Our Viking Origin

In recent years there has been much interest in the study of DNA and what it can reveal about family origins. As part of this research an exhaustive study has been undertaken into the possibility of a Viking input into the bloodlines of Wirral and West Lancashire. The results from this study demonstrate beyond doubt that not only is there a large Viking blood presence in these areas but also that the Swindlehurst family bloodline carries the Viking markers. This is in addition to other physiological characteristics associated with a Norse presence. For more info on this topic click The DNA Study . The specialist team from Nottingham and Leicester Universities is currently organising an extension of the DNA study to cover the whole of North-west England, and possibly into West Yorkshire. Watch this space!

The Family Narrative

The story of the whole Swindlehurst/Swinglehurst/etc development, starting in the 12th century (and perhaps even before that, with our Viking ancestry!), has yet to be told. Currently the best attempt is "The Swindlehursts of Bowland - A Family History" by Arthur Neville Swinglehurst. This volume, dated 1986, was based upon a mass of data accumulated over the years by Arthur's uncle Frank and Frank's uncle John William Swinglehurst through their researches, on foot and bicycle. In addition to the narrative, the volume also includes other related information. Subsequently the task was taken up by Mrs Mary Hargreaves, a granddaughter of a Swindlehurst, who also had an interest in family history. She produced a slightly modified version of Neville's volume - with his active support - which includes her own foreword.

In order to facilitate its accessibility, the information in this volume has been separated into individual packages:

Other sources of interest.

One of our contributors, Ruth Colley, has sent us a charming Swindlehurst story about a bull and 8 Gold Guineas.

Gunpowder, treason and plot - was the family involved with Guido Fawkes and company? See this.

The Temperance Movement was founded principally in Preston, in the early 19th Century, when the citizenry was exhorted to abjure the demon drink. The Swindlehurst name is well attested in the ranks of the Movement, as can be seen from this list of excerpts from various documents of the time. In Preston Municipal Cemetery at the burial place of one Thomas Swindlehurst there is a headstone with this inscription:

Roller Maker And Iron Founder Of Preston - An Abstainer From Intoxicating Liquers. For Some Time Previous To The Formation Of The Preston Temporance Society - He Was One Of The First If Not The First (Webmaster's emphasis) To Publically Advocate Teetotalism As The Only True Principle Of Sobriety And For 30 Years In All Parts Of The United Kingdom He Devoted His Time, Talents And Means To The Spread Of The Temporance Cause.

Thomas became known as "King of the Reformed Drunkards". It is ironic that a number of Swindlehursts have also figured prominently at the other end of the alcoholic spectrum!

There is a set of Notes about the life of John Swindlehurst (1756 - 1822). This John Swindlehurst can be found in the family tree of Mary Hargreaves. A copy of the 108-page hymnbook (notebook) mentioned in the Notes (containing family BMD references) is held by Dyanna who can be contacted here by anyone seeking more information.

Keith Atkinson has sent (a) a sketch of Thomas Swindlehurst, copied from “The Temperance Movement Volume 2 - 1892” and (b) the obituary notice of his son Samuel S at the age of 72. The Notice is dated October 1901.

We have received Chris Swindlehurst's family tree, a superb example of family tree research.

We have a tenuous connection with the Bronte sisters. Al Leeming has been researching his family tree, and has pointed us at this (the text has been lifted bodily from his web page):

