On Saturday 8th November 2014, Dr Graham Cooper (an authority on medieval deer parks generally and in particular on the 2 in the Forest of Bowland) led a small group of interested folk on a very wet and cold walk along part of the pale of the Leagram Deer Park. The line of the (approx 5 mile) walk is shown on this Google map, starting from Chipping carpark and going clock-wise. Detailed information about both the walk and the park can be seen on the Forest of Bowland AONB website here - click on "A leap in the park".
Some Swindlehurst history is being discovered as a result of the efforts of Chris Spencer. He is working his way through bucket-loads of documentation from the King-Wilkinson archives from Slaidburn (most of which require translating from the original Latin). Yesterday (28th October 2014) he came across this. For more about Chris see his website here.
Our homeland - the wonderful Forest of Bowland - has recently been celebrated in music by the composer Christopher Gibbs, in his "Forest of Bowland Suite". Chris has chosen as his subject the Forest as defined by the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which has a wider area than that of the Forest historically (it includes Pendle for instance). The Suite, arranged for wind or string quartet, is in 5 movements - Clitherow Market, Dawn on the Pendle Hill, Moon Over Downham, Noonday Sun on Beacon Fell, Teatime in Chipping. There is no commercial recording currently available to purchase, but a private recording can be purchased direct from the composer by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. (02032015)
Unfortunately (like most families) there is a skeleton or 3 in the cupboard. One such was the William Swindlehurst who was the Secretary of the Artizans' Building Association, a co-operative in which workers built their own houses, with financial assistance to get them started. An interesting account of the events associated with this venture and its "fraudulent Secretary" is here (in .pdf form). William was jailed for his part in the scheme, although his clients seem to have regarded him as a very fine fellow indeed.
Swindlehurst is not the only ancient surname probably originating in Bowland. Crumbleholme is another and one which has a long history intertwined with our own. Richard of that ilk (now resident in Dorset) has a great website here, which shows a very early Forest of Bowland history and a 19th Century global expansion equivalent to our own.
In 1894 a local (to Bowland) historian - Tom C Smith - published "A History of the parish of Chipping". The book is long out of both copyright and print, and has now been digitised. It is available to read here. It includes a reference to a poem - The Hunter's Song - which is believed to have been written in the early 18th Century and which mentions a number of place names in Bowland. The poem is here.
Thomas Swindlehurst of Preston (1785 - 1861) - King of the Reformed Drunkards - was a very successful engineer and iron founder, who (following a period of alcoholism) took a vow of Total Abstinence, and subsequently spent his wealth and energy preaching the t-total message across the UK. On Thursday 21st February 2013, a Memorial Plaque to Thomas was unveiled at a ceremony in the Liberty Village, the structure now standing on the site of Thomas's Preston home. The driving force behind this commemoration was Keith Atkinson, a descendant of Thomas and a successful genealogical researcher. More information about Thomas can be seen on Keith's website here. There are some photographs of the unveiling ceremony here.
The details of ALL the Swindlehursts identified in the 1911 Census for the UK have been extracted and placed in a spreadsheet - see here.