Extract from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England, 1831.
Transcribed by Mel Lockie, © Copyright 2010
Lewis Topographical Dictionaries

SWARKESTONE, a parish in the hundred of REPTON-and-GRESLEY, county of DERBY, 5¾ miles (N. by E.) from Derby, containing 243 inhabitants. The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry of Derby, and diocese of Lichfield and Coventry, rated in the king's books at £5, and in the patronage of Sir George Crewe, Bart. The church, dedicated to St. James, principally in the Norman style, though much disfigured by the insertion of modern windows; it has lately received an addition of one hundred sittings, of which seventy are free, the Incorporated Society for the enlargement of churches and chapels having granted £35 towards defraying the expense.

Swarkestone is in the honour of Tutbury, duchy of Lancaster, and within the jurisdiction of a court of pleas held at Tutbury every third Tuesday, for the recovery of debts under 40s. The Trent and Mersey canal passes through the parish, and is here joined by the Derby canal.

The bridge over the Trent is constructed so as to secure a passage over the low grounds, which are usually flooded in the winter; the span over the river is only one hundred and thirty-eight yards, but the whole length of the bridge is one thousand three hundred and four yards; it was originally not more than eleven or twelve feet broad, but has been widened in many places, so that carriages can now pass each other at very small intervals. About the beginning of the year 1643, Col. Hastings fortified Sir John Harpur's house at Swarkestone, and threw up some works at the bridge, to secure the passage of the Trent. Sir John Gell marched thither with Sir George Gresley's troops, when the garrison at the bridge offered a determined resistance, on the part of the royalists, but the men were at length driven from their works with considerable loss.

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