Family History Notebook

Richard Swindel

Ancestry unknown. Possibly the son or brother of John Swindale

Married Margaret Foster 11th April 1667 in Hexham, Northumberland (buried 29 July 1676 1 )
Probably married the Jane (Swindall) buried 19 April 1685
Married Jane Still 27 April 1687, a widow of Dothan 2


Christopher, baptised 5 January 1667/8 in Hexham
Richard, born in Hexhamshire, baptised on the  18th of May 1673 in Hexham
Anne, baptised in Hexham 22nd February 1679/80

Buried 26th October 1699 in Slaley, Northumberland.

Richard is recorded as being from Hexhamshire (n.b. not Dotland which is mentioned in adjacent entries in 1675) in 1673 and 1676, of Dotland (4 km SSE of Hexham) in 1680, probably from Mollersteads (1km SW of Dotland) in1685, Toddland (which someone has annotated in the transcript as being Dotland - d's and t's being largely interchangeable) in 1687 and Dotland at his death in 1699.

PersonID 05266


1    Identifying the Margreat Swindale buried in 1676 with Margaret Foster means that Richard is left with two young children and makes it likely he would look urgently for a new wife, who would be the mother of Ann. It is then reasonable to identify this second wife with the Jane Swindall, wife of Richard of Mollersteads who was buried in 1685, although the marriage has not yet been traced. Richard then marries a third time - this time to Jane Still, whose burial is not yet traced.

Postulating Richard of Mollerstead as a separate individual makes the situation more complicated rather than less since we still require a mother for Ann and hence two marriages and three burials are missing, rather than one of each. If  Margreat buried 1676 is not Margaret Foster similar arguments increase the number of missing records. I prefer to apply Occam's razor and support the scenario above until fresh evidence proves me wrong!

2   Births are also registered to Richard Swindall in 1695, 1698, 170, 1702 and 1705, but in view of the gap since the marriage to Jane Still it is considered that these are more likely to be the children of Richard, baptised in 1673. It is also just possible that this Richard was the husband of Jane Still but such a young marriage to a widow (even allowing for a delayed baptism) was unlikely in this level of society.

Jane Still could be Jane Gilbertson the widow of Cuthbert Still (last recorded child 1679), or Jane Ginning the widow of William Still (or Jane Still the widow of Cuthbert Armstrong - no, died 1684) - or someone else altogether. Further investigation required. (See Hexham registers). An Edward Still of Dothan was buried as an poor infant in 1686.

3    In 1687 he is termed a 'piper', as is his son Richard ('Pyper') in 1705. The meaning of this term has not been established; could it be a dialect version of 'pauper'? Several dialect dictionaries have not listed this meaning (nor the full OED). From May 1686 the register is including occupations such as Blacksmith, Labor, Taylor, Joyner. These are Capitalised, piper is not, generally. 'piper' is used elsewhere, for example John Bailey on 30th May. In 1692 Mark Hoggard is described as paup and in 1708 the term poor is used.

The word 'piper' may used in its old meaning of a plumber though Richard is described elsewhere as yeoman. However it could be significant that Blackhall lead smelt mill was just a quarter of a mile east of Mollersteads and had been established since at least 1653. Dukesfield smelt mill was also very close. It is possible that the Swindalls were craftsmen making lead sheet (for roofing) and pipes at the smelt mill. This would explain Christopher moving west to the smelt mill at Whitfield. For further discussion see Origins.

4    Richard Swindel appears somewhat older than Robert Swindel of Warden and Jane Milburn (Swindall) of Akewood House but younger than John Swindale who appears as a marriage witness in 1653 and a godfather in 1677