. . . . . . . . Hough Mill open 2-5pm Sundays to end of September . . . . . . . . . .

Swannington Families

Family names from Swannington past and present.   Mainly families that lived in Swannington, but a few who contributed to village history by owning collieries, building railways etc.  Some of the families have hyperlinks to pages on the families menu, other hyperlinks take readers to coal mining or milling pages with family information.


We are adding to the list and are very keen to include new families.  Can you help us with yours?

Our research team have over 40 family trees on the Ancestry website which can be accessed by their subscribers.

Families A and B


The Adcock family moved to Elm Farm shortly after the First World War and farmed it for decades before branching into plant hire and associated occupations in the 1960s with what is now Cuckoo Gap.


Thomas Atkins owned a grocers shop next to the Stone House on Main Street and four powder houses.  He also bought numerous other Swannington properties including the colliery manager’s house in 1870 and it became a beer house, The Fountain Inn, as well as the Jolly Colliers.  Read more about the Atkins family.

Ancestry – Atkins (Grocer + Blasting Powder – Swannington) Family Tree


John Bacon lived in one of the Califat Cottages in 1861 and he was the enginewright.  He did not work the engine, he made sure that it was kept in good working order.  In addition to the engines at the Califat (Coleorton No 1) mine, he would probably have maintained the engines at the California (Coleorton No 2) mine as both were owned by Benjamin Walker and William Worswick.  The latter also owned the Swannington Colliery Company and John Bacon died 30th November 1861 while commissioning the Sinope (Swannington No 2) mine.

Ancestry – Bacon (Califat Enginewright – Swannington) Family Tree


The Coal mining family of William Willis Bailey the three mining engineers of that name did not live in Swannington but are linked to the mining history of the village.  Related to Benjamin Walker co-owner Califat Colliery.

Ancestry – Walker – Benjamin (Califat mine owner) Family Tree


Denis Baker – For decades local historian Denis Baker made an immense contribution to the local history of the Coalville area, being a founder member of Coalville Heritage Society, Leicestershire Industrial History Society, Swannington Heritage Trust and Whitwick Historical Group.


Adolphus Bakewell, 35 years, Licensed Victualler at the Anchor Inn in 1901.

Isaac Bakewell was the landlord of the Talbot Arms in 1885 and the Jolly Colliers in 1887.

William Bakewell, higgler of Peggs Green, was reputed to use donkeys, which having carried their loads, were allowed to to rest at the Aqueduct before returning to their stabling.  He was one of the last of the local higglers.


In 1841 Staffordshire born James Bamford was a child coal miner in Swannington.  He died in Lancashire in 1890.

Ancestry – Bamford – James (Child Miner – Swannington) Family Tree


The coal mining Barkby Family spread through St George’s Hill and Hough Hill, diversifying occupations and travelling to far flung corners of the world during wartime.  Read more about the Barkby family.  Their Griffydam ancestors Joseph Barkby and Hannah Springthorpe had their seven children before they eventually married in 1894.

Ancestry – Barkby (coal miners – Swannington) Family Tree


The Beaumont family of Coleorton Hall were involved in Swannington life for centuries.  Lady Beaumont (Lillie Ellen Craster) lived in Swannington House in Main Street from the 1890s until her death in 1946.  She was an aloof lady who expected men to doff their caps and women to curtsey.  Lady Beaumont undertook ladyship duties such as judging flowers at the annual Swannington show.  Lady Beaumont could also be very kind financing the medical treatment of miners, giving mothers a shilling when children were born and having her chauffeur drive people to hospital in her car.

Ancestry – Beaumont (Swannington House) Family Tree

Berkin (Berkin)

Two branches of the Berkin family with an 18th century connection.  One stayed in Leicestershire and stayed on St George’s Hill, the other trailblazed, mined and farmed in Montana, United States of America.  Read more about the Berkin family.

Samuel Thomas Berkin 1895-1915 was one of the four men named on the World War One memorial tablet at the former Coleorton Baptist chapel in The Rowlands Swannington.

Ancestry – Berkin (Swannington and Montana) Family Tree


John Billings was the landlord of the Bricklayers Arms, Ashby Road, Swannington (now Coalville) 1893-1901.

Ancestry – Billings (Bricklayers Arms – Swannington) Family Tree


Stephen William Blythe was landlord at the Robin Hood.


Joseph Bird 1863-1943 was a coal miner who lived in St George’s Terrace, St George’s Hill and Brook Cottages, Main Street.

Ancestry – Bird (coal miners – Swannington) Family Tree

Thomas Bird was killed by a rock fall at the Swannington No 2 mine in Sinope.

Ancestry – Bird – Thomas (Swannington No 2 mine – Sinope) Family Tree


William Bishop 1837-1915 was a 14 year old child coal miner in 1851.  He worked in coal mines for about 50 years.

Ancestry – Bishop – William (Child Miner – Swannington) Family Tree


Joseph Boultbee 1737-1806 was lord of the manor of Thringstone at the time of the Thringstone inclosures and sale of the smock mill to John Griffin.

Ancestry – Boultbee (Thringstone lord of the manor) Family Tree

John and Thomas Boultbee were both painters who grew up at Stordon Grange on the Rempstone Road north of Griffydam, this became the most northerly part of the ecclesiastical parish of Swannington (as opposed to the civil parish).  John (1753-1812) became a member of the Royal Academy and was most famous for paintings of sporting animals, especially his patron Robert Bakewell of Dishley Grange, Loughborough mounted on a horse.


James Bradley Inn Keeper and Coal Miner,  at the Anchor Inn 1871-1891 on the Swannington and Thringstone boundary.


When your near neighbours are your family!  The Brewin families lived very close to each other.  Moving within the village and even to adjacent houses.  Very handy when preparing for a family wedding.  Read more about the Brewin family.

Ancestry – Brewin (Alexandra Cottages + Hough Hill Swannington) Family Tree


Frederick Brown was the landlord of the Jolly Colliers in 1881.


Several members of the Burton family have left a Swannington legacy.  Anne Burton was the founder of the Juvenile Missionary Association.  Her husband James Burton provided the land on which the Old Wesleyan Chapel was built in the jitty near the Stone House.

