425 to 865 CE
We know very little about events in England during the 250 years after the departure of the Roman legions in the first quarter of the 5th Century. The dark ages continued until 597 when the conversion of the English to Christianity begun and continued throughout the 7th Century. However, we do known that during this period the foundations were laid for the pattern of English villages and hamlets that, for the most part, survive to this day. Warmington was just one of the many settlements to begin during this period.
From about 450 onwards raiding and settling parties of people now generally referred to as Anglo Saxons began to penetrate up the rivers of the eastern seaboard of England, notably through the Thames estuary, the Wash and the Humber.
They were a race of valley dwelling warrior farmers whose first settlements were made either on occupied land, which they overran or on previously tilled land found already deserted.
These early settlements were based on family groups led by a headman. Where this subsistence farming was successful the group might outgrow the land and a breakaway community would be formed. Many of these secondary settlements date from between c.550 and c.800. It was common for the leader of the group to give his name to the settlement and so this village became the tun of Wyrma’s people, which through various changes became Warmington.
The village appears to have been in existence by the time Medehamstede (Peterborough) Abbey was founded in 655. The lands being granted to the Abbey by Wulphere, King of Mercia.
It would have been during these early years that the first cultivation field was opened to the west of the village. The houses and barns of wood and thatch would probably have been centred round the site of the present church. Over the next 200 years or so saw a gradual expansion of land under the plough and at some point a second open field was created to the north of the village.
This enabled the original Westfield and the new Bolwellfield to be cropped for one year and lie fallow for one year in turn. Inroads were also made into the great forest of Bruneswald that covered the heavy clay land to the east of the village across the higher ground. Also Papley, whose Anglo Saxon name means Pappa’s clearing, may date from this period, either late 8th or early 9th century.