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Family names from Swannington past and present.  We are adding to the list and are very keen to include new families. Can you help us with yours?

Families featuring in our Village Archive include:

AtkinsThomas Atkins bought the Colliery Manager’s house in 1870 and it became a beer house, The Fountain Inn.

Bailey – 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.

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

 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.

Barkby – 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.

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.

Bradley James Bradley, 56 years, Inn Keeper and Coal Miner,  at the Anchor Inn in 1891 Thringstone.

Brewin – 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.

Burton – Anne Burton the founder of the Juvenile Missionary Association.

Henry Burton 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:

Challoner– 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.

Frank Challoner article.

Cresswell – 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).

Fewkes – 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

Fowkes – 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.

Gray – The 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.

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

Hall – 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.

Hallam – Three generations of the Hallam family (grandfather, four sons and grandson) 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.

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

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

Henson – 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.’

Horrobin – 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 https://swannington-heritage.co.uk/coal-rail/incline/#Incline-Death-1938

Hough – 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.

James – 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.

Jeffcoat – 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.

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

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

Lewis – 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.

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

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

1933 – April 15th John 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.

Moss – 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).

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

Neal – 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.

Newarke – 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.

Pickering – 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.

Orton – The life of Edward Orton 1665-1746, a tanner.

Stacey – 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.


J D Lidwell at the Robin Hood Inn

Walker – 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.

Wileman – 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.

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