Swinton Voices Book

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Robert Craig

Swinton’s streets have been walked by an incalculable number of people, most of whom are no longer living but each with many and often whole lifetimes of experiences of Swinton. The aim of this book is to record the memories of Swinton in yesteryear by people still alive today, for the benefit of current and future generations of Swintonians.

I established the ‘Swinton Record’ project in 2008. The goal was to record all names on headstones standing in Saint Margaret’s Churchyard. Within a year, I was looking into the lives behind the names. Before long, I realised that I was researching all of Swinton’s past population. Each person in the Churchyard had a personal story to tell but often lost forever when they died.

The inspiration behind this book was, ‘Memories – Recollections of Rawmarsh people’ that was produced by the Rawmarsh Manor Farm History Group, in 2004, which I read in 2008. I announced the ‘Swinton Voices’ project in January of this year. Rather than publishing a hard copy of ‘Swinton Voices’ and incurring printing costs etc. which might not be recouped, I decided to produce a publication that would be easily accessible to people, regardless of location, free of charge.

I wholeheartedly thank each and every author for submitting an account for the inclusion of this edition; without them, it simply wouldn’t have been possible. I hope that their stories are well read, around the globe, for years to come.

It is desired that this first edition will prove to be an inspiration and catalyst for additional submissions. Accounts of memories as recent as last year would be welcome; what might be deemed as being contemporary now will be considered as being old in years to come. So if you’ve enjoyed reading this book, please submit your own account for inclusion in future editions.

The book is currently only available in PDF format. EPUB and Kindle versions may be available in the future when I have mastered how to render the book correctly in each format.

Download the ‘Swinton Voices’ 2017 edition by clicking here.

Robert Craig, Swinton, Tuesday 12th December 2017

Brunswick Methodist Church

Brunswick Methodist Church, Mexborough - 23.04.08 (11)

Brunswick Methodist Church

This early 20th century church, built in 1911, in the Roman Terrace (Wath Road) area of Swinton (now Mexborough), closed circa 2010. During 2012/2013, it was converted into a private residence.

Prior to Brunswick Church being built, there was an older, 1850s, chapel just next to where the church stands today and which was demolished in the middle of the last century.

Bowbroom, Swinton

245 Queen Street, Swinton

245 Queen Street, Swinton

245 Queen Street, Swinton in 1984 & 2010

245 Queen Street, Swinton in 1984 & 2010

This entry pertains to the Bowbroom area of Swinton, focused on a family that had lived here.

CONTACT FROM AMERICA – In February 2009, David Watts from America contacted me via my website and informed me that one of the photos in my Swinton Record project, pertained to his family tree. I then proceeded to do further genealogical research on David’s behalf which uncovered many remarkable finds.

Bowbroom, Swinton in 1855 & 1892

Bowbroom, Swinton in 1855 & 1892

One of the first amazing discoveries in David’s family tree was that he descends from the Barron and Hartley glassmaking families that had moved to Mexborough from Hunslet (near Leeds) in the first half of the 19th century. David is also connected by marriage to the Kilner glass makers of Conisbrough.

THE STEVENSON FAMILY, BOWBROOM & SWINTON – Bowbroom (also known as Baw Broom and Bow Broom) is a very small area in Swinton, South Yorkshire, and probably few people have heard of the location other than the people that live there. On the 1855 map of Swinton, Bowbroom doesn’t appear to be inhabited by humans whereas, by 1892, there is plenty of activity.

