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Swindon

"SWINDON, a parish, post and market town, in the hundred of Kingsbridge, county Wilts, 7 miles from Highworth, 10 from Marlborough, and 41 N. of Salisbury. It is an important station on the Great Western railway, where the Cheltenham Union branches off. This place is situated on a hill near the Wilts and Berks canal, which passes about half a mile from the town, and has here a reservoir of 70 acres. The parish contains the hamlet of Castcott, and is mentioned in Domesday Book as Svindune. It is a polling-place for the county elections, and a petty sessions town.

 

The locomotive department belonging to the Great Western Railway Company was removed here from Wootton-Basset in 1841, and hence the rapid increase and prosperity of the place. The works afford employment to many. There are some extensive stone quarries in the neighbourhood, producing immense blocks of Purbeck stone. Druidical remains are to be seen at Brome. The hill on which the town stands is sand, but all below and around the hill is clay. There are a mechanics' institute, first-class railway hotel, two banks, and a savings-bank, in the town, which is called New Swindon, and in 1861 contained a population of 4,167, the population of the whole parish being 6,856.

 

The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol, value £302, in the patronage of the lord chancellor. The church is dedicated to the Holy Rood. There is also the district church of St. Mark's, the living of which is a perpetual curacy,* value £120. The parochial charities produce about £162. There are two chapels for the Dissenters. Swindon Lawn is the principal residence. Market day is on Monday. Cattle fairs are held every other Monday, also on the Monday before 5th April, second Monday after 12th May, and 11th September, and on the second Monday in December."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]

 

Swindon is a borough 34 miles North of Salisbury. Grid Ref SU157839 for Old Town. Postcode SN1 3HE. Population 1,742 in 1831, 68,953 in 1951. The railway works established at New Swindon in 1842 led to expansion from a small market town to the largest industrial town of Wiltshire.

Archives and Libraries

  • Swindon Local Studies Collection holds a number of useful resources for family historians. After various temporary homes it is now in its permanent location in a new building - Swindon Central Library, Regent Circus, Swindon. They have an online collection of photos on Flickr - see Description and Travel, below.

  • The National Monuments Record Centre in Swindon, presently under the Days Out section of English Heritage, has collections covering the nation's archaeology, buildings and maritime sites. The Centre is on the Great Western Village, off Kemble Drive. It is a short walk from Swindon railway station, and ten minutes from Junction 16 of the M4. NMR Public Services, National Monuments Record Centre, Kemble Drive, Swindon SN2 2GZ. There is also a Public Search Room at 55 Blandford Street, London W1H 3AF. Note that the National Monuments Record suggests you contact them before visiting, most searches are done in advance of visits.

  • Images of England, part of the National Monuments Record, is building a digital library of photographs of England's 370,000 Listed Buildings. Text and images will be available on their site in 2002 - and many thousands are there now for you to view.

 

Cemeteries

Churches

You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Swindon area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

Church Records

  • Common to all parishes is a Key to Abbreviations and a description of Church Records and Indexes for Wiltshire, including a complete Marriage Index for the county.

  • Churches listed here are those where we know about indexes to registers, generally churches started before 1837. There are more churches with registers - see National Index of Parish Registers.

  • Indexes and registers of the parish church of Swindon, Christchurch: (Christ Church was built in 1851, and the former parish church of Holy Rood at The Lawn was demolished then)

  • Indexes and registers of the parish church of Swindon (or New Swindon), St Mark:

    • WSRO registers: Chr 1845-1966, Mar 1846-1990, Bur 1845-1881
    • IGI Chr 1845-1874 Batch C054661 (as New Swindon, St Marks)
  • Indexes and registers of Swindon, Wesleyan Circuit:

    • Registers at PRO, piece RG4 2065, 2629
    • IGI Chr 1817-1856 Batch C078001
  • Indexes and registers of Swindon, Independent church at Newport Street:

    • Registers at PRO, piece RG4 2243
    • IGI Chr 1804-1837 Batch C077991

Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Swindon which are provided by:
  • Swindonweb has descriptions and history of the Old Town and of the Railway village (New Swindon) and has good old photographs of the area. There are also images of many Swindon buildings and streets on Jim Fisher's Buildings and Views of Swindon and his Residential Streets and buildings of Swindon.

  • Swindon Local Studies has published their collection of Swindon Photos on Flickr, with an Index of Tags and a Map.

  • British Pathe films of Swindon
    Newsreel film clips from 1918 to 1969, some railway related, some military related, some municipal, some quirky. Clips can be viewed free, but the web pages also have unrelated advertisements.

  • Description in 1830:

    Swindon is a market town in the hundred of Kingsbridge, eighty miles from London, thirty-eight from Salisbury, nineteen from Devizes, and eleven from Marlborough; pleasantly seated on the banks of the Wilts and Berks canal, by which navigation the trade of this place is much facilitated; - Mr William Dunsford, whose residence is at the Wharf, is the superintendent. Adjoining the church yard is a fine spring of water, which turns a corn mill within fifty yards of its source; and about a mile and a half south of the town is a reservoir, covering upwards of seventy acres, for supplying the canal. The population of the entire parish, according to the census of 1821, consisted of 1,580 inhabitants. [Extract from Pigot & Co's National Commercial Directory for Cornwall, Dorsetshire, Devonshire, Somersetshire and Wiltshire, 1830]

Gazetteers

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Swindon has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

History

Maps

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SU157839 (Lat/Lon: 51.553722, -1.774963), Swindon which are provided by:

 

Societies

You can also see Family History Societies covering the nearby area, plotted on a map. This facility is being developed, and is awaiting societies to enter information about the places they cover.