There were four Martin Swindells in succeeding generations.
We differentiate them by adding I, II, III or IV. Likewise, there
were two Francis Swindells, marked I and II. Not all of them are
covered in these histories.
Francis Swindells II (1763-1823)
His father was a farmer living at Disley Hall (precise whereabouts
not known). Francis is said to have run away from home when he
was 16 in 1779 owing to the severity with which his father had
treated him. After some exciting adventures he reached London and
took service as a groom to a gentlemen. On one occasion as he was
taking his master's family by night in a coach over Hounslow Heath
[London Heathrow airport today], he was attacked by a highwayman.
By that time he had risen to be coachman, but he was riding as
a Post-Boy, because at that time the coachman did sit on the box,
nor drive as done now . But regardless of the threats of
the robbers and of the fact that they fired at him, he rode furious
on and brought the family safely within the gates of his master's
grounds. He married one of the servants of the house, of the name
of Litton, and having saved money, returned to his native country.
He and his brother came into Stockport together to settle there
and it was said of them that they were the two finest looking men
who had ever come to Stockport. There he began life again as a
cotton manufacturer and went on successfully for some time. Family
Martin Swindells I (1784-1843)
1830 he moved from Manchester to live at Pott Hall, Pott Shrigley
(he rented it), in order to run his new Clarence mill at Bollington.
He owned or rented most mills in Bollington at various times, employing
over 2,000 people.
having converted to Methodism at the age of 18, Martin was instrumental
in the building of the Methodist
Bollington, and, later, the Kerridge
Wesleyan chapel; he also paid
for refreshments at the opening of St
John's Church in 1834.
He was a Proprietor of the Macclesfield
Canal Co. Clarence
mill was totally dependent on the canal for transport of raw
material in and finished product out so being close to the canal
management would have been very important to him.
He was a subscriber to the London & Birmingham Railway Co.
No doubt he recognised the coming importance of railways, despite
being dependent on the Macclesfield canal, and would want to use
his influence where he could for the benefit of his business. The
railway didn't reach Bollington until 25 years after his death.
He built Limefield House behind Clarence Mill.
He left this to his daughter Anne and her husband Joseph
He built Rock Bank House for himself and Hannah but died before
he was able to occupy it.
"When quite young he was sent to his grandparents at Macclesfield
and remained with them until he was 13 or 14 years old. Martin
was very fond of music, and one day a regiment of soldiers passed
through the town with a brass band, he followed them all the way
to Stockport and enlisted as a Drummer boy. But he was found by
his parents and was bought off or got off somehow. He then went
to live with them and helped his father in the cotton mill." There
is much more about Martin's early years in the
notes left by Emma Brooke.
Martin & Hannah had six children. Hannah (nee Shepley) predeceased
Martin in 1839. Martin then married Eleanor Robinson. Martin Swindells
died at Pott Hall 11 March 1843.
Martin Swindells II (1814-1880)
After the death of his father, Martin Swindells I, in 1843, Martin
II, together with Joseph
on the business as partners. But they gave up all the
mills except Clarence (this was before Martin and brother George
Martin converted to Methodism in 1851.
The family were generous subscribers
to the Wesleyan Church.
On 18 July 1855 Martin lost a leg in a serious accident
at the mill when material or mechanism being lifted slipped and
fell on him.
He built Adelphi mill with his brother George,
opening it in 1856. Adelphi is Greek for 'two brothers'.
Martin retired on 13th January 1869 and left
the mills; his son Frederick took over. In
1872 he and his wife Francis (nee Brooke) moved to Cambridge.
In Bollington they had lived at Rock Bank House, adjacent to Clarence
mill, and this was sold to Fred Wilkinson, who was a director of
the company, Brooke, Swindells & Co.
Martin married Francis Brooke in 1834. She died in 1846 at the
young age of 33. They had four children. Martin then married Charlotte
Rowley and they had six children. Martin died at Cambridge in 1880
aged 66. Charlotte went on to the grand age of 85, dying in 1909.
Frederick Swindells (1845- )
Frederick was the son of Martin Swindells II, and born in 1845.
He became the company secretary of Brooke & Swindells & Co. with
an office at Clarence before taking over the management of Clarence
and Adelphi mills on the retirement of his father, Martin II, in
1869. In the same year he married a lady by the name of Emma Davies
but this was disapproved of by his father. He
lived at Rock Cottage, Kerridge, but by 1886 he and Emma were living
at Rose Cottage, Endon, Kerridge. They had four children. Family
In 1871 his salary was £120pa, in 1872 it was raised to £200pa,
and by 1878 he was paid £298.2s.7d.
George Swindells (1820-1897)
George was another son of Martin Swindells I, brother of Martin
II, and born in 1820. He studied Law at the Inner Temple until
his father's death in 1843 then returned to Bollington and the
mill. He built Adelphi mill with his brother, Martin II, completed
George was a Director of the Macclesfield,
Bollington & Marple
Railway Company, which built the railway in the late 1860s, opening
He succeeded to Pott Hall after the death of his father. He married
Elizabeth Cawley and they had one child, George Cawley Swindells,
before her death from pneumonia when she was just 45. The pictures
of George and his wife Elizabeth are of busts by Alfred
niece, Emma Frances Brooke, made
notes of a conversation with George in April 1885 from which
much of our knowledge about the family is drawn.
George Cawley Swindells (1849-1924)
Son of George Swindells, born 1854. Little is known about his
He married Eleanor Maud Hillier. He and Maudie, as she was known,
both converted to Catholicism which caused a considerable rift
in the family which on Maud's father, Charles', side was strong
Church of England and on her mother Eliza's side, evangelical,
dissenting. They had four children, one son being Geoffrey Hillier
Swindells who went into the mill. Family
Geoffrey Hillier Swindells (1874-1918)
Son of George Cawley Swindells, Geoffrey became manager of Adelphi
mill. He went into the army during WWI and became Colonel of the
4th Battalion Cheshire Regiment. He died in action in France on
1st August 1918 aged 44.
from A Century of the Wesleyan Methodist
Church of Bollington, W.H. Lake (1908), p.48.
from the same, p.54.
Emma Brooke's notes. See page devoted to this.
Emma Brooke's notes. See page devoted to this.
My thanks go to those who researched and discovered the history
that is presented in these pages. Please
read the full acknowledgement of their remarkable achievement.
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