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About mikeynma

(c)1972 Sinclair Research Ltd

Swinton Schools

An early record of educational provision was a school provided by the Earl Fitzwilliam for his stable lads who worked at Swinton Racecourse (the racecourse was, in the main, a training grounds which did produce one Lincoln winner between the wars).

A Church School opened on Church Street in 1854, with enlargements in 1900 and 1910. This became known as the Fitzwilliam County School. The buildings remain today as private residences. The Education Board erected a school at Swinton Bridge in 1878 and at Queen Street in 1908.

Queen Street School still serves the children of the town, along with Fitzwilliam Infants, Fitzwilliam juniors and Brookfield Junior and Infant Schools.

Secondary education, including VI form, is provided by Swinton Community School, which started life in 1958 as a teacher-training establishment. Milton School provides special education to children from a wide area.

Swinton’s World Famous Potteries

Thomas Brameld

Thomas Brameld

Edward Butler first established his tile and pot works in Swinton in 1745. The site off Blackamoor Road was ideal for a pottery with clay available on Swinton Common, a reliable water supply, building stone quarried from Wath Wood and coal obtainable from close by.

Eventually, control passed into the hands of the Brameld family, whose technical competence enabled the pottery to become world famous, with an international sales base and royal clients. Rising costs caused the factory to close in 1842. See the picture gallery for examples of the factories fine products.

A further world-famous Swinton Pottery was the Don Pottery at the other end of town, nearby Kilnhust had the Twigg Pottery. Products from these potteries are now highly sought after in the an in the antiques world with collectors of ceramics world-wide maintaining a keen interest in Swintons pots.

Swinton and The Plague

In June 1646 Swinton was infested by the plague which raged in the town until October of that year. Some 59 persons were recorded as victims who died, at that time this represented a third of the population.

During the construction work on Swinton Church Hall in 1913, a mass grave of human remains were uncovered, believed to be plague victims. The remains were re-interred in Swinton churchyard which, at 9 acres, in size is one of the largest open churchyards in the Country.

Swinton’s Places of Worship

Etching of the Chapel of Ease

Etching of the Chapel of Ease

The Norman Chapel of St. Mary Megdalene was built in the second half of the 12th Century as a Chapel of Ease for the Parish of Wath. It stood on the site of the present St. Margarets Church Hall and, at one time, had the towns cross nearby and a set of stocks. Interestingly, Chapel Hill was the site of the towns first pub.

The Chapel may have been the work of the famous Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, who had lands and buildings in Swinton. Sadly, the Chapel was demolished in 1816.

Close by was the Old Hall, believed to be the residence of King Johns principal butler. King John (1199-1216) would have been a house guest when he journeyed in this part of this realm.

The Parish Church of St. Margaret was consecrated on June 15, 1817, the patron being the then Earl Fitzwilliam who gave the land. It wasnt until 1851 that Swinton became a separate parish, independent of Wath and Mexborough.

Saint Margaret's Parish church ,the later extensions can be easily seen.

Saint Margaret’s Parish church ,the later extensions can be easily seen.

On March 24th, 1897, a catastrophic fire burnt down the original church, with only the tower surviving. The present larger church was built on to the old tower and was consecrated on October 28th, 1899.

The clock in the church tower was installed in 1937 to celebrate the Coronation of King George VI.

The rapid industrialisation of the Victorian period lead to extensive housing development and other building in the Swinton Bridge area of the town. To serve this community, St. Michael’s Church was constructed on Whitelea Road as a chapel ease to the main Church. St. Michael’s opened on August 15th, 1901. It is now demolished and no trace of the building remains on the site.

Swinton’s population in 1800 was 653, which by 1901 has exploded to 12,217.

This rapid increase in population corresponded with the building of other churches and chapels. St. Johns Methodist Church was rebuilt in 1910 replacing an original Wesleyan Chapel dating from 1865. A Congregational Church was opened on Station Street in 1902.

A Wesleyan Reform Chapel, The Ebenezer Church, was opened on Milton Street in 1873. This building was demolished in 2000 and modern flats have been built.

In 1869, a Methodist Chapel opened on Bridge Street, being demolished about a century later. Today, other places of Christian Worship occupying later buildings can be found with the Bethany Church, Rowms Lane; Bow Broom Chapel, Queen Street; Zion Gospel Church, Charles Street and the Piccadilly Methodist Church on Piccadilly Road.

Norman Conquest

As we know from our school days, William the Conquerors Norman invasion took place in 1066. William defeated the Saxon King Harolds forces at Hastings after Harold had forced-marched his army from Stamford Bridge, near York.

