Jessop’s Tramway 1794 – Swannington Spur
The Swannington spur of engineer William Jessop’s 1794 tramway went from the Raper and Fenton coal mine on Limby Hall Lane to the junction with the Coleorton spur north of the A512 Loughborough Road.
Limby Hall Lane
Towards the end of the 18th century, Yorkshire landowners and businessmen John Raper and William Fenton had numerous interests in the Swannington and Thringstone area, including their coal mine in Limby Hall Lane. There is a small woodland on the site of the mine.
In 1794 the engineer William Jessop built a horse drawn tramway from the mine to the terminus of the ill-fated Charnwood Forest canal. The tramway ran along the north side of Limby Hall Lane which was part of the Hinckley and Melbourne turnpike, a toll road. This is why the grass verge is much wider along that part of the lane.
Jeffcoats Lane To Church Hill
The tramway crossed Main Street and continued along the north side of Jeffcoat’s Lane. About half way along it veers off the lane and crosses a field heading towards Church Hill.
The tramway predates the church and the area was referred to as “The Snapes”, “Snape Gate” or “Snape Hill”.
Church Hill to A512 Loughborough Road
The tramway continues north east. At a junction of paths the north west to south east path marks what was the Swannington and Thringstone parish boundary. In 1936 the boundary was moved further north to enable Swannington vicarage to become part of Swannington parish.
A field after the vicarage the route of the tramway is very evident as the cutting is still there, albeit covered with trees. The cutting probably started in the previous field but has since been filled in.
The tramway crossed the Loughborough Road, at the time it was the Ashby to Loughborough turnpike. Shortly afterwards it merges with the Coleorton spur and heads to the east and the Charnwood Forest canal.