Swannington born  Henry Burton emigrated to the USA from Hoo Ash Farm, on his return he became a Methodist preacher and wrote the words for many Methodist hymns (read Dr Henry Burton Methodism’s Greatest Hymn Writer) and a Jubilee Ode performed at the Royal Albert Hall in honour of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.  More information about Henry Burton is available on:


Henry E Burton and his wife Florence Burton were at the Fountain Inn in 1939.


Henry Burton 1720 – In 1720 a Henry Burton of Swannington had to make penance in Whitwick and Ashby churches, he wore a white sheet and held a white wand and facing the congregation immediately after the second lesson had to read:

  • Whereas I Henry Burton not having the fear of God before mine Eyes but being led by the Instigation of the Devil and mine own Carnal Concupiscence have Committed the Grievous Crime of Fornication with Grace Wardell of the Liberty of Worthington to the great Dishonour of Almighty God the breach of his most Sacred Laws the Scandal and Evil Example of others and the Danger of mine own Soul without unfeigned Repentance for the same I Do humbly acknowledge and am heartily Sorry for this my Heinous Offence I ask God and this Congregation pardon and forgiveness of the Same ………….
The Firs - Thomas Atkins shop

Families C and D


In 1841 John Causer (14) and William Causer (12) were child miners in Swannington.  After decades of coal mining, John died in Hugglescote in 1891 and William in Linton Heath in 1898.

Ancestry – Causer – John and William (Child Miner Swannington) Family Tree


Three Challoner grandsons,  Thomas, James (Jim) and Harold.  The three brothers were the grandsons of William Curtis Moon who was killed in the Whitwick Pit disaster of 19th April 1898.  Their uncle was Francis Thomas Challoner born 14th August 1873 in Narborough, Leicester.  Francis (known as Frank) was living at Colliery House, Spring Lane at the time the 120 foot high chimney was demolished, see the description on the Snibston No 3 page.

Ancestry – Challoner (Snibston No 3 mine) Family Tree


William Checkland was born in Leicester in 1852 he married Amy Beaumont the granddaughter of Guillaume Beaumont who escaped the French Revolution as a five year old.  William owned the Coleorton No 3 Colliery (now Coleorton Wood).  The 1877 White’s Directory lists William Checkland, colliery manager at Swannington House.  He seems to have had numerous business interests and was very wealthy, it is likely that Swannington House was just a place to stay when he checked on the mine.

Ancestry – Checkland (Swannington House) Family Tree


The Chester family intermarried with other prominent Swannington families such as Hough and Rowse.

  • Grandfather – John Chester at Willow Farm at the south end of Main Street.
  • Father – George Chester followed his father at Willow Farm, a Methodist lay preacher.
  • Grandson – Walter Henry Chester married Jane Maria (Taylor) Hough and became landlord of the Railway Inn and grazier.
  • Granddaughter – Ellen Chester was headmistress of Swannington Infants School.
  • Granddaughter – Georgina Chester kept the farm going by marrying Rhodes Blake.

Ancestry – Hough (Hough Mill Swannington) Family Tree


In 1871 Samuel Clarke was the landlord of the Bull’s Head in Main Street.


William Clements was injured in the 29th May 1863 overwind incident at the Califat colliery.  His brother or son (it is not known whether it was the father or son injured) Harry Clements died on the 8th October 1863 when the Califat colliery flooded.  Harry’s gravestone is near the west door of St George’s Church.

Ancestry – Clements – Harry (Died Califat Mine) Family Tree

William Clements  (no known relation to the above) was a 15 year old child coal miner in Swannington in 1841.    It has not yet been possible to ascertain more information about him.


Alfred Clifford 1897-1915 was one of the four men named on the World War One memorial tablet at the former Coleorton Baptist chapel in The Rowlands Swannington.

Ancestry – Clifford (Coleorton Baptist War Memorial Tablet Swannington) Family Tree

Thomas Clifford was a 12 year old child miner in 1841 who worked in coal mines for at least 50 years and was fortunate enough to enjoy more than a decade of retirement.

Ancestry – Clifford – Thomas (Child Miner Swannington) Family Tree


In 1871 Edward Coleman was the landlord of the Bricklayers Arms, Ashby Road, Swannington (since transferred to Coalville).  When Edward died in 1872 the licence was transferred to his widow Catherine Coleman.   In 1875 Catherine married Samuel Thorpe who became the landlord.

Ancestry – Thorpe (Bricklayers Arms Swannington) Family Tree


Harry Cresswell was the last licensee of The Bulls Head in 1939, he was also a coal miner and A.R.P. warden (air raid precautions).

Ancestry – Cresswell (Bulls Head Swannington) Family Tree


John Edwin Roy Dalby was born 20th May 1895 into a farming family at Seagrave, Leicestershire.   John married Ethel Annie Sismey in 1916 in Hinckley.  John and Ethel had six children, the last of whom was born at Willow Farm.  The Dalbys were at Willow Farm at the south end of Main Street 1930-1955.

Ancestry – Dalby (Willow Farm, Swannington) Family Tree


Albert Bruce Charles Dennis 1878-1946 and his son Albert Bruce Charles Dennis 1910-1983.  In 1925 father and 15 year old son were the bricklayers (working for W Moss and sons builders) who built the Coalville clocktower, the First World War memorial in what was the south east corner of Swannington until it transferred to the newly formed Coalville Urban District Council on the 31st December 1894.

Ancestry – Dennis (Coalville Clocktower Bricklayers) Family Tree

Frank Challoner article.

Families E and F


George Easton was the landlord of the Fountain Inn 1875-1883.


Joseph Edwards was the landlord of the Fountain Inn in 1883.


On behalf of William Stenson and his Long Lane (later known as Whitwick) Colliery, John Ellis approached George Stephenson about building a railway to take coal from Whitwick to Leicester.  Although George turned the offer down, he nominated his son, so Robert Stephenson became the engineer on the Leicester and Swannington Railway that opened in 1832 and reached Swannington in 1833.

John was involved in the Midland Railway takeover of the Leicester and Swannington Railway and later became chairman, as did his son Edward Shipley Ellis.