"Matthew Leeming (1761 - 1827), a bachelor of Chipping, Lancashire married Sally Swindlehurst (1764 - 1834) of Over Wyresdale in Garstang in 1786. They lived in Chipping and had their first child, Edward Leeming, baptised in 1787 at St. Bartholomew's church. Matthew and Sally then moved across the moors to the village of Haworth in Yorkshire and had a further 6 children; Mathew Leeming (1791), John Leeming (1792), Peggy Leeming (1794), Peggy Leeming [2nd] (1796), William Leeming (1798) and Robert Leeming (1800). By this time, Matthew was an engineer and machine maker. The family moved back into Lancashire to the town of Colne. They had a further two children, Sarah Leeming (1804) and Matthew (1806). Matthew Leeming (snr) died in 1827. Sally (or Sarah as she was sometimes) died in 1834. Both are buried at St. Bartholomew's church, Colne. The grave is unmarked.
Robert Leeming (1800 -1861), fifth son of Matthew and Sally, was married in 1824 at St. Michael And All Angels church to Betty Feather (1797 - 1857). They were married by the reverend Patrick Bronte, father to the famous Bronte sisters. Robert and Betty at that time lived in the hamlet of Stanbury, near Haworth. They went on to have 5 children; Robert Leeming (1824), Joseph Leeming (1825), Mary Leeming (1829), Charles Leeming (1832) and Betty Leeming (1835). The family moved out of Haworth to the far end of Oxenhope. Leeming Village. Robert Leeming (snr) died in 1861 of phphisis (TB) as did his wife Betty in 1857. Both are buried in Horkinstone Baptist Burial Ground in Leeming, near Oxenhope. The grave is unmarked."

Roy Swinglehurst has been researching his part in our story for years, with remarkable results (see his website here) . He has now put into tree form the data from Fair Oak (in Bowland), Park Hill and Barrowford (all now in Lancashire) and these can be seen on this Google spreadsheet. Park Hill Farm is now The Pendle Heritage Centre, located at Barrowford, Lancashire.

Preston, Lancashire in the 1840s. The 1841 Census Returns for Preston include a number of entries for Swindlehursts. The data from these records are shown on Sheet 1 of this Google spreadsheet. Each record shows the Enumerator's reference and the address to which it refers, and these are shown on the spreadsheet at the top of each column. The records also show the ages of the individuals, so (allowing for a possible error of 1 year either side) their birth dates have been calculated and are shown by year. It is not clear from these records (for instance) if the solitary individuals shown as servants (obviously in other folks' houses) are from Preston families or are immigrants. Two names in year may (or may not) mean twins. There is one possible triple birth!

For the years 1838 - 1851 the Preston Registry Office has records of births to Swindlehurst families in the Preston area as shown on Sheet 2 of the spreadsheet (the name at the top of each column is the maiden name of the mother). There are 18 separate Swindlehurst families shown in the period, which is also notable for the number of instances of the name "William".

A "History of Chipping" by Tom Smith, published in 1894, has been digitised by the Webmaster and is available here. This book contains many references to Swindlehursts and their places in history, although (and somewhat curiously) it includes a Swinglehurst tree but not a Swindlehurst version.

In addition to the above, there are other files which contain references to members of the family. These have been prepared by various people over time and represent a mixture of types of entry from a mixture of sources. They are a source of entertainment as well as historical data. There is a new list from Michael of references from the Cumberland Archives here. Also from Michael is this list of Swindlehursts &etc killed in action 1914-1918 and 1939-1945.

A preliminary listing has been made of Swindlehurst burials in cemeteries around Preston and is included here.

Ron Catterall, a researcher into his own origins, has produced a mass of data related to other families and subjects. This extract includes references to Swindlehursts and possible wider connections.

As stated above the early research into the family history was carried out by Arthur Neville Swinglehurst. Here is the original version of his Memoire, before the Hargreaves amendment and subsequent re-structuring.

Other items of historical interest:
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Swindlehurst Residences

Family members have lived at many places during the last 800 years. As these are identified, relevant data, including pictures and maps, will be added to this page. To date we have the following:

Swindlehursts lived for a lengthy period at Sellet Hall, at Whittington, near Kirkby Lonsdale. The details of this period are still being investigated. The house itself, although modified and extended in recent years, is still a beautiful structure (notwithstanding certain difficulties in living in it!) as these pictures show. Aerial view here.

A branch of the family lived for 36 years at the beginning of the 20th century at Brackengarth Farm at Keasden, West Yorkshire. A memoire by James S of the period is included here. The house at Brackengarth as it is today is shown in these photographs. Aerial view here.

For a period, Swindlehursts lived at Kitchen Grounds Farm, Ellel, near Lancaster. Aerial view here.

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