(F) 1862 (Stevenson) - 19.03.09 (2)

William & Catherine Stevenson’s Grave in Saint Margaret’s Churchyard, Swinton

David’s second great grandparents were called William Stevenson and Catherine. William, originally from Ilkeston in Derbyshire, moved to Denaby in South Yorkshire sometime in the 1860s. By the 1881 Census and on the 1891 Census, William is a Grocer and Provisions Dealer at 95 Queen Street, Swinton. By 1901 he is living in the Mexborough end of Swinton on Frederick Street and is recorded as being a retired Publican. William and his descendants had a strong presence in the Bowbroom/Queen Street areas of Swinton and in surrounding neighbourhoods:-

– William’s daughter, Harriet, born circa 1863, married Jonah Jones and together issued at least ten children. Harriet and Jonah are David Watt’s great-grandparents. On the 1891 Census, Jonah is a Licensed Victualler at the Cresswell Arms, 5 Thomas Street (Bowbroom). Presumably, Jonah must have passed on the license of the Cresswell Arms to his brother in law, Fred Walker (see below) who was the Inn Keeper of the Cresswell Arms on the 1901 Census. On the 1901 and 1911 Censuses, Jonah is a Publican/Beerhouse Keeper of the Butchers Arms (Station Street, Swinton).

Lupton's Shop (Queen Street), 1 Manvers Road & 33 Queen Street, Swinton

Lupton’s Shop (Queen Street), 1 Manvers Road & 33 Queen Street, Swinton

– William’s daughter, Lily, born circa 1865, married John William Firth who on the 1901 Census was a Grocer at 90 Dolcliffe Road in Mexborough and then a Grocer at 1 Manvers Road in Mexborough (now converted into a residential dwelling).

– William’s daughter, Hephzibah, born circa 1867, was firstly married to Joe Worby who was a Grocer and Provisions Dealer at 48 Queen Street on the 1891 Census. By the 1901 Census, Joe had died and Hephzibah was married to Fred Walker who was an Inn Keeper at the Cresswell Arms, 5 Thomas Street (Bowbroom). By the 1911 Census, Hephzibah was once again widowed and a Grocer at 33 Queen Street.

Albert Street, Frederick Street & Stephenson Place, Swinton

Albert Street, Frederick Street & Stephenson Place, Swinton

– William’s daughter, Alice, born circa 1873, married Tom Lupton who was a Grocer at 80 Queen Street on the 1901 Census and then a Shopkeeper at 215 Queen Street on the 1911 Census. On Queen Street near to the Bowbroom area, there is a row of terraced houses known as Lupton Buildings. Nearby to these houses was a shop which I remember well and which closed circa 1998.

Bowbroom Wesleyan Reform Church, Swinton - 05.02.16 (1)

Bowbroom Wesleyan Reform Church, Swinton

STEPHENSON PLACE – Hephzibah Jones (1881 to 1951) was a daughter of the above Jonah Jones and Harriet Stevenson. Hephzibah married Samuel Young. Hephzibah and Samuel issued at least six children, one of which was called Hephzibah Young. Hephzibah was born in 1912 at 245 Queen Street (Bowbroom). Hephzibah is the mother of David Watts. Included in this entry are photos of Hephzibah Young (nee Jones) standing outside of 245 Queen Street (Bowbroom).

David’s mother visited her birthplace in 1984. The broken up paving and cobbles of Stephenson Place are visible in the 1984 photo and were visible for many years after – well into the 1990s and possibly even into the 2000s.

Cresswell Arms, Bowbroom W.M.C. & Thomas Street Stores

Cresswell Arms, Bowbroom W.M.C. & Thomas Street Stores

245 Queen Street (where David’s mother was born) was a Grocery shop. I visited this shop many times and it was known locally as Sams’ (the name of the owner (Samuel Whitworth) in the 1970s and 1980s) or the ‘Beer Off’ as it was an Off Licence. I was, in fact, the last customer of this shop circa May 1997. I’d always previously believed that the road (now a dead end) to the left of the shop was formerly Albert Street before Albert Street was rebuilt in the 1970s and further extended in the 1980s. However, after studying maps of the area, I realised that the location of Albert Street has never changed (except for the 1980’s extension). The road next to the shop is in fact known as, Stephenson Place. Although Stephenson Place is visible on maps from the late 19th century onwards, it was not until 1930 that it is given an actual name on a map. I believe that Stephenson Place may have been named as such due to David’s Stevenson ancestors living in the vicinity (I appreciate the difference in spelling although on the 1901 Census it is called Stevenson Street).