Ancestry – Ellis (Leicester and Swannington Railway) Family Tree


Albert Essex 1897-1917 was one of the four men named on the World War One memorial tablet at the former Coleorton Baptist chapel in The Rowlands Swannington.  His parents Albert Essex and Elizabeth Else were born in Swannington and moved to Coleorton a few years before young Albert was born.

Ancestry – Essex (Coleorton Baptist War Memorial Tablet Swannington) Family Tree


Wyggeston Hospital leased the manor of Swannington to William Fenton in 1823, his nephew Kirkby Fenton surrendered the lease in 1859 and was granted a new lease.

Ancestry – Fenton (Manor of Swannington and Coal Mines) Family Tree


Prairie Pioneers!  The Fewkes (Fukes, Fuchs, Fuks), family have been in Swannington at least as far back as 1751. They also travelled to Canada and America!  Read more about the Fewkes Family

Charles Fewkes was at Red Hill Farm in 1896 and his father James Fewkes at Centre Farm.  The brother of James, John Fewkes, farmed at Elm Farm in 1901.

Ancestry – Shaw (Elm Farm + Kings Arms Swannington) Family Tree – Fewkes related to the Shaws.


A family of shoemakers and coal miners who have lived in Swannington and district for more than 200 years.  Read more about the Fowkes family.

Ancestry – Hall + Fowkes (Swannington) Family Tree

Families G and H


In 1841 John Gilbert was a 14 year old child miner in Swannington.   John died aged 27 in a Staffordshire coal mine when checking a charge of blasting powder that had not gone off.

Ancestry – Gilbert -John (Child Miner Swannington) Family Tree


Blacksmith’s son James Glover was a 16 year old child miner in Swannington in 1851.   Fifty years later he was still working as a miner and living near the isolation hospital on St George’s Hill.

Ancestry – Glover – James (Child Miner Swannington) Family Tree


Three members of the Gough family were Swannington farmers:

  • George James Gough at Talbot Farm 1884-1893
  • Arthur James Gough at Talbot Farm 1893-1896 then Redhill Farm 1897-1924?
  • William Jesson Gough at Talbot Farm 1893-1915



The Gray family – coal mining family of Thomas Henry Gray 1827-1914, the mining engineer and colliery manager who lived in Station Row during the 1860’s and 1870’s.  Related to Benjamin Walker, Califat Colliery.

Ancestry – Walker – Benjamin (Califat mine owner) Family Tree


Joseph Green was the landlord of the Jolly Colliers in 1882-1887.


George Griffin was a 16 year old child miner in Swannington in 1851, he married and moved to Staffordshire where he continued coal mining to support his six children.

Ancestry – Griffin – George (Child Miner Swannington) Family Tree

Three generations of the Griffin family owned and worked Thringstone Smock Mill (now known as Hough Mill) until the 1870’s.  This comprised three John Griffins and an Edwin Griffin.   Marriage connections include – Blastock, Draper, Gilbert, Horsley, Jesson, Kirby, Knight, Moll, Teall, Timms, Tugby.

Ancestry – Griffin and Kirby (Hough Mill Swannington) Family Tree


Husband and wife Horace Raymond Grudgings and Madge Grudgings lived on St George’s Hill from the 1930s to 1993.

Ancestry – Grudgings (St George’s Hill Swannington) Family Tree


The Hale family and their relations had three spells of Swannington life.  Leslie Hale became an MP and Baron, children Lesley and Bill were stalwarts of the village and Swannington Heritage Trust.  Lesley was the driving force behind the archive cupboard in the village hall.  Bill was heavily involved in the 1999 and 2009 Hough Mill restoration projects, plus the construction of the Jerry Leakins and Neaverson Centre buildings as well as the development of Trust sites.


The coal mining family Hall from Limby Hall, lived in Swannington for more than a century while coal mining in the village was at its peak.  Read more about the Hall family.

Ancestry – Hall + Fowkes (Swannington) Family Tree

In 1851 James Hall was an 11 year old child miner helping support his widowed father and six siblings.  His 18 year old brother was already a miner and his 14 year old sister would have been doing the domestic duties.

Ancestry – Hall – James (Child Miner Swannington) Family Tree


Three generations of the Hallam family (grandfather Francis Hallam, four sons Albert Hallam, William Hallam, John Thomas Hallam and Charles Hallam plus grandson Francis Hallam) kept the pumping engine at the Calcutta Pumping Station in Talbot Lane, Swannington pumping out up to 54,000 gallons of water an hour.  When the family was running out of men, Maud Beatrice Hallam solved the problem by marrying James Arthur Smith who was working at Calcutta, that led to his brother David Smith also working there.

Ancestry – Hallam & Smith (Calcutta Pumping Station) Family Tree


Swannington Policeman Leonard Henson, son of the late Frank and Ann Henson,  of The Coldstream Guards died 25 September 1915 aged 25yrs.

‘He was the son of the late Frank Henson a labour of Loughborough Leicestershire and his wife Ann.  Leonard was educated at Emmanuel boys school Loughborough Leicestershire, enlisting in the Coldstream Guards on the 11th of June 1907 and he served for seven years before joining the Leicestershire Constabulary being stationed at New Swannington Leicestershire.  On the outbreak of war he re-joined his old regiment and was wounded on the 23rd of September 1914 by a shell during the Battle of the Aisne, subsequently dying from his wounds two days later in Claridge’s hotel in Paris.  The doctor wrote that he was brought in on the night of the 23rd of September and then after being very brave and patient he passed away quietly at 4:30 on Friday the 25th he was buried in the Pantin Cemetery and a company of French soldiers followed and fired the last shots.  Leonard was unmarried.  Other sources show his place of birth is All Saints Leicester.
He is remembered on the Carillon Tower Memorial Loughborough, Leicestershire.  Pte.7290. 2nd Bn.  Coldstream Guards.’


Hannah Hicklin was landlady at the Railway Inn.


Gabriel Holland the 18th century coal mining entrepreneur who went bankrupt.  Gabriel married the daughter of Edward and Priscilla Muggleston.


