Leader: Anne Horton
20 July 2021
For our July event we were once more able to meet in person to explore the neighbouring village of Swithland. Our chair, Anne Horton, had prepared a “treasure trail” with a series of 20 questions that drew our attention to some of the many listed buildings and other interesting features of the village.
After a brief detour to see the station-that-might-have-been, we gathered in the churchyard, where Anne was very much at home, having been Rector of the parish for many years. Many of the graves to be seen there are carved from the famous Swithland slate so they are extremely well preserved. They range from the elaborate tomb of Sir John Danvers to two modest but very early headstones from 1673. A campaign by parishioners successfully resulted in the medieval font being returned from Scotland and it now stands close to the East Door.
Anne also arranged for us to visit the historic Hall Farm, where we peeked inside one of the two 18th century barns and admired its timber roof.
The remainder of the trail followed Main Street, where the village school and many of the old cottages were built or restored by the Danvers family of Swithland Hall. A heraldic symbol of the family was the wyvern – a kind of dragon without hind legs – and its image can be seen in various places. The Wyvern was also the original name of the village pub but through time it became corrupted to the Griffin Inn. We ended our tour at the war memorial and the adjoining Memorial Hall, where a plaque was placed in the year 2000 to commemorate the many generations of local people who worked in the slate industry.