The Normans began their ascendancy and England was parcelled out to Williams followers as a reward for their services. The Doomsday Book – completed in 1086 – was an audit of the property and resources available to Englands new masters.

At the time of the Doomsday Survey, Swinton was very sparsely inhabited and was an area of mostly waste and wood pasture. We do, however, get an agreement over the place name of Swinton deriving from the old English for Swine Farm. Documents in Latin dating from very ancient times refer to the settlement as Villa Porcorum –  House of Pigs.

The Early Days, the Romans

Swintons very early history may well be associated with the Northern Britons of the Brigantes tribe. The Brigantes held an impressive hill fort at Wincobank and Swintons land most likely came under their lordship.

Coins found at Rockingham Road

Coins found at Rockingham Road

At times during the Roman invasion, the legions had to overcome violent resistance from the Brigantes who would have used natural defences such as rivers in their battle plans. As Swinton is sited on higher ground to the River Don, we can speculate that the area witnessed some desperate hand-to-hand combat.

Evidence of Roman presence has been verified. In 1853, workers digging out a cellar on Rockingham Road uncovered a hoard of 300-400 coins covering the period from 69 to 212 AD. We have no idea who the hoarder was nor what became of him. Further indication of Roman activity is the existence of two roads crossing the area which would have linked the Templeborough Roman fort near Rotherham with territory of the North.

The Romans withdrew back to their capital in around 410AD. Western Europe then entered the Dark Ages. It is believed, however, that Swintons impressive ancient earthwork, the Rig Dyke, was constructed during this period. For many years it was believed that the Dyke dated from the Roman period and it was named the Roman Rig. More recent theories have suggested that the earthworks may well have been a boundary between Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia. The Kingdom of Elmet to the North may also have played a part. The truth of our Rig Dykes origins is shrouded in the mists of time, but we can be sure that Swinton was indeed a borderland.

During the centuries of the Dark Ages, Barbarian tribes such as the Angles and Saxons invaded and settled across much of England. The River Don would have provided a watery highway to assist their migration.

Celebrating Principal Buildings

Ebeneezer Church, Milton Street – Working with the developer the Church’s war memorial was preserved, restored and placed on display in Swinton Library. The buildings date stone was retained on site following demolition and incorporated into the boundary wall.

Hattersley Building, Queens Foundry, Whitelea Road – Working with the developer a descriptive board has been placed at the entrance to this historic building detailing it’s past. The Hattersley Building has been refurbished and converted to office accommodation and secure storage.

Greno House, Fitzwilliam Street – Working with the developer an interpretive board is fitted on site recording the fine property which has been demolished and replaced with modern flats.

Our Achievements

Commemorative plaques have been provided for the following former residents:

James William Iron Hague former British Heavyweight Boxing Champion – Plaque Location – Montagu Arms, Mexborough.

Herbert Crossley – British Novice Heavyweight

Harry Crossley – British Cruiser Weight (Champions) – Plaque Location – Queen Street, Swinton.

Harry’s boxing gloves are on display in a specially made display cabinet in Swinton Library as are the brothers’ framed fight records.

William Arthur Morris, Pitman’s Poet and Grandfather of Hollywood Mega-star Julie Andrews – Plaque Location –Corner of  Temperance Street, Swinton.

Alfred Liversidge – Britain’s Fastest Man and trainer of Jem Mace – Plaque Location – Station Hotel, Station Street.

Tony Capstick – Singer, Songwriter, Actor & Broadcaster – Plaque Location – “Cappos Corner” Rowms Lane, Swinton.


Swinton Town Cross – Restoration and re-siting to original location of Swinton Medieval Market, Town or Butter Cross which was at risk.

Location – Chapel Hill Green, Swinton

Funding – Grant from Swinton Community Partnership


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Noteable Individuals

Douglas Liversidge, Author and Polar Explorer – Photograph and text in Swinton Library celebrating the life of this former resident. Douglas Liversidge Collection presented to Library (collected works of the author).

James Randerson, National Union of Mineworkers Official & Councillor – Photograph and text in Swinton Library celebrating the life of this former resident. Memorial tablet from former Manvers Main Colliery Canteen relocated and displayed.

Simon Licence, World War 1 Casualty – Soldiers memorial (death penny) purchased and placed on public display with photograph and text in Kilnhurst Community Centre.

Memorial to James William (Iron) Hague – Funded to mark his grave site in Mexborough Cemetery (in collaboration with Mexborough Heritage and Mr G Schofield).