Swannington Rail Tragedy May 1938. Elsie May Horrobin (wife of Horace Horrobin, a miner employed at the South Leicestershire Colliery and residing in Main Street, Swannington) and her baby were killed.  She was 34 years of age and the mother of nine children, whose ages range from 7 months to 14 years.  Read more at Tragic Incline Death 1938


The family of John Hough the land steward of the Beaumonts of Coleorton Hall, who bought Thringstone Smock Mill (now Hough Mill) in 1878.  Marriage connections include – Chester, Griffiths, Lakin, Taylor.  John’s son John George Hough was the landlord of the Bull’s Head.

Ancestry – Hough (Hough Mill Swannington) Family Tree


In 1911 Herbert Hull had a grocer’s shop on the corner of Olga Terrace (part of Loughborough Road) and Tugbys Lane.  In 1939 his son Roland Hull was the enumerator for the 1939 register in Swannington.

Ancestry – Hull (Olga Terrace Swannington) Family Tree


Charles Hunt was landlord of the Robin Hood for more than 25 years.   Charles retired to Horninglow Staffordshire and the inn transferred to the Lovett family.

Ancestry – Hunt (Robin Hood Swannington) Family Tree


As one of four illegitimate children life would have been a struggle for John Hutchinson.  Just when life was improving with a wife and child his child dies.  A few weeks later having finished his shift in the Califat coal mine the cage hit the headstock and broke sending him plummeting more than 100 metres down the shaft to his death at the age of 23.  Read more about the Califat Overwind FatalityJohn Hutchinson’s life has been particularly difficult to research, so it would be great if anyone can provide more information.

Ancestry – Hutchinson (Died Califat Mine) Family Tree


Charles Newton Hyde was the estate worker for Wyggeston Hospital who owned the manor of Swannington.  He was living in one of the Califat Cottages at the time of the 1911 census and 1939 register.  The cottages were probably built around 1853 when the Califat Colliery opened.

Ancestry – Hyde (Califat Cottages Swannington) Family Tree

John Griffin of Thringstone, who died December 25th 1874 in his 83rd year and Susannah his widow, who died 31st August 1877 aged 78 years - St George's, Swannington
Coalville Times 27th May 1938 - see pdf for full text

Families I and J


Cordwainer (shoe maker) Thomas Irons was the landlord of the Bull’s Head 1875-1881 (or possibly until his death in 1882).  His son, another Thomas Irons became landlord around 1886.

Ancestry – Irons (Bulls Head Swannington) Family Tree

Irons shop on Piano Row, Main Street is remembered by many.   This was run by Gertrude Annie Irons, whose parents Albert and Frances Robinson were at the Fountain Inn.


Sidney James was a stock room hand in a Coalville elastic web factory who joined the navy during the Second World War.  His ship was sunk and 469 men died, yet Sid survived.  He married Tan Yard born Kath Pickering and they lived on St George’s Hill.  Read more about the James family.

Ancestry – Pickering + James (Tan Yard + Main Street + St George’s Terrace) Family Tree


Red Hill Farm occupied by J A Jarvis was put up for auction in 1981.


Including Samuel Jeffcoat born in Swannington on May 2nd 1782, son of William and Elizabeth Jeffcoat who fought in the Peninsular War (Spain and Portugal) against Napoleon’s army.


Including Susannah Jesson the wife of John Griffin (father), the miller at Thringstone Smock Mill (now Hough Mill).


Railway Goods Guard Thomas Henry Johnson was living at the top of the Incline in 1891 with his wife and four children.  He was buried at  St George’s Church on the 12th September 1894 aged 34.

Ancestry – Johnson (Swannington Incline 1891) Family Tree

Frederick Johnson at various times was a coal miner, shoemaker and landlord of the Griffin Inn at Griffydam.  Three of his children became publicans:

  • Daughter Dorothy Kathleen Johnson married Bill Peters and became landlady at the Fountain Inn.
  • Son Thomas Johnson was a bricklayer who became landlord at the Station Inn.
  • Daughter Mary Louisa Johnson was landlady at the Royal Oak in Shepshed.

Ancestry – Johnson (Swannington shoemakers miners publicans) Family Tree


Stationary Engine Driver John James Jowett was living at the Incline in 1891.  Two of his daughters were born there:

  • Gertrude Jowett 17th April 1889
  • Maggie Jowett 23rd May 1892

Ancestry – Jowett (Swannington Incline 1891) Family Tree

Families K and L


Illegitimate half siblings William Kelly and Priscilla Kelly grew up at Bow Bridge, Leicester where their father William had a hosiery business.  As teenagers they watched the building of the Leicester and Swannington Railway and were invited to go on the opening day journey on the 11th July 1832.  William’s account of the journey in a letter to Clement Edwin Stretton is an important historical source.

Ancestry – Kelly (Leicester and Swannington Railway) Family Tree


The Kidgers were a family of farmers and butchers in Peggs Green who also had coal mining interests.  William Kidger was the foreman of the coroner’s jury at the inquest of the three miners who lost their lives on the 8th October 1863 when the Califat Colliery flooded.  His son also a William Kidger was also a member of that coroner’s jury.

Ancestry – Kidger (Califat Flooding Inquest 1863) Family Tree


William King was the landlord of the Jolly Colliers in 1871.

Kirby (Kerby)

The milling family who leased Hough Mill from the Griffin and Hough families plus operated other windmills in Swannington and Thringstone.  Marriage connections include – Burton, Cartwright, Clayton, Farmer, Gamble, Griffin, King, Lakin, Pegg, Sketchley, Smith, Wilson

Ancestry – Griffin and Kirby (Hough Mill Swannington) Family Tree


George and Sarah Kirk moved to Tan Yard during the First World War and were still there in 1924 before moving to Station Hill.

Kniveton (Knifton)

In 1841 Derbyshire born brothers William Kniveton (17) and Frederick Kniveton (11) were child miners in Swannington supporting their widowed mother and three younger siblings.

Ancestry Kniveton Knifton (Child Miner Swannington) Family Tree


Coalville born Allen Lawrence was a coal miner living at the Incline in 1939.