Bower Road & Hatherley Road, Swinton

Bower Road & Hatherley Road, Swinton

CHANGES IN BOWBROOM – Noticeable changes in the Bowbroom area since when the Stevenson families lived in the area are:-

– Demolition of the old housing. I remember as a child there being waste ground where what is now the new extension to Albert Street/back of Stephenson Place. There were piles of old bricks and I recall Bonfires taking place on this land.

Dearne & Dove Canal, Swinton - 12.10.95 (b&w)

Dearne & Dove Canal, Bowbroom, Swinton in 1995

– Bower Road and Hatherley Road were created in the late 1930s by Swinton Urban District Council. They were named after prominent Swinton residents, Aquila Bower and Doctor Sydney O. Hatherley.

– The Cresswell Arms pub was rebuilt in the 1940s. Running alongside the modern day Cresswell Arms appears to be the remains of an old access road. I believe that the now redundant road running in front of the Cresswell Arms was perhaps a section of the original Thomas Street.

– The Cresswell estate was erected in the early 1960s, which included new streets in Bowbroom, called Cresswell Road, St Michaels Avenue and Queens Avenue, along with adding houses to Bower Road, Queen Street, and Thomas Street. Thomas Street was extensively redeveloped.

Cresswell Road & St. Michael's Avenue, Swinton

Cresswell Road & St. Michael’s Road, Swinton

– Bowbroom W.M.C. Club, on Thomas Street, was also rebuilt and a row of shops opposite, with flats above, were built.

– The Dearne and Dove canal at Bowbroom was mostly filled in, in the 1960s although small stretches of it still remain today.

– The Chapel was rebuilt in the 1970s in a slightly different location. Originally, it appeared to be set behind housing on Queen Street and accessible from Stephenson Place. It is now located on the corner of Queen Street and Stephenson Place, adjacent to the Grocery shop (245 Queen Street).

Bowbroom, Swinton

Bowbroom, Swinton in the 21st Century

– The 19th-century bridge spanning the Dearne and Dove canal was blown up and rebuilt in the 1970s. The course of Queen Street was slightly altered/straightened when they did this.

Although the majority of the original buildings in the Bowbroom area have been demolished and rebuilt, I’m sure that Bowbroom’s past inhabitants would still recognise the area.

FINALLY – Special thanks are owed to David Watts for the supply of the old photos featured in this entry. Any comments, photos or memories of Bowbroom which people may have, would be appreciated.

Church Hall, Swinton


Swinton’s Church Hall

When Saint Margaret’s Church was erected in 1816, Swinton’s Norman chapel of ease was demolished. In its place was built a Glebe House which in the early 19th century was converted into an infants’ school. A Glebe House is a church house provided for a member of the clergy.

In 1911, the above Glebe House was demolished and in 1913, Saint Margaret’s Church Hall was built in its place. Whilst preparing the land for the construction of the Church Hall, the remains of ten people were found. It is thought that they were victims of the Plague and had been buried in a mass grave. The remains were exhumed and interred in Saint Margaret’s Churchyard.

The Church Hall was, over the years, used for a number of different purposes. As well as serving the Church’s social functions, schoolchildren from the nearby Fitzwilliam School would eat their dinners and perform P.E. here. It was also used by social clubs, such as Swinton’s badminton club.

As of November 2017, the Church Hall is surplus to the requirements of Saint Margaret’s Church and is up for sale.

