The Village of Swynnerton

Swynnerton Village

'The History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire' by William White in 1851 described Swynnerton as...

"... a small neat village, in an elevated and healthy situation, four miles NW by W of Stone, giving name to a parish extending upwards of six miles in length from north to south, but only from one to two miles in breadth, and containing about 4825 acres of land."

Re-enactment of Charter ceremony A charter was granted by Edward I to Sir Roger de Swynnerton on August 15th 1306 for the holding of an annual fair in the village of Swynnerton, on the feast of the Assumption of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The 700th anniversary of that event was celebrated by the holding of a Medieval Festival and a reenactment of the Charter ceremony at Swynnerton in 2006. (This photograph of the re-enactment, right, shows Lord and Lady Stafford in the front row playing the King and Queen, and Roger and Elizabeth Swynnerton behind them playing Sir Roger and Margaret.)

When Sir John Swynnerton returned from the Crusades he rebuilt the old Chapel in thanksgiving for his safe return. Sir John's tomb Traces of the old Saxon building can still be seen in the otherwise Norman arch which gives entrance to the church. His tomb (see right) can still be seen in the chancel of the church today. The church was repaired and enlarged in 1844. Statue of Christ the King In the Fitzherbert Chapel adjoining the chancel, where the earlier Fitzherberts were buried, is an eight-foot high statue of Christ suffering as a mock king (see left). Legend has it that this was buried by the villagers to prevent it being vandalised or destroyed by Cromwell's troops. It was dug up after the Restoration and placed over the main door of the church, and subsequently rehoused in the chapel.

Sir John and his descendants continued to live in the old castle even after the last of the original line, Swynnerton Church Humphrey Swynnerton, died without a male heir on the 25th August 1562. The estate had passed to the Fitzherbert family by the marriage of Humphrey's younger daughter Elizabeth to William Fitzherbert, son of Sir Anthony Fitzherbert of Norbury in Derbyshire in 1562. However, the Fitzherberts were staunch Catholics, and the end came for the old castle in 1643 when the village was burnt, the manor house damaged, and the castle reduced to rubble by Parliamentary troops led by Colonel Stone. Swynnerton Hall

The manor house was rebuilt after the Restoration, but about 1729 a grand new house was built by Thomas Fitzherbert having first removed the village to the back of the site so that he could enjoy untrammelled views! This is the present Swynnerton Hall and is the home of Francis Melfort William Fitzherbert, Lord Stafford, the title having passed to this branch of the family on the death of Fitzherbert Stafford Jerningham of Costessey Hall, Norfolk, in 1913.

Close to the hall is a handsome Catholic Chapel, in the Gothic style, built by Thomas Fitzherbert, with a small house for the chaplain. The chapel has an elaborately rich roof, and a handsome tribute for the family.