Ancestry – Lawrence (Swannington Incline 1939) Family Tree


The coal mining family of Richard George Bailey Lewis the mining engineer of the Coleorton Colliery Company, whose number 2 colliery (Califat Colliery) is owned by the Trust.  Related to Benjamin Walker co-owner Califat Colliery.

Ancestry – Walker – Benjamin (Califat mine owner) Family Tree


John George Lidwell was born 10 March 1909 in Swannington.  The eldest son of John George Lidwell, Builder and Clara Elizabeth Fewkes.

1915 – The Lidwell family were living at The Robin Hood Inn, Swannington.  The Army records of John senior shows him as both a Builder and Publican.

1932 – John George Lidwell built the Miners’ Welfare Institute.

1933 – April 15th John junior married Florence Charlotte Beniston

1939 –  John and Charlotte were living at Deepdale, Swannington,  John was a Builders Foreman.

1961- 21 December John died.  His last address was still Deepdale, Swannington.


Train examiner Albert Litchfield was living at the Incline in 1901 with his wife Martha and three of his five children – Alfred 15 a hosiery machine hand, Sidney 10 and Mabel 9.

Ancestry – Litchfield (Swannington Incline 1901) Family Tree


The Lovett family of coal miners and publicans included:

  • Robert Lovett 1825-1880 coal miner then landlord of the Robin Hood 1875-1880
  • Sarah Lovett (nee Smith) 1826-1915) wife of Robert, landlady of the Robin Hood 1880
  • Thomas Lovett 1845-1892, son of Robert and Sarah, coal miner living Main Street
  • Jabez Lovett 1849-1899, son of Robert and Sarah, coal miner and innkeeper at the Wagon and Horses 1881-1899, he combined this with other jobs such as coal miner and cow keeper.
  • Sarah Ann Lovett 1851-1928, daughter of Robert and Sarah, married Swannington brickmaker Thomas Adcock
  • Levi Lovett 1854-1929, son of Robert and Sarah, landlord of the Station Inn 1886-1901, check weighman at Snibston colliery and first president of the Coalville and District Miners Association.
  • Elizabeth Lovett 1858-1929, daughter of Robert and Sarah, married William Bettison who became a colliery deputy.
  • Robert Lovett 1859-1899, son of Robert and Sarah, a coal miner who brought the football team back to the Robin Hood.

Ancestry – Lovett (Robin Hood + Station Inn Swannington) Family Tree

J G Lidwell at the Robin Hood Inn

Families M and N


Over a period of 20 years at least three Marsden brothers were child miners:

  • 1841 John Marsden 12, he died 58 years later at Coleorton No 3 Colliery (Bug and Wink).
  • 1851 Thomas Marsden 11, he had moved to Yorkshire by 1870 and Pennsylvania USA by 1880.
  • 1861 Joseph Marsden 14, continued to work as a miner until he died in Ravenstone in 1902.

Ancestry – Marsden – John (Child Miner Swannington) Family Tree


The 1939 register records George Westerman Mee at Breach Farm, he was still there when he died 20 years later.

Ancestry – Mee (Breach Farm, Swannington) Family Tree

Edgar Mee had a blacksmith’s shop at the junction of what is now Nottingham Road (formerly Froggats Lane) and Loughborough Road until the current roundabout was installed.  Edgar was continuing a business established by his blacksmith father Joseph.

Ancestry – Mee (Swannington Blacksmiths) Family Tree


Leicester architect Thomas William Harley Miller produced the 1856 drawings for Swannington School.

Ancestry – Miller – School Architect Family Tree


In 1901 builder Walter Moss, his wife Annie and their children lived in Belvoir Road, Coalville.  They moved to The Grove, Main Street, Swannington shortly afterwards and Walter died there in 1905.  After Walter’s death Annie ran the Walter Moss and Sons building firm with the help of her sons Alwyn (builder), Henry (plumber) and Eric (carpenter and joiner).  In 1908-09 the firm built the new Wesleyan Chapel and in 1925 Coalville Clocktower.  During WW1 Annie was the Honorary Housekeeper for the Voluntary Aid Detachment at Broomleys Hospital in Coalville (now the junior school).

Ancestry – Moss (Walter + Annie – The Grove Swannington) Family Tree


Edward and Priscilla Mugglestone were a Quaker family who farmed on the corner of Main Street and Church Lane.


Coal miner John Lee Neal (known as Jack) and his future wife Sarah Rebecca Bradford grew up in 1890s Rotten Row, Coleorton, their families both living near the Beaumont Arms in 1901.   They married at St George’s Church on the 9th December 1911.  In 1939 they were living in Brook Cottages in the Piano Row part of Main Street,  John Lee was recorded as being a Coal Miner Colliery Hewer Unemployed, one of only a few instances of men being unemployed.

Ancestry – Neal (coal miner Coleorton and Swannington) Family Tree


The 1749 inventory of William Newarke’s property provides a fascinating insight into the life and possessions of a prosperous farmer.  William also operated a coal mine that was subsequently worked by Gabriel Holland.

Mee's blacksmith forge near what is now Peggs Green island.

Families O and P


In 1861 one of the cottages at the Califat Coal Mine was occupied by John Carter Oliver, the timekeeper.   John would have recorded the hours of workers such as the enginemen, stokers and banksmen.  In addition he would probably have kept the records of how much coal each miner (or team of miners if the butty system was used) produced, the quantities of coal sent down the Califat tramway to be taken to Leicester via the Swannington Incline.  His office would have been a room in his cottage.

Ancestry – Oliver (Califat Mine Timekeeper) Family Tree


Read about the life of Edward Orton 1665-1746, a tanner.

Numerous newspaper articles refer to surgeon Richard Orton who lived at Coleorton in 1851, Swannington 1861 and Loughborough in 1871.  Richard occupied about 10 acres at the top of Church Hill (including what is now the western part of St George’s churchyard) and along Loughborough Road as far as Anchor Lane.

Ancestry – Orton (Surgeon Swannington) Family Tree


In 1861 Kegworth born Richard Osborne was landlord of the Anchor Inn on the corner of Anchor Lane and Loughborough Road.


Frank Palmer was the landlord of the Queen’s Head, Thornborough 1925-1928.


