Place:Oldswinford, Worcestershire, England

Alt namesOld Swinfordsource: Family History Library Catalog
TypeTownship, Parish (ancient), Civil parish
Coordinates52.448°N 2.142°W
Located inWorcestershire, England     ( - 1974)
Also located inWest Midlands, England     (1974 - )
See alsoHalfshire Hundred, Worcestershire, Englandhundred covering part of the parish
South Seisdon Hundred, Staffordshire, Englandhundred covering part of the parish
Stourbridge, Worcestershire, Englandmunicipal borough covering the area 1914-1974
Dudley (metropolitan borough), West Midlands, Englandmetropolitan borough covering the area since 1974
Stourbridge, Worcestershire, Englandmunicipal borough
source: Family History Library Catalog
the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Originally, Oldswinford was an extensive ancient parish, covering the whole of the pre-1974 Municipal Borough of Stourbridge, with the exception of the parish of Pedmore. The area included the settlements of Wollaston, Lye, and Norton (in Oldswinford) (which were part of the same manor). Stourbridge and Amblecote, while in the parish, were separate manors.

Amblecote was formerly in Staffordshire, but the rest of the parish (south of the River Stour) was in Worcestershire. Both Stourbridge and Amblecote were formerly administered separately from the rest of Oldswinford. The Parish Church of Oldswinford is St Mary's Church.

The manor of Old Swinford changed hands from time to time during the Middle Ages as a result of political upheavals and the changes of fortune of its overlords. It is questionable whether these great feudal lords ever visited this manor, the supervision of the peasant's customary service and the collection of dues and fines being left to their stewards. The Lytteltons were seated a few miles away at Frankley until their house there was destroyed during the Civil War causing them to move to Hagley. The Lyttelton family had acquired the superior manor of Old Swinford in 1564 and were the dominant local family until the 17th century. During the intervening time they fell from favour and lost much of their wealth through involvement in the Gunpowder Plot and the Royalist and Roman Catholic causes in Stuart times. They were superseded by the Foleys whose wealth was based on the rapidly expanding iron industry.

The name of the parish was sometimes formerly written Old Swinford. This spelling is still used for Old Swinford Hospital, a voluntary-aided school with boarding houses, founded and endowed by the ironmaster, Thomas Foley. The parish name and that of Kingswinford derive from a "swine ford", perhaps on the crossing of the Stour that also gave rise to the name Stourbridge. The road crossing there was the main road between the Saxon burhs of Worcester and Stafford.

There are numerous pre-1900 buildings remaining in Oldswinford. The name Oldswinford is now used for a small area of Stourbridge, close to the parish church.

A Vision of Britain through Time provides this picture of Oldswinford from an economic point of view. The quotation is from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:

"SWINFORD (Old), a parish in Stourbridge district; comprising Stourbridge, Lye, Wollaston, Wollescott, and Upper Swinford townships in Worcestershire, and Amblecoat hamlet in Staffordshire. Old [Swinford] proper adjoins the Oxford, Worcester, and Wolverhampton railway, 1 mile SSE of Stourbridge; and has a post-office under Stourbridge. Acres of the parish: 3,315. Real property: £48,270; of which £550 are in mines. Population in 1851: 20,238; in 1861: 22,958. Houses: 4,676. Useful minerals abound; manufactures of iron, glass, and fire-clay utensils are carried on; and ample communications, by the river Stour, by canals, and by railways, exist. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Worcester. Value: £781. Patron: the Earl of Dudley. The church is good. The [perpetual] curacies of Stourbridge-St. John, Stourbridge-St. Thomas, Lye, Wollaston, and Amble-coat are separate benefices. There are numerous dissenting chapels, several endowed schools with aggregately £3,029 a year, and charities £130."

Oldswinford was part of the Municipal Borough of Stourbridge from its inception in 1914 until 1974 when the whole area was absorbed into the new county of the West Midlands and Stourbridge became part of the Dudley Metropolitan Borough.

The map of Worcestershire circa 1944 labels the civil parishes in the Oldswinford area.

Research tips

  • Ordnance Survey Maps of England and Wales - Revised: Worcestershire illustrates the parish boundaries of Worcestershire when rural districts were still in existence and before the West Midlands came into being. The map publication year is 1931. The map blows up to show all the parishes and many of the small villages and hamlets. Maps in this series are now downloadable for personal use.
  • British History Online has a large collection of local maps from the Ordnance Survey 1883-1893. These blow up to a size that permits viewing of individual hamlets, farms, collieries, but there is no overlapping of one map to the next, and no overall map to tie the individual ones together.
  • British History Online also has three volumes of the Victoria County History of Worcestershire online. Volume 3 (published in 1913) deals with the Halfshire Hundred; Volume 4 (published in 1924) deals with the City of Worcester, as well as parishes in the hundreds of Pershore and Doddingtree. Volume 2 covers religious houses in the county. The remainder of the county is not represented in the British History Online series.
  • GENUKI makes a great many suggestions as to other websites with worthwhile information about Worcestershire as well as leading to a collection of 19th century descriptions of each of the ecclesiastical parishes.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki provides a similar information service to GENUKI which may be more up-to-date. An index of parishes leads to notes and references for each parish. The auxiliary website English Jurisdictions can also be helpful.
  • Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service, The Hive, Sawmill Walk, The Butts, Worcester WR1 3PD (Telephone: 01905 822866, e-mail: The Archives Collections Catalog Summary outlines the contents of the Archives Collection and also notes on what has been transferred to the national online service Access to Archives
  • The Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry has a branch in Bromsgrove which deals in Worcestershire family history. There are also branches at Stourbridge and Worcester.
  • The Midlands Historical Data project produces searchable facsimile copies of old local history books and directories of interest to genealogists. It specialises in the three counties of Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire, working closely with libraries, archives and family history societies in the area. Digital images are made freely available to participating organisations to improve public access. Free search index on its web-site to all its books. In many cases payment will be required to see the extract.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time has
  1. organization charts of the hierarchies of parishes within hundreds, registration districts and rural and urban districts of the 20th century
  2. excerpts from a gazetteer of circa 1870 outlining individual towns and parishes
  3. reviews of population through the time period 1800-1960
  • Brett Langston's list of Worcestershire Registration Districts and parishes within each registration district from 1837 to the present can indicate where to find details of civil registration entries since the process began in England.
  • More local sources can often be found by referring to "What Links Here" in the column on the left.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Oldswinford. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.