THE VILLAGE NOW

THE VILLAGE THEN

ABOUT THE TRUST

PUBLICATIONS

USEFUL LINKS
spacer
HOME PAGE
spacer
SWANNINGTON INCLINE
spacer
HOUGH WINDMILL
spacer
NEAVERSON CENTRE
spacer
GORSE FIELD
  spacer
CALIFAT SPINNEY
spacer
SNIBSTON NO. 3 MINE
spacer
L & S RAILWAY
spacer
DILK WOOD
spacer
DIARY DATES
spacer
TRUST MEMBERS PAGE
spacer
  VOLUNTEERS
spacer
VILLAGE WALKS
  spacer
  CONTACT THE TRUST
  spacer
SWANNINGTON GALLERY
spacer
SWANNINGTON HISTORY WEBSITE
spacer
 

Further history pages
LOCAL FOOTBALL HERO
SMITH - SMITHES FAMILY
GENERAL STRIKE 1926
WYGGESTON HOSPITAL
VILLAGE RELIGION
TANNING INDUSTRY
FARMING
HIGGLING
CANAL AND TRAMWAYS
TURNPIKES


Swannington Gorse Swannington Gorse

Swannington through history

Swannington village is situated in a pleasant valley on a geological boundary separating the exposed and concealed parts of the Coleorton coalfield. The coal measures are overlaid by later trias material from which water springs to flow into two streams that merge in the centre of the village. The land to the northwest, containing the exposed coal measures, was generally poor forming heathland common, but the southeastern part, concealing the coal, was more fertile and in mediaeval times was divided into three great fields. Water meadows were cultivated along the streams to feed cattle, whose hides were collected for use in a tannery, which was well developed by the 17th century.

Swannington field system There was no formal enclosure of the communal lands of the village and thus the field names and boundaries in use today have a lineage of hundreds of years and even the hedgerows have survived to a remarkable extent. Until recent times the village formed part of the manor of Whitwick and is not mentioned in the Domesday survey. The name has shown much variation over the centuries, e.g. Sweniton, Suaniton, Swaneton, Swanigton, Swanyngton, and suggested origins relate to a Tun of Danish Svein or Old English Swanwulf or Swanbeald.

Click on the field system diagram
to see a larger image.

By the 13th century the manor seems to have been under the control of the Godebart family, the Arrabi family, the Talbots, who held a part of a knight's fee, and by the Abbey of Garendon, who built a Grange here. A plough-team of eight oxen, recorded in 1298, and some details of land holdings were recorded in relationship to Tithes to the Hospitallers of Garendon. For over 800 years the common was exploited for coal, using mining techniques ranging from bell-pitting to deep mines. In 1293 the settlement of a dispute between two rival claimants to the Lordship of the manor refers to the custom by which each freeman had the right to make use of the waste or common land, according to the size of his tenement, and also the right to dig for coal. By the end of the 15th century the interest in the coal trade attracted the attention of investors and a wool merchant, William Banaster purchased the manor for £520, paid in cash and wool. It was then sold to William Wyggeston, who used the rents for the endowment of his Hospital for the poor in Leicester. Thus the manor has not been the subject of the continual tutelage of one strong landed family and has been able to develop a diverse cultural heritage. The village was situated about a mile and a half from its parish church at Whitwick and became the home of an early vigorous dissenting community, including the Quakers. The importance of the developing local coal industry required various entrepreneurs to pay attention to transporting this commodity to market. Coal was for many centuries transported by packhorses and later by turnpike roads.

An abortive attempt to provide water transport by canal was made at the end of the 18th century and then in 1833 the Leicester and Swannington Railway was constructed under the supervision of the great Robert Stephenson to take coal from the village mines. With the arrival of the railway, the village mines were extensively developed and attracted miners from other coalfields, requiring the construction of rows of miners' houses, which give the village its ribbon structure. Mining continued until the 1870s and many mining families left to work in the new mines opening in the Mansfield area or in the newly developing Coalville. The village reverted eventually to its agricultural base and the scars of industry have largely been erased. It is now mainly a commuter village set in pleasant countryside.

Village gallery

Swannington Hough Hill

Hough Hill, Swannington.
Station Inn

Station Inn, Swannington.
Station Hill Swannington

Station Hill, Swannington.

Bottom of Spring Lane, Swannington.

Sunday School Parade, Swannington.
Robin Hood Inn

Robin Hood, Swannington.
Swannington Co Op

Co-Op, Swannington. Now Chilli & Spice restaurant.
Swannington School

Swannington School and Centre Farm.

Swannington School Photograph 1963

Swannington School photograph 1963. (Click the image to enlarge - can you recognise anyone?)

Chapel

Wesleyian Chapel, now a private residence.
Atkins Shop

Atkins Wine and Distillery, now a private rsidence.


Mrs Measures shop.
Stone House Swannington

The Stone House, believed to date from 1607.
Dower House

Swannington House also known as The Dower House, home of Lady Beaumont. The house sat almost opposite the Fountain Inn carpark and was demolished due to severe subsidence.
Earnie Yates

Ernie Yates, chauffeur to Lady Beaumont.
Fountain Inn

Fountain Inn.
ColeortonRailway Tunnel Entrance

Coleorton Railway tunnel entrance, St. Georges Hill, now filled in.


Mr. Mee at work, the village blacksmith.


Mr Mee's forge stood where the traffic island is at the Peggs Green end of the village.

 

| © Swannington Heritage Trust 2012 | Registered Charity No. 515809 | Sitemap |