A Brief History of Swinderby Village

A Brief History of Swinderby Village.

The first firm historical evidence of the existence of Swinderby comes from the Domesday Book of 1086, where it was recorded under the jurisdiction of Eagle. In the twelfth century, King Stephen (circa 1092–1154) granted the Manor of Eagle to the military-religious order the Knights Templar. Soon after, Henry II (1135–1189) also granted the Knights Templar the churches of Eagle, Swinderby and North Scarle. The order had previously established an infirmary for the sick and elderly nearby at Eagle Hall, where traces of earthworks still survive today.

On the Pope’s orders in 1312, the Knights Templar were disbanded and stripped of their land and other assets. Hence, in 1323 the manor and Rectory of Swinderby were transferred to a new order, the Knights Hospitaller. A period of stable ownership followed, until they too were disbanded. In 1544, on payment of a fee, the manor of Swinderby was given to Richard Disney (D’Isney) of Norton Disney and William Ryggs of Clerkenwell, London.

In 1628, Richard’s grandson, Sir Henry Disney (1569–1641), started the enclosure of 929 acres of common land and 1180 acres of moor and waste land. The enclosure of this land was completed by Sir Henry’s son, John. He also built several cottages for the poor and gave those who lived there graz- ing rights at nominal rents along the lanes and on 20 acres of land. Most of the land and the cottages were eventually sold in the late eighteenth centu- ry and the money was used to establish a Poor Trust which still operates for the benefit of parishioners today.

In 1771, listings by the Reverend John Disney (1746–1816) reveal that the village at that time hosted two blacksmiths, one butcher, 17 farmers, three wheelwrights, one weaver, one schoolmaster and three publicans. The total population of the village was 224, and it wasn't until the mid-nineteenth century that this grew to over 500. The 2011 census recorded the population of Swinderby Parish at 648, with only one public house (The Plough) on the High Street.

The present school was built in 1849 and replaced the original school room at the far end of the High Street. The old school room became the village’s reading (and events) room for a period, while the schoolmaster and his family continued to live in the adjacent schoolhouse well into the twentieth century.

The building became less important in the 1920s, when an officers’ mess was brought from Newark, re-erected and used for 50 years as the village hall, named by locals as the ‘Victory Hut’. The first extension to the village hall was built in 1977, with the original building being finally demolished in 1990 when another extension was constructed.

Built early in the nineteenth century, the vicarage is now a residential school for children with severe learning difficulties or challenging behaviours. Other than the church, the oldest building in the village is believed to be Manor House on the High Street, dating from the late seventeenth century. There are a number of other listed buildings in the village, including the signal box at the station.

The first Methodist chapel was built in the village in 1824 on land which had once been a small orchard owned by a Mr. Wilkinson. This was re- placed by the present building, in 1869, when it was possible to enlarge the chapel because of further land acquisitions.

RAF Swinderby, on the opposite side of the Fosse Way, was first operational on 14th September 1940 when Polish airmen flew to attack a target at Boulogne Harbour. In 1942, RAF Swinderby started to focus on training recruits and by March 1943 there were over 3,000 personnel based at the station. After the war it continued to train recruits until its closure in 1993.