Norwich – Rosary Cemetery (Hannah 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 gravestone, which is leaning forwards hence the slightly strange camera angle, commemorates the life of Hannah Swindell. It’s in rather good condition, other than where the weeds have attacked the base, and also commemorates Hannah’s husband, the Reverend Thomas Swindell and his second wife, Caroline Swindell. More on these two other individuals in separate posts, as I find it a little unusual that they’re all on one grave.

Hannah was born on 20 March 1819, the daughter of Thomas Witter and Mary Witter. She was baptised at the Baptist Church in Knutsford on 25 April 1819 and she met her husband Thomas Swindell and they were married on 4 February 1843 in the same church (I mean the same church she was baptised in, obviously the husband and wife were married in the same church….).

Hannah and Thomas had five children, Mary, Thomas, Theophilus (a marvellous name), Frederic and Arthur. Hannah died on 23 January 1876, at the age of 56. The inscription on her grave reads “she was a Christian of unblemished reputation, considerable usefulness and eminent piety, and now sleeps in Jesus till the morning without clouds shall dawn”.

There’s one thing that’s evident here, which is that there is reams of material on Thomas Swindell, her husband, and his work and contribution to society. There’s nearly nothing relating to Hannah, so I’d say that in terms of who she was as a person, the best we have to go on is that inscription on her gravestone and that she seems rather dutiful. Thomas travelled extensively during his career, and perhaps that “usefulness” was in supporting him with his work. Too often women are a footnote in history, and that’s happened here as well, so hopefully I’ll find out at some point in the future some more information about her as a person. Indeed, I’m quite intrigued as to what she would have thought about Thomas’s second wife being added to her headstone.