542 by Thomas Wharton, the first Baron Wharton. One of the most ancient descriptions of the Wharton coat of arms is noted in the Encyclopedia of Heraldry (Burke 1844) -- the crest being a bulls head erased argent [view image]. The motto is "Pleasur en faits d'armes," or "Pleasure in feats (deeds) of arms."

In 1292, Gilbert de Querton had proved title to the Manor of Querton, Appleby, Westmoreland County[2]. This manor was located in the southeastern corner of the county, less than a mile east of Kirkby Stephen. It consisted of a tower called Lammerside[3], and overlooked the village of Querton. The Eden River [view photo][4] ran through the estate, which was bordered on three sides by high mountains. In the early 15th century, Wharton Hall was constructed which the family made its official residence, vacating Lammerside. In 1715, Sir Thomas Wharton was made the first Marquis of Wharton Hall, but his grandson died childless and Wharton Hall was eventually sold in 1735. Today it stands as an impressive reminder of the favor that the Wharton family once held in high English politics [view photo][4.

Lines of Descent

Many of the Whartons who descended from the family's progenitor -- Gilbert de Querton -- became knights and as a consequence accumulated land, or married well and attained the same result. Three disctinct lines of descent formed based on their location: the Whartons of Westmoreland, Kirkby Thor, and Old Park[5].

Sir Thomas Wharton, the 9th direct descendent of Norman invader Gilbert de Querton and 4th direct descendent of Henry de Wharton of Westmoreland, was granted peerage and became the first Lord Wharton in 1545. His direct descendents were:
Sir Thomas[6]

Sir Philip[7]

Sir Philip[8]

Sir Thomas[9]

Sir Philip[10]

Unfortunately, the son of Sir Philip Wharton, Thomas Wharton (the seventh Lord Wharton and second Duke) died childless and the line of noble Whartons died out.

In 1682, a different Thomas Wharton (b.1644 d.1718), commonly called Thomas "The Immigrant," left England for America. He was the son of Richard Wharton of Orton, Overton Parish, Westmoreland[11]. No direct linkage has yet been established between my great-great-great-grandfather, Isaac Wharton (b.1784 d.1850 at Gulph Mills in what was then Philadelphia County), and Thomas "The Immigrant," or any of his progeny for that matter. Until an actual linkage can be made, it remains uncertain if our particular branch is descended from the Whartons of Westmoreland, Kikby Thor, or Old Park[12].
1The Hastings arms was a black sleeve on a silver field. The Wharton arms was a silver sleeve on a black field.

2Westmoreland County no longer exists today. In 1974, it was absorbed by Cumbria County, now the most northwestern county in England, bordering Scotland to the north and the Irish Sea to the west. However, the region centered around Ravenstonedale and Kirkby Stephen retains a rich history in which Whartons were featured prominently. It contains, after all, the ruins of Pendragon Castle [view photo], the place at which legend maintains King Arthur's father, Uther Pendragon, met his fate. (photo courtesy of Graeme Dougal)

3Lammerside existed before Gilbert deQuerton received title to it. It was most likely built by a border branch of the Scottish Wauchope family, the de Warcops. This region switched back and forth several times between Scotland and England, before remaining under English control. After construction of Wharton Hall, the castle fell into disrepair and now exists only as ruins [view photo]. (photo courtesy of Graeme Dougal)

4photos courtesy of Dales and Vales

5Henry de Wharton, the 5th descendent of Gilbert de Querton, inherited the family lands in Westmorland which by then included estates in Ravenstonedale, Rengill, Norton, and Kellorth. He had two sons, Sir Thomas de Wharton and Gilbert de Wharton. Sir Tomas inherited the lands of his father and added Croglin (Cumberland). It is through his line that the Lords of Wharton Hall sprang. The youngest son of Henry de Wharton, Gilbert, married Joan (or Jane) Kirkby who was the heiress to the lands of Kirkby Thor. This included estates in Offerton, Dryburn, Gillingwood, Skelton Castle, Durham, and Yorkshire. John Wharton, the 6th descendent of Gilbert de Wharton purchased Old Park (near Durham) in 1600 and from him the Whartons of Old Park descended.

6Was a steward in the house of Princess Mary, daughter of King Henry VII, and fought with Henry the VIII against the Scots.

7Was named in honor of Philip II of Spain who married Princess Mary. King Philip himself stood as Godfather to Philip Wharton at his baptism.

8Was active in the overthrow of King James II and in 1692 entertained King William and Queen Mary at Woodburn Manor. The inscription on his tomb reads: An active supporter of the English Constitution; a loyal observer, advocate and patron of reformed religion; a model alike of good works and true and living faith.

9Was made Lord Lieutenant of Ireland between 1708-1710, was appointed by King George I as Lord of the Privy Seal in 1714, given several peerages, and made Knight of the Garter. He was also named the first Marquis of Wharton Hall in 1715.

10Became the first Duke when dukedom was granted in 1718. He was proliferate, eccentric, witty, and gifted -- writing a ballad on the Archbishop of Canterbury.

11His son, Joseph Wharton (b.1707 d.1776), became a famous Philadelphia industrialist, was the namesake for the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and the benefactor of Swarthmore College in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. He had several brothers, one of whom was named Captain John Wharton (married to Mary Dobbins), who settled in Chester County (possibly Delaware County today) and had Quaker leanings.

12There is a persistent family oral tradition, passed on by my father, that states among our ancestors were seven Wharton brothers born in England. The oldest received family property, so the remaining six immigrated to America to make their fortunes. Little else has been found to substantiate the specific branch of Whartons.

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