Family History Notebook

George Swindle / Swinney

Son of Edward Swindle and Eleanor Swindle, born 16 February 1800 at Urpeth, baptised 23rd March 1800 in Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham

Married Dorothy Reavely on the 3rd of June 1821 in All Saints, Newcastle (died 9th January 1880)


Margaret, born on the 3rd of July 1822 in Gateshead, baptised on the 15th of December 1822 in Gateshead
Edward, born at Reckington, Gateshead Fell on the 26th of October 1823, baptised on the 14th of March 1824 in Gateshead
John, born at Wreckinton on the 1st of July 1825, baptised on the 4th of September 1825 in Gateshead
Eleanor (Ellen), born at Wreckenton, baptised on the 12th of August 1827 at St John, Gateshead Fell
Thomas, born at Wreckenton, baptised on the 29th of March 1829 at St John, Gateshead Fell
Dorothy, born at Wreckenton, baptised on the 5th of August 1832 at St John, Gateshead Fell
George, born at Wreckenton, baptised on the 12th of March 1837 at St John, Gateshead Fell

Died on the 24th of May 1869 in Upper Heworth

PersonID 05089


0    Text in red represents information obtained from the internet (family trees etc) which I have not yet confirmed.

1    In the baptism entries, George Swinney was an engineman

2    Wrekenton
The antiquarian John Hodgson claimed to have named the village. He wrote, "After the enclosure of the common [Gateshead Fell] (in 1822), Mr Watson, of Warburton Place, Carrhill, founded a considerable village at this place, which, at my suggestion, he called Wrekenton." This name was chosen because Wrekenton and Eighton Banks were divided by the remains of the Wrekendyke Roman road. (Wikipedia)
Wrekenton is perhaps one mile south of Heworth.

3    High Heworth Colliery was first sunk in 1710 on land near the present Fiddlers public house on Albion Street, under the ownership of Mr Blackett. This pit was worked out by 1819, so new shafts were sunk on a new site not far away on land adjacent to the present Whitehill Drive, which was ready to work in 1821. This pit had 3 shafts, John, Ada and Fanny, the old shaft from the original workings, which was used as the ventilation shaft for the new pit. The concrete cap over the Fanny shaft (the original 1710 pit) can still is seen today on the field opposite the junction of Barton Road.
Heworth Colliery had 5 owners over its 142 year history; Mr Blackett who owned the original High Heworth Colliery and oversaw the opening of Heworth Colliery in 1821, had the colliery until the 1850s when it went into the ownership of J B Pearson & Co for the relevantly short period of 10 years, when it then passed to Henderson, Anderson & Co in the 1860s. The next owners had the colliery from 1883 until1906.  The Heworth Coal Co Ltd ran the colliery from 1906 before the colliery was taken into public ownership of the National Coal Board (NCB) in 1947, who eventually closed the pit on the 29th June 1963. 
by Marie McNichol

4    A master shifter was in charge of the shifters, whose job was to keep the colliery roadways and passages clear.

5    Enginewright - A person employed to build or repair steam engines. (Oxford English Dictionary)


a)    1841 UK census    George Swinney is an enginewright in Heworth, County Durham, with seven children
        1851 UK census    George Swinney, 51, born Pit-Hill, is a colliery engineering [..] living in Heworth with his wife and 4 of his children.
        1861 UK census    George is an enginewright in Heworth, with his wife Dorothy.
        1871 UK census    Dorothy, now widowed, is living with her married daughter Dorothy Burdess in Hebburn

b)    The death of George Swinney was registered in the second quarter of 1869 in the Gateshead district (10a 364)

c)    Storey Family Tree 2 on Ancestry

d)    National Probate register 1870?
SWINNEY George 19 June. The Will of George Swinney late of Upper Heworth in the Parish of Jarow in the County of Durham Engine Wright deceased who died 24 May 1869 at Upper Heworth aforesaid was proved at Durham by the oath of John Swinney of Ouston Colliery near Chester-le-Street in the County aforesaid Engine Wright the Son one of the Executors. Effects under 600. Double Probate passed at Durham January 1870.

National Probate Register
SWINNEY Dorothy    4 January   Administration of the personal Estate of Dorothy Swinney late of Western-road Jarrow in the County of Durham widow who died 2 January 1880 at Western-road was granted at Durham to John Swinney of Ouston Colliery Chester-le-Street in the said County Engineer the Son and one of the Next of Kin.   Personal Estate under 300.

e)    Illustrated London News
Saturday 6th. August 1859

Fatal Colliery Accident.

On Saturday morning last an accident occurred at High Heworth Colliery, by which two lives were lost. The master shifter, George Swinney, and two men named Mould and Dixon, were employed in the shaft suspended in the cage making some repairs, when a portion of the brattice gave way, and came down upon them, breaking the chain of the cage, causing it to hang on one side. Swinney clutched hold of the chain and hung there till he was rescued. Dixon and Mould fell to the bottom of the pit (a distance of 200 yards), and Dixon's body, coming in contact with a bunting, was cut completely in two. Mould's body was found at the bottom of the pit, headless.

f)    Grave memorial pictures Heworth courtesy of jsy727gbr posted on Ancestry.

George Swinney 1800 - 1869

George Swinney 1800 - 1869

affectionate remembrance
George Swinney
of High Heworth Colliery
who departed this life
May 24thth 1869, aged 69 years
"After he had served his own
generation by the will of God
fell on sleep." Acts XIII 36
Blessed are the dead which die
in the Lord" Rev XIV 13

George Swinney 1800-1869

in memory of
George Swinney
of High Heworth Colliery
by his fellow workmen
and friends
as a token of respect
for his many good qualities
He lived respected and
died lamented

Dorothy Swinney 1797 - 1880

Also the family of the aforesaid George and Dorothy Swinney. George their son died 12 Dec 1863 age 26. Margaret Selkirk their daughter 20 Dec 1875 aged 52. Eleanor Robinson their daughter died 20 Dec 1885 age 58. Thomas their son died 27 Dec 1906 aged 78. Dorothy wife of George Swinney died 9 Jan 1880 age 83.