16 Apr 2016

A drive round some North Warwickshire churches

by Di Swinfield

Last week, we spent three days at the Who Do you Think you Are? Live event at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. On the way home, we realised we were close enough to Swinfield country to take a short detour and photograph some churches we haven't visited before. These places will be of particular interest to the Australian Swinfields who are descended from the two brothers, John and William, who emigrated to New South Wales in the middle of the 19th century.

St Mary, Atherstone

Atherstone church is where Edward Swinfield was baptised in 1834 and married in 1866. Edward was the son who did not travel to Australia with his parents, John and Mary Ann, but found work as a planter in St Kitts.

St Peter, Mancetter

Edward's younger sister, Mary, was the ancestress of Ruth Cuff of Tasmania. Mary was baptised at Mancetter in 1840. Their parents, John Swinfield and Mary Ann Bates, had married there in 1833 and sailed on the ill-fated 1852 voyage of the Beejapore.

Holy Trinity, Hartshill

The family lived in the neighbouring village of Hartshill, which is also where we believe John (William) Swinfield was baptised in 1838. He was the son of  brother William, who emigrated in 1848, and his first wife, Sarah Ballard. Among their descendants are Cheryl Cooper and Andrew, Helen, Pamela and Linda Swinfield, all born in New South Wales and living in Australia today.

These three churches are less than three miles apart and the brothers would have been very familiar with all of them.