Visitors to Hough Mill often ask about the white domed house to the north – Haymeads on Loughborough Road.  It is not shown on the 1923 map, this art deco house is believed to have been built by doctor Christopher Stanley Parker who was living there in 1939.  He was also an ARP Warden ARP Warden Leics County Council in charge of mobile first aid.

Dr Parker practiced in Coalville – Kelly’s directory 1925 lists him at London Road and a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons.  Their 1928 entry is Belvoir Road, Coalville, M.R.C.S. Eng. L.R.C.P. Physician and surgeon and certifying factory surgeon.  Dr Parker had a tragic end in 1963.  Wracked by pain from arthritis and other causes and convinced he had a malignant growth, he shot himself as he did not want to be a burden to his family.  The post mortem did not find a malignant growth.   Doctor Parker had retired after 37 years of medical service.

Ancestry – Parker (Swannington Doctor – white domed house near mill) Family Tree


Kath Peters was the landlady at the Fountain Inn 1963-1979 supported by her husband Bill Peters.


Kathleen Pickering was born into Tan Yard poverty.  The family moved to Red Hill farm when her brother worked there.  In later life Kath played football, ran the Wesleyan Chapel Sunday School and lived on St George’s Hill with her husband Sid James.  Read more about the Pickering family.

Ancestry – Pickering + James (Tan Yard + Main Street + St George’s Terrace) Family Tree


Ashby solicitor Leonard Piddocke 1766-1836 was John Griffin’s trustee when he bought Thringstone Smock Mill in 1791.   The Reverend John Piddocke 1764-1841 and his brother Leonard were allocated four plots of land amounting to two acres in the Rotten Row area during the Thringstone Inclosures of 1804.

Ancestry – Piddock (Hough Mill – Griffin Trustee) Family Tree


Ernest Platts 1896-1917 was one of the four men named on the World War One memorial tablet at the former Coleorton Baptist chapel in The Rowlands Swannington.   His father Robert was born in The Rowlands, before moving over the Swannington border into Coleorton.

Ancestry – Platts (Coleorton Baptist in Swannington) Family Tree


William Poster was landlord of the Kings Arms in 1880.


William Potter 1781-1861 was at Talbot Farm 1851-1861, his son John Potter 1807-1877 succeeded him at Talbot Farm 1861-1871 and also farmed Red Hill Farm.  John’s widow Eliza Jane Potter (nee Knight) 1832-1890 lived at Swannington House  for a period before moving to Middlesex to be closer to her daughter Constance Eliza Potter 1859-1945 who married Hamilton Luard Begbie in 1882.

John Potter purchased The Grove in Main Street from Elizabeth Grundy and in his will left it to his daughter upon her marriage.   Constance Eliza Begbie (nee Potter) sold The Grove to Walter and Annie Moss in 1901.

Ancestry – Potter (Talbot Farm, Swannington) Family Tree

Thomas Potter was landlord of the Kings Arms in 1880.

Property occupied by surgeon Richard Orton - based on an 1859 Wyggeston Hospital lease of the manor of Swannington to the Fenton family

Families Q and R


John Raper and William Fenton were partners in the Raper and Fenton coal mine (now a small woodland adjacent Limby Hall Lane).  In 1794 William Jessop built a tramway from the mine to the ill fated Charnwood Forest Canal.

In the 1804 Thringstone Inclosure John Raper, Thomas Fenton and James Fenton were allotted three plots of land bordering Swannington totalling 53 acres.

Ancestry – Raper (Swannington Coal Mines) Family Tree


William Reeves was the landlord of the Jolly Colliers in 1911.


Solomon Robinson was a 16 year old child coal miner living in Swannington in 1841 and had probably been working for some years.  He moved between Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and was still coal mining in 1881.  His brothers were also miners.  His older brothers Charles Robinson and Oliver Robinson would also have started work before becoming teenagers.  Oliver’s name lingers on with Oliver’s Crossing, the railway crossing in Belvoir Road, Coalville that he tended in the 1880s after he became disabled.

Ancestry – Robinson – Charles & Solomon (Child Miners Swannington) Family Tree

Bricklayer Albert Robinson married Frances Richards daughter of John Richards a prosperous Swannington farmer and former landlord of the Railway Inn.  Albert and the Robinson family moved to the Fountain Inn, when he died in 1904 Frances remained landlady until 1937.  Frances and her unmarried children moved to St George’s Lodge on Loughborough Road, which remained in the family until 1989.

Ancestry – Robinson (Fountain Inn Swannington) Family Tree

Coal miner John Robinson 1867-1893 married Mary Ann Frearson, they had six children and lived in Main Street.  After John’s death his widow married widower William Hicken who had five children by his late wife Sarah Jane Platts.  William and Mary Ann had a further three children.

John Robinson 1891-1966 became a coal miner like his father.  By 1939 John had married Mary Ann Commander and they were living in the newly built council houses on St George’s Hill.

Ancestry – Robinson (coal miners Swannington) Family Tree


On Christmas Day 1908 Swannington collier John William Rodwell married Swannington born Celia Percival at St George’s Church.  Celia’s father Joseph Percival was a railway platelayer an occupation John William had joined by 1911.  In 1939 John William was a railway engineer maintenance and repair – was that a posh name for platelayer or had he progressed in his career?

John William and Celia had a daughter in 1909, Celia Ellen Rodwell who married Joseph Wardle of Risborough Barracks, Shorncliffe in 1929.  In 1929 the Rodwells were living at Incline House, they were still there in 1939.  As Joseph Wardle’s military career would have taken on added significance in 1939, Celia Ellen and her two children were living with their grandparents at The Incline.

Ancestry – Rodwell (Swannington Incline 1939) Family Tree


Cornwall born William Rolling and his family were at the Swannington Incline 1861-1877


Belton coal miner Jeremiah Rose was the carpenter at the Califat coal mine who died when the mine flooded on the 8th October 1863.

Ancestry – Rose – Jeremiah (Died Califat Mine) Family Tree


Richard Rowell was the landlord of the Fountain Inn 1886-1891


The Rowse family (also spelt Rouse) were blacksmiths at the former Quaker Meeting House on the corner of Main Street and Church Lane.

