As we ponder the merits or not of the new proposed Asda at Swinton precinct, and many a discussion already about the effect any Asda would have on 1) local residents 2) Small business 3) Swinton precinct it seems there is now another consideration that Swinton people need to consider.
The "green piece of land" adjacent to the Swinton precinct car Park, on Swinton Hall Rd, is not any old piece of land. It is the burial ground for the once Swinton Unitarian Church which was sited in that location on Swinton Hall Rd. I myself have witnessed a copy of a picture of the church which was still present in 1983 I am led to believe.
I am not 100% sure if the same church is this one listed as being closed in 1983 extracted from Lancashire Online Parish Clerks and if it is the church was founded in 1820 and lasted 163 years at the heart of Swinton.
In order to educate myself about the historical origins of the area at this time, the significance of the church to local people, to Swinton life and of course, to establish who and how many Swintonians lay in peace at this site, I am obviously going to have to do some research.
But in the first instance - I refer to "Remembrance" by Dorothy Tildsley - a Swintonian lady that I know only a few months ago is still alive but not living in Swinton anymore, who wrote this book about "Recollections of a wartime childhood in Swinton". The book was published in 1985 and in the book Mrs Tildsley lists a Roll of Honour of Swinton fallen during World War 2 and where she makes a sad reflection on page 23 when she writes and I quote "And when it was all over Swinton and Pendlebury did not even record its war dead - shame".
I have received information from another person that a soldier is buried at The Swinton Unitarian Church burial ground on Swinton Hall Rd. I do not know whether this is true but am certainly going to try and find out. However, whether a soldier is resting there or not, does that make any difference to me as to my conclusions as to whether this burial ground should be moved or not for the sake of a few car parking spaces for the new proposed Asda store ? I think not.
It is clear bygone Swintonians lay in peace in this ground, something many current Swintonians may not realise but clearly this small area of Swinton has significant historical value.
From reading Mrs Tildsley's well researched and thought out book, it is clear that church life was important during war time in Swinton. Quote page 14 "Memories of the Unitarian Sunday School and Church are good ones too".
"The Eight Streets making up the centreof Swinton" - Egerton St, Brackley St, Granville St, Birkdale Grove, Wellington Rd, Clarendon Rd, Stafford Rd & Pendlebury Rd and the Unitarian Church was sited at its heart.
How many bygone Swintonians lay in peace here, who are they and how long ago and indeed are ex-servicemen or women buried here ?
I am certainly going to find out !
A choice ? The burial ground, its importance and historical value remains undisturbed so that those that lay can rest in peace or an Asda supermarket and a car park. Am sorry for me its no contest. Let them Rest in Peace. RIP
A visit to the local History Museum for me.