The Churchyard Question At Swinton

Saint Margaret's Church, Swinton

Saint Margaret’s Church, Swinton



On Thursday, Dr. Hoffman, who had been instructed by the Secretary of State to report on the Swinton Churchyard, attended to inspect it and to take evidence. There were present to meet the Inspector – the Rev. J. Levett (Vicar), Dr. C. S. Blythman (Medical Officer of Health), Mr. E. T. Harrop (Guardian), Mr. Thos. Hattersley and Mr. G. Shaw (Overseers of the Poor), Mr. J. C. Haller (surveyor to the Local Board), and a few other gentlemen. Neither of the churchwardens were present. – Dr. Hoffman remarked that he had sent notices of his visit to the overseers, as well as the churchwardens, because he considers that Dissenters had an interest in the matter, and in fairness they ought to have such notice as well as Churchmen, though his predecessor had only made it a practice to send notices to the Church parties. Evidence was then given by the sexton as to the present capacity of the churchyard, and by Dr. Blythman, who said he could not condemn the burial ground from a sanitary point of view, as it was not injurious to health, being favourably situated. The Inspector then examined the plans prepared by the surveyor, of the enlargement that has just been carried out by the Local Board, also the piece of land that has been added,, and which now forms part of the churchyard. A discussion ensued respecting the consecration of the new portion, the vicar stating that there was no title to it, and Lord Fitzwilliam, he thought, would not be willing to give one. Dr. Blythman was of opinion that Lord Fitzwilliam need not be consulted on the matter, as he had given the land years ago to the parish. – The Vicar contended that it was only given as an approach to the churchyard, and should be used for that purpose. – Dr. Blythman maintained that it was a bona fide gift, and had been in the possession of the parish for a great number of years. – The Vicar thought the Archbishop would consecrate it without title after the lapse of 12 months. – The Inspector said he should report to the Home Office favourably as to what they had done. He saw no necessity to order the churchyard to be closed at present. The land they had added would probably tide them over four or five years, taking into consideration the remaining space at disposal in the old yard. There was nothing to hinder them in the meantime from looking out for another piece of land.

Norman Chapel, Swinton

Remains of Norman Chapel, Swinton

Remains of Swinton’s Norman Chapel

Swinton’s first Church, located at Chapel Hill, was a chapel of ease to Wath and was built in the 12th Century. When the present day Saint Margarets’ was built in 1816, this chapel was demolished. However, John Brameld of Rockingham Pottery saved the chancel arch of this chapel and the doorway and it was re-erected in the vicarage field to the rear of Saint Margaret’s Church. Much of this has since crumbled and has been taken down and buried. Repair work was carried out on the remaining stonework circa 2004.

Saint Michael’s and All Angels’, Swinton



On Saturday afternoon the Bishop of Beverley visited Swinton in connection with the foundation stone laying of the new church which is to be known as St. Michael’s and All Angels’. The Parish Church is situated at the opposite end of the town, and there has been a strong desire on the part of the church people to have a building to accommodate the inhabitants in this thickly populated part of the township. Lord Fitzwilliam had given the land, which is facing the extensive works of Messrs. Hattersley Bros., near White Lee road. The cost of the proposed structure is about £2400, and towards this about £1500 has been realised, including £750 from the well-known Marriott bequest. The architect is Mr. J. D. Webster, of Sheffield, and the contractors are Messrs. Geo. Longden and Son, of Neepsend, Sheffield. The style of architecture is to be Early English, and the edifice is to seat about 180. At present it is not intended to complete the scheme. Underneath the chancel is to be a large meeting room.

The stone-laying was witnessed by several hundred persons as well as the clergy from Mexbro’, Denaby, Conisbro’, Swinton, Kilnhurst, and Thurnscoe. Admiral Douglas attended for the purpose of formally laying the stone, and amongst those present was Mr. Talbot, who represented Earl Fitzwilliam.

Saint Margaret’s Church, Swinton

Saint Margaret's Church, Swinton

Saint Margaret’s Church, Swinton

Saint Margaret’s Church was designed by Mr. Pritchard of York at a cost of around £6,000. Earl Fitzwilliam of Wentworth paid for most of this cost. Saint Margarets’ and the adjoining Churchyard were consecrated on 15th June 1817. Sadly, in 1897, there was a devastating fire in the Church – the tower being the only feature to be saved. The rest of the Church was subsequently rebuilt in a larger form which reopened in 1898.