Gregory Swindlehurst

William Harrison Ainsworth (usually the "William" is omitted) was a prolific 19th Century novelist, who based his works of fiction as closely as possible on the true facts of the events which he described, using contemporary accounts as often as possible. Most of his output was originally published in serial form in the newspapers, as per Dickens, subsequently being printed in book form. Ainsworth is best known for his "The Lancashire Witches", which was a sensation when first published, and which is the only one of his novels to have been continuously in print ever since.

His book "Old St Paul's" is a collection of short stories, the printed version being originally issued in 3 volumes but subsequently as a single volume. The stories are based around the Great Fire of London and the Plague. A story entitled "The Two Watchmen" includes, as one of them, a character named Gregory Swindlehurst. The author describes him thus:

One can only assume that, at some time in his life, Ainsworth had had an unfortunate encounter with a real Swindlehurst!

He did go on to say that "The watchman, who, notwithstanding his ill-looks, appeared to be a good-natured fellow, was easily appeased."