Ancestry – Rowse (Swannington Blacksmiths) Family Tree

Families S and T


The 1911 census records cousins Joseph Sheffield Shaw at Elm Farm and James Shaw a farmer and publican at the Kings Arms (transferred to Coleorton 1936).

Ancestry – Shaw (Elm Farm + Kings Arms Swannington) Family Tree

Sherratt (Sharod / Sherod and other spellings)

The 1841 and 1851 Swannington censuses list Joseph as a coal higgler living in Talbot Lane.  He died 28th March 1855 and was buried at Whitwick.

Higglers transported coal and other items using trains of pack horses (the word train was used long before the invention of the railway locomotive).

Ancestry – Sherratt – Joseph (Swannington Higgler) Family Tree


Thomas Jefferson Shipley lived in the end of a terrace of houses closest to Swannington House.  He was a gardener and the house was owned by his employer Lady Beaumont.  The 1939 register records the family as:

  • Thomas J Shipley born 1870, gardener (still working hard at 69!)
  • Beatrice A Shipley, born 1878, unpaid domestic duties
  • Dorothy V Shipley, born 1918, unpaid domestic duties, church organist (married Walter Platts of Ivy Leigh Cottages, St George’s Hill in 1941)
  • Peter A Shipley, born 1915, shop assistant – ironmongers, steel merchants, engineers ?????
  • Florence S A Luke, born 1903, unpaid domestic duties


Lady Beaumont died on the 17th August 1946, clause 5 of her will stated “As my two cottages are occupied as service tenements by my Gardener Shipley and Chauffeur Ernest Yates possession should be obtained as soon as the usual notice to leave expires.”  We do not know what happened to Thomas Jefferson Shipley other that he died in the area towards the end of 1947.

Ancestry – Shipley (Lady Beaumont’s gardener) Family Tree


The Leicester Evening Mail of Friday 30th November 1951 reported an interview with Arthur Sidney Holmes Smith whose family (grandfather Jeremiah, father Jeremiah, brother William Daniel and Sidney) operated the Incline winding engine for its entire period of operation 1833-1947.  Sidney’s uncles John and Thomas Smith were child miners in Swannington.

Ancestry – Smith (Swannington Incline Winding Engine + Child Miners) Family Tree

The 1851 census records 15 year old Thomas Smith (son of Ann Smith) as a child coal miner in Swannington.

Ancestry – Smith – Thomas (Swannington Child Miner) Family Tree

The 1851 census shows James Smith (son of James Smith and Martha Capeness) as a 16 year old child miner.  After decades as a coal miner James was still working at the age of 77 in 1911 as a labourer at Breedon quarry.

Ancestry – Smith – James (Swannington Child Miner) Family Tree

Roger Smith was the landlord of the Queen’s Head in Ashby Road, Swannington (now Coalville) in 1883.


In 1861 Hezekiah Soar was a 38 year old coal miner living between the Robin Hood and Station Row.  He lived in a grocer’s shop which was probably run by his wife Ann Greensmith.  As coal mining at the north of Swannington and Coleorton declined, Hezekiah was one of many Swannington miners who moved to Annesley, Nottinghamshire (others moved to nearby Linby and Hucknall) where William Walker and William Worswick (who owned the Coleorton and Swannington mines) had a new colliery.  At the time of his death in Annesley  1895 a colliery manager.  In 1857 Hezekiah was one of the trustees who bough the land for the Primitive Methodist Chapel.

Ancestry – Soar (Swannington coal miner + Primitive Methodist Chapel) Family Tree


The family lived in Centre Cottages (next to the school playing field) before moving to Centre Farm in 1939.  Read an account by Peggy Shipman (nee Stacey) of family life in the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s.


George Stephenson invested £2,500 to buy 50 x £50 shares in the Leicester and Swannington Railway.  His son Robert Stephenson was the engineer who built the railway.  George, along with Sir Joshua Walmsley and Joseph Sandars, also invested in the Snibston Colliery Company.  George moved to Alton Grange, Ravenstone for a few years to supervise his mining and railway interests.

Ancestry – Stephenson (Leicester and Swannington Railway) Family Tree


Thomas Stinson died as a result of a stone fall breaking his thigh at the Swannington No1 colliery (Calcutta) on Wednesday 18th February 1857.


William Taberner was the landlord of the Queen’s Head in Ashby Road, Swannington (now Coalville) in 1871-1881.


George Harold Leawood Taylor may have been at Willow Farm, Main Street from as early as 1955.  He was certainly there 1965-1975.

Ancestry – Taylor (Willow Farm Swannington) Family Tree


Thomas and Mary Ann Thompson were living in a small cottage at the Limby Hall end of Mill Lane.  Widowed Mary was still there in 1939.  The property was part of the “Thringstone finger” of land transferred to Swannington in 1936.

Ancestry – Thompson (Mill Lane, Swannington) Family


Samuel Thorpe was the landlord of the Bricklayers’ Arms, Ashby Road, Swannington 1875-1891.  After his death his son, Samuel, became landlord until he gave it up in January 1893 to concentrate on his work as a plumber.  Boundary changes transferred Ashby Road to Coalville in stages in 1894, 1912 and 1936.

Ancestry – Thorpe (Bricklayers Arms Swannington) Family Tree

The 1939 register lists William Thorpe at Manor Farm in Main Street.

Ancestry – Thorpe (Manor Farm, Swannington) Family Tree


Railway worker Nathaniel Brookbank Throssell and his wife Martha were at the Incline in 1901.   They  appear to have moved to Coalville then returned to The Incline by 1909.  They emigrated to Canada in 1913 with their three children and had a fourth son.

Ancestry – Throssell (Swannington Incline 1911) Family Tree


In 1841 Henry Trinder was the head groom for the Marquis of Hastings.  When his employer died Henry was not so keen on the son so left and became a farmer in Swannington.  The younger Marquis tried to claim ownership of the manor of Swannington, a claim resisted by Wyggeston Hospital.  Henry supported the hospital’s case, stating that the Marquis had told him he did not have a valid claim.  The house Trinders in Main Street is on the site of the farm.

