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Burton Family

A Thousand Voices Sang Henry Burtons Ode For Queen Victoria’s Jubilee

The Burton family made a major contribution to Swannington during their 150 years in the village.  Burton’s Lane is named after where they lived, they donated land for the first Wesleyan Methodist Chapel and they achieved prominence within the Methodist Movement.  A prominence that was recognised when Henry Burton wrote the words for Queen Victoria’s jubilee ode performed at the Royal Albert Hall.


Burton’s Farm and Hoo Ash Farm

James Burton 1773-1851 farmed at Burton’s Yard at the top of Burton’s Lane.  Henry Burton described the yard as a square occupied on one and a bit sides, the rest being a barn, stables and other farm buildings.

After the death of Henry’s grandfather, the family farm at the top of Burton’s Lane was sold and the proceeds divided between James’ four sons.  Henry’s father, also Henry, moved to Hoo Ash farm, found the shortage of water too onerous and the family emigrated to the United States in 1856.  The advertisement selling the farm stock is on the Hoo Ash Farm page.


James Burton who farmed at Burton's Yard (top of Burtons Lane) provided the land for the chapel off the jitty near the Stone House - Ordnance Survey map 1903
Description of Burton's Yard by Henry Burton

Original Wesleyan Methodist Chapel

In 1989 Margaret Muriel Burton wrote the following about her grandfather – Henry Burton was born in 1840 in Burton House Swannington near Ashby-de-la-Zouch.  It was a rambling farmhouse where the family had lived for 200 years.   Two generations at least had been ardent Methodists.  His grandfather was a steward and class leader in the local society and his grandmother founded the first juvenile Missionary Society in Methodism in 1814.

Swannington born James Burton 1773-1851 and Ann Merriman 1770-1832 from Shepshed met through their Methodist Societies.  They were both ardent Methodists and married in Shepshed in 1800.

James Burton gave the land for the original Wesleyan Methodist Chapel which it is believed was built around 1800.  A new chapel was built in 1908 and the old one sold to Thomas Atkins for £180 in 1909.

Juvenile Missionary Association

Ann Burton formed a society of monthly contributors to Mission Funds, consisting of her Six children and the children of a neighbour’s family.  In 1818 she proposed to her family that they should abstain from the use of butter and sugar one day weekly, and through this practise of self-denial nine. pence a week, in addition to their ordinary subscription of a shilling, was contributed to foreign missions.  This was continued for the fourteen years of Mrs. Burton’s life, and from this source alone she had the privilege of remitting twenty-six guineas to the funds of the Society.  The first report of the Wesleyan Missionary Society contains the record of £1 6s. as being collected by the Juvenile Association at Swannington.  The reports of the four following years show as follows ; 1819, £1 7s 6d, 1820 £1 16s 6d, 1821 £2 7s and 1822 £6 11s 9d.  Over succeeding years as the concept spread tens of thousands of pounds were raised for mission work.

Origins of the Juvenite Missionary Association

Henry Burton 1840-1930 Methodist Hymn Writer

Henry Burton was born in Swannington in 1840 at the family farm at the top of Burton’s Lane.

Henry returned from America in 1865 and became a Methodist minister.  In 1871 Henry married Ellen Williams Pearse (daughter of a chemist in Cambourne, Cornwall) in London.  The birth places of their children demonstrate how much they moved around the country for Henry’s ministry:

  • Frances Ethel Burton, St Pancras, Middlesex, 1873
  • Henry Kingsley Burton, Farnham, Lancashire, 1875
  • Hilda Burton, Bradford, Yorkshire, 1879
  • Nellie Muriel Burton, Cardiff, Glamorgan, 1881
  • Howard Norley Burton, Acton, Middlesex, 1884


For the last couple of decades of his life Henry remained in West Kirby, Cheshire.  Henry wrote the words to about 30 Methodist hymns, the words can be viewed on the hymnary website.  Some were translated into German and Norwegian.

Henry Burton
Methodist obituary Henry Burton died 1930