Family History Notebook

A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames with Special American Instances

Swindell pageby Charles Wareing Endell Bardsley
published by Henry Frowde, London 1901

The entries on page 732 include

Swindell, Swindle. - Local, 'of Swindale,' a chapelry in the parish of Shap, co. Westmoreland.

1540.    Buried - Alys Swyndelle : St. Dionis Backchurch, p.178
1608.    Richard Westrawe and Agnes Swindell : Marriage Lic. (London), i. 308
1790.    Married - John Swindell and Lydia Mullins : St. Geo. Han. Sq. ii 36.

London, 4, 0 ; Boston (U.S.), 1, 1.

Swindells, Swindles. - Local, 'of Swindells,' most probably the spot referred to in the following :
    'A branch of the family of Howford held a small estate here (Bosden) in the 14th century, called "Swyndelves" ' : East Cheshire, i. 264.

This was in the parish of Cheadle, in which immediate district all our Swindells have sprung (for the suffix, v. Delf).

Roger Swyndels, of Marple, 1522 : East Cheshire, ii. 52 n.
1561.    Married - Humfry Swyndells and Isabell Woorthe : Prestbury Ch. (co. Ches.), p. 5.
William Swindells, of Stockport : Wills at Chester (1545 - 1620), p.186.
John Swindells, of Northenden, 1620, ibid.
1656.    Bapt. - Ursula, d. of John Swendalls : St. Jas. Clerkenwell, i. 195.

London, 2, 0 ; Manchester, 10, 0 ; MDB (co. Ches.), 7, 0 ;   Boston (U.S.), 1, 0 ; Philadelphia, 1, 1.

Swindlehurst, Swinglehurst. - Local, 'of Swindlehurst.' This is a North-English surname, but I canmnot find the precise locality. It is quite clear that Swinglehurst is a corruption of Swindlehurst ; v. Swindell and Hurst.  The meaning would seem to be 'the wood in the swine-dale.'

1576.    John Swinlehurst, of Chepin : Lancashire Wills at Richmond, i. 267
1594.    William Swindlehurst, of Clitheroe : Wills at Chester, i. 186
1623.    Bapt. - Richard, [?] Roger Swinglehurst : St. Jas. Clerkenwell, i. 96
1635.    William Swinglehurst, of CHepin : Lancashire Wills at Richmond, i. 267

Manchester, 0, 1 ; MDB, (West Rid. Yorks), 4, 0 ; Boston (U.S.), Philadelphia, 0, 1.

Swingler. - Occup. 'the swingler,' i.e. a flax-beater, possibly a wool-beater, hence 'swingling-stick, a stick used for beating or opening wool or flax.  Lanc.' (Halliwell). 'Fleyhe, swyngyl, tribulum' : Prompt. Parv. 'Swingle, a staff for beating flax ' (Skeat, and see his article).

Nicholas Swingler, 1682 : St. Peter, Cornhill, p.9.

London, 3 ; Derby, 5


Swinbank. - Local, 'of Swinbank,' probably the spot where the swine fed. The spot is somewhere in or near the parish of Ravenstonedale, co. Westm.

Reynold Swynebank, 1541 : Hist. and Traditions of Ravenstonedale, co. Westm., W. Nicholls, p.113
Cuthbert Swynebank, 1541 : ibid.

Liverpool, 1 ; M.D.B. (co. Durham), 1.


1    It seems to me to be unlikely that 'swingling' would be a distinguishing occupation at the time of surname formation in the fourteenth century. A consonant shift from Swindle to Swingle - as suggested above for Swinglehurst and as apparently occurred with the word 'shingle' from shindle for a wooden roof slate - appears more likely.

2    More information about Swyndelves. The reference to East Cheshire is 'East Cheshire : Past and Present, Or, A History of the Hundred of Macclesfield. John Parsons Earwaker 1877, 1880'.