Ancestry – Trinder (Swannington Farmer – Main Street) Family Tree

Smith family tree - Incline engine operators and child coal miners
Trinders named after farmer Henry Trinder

Families V W X Y Z


Joseph Varnham, aged 25 years, was hanged at Leicester gaol for stealing horses and buried at St George’s church on the 21st April 1829.  He was the 22nd entry in the church burial register (the first being in 1827).  The previous entry was for his 48 year old father William on the 15th April.  Joseph’s brother John was transported to Australia.


The coal mining family of Benjamin Walker the co-owner of the Coleorton Colliery Company, whose number 2 colliery (Califat Colliery) is owned by the Trust.

Ancestry – Walker – Benjamin (Califat mine owner) Family Tree

Farming family included brothers John Henry Walker at Hollies Farm and Charles William Walker at Rose Cottage Farm.

Ancestry – Walker – (Hollies Farm + Rose Cottage Farm, Swannington) Family Tree

Another Walker family was John William Walker of Mount Pleasant Farm, Church Hill, Swannington whose brother James Heathcote Walker was the butcher at Vine House on the corner of Spring Lane and Main Street

In 1911 railway platelayer Samuel Walker was living at The Incline with his wife and two of his sons.

Ancestry – Walker (Swannington Incline 1911) Family Tree


Staffordshire born Reginald Charles Waltho was at Hoo Ash Farm from 1826 to at least 1941. The farmhouse was in Ravenstone but a significant portion of the farm was in Swannington.

Ancestry – Waltho (Hoo Ash Farm) Family Tree


In 1911 Samuel Watson was a Brake Proprietor and Grazier at Rose Cottage Farm, Limby Hall Lane.


Robert Weatherburn was one of the thousands of unnamed or little known men who made the railways work.

He was born in Northumberland where he married Isabel Wilson in 1804, they had four children.  It is believed that he followed George Stephenson to the Liverpool area to work on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Having gained experience there, he became an engine driver on the Leicester and Swannington Railway.

While the Stephensons took the glory, it would have been Robert who tested the Comet locomotive prior to the opening day and raised the steam for the first official journey.  As the experienced driver, he probably tested the second phase of the railway to Whitwick, Snibston and Swannington.  His railway life continued in his family as he headed one of the first dynasties of working railwaymen:

  • Robert, son, locomotive foreman, Leeds,
  • John Thomas, grandson, locomotive superintendent, Leeds,
  • Robert, grandson, managing engineer (mechanical), Acton,
  • Henry, grandson, railway engine driver, Sheffield,
  • Thomas James, grandson, railway clerk, Derby
  • James, son, superintendent engineer, Cheshire,
  • James Robert, grandson, engine fitter, Birkenhead
  • Robert, grandson, engine fitter,

Ancestry – Weatherburn (Leicester and Swannington Railway) Family Tree


In 1841 Thomas Webster 14 and William Webster 11 were child coal miners.  Thomas worked as a pony driver at Whitwick Colliery and was killed on the 9th November 1841 when a large quantity of soft-stone fell on him.  William worked in coal mines for 60 years, before a well earnt retirement.  Their younger brother John Webster followed them as a coal miner and died at the age of 30.  They were all buried at St George’s.

Ancestry – Webster – Thomas & William (Swannington Child Miners) Family Tree


The Wilemans were a well known and respected Swannington family who lived at the very bottom of Station Hill close to the Robin Hood at what may then have been known as Wileman’s Corner. However in 1866…


At Ashby Petty Sessions, in February 1866, John Wileman was charged with being “in a state of nudity at Swannington”; he was sentenced to one month’s hard labour. For the prosecution, Inspector Ward stated that “it was becoming quite a common practice by the lower class of colliers in and around Swannington to strip themselves almost entirely of their clothes, and run certain distances down the street, which was a great nuisance to the public. we wished the Bench to put a stop to it”.  Read the full article from our members’ magazine.

Ancestry –


Landlord and brewer Moses Williamson was at the Bull’s Head, Main Street 1841-1851.

Ancestry – Williamson – Moses (Bulls Head Swannington)Family Tree


Lancashire born William Worswick 1801-1871 was a Leicester businessman who owned many coal and coal related businesses.  They made him wealthy enough to buy Birstall Hall to live in and Normanton Hall at Normanton Turville for one of his sons.

William Worswick was in partnership with Benjamin Walker until his 1861 death and thereafter with his son William Walker.  Their mines were:

  • Smoile – at Newbold, Benjamin Walker’s long established colliery that Worswick invested in in the 1830s.
  • Coleorton No 1 (California) – sunk 1849
  • Coleorton No 2 (Califat) – sunk 1853
  • Peggs Green – purchased the Kidger, Price, Bostock owned company in 1850s
  • Annesley, Nottinghamshire – sunk 1865

William Worswick also had several collieries in his sole ownership:

  • Swannington No 1 (Calcutta) – sunk 1853
  • Swannington No 2 (Sinope) – sunk 1861
  • Swannington No 3 (Clink) – sunk 1865
  • Highfields near Alfreton, Derbyshire
  • Oakerthorpe near Alfreton, Derbyshire

Ancestry – Worswick (Califat Mine Owner) Family Tree


One of 16 children Ernest Henry Yates grew up at Fishpond Cottage, Coleorton (near the mortuary chapel and school).   Ernie married Lancashire born Annie Ingleson on the 26th December 1931 at Coleorton.

The 1939 register records Ernie as “chauffeur, gardener + emergency driver for night w???”  living in Main Street, two properties from Swannington House, the home of Lady Beaumont (the intervening house was occupied by Thomas Jefferson Shipley, her gardener).   Before the Second World War Ernie was a keen bowls player regularly featuring in the Swannington Team.  As the bowls green was across the road at The Fountain he would not have far to go to practice.

Annie Yates was a midwife who was enrolled by the Central Board of Midwives on the 11th August 1917.  Entries in 1920, 1926 and 1931 give her address as St George’s Hill, Coleorton.  The name St George’s Hill was used for a much wider area than today and Annie could have been living in Loughborough Road, Swannington (which still has a Coleorton postal address).

Ancestry – Yates (Lady Beaumont’s chauffeur) Family Tree

Ernie Yates the chauffeur to Lady Beaumont

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