Norwich – Rosary Cemetery (Thomas Swindell)

Since I’ve been grounded again by the Government, I thought I’d meander around the Rosary Cemetery located near to me in Norwich, in an attempt to see what stories lie there. It might not be the most fascinating blog content, but it’ll keep me quiet for a few weeks….

This grave commemorates the lives of three people, Hannah Swindell, her husband Thomas Swindell and his second wife, Caroline Swindell.

Thomas Swindell was born on 1 February 1815 and was baptised at the Baptist Church in Knutsford on 26 February 1815. He was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Swindell and he married Hannah Witter on 4 February 1843. They had five children, which I’ve listed on the post I wrote about Hannah, with Thomas working as a Primitive Methodist Minister.

There’s a mass of material on Thomas, not least that provided at https://www.myprimitivemethodists.org.uk/content/people-2/primitive_methodist_ministers/s-2/thomas_swindell where there’s a photo of him. There’s no point my copying material over from that very useful site (which also has information about his son, Theophilus Witter Swindell who became an important figure in Great Yarmouth), but it’s of note that he travelled around the country with his preaching, including Preston, Bolton, Wrexham, Great Yarmouth, Docking, Upwell, Aylsham, Swaffham, Cambridge, Thetford and ending up in Norwich in 1875.

At the 1871 census, Thomas was living on Arnold Street in Lowestoft, along with his wife Hannah and three of their children. He had moved to Norwich in the 1870s to live at Bloomsbury Place, before moving to Essex Street in Norwich by the 1881 census, when he lived with his son Arthur Swindell (by then a Professor of Music) and his second wife, Caroline Swindell. Hannah had died on 23 January 1876, with Thomas marrying Caroline Simpson (1828-1899) in the summer of 1878.

By the time of the 1891 census, Thomas was living with Caroline at a property on Grove Road in Norwich. He was still living at this residence when he died, on 8 November 1897. Caroline was to die a couple of years later, but I can sort of picture her at Rosary Cemetery at what was likely a well attended funeral given the size of Thomas’s family and his reputation in the Methodist Church.