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Swithland is a linear village in the Charnwood borough of Leicestershire, England. The civil parish population was put at 230 in 2004 and 217 in the 2011 census.[2] It is in the old Charnwood Forest, between Cropston, Woodhouse and Woodhouse Eaves. It has a village hall, a parish church and a public house, the Griffin Inn. The village is known for the slate that was quarried in the area.

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Human settlement in England

Main Street, Swithland

Location within Leicestershire
Population 230 (2004 population estimate)[1]
OS grid reference SK549131
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Leicester
Postcode district LE12
Dialling code 01509
Police Leicestershire
Fire Leicestershire
Ambulance East Midlands
UK Parliament

List of places


52.713228°N 1.188036°W / 52.713228; -1.188036

. . . Swithland . . .

Swithland was originally held by Groby. Part of the village had become held by the Danvers (originally called D’Anvers) family by 1412, and between 1509 and 1796, the whole village was held by the Danvers family.[3] The village includes the 13th-century St Leonard’s parish church, which retains the original arcades and has an 18th-century west tower built for Sir John Danvers.[4] It includes monuments to Agnes Scott, Sir John Danvers (actually installed on Danvers’s instruction six years before his death) and five of his children.[4] The churchyard of St. Leonard’s includes the tomb of Sir Joseph Danvers, 1st Baronet (1686–1753), which was built half inside the graveyard and half outside (on Danvers’ estate) to allow his favourite dog to be buried with him (the dog being buried on unconsecrated ground).[5]

Swithland was designated a conservation area in 1993, and includes 31 listed buildings, including the Grade I Mountsorrel Cross, and several Grade II buildings, including the school, which was built in 1843, and a cottage from 1842.[6][7] The village pub, the Griffin Inn, originally the Griffin Hotel, was built about 1700 and has been put to several uses in its history, including a brewery, bakery, and village mortuary. An annual village fair was held in Victorian times outside the pub on the Feast of St Leonard in November.[8]

Boundary tower from the original Swithland Hall site
The c.1500 Mountsorrel cross that was moved to Swithland in the 18th century
St Leonard’s church, Swithland

The Swithland Hall estate was held by the family of Danvers until 1796 but after the death of Sir John Danvers (the last male of his line) it passed to his son-in-law, Augustus Richard Butler, second son of the second Earl of Lanesborough, who adopted the surname of Danvers-Butler and afterwards inherited the title of Earl of Lanesborough.

The original Swithland Hall, which stood at the eastern end of the village as it is today, on the site now occupied by Hall Farm, was destroyed by fire in 1822, although part of the hall’s boundary wall, including two towers are still in existence, both of which are in Main Street.[6][9] The current hall, a Grade II listed building, was partially completed in 1834 and finished in 1852,[10] on a different site to the south-east, in what was then known as Swithland Park, by John George Danvers Butler, sixth Earl of Lanesborough.[3][11] The estate includes the lantern cross that originally stood in Mountsorrel that dates from about 1500 and was moved to its current location in Swithland Park in 1793 by Sir John Danvers, who replaced it with the Buttermarket Cross that still stands there.[3][12]

Swithland slate gravestone, Swithland churchyard

. . . Swithland . . .

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. . . Swithland . . .