Tag Archives: swinton

Alfred Liversidge

Alfred Liversidge

Alfred Liversidge

Alfred Liversidge – England’s Fastest Man and the Boxing Trainer of the last of the bare knuckle heavyweight champions ,Gem Mace.

This book charts Swinton resident Alfred’s life as a professional sportsman, boxing trainer and gambler. It follows a lot of the fights had by Gem Mace whilst under Alfred’s control.Such characters as Posh Bill ,Ned Obaldwin (the Irish Giant)all fought Mace and Alfred was there.

Well illustrated it is a nice little book for anyone interested in boxing or local history.


Cost £3.50

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.

Local History & Heritage Fairs

Project advice and support given to Potters Corner Heritage lottery project Swinton Churchyard including restoration of significant memorials, Norman Stonework, mounting of interpretive plaques, guide book, guided tours for Schools and Scout Groups and general public, celebration evening at the end of the project.

Numerous presentations offered to a range of organisations e.g. Rotary Clubs, Scout Organisations, local history groups on a range of subjects.

Frequent work with Schools, visits etc.

Production of Swinton Then & Now Calender in 2004, old photos with modern shots.

Advice given on Street naming to retain local pride and interest in area e.g. Horsefair Close, Hartley Close, Twigg Court, Kew Close.

Many enquiries dealt with for family and local historians, researchers, individual tours given, consultancy services. T.V. & Radio broadcasts.

Free Public Film Show of The Black Diamonds South Yorkshire’s Mining History.

Purchased hand made Oak Cabinet for display of local pottery in Swinton Library, certain pieces purchased and donations sought out.(Funds raised at a gala dinner).

Sponsors of Children’s reading schemes at Swinton Library.(Funds provided from sale of goods).

Facilitated National Council for Metal Detecting sweep of public land, permissions, residents leaflet etc.

Heritage items purchased or received as donations including Swinton Iron, 1860 Auction poster, minute books, Hattersley Archive, ephemera.

Re-launched with Swinton Comprehensive School Swinton Town Crest as a presentation item for international visitors and for public sale.

News Update

We continue to deliver talks and interviews when asked.  Recent engagements have included BBC Radio Sheffield, Mexborough and District Heritage Society, Radio Nightingale for Rotherham Hospitals and the Rotherham Branch University of the Third Age.

A further royalties cheque was presented to St Margaret’s Church proceeds from the sale of “Potters Corner”.

Mike Hawthorn Plaque

Mike Hawthorn and Stirling Moss

Mike Hawthorn and Stirling Moss

Visitors to our web-site and those who take an interest in our activities will be aware of the series of commemorative plaques that we have provided in recognition of local people and their achievements. Our latest plaque has been erected in honour of Britain’s first Formula One world champion Mike Hawthorn who was born and raised in Mexborough. Funding for the plaque came in a large part from the sale proceeds of the DVD “A Mexborough Time Machine”. Additional donations enabled a fine granite plaque in our green colour scheme, with an iconic photograph of Mike affixed as a ceramic tile.

The unveiling event was an outstanding success, with a display of classic Jaguar cars provided by the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club and Ferrari cars displayed by their local owners.  We received considerable support from Hatfields Jaguar Ltd, of Sheffield and worked with public relations consultants Harrison Cowley.  The stars of the show were the D type Jaguar car, driven by Mike Hawthorn to victory in the 1955 Le Mann and a 1934 Riley car also owned and raced by Mike.  The cars were kindly allowed to be displayed by their current owners and the D type went on to be exhibited in the Hatfields Showroom.  Mike’s fiancée Jean Ireland (nee Howarth) unveiled the plaque in perfect weather before several hundred local people and enthusiasts.  An exhibition about Mike’s life and impressive sporting achievements was put together by Mexborough Heritage member Julia Ashby, this was displayed in the town’s library.  The location of the plaque is on the wall of the Intersport Shop at the junction of High Street and Hope Street.  Further information about this project can be viewed on a magnificent web-site operated by Nigel Webb, simply type in Mikes name and it will show up.

Future Plans

We continue to receive enquiries to our web-site from people near and far.  Numbers of enquiries have come from North America and recently we have been in correspondence with someone in Kabul,Afghanistan making enquiries about Swinton’s rich heritage.  Feedback is always appreciated and we will do our best to respond to enquiries.

Looking to our future work programme.  A local resident has recently identified to us what we believe to be a tooled stone block which has the original Mason’s mark of Swinton’s 12th Century Normanchapel.  Stone from the chapel has been reused a number of times and this precious historical artefact currently forms part of a wall.  We intend to recover this and place the stone in safe keeping. A further book “Civic Lives” the story of the Harrop family of Swinton. Is nearing completion and it is hoped this will be ready for Easter 2007.  The Harrop family were intertwined with the civic, legal and charitable aspects of Swinton life for more than a century.  The book will reveal much previously unpublished detail of the history of the district and the major contribution that Harrop family members made to the advancement of the township.

Longer term a further picture and captions book is planned to be published on Old Swinton, Kilnhurst and possibly Mexborough.

Thanks to the generosity of local people and our own research we have available many previously unpublished photographs showing aspects of life, work, play, transportation, worship and infrastructure in this part of Yorkshire.

As our bank balance is virtually empty following the payments we have had to make for our recent events, fundraising will need to be addressed in the near future.  Heritage plaques and publisher costs do not  come cheap, we will, however, maintain our commitment to celebrating and sharing the heritage of our locality and its’ people.