St Margarets Conclave History

A Brief History of St Margarets Conclave

St Margaret’s Conclave is situated in Swinton in South Yorkshire.

The Town

Swinton’s very early history may well be associated with the Northern Britons of the Brigantes tribe who held an impressive hill fort at Wincobank and Swinton’s land most likely came under their lordship.

At times during the Roman invasion, the legions had to overcome violent resistance from the Brigantes In 1853, workers uncovered a hoard of 300-400 Roman coins covering the period from 69 to 212 AD.

The Romans withdrew back to their capital in around 410AD. Western Europe then entered the Dark Ages.

The place name of Swinton derives from the old English for Swine Farm. Documents in Latin dating from very ancient times refer to the settlement as Villa Porcorum – House of Pigs.

In June 1646 Swinton was infested by the plague which raged in the town until October of that year. Some 59 persons were recorded as victims who died. At that time this represented a third of the population.

Edward Butler first established his tile and pot works in Swinton in 1745 which eventually became Rockingham with an international sales base and royal clients. Rising costs and the expense of producing a massive dinner service with every piece individually boxed in mahogany for Queen Victoria’s Coronation caused the factory to close in 1842. A further world-famous Swinton Pottery was the Don Pottery at the other end of town.

Coal has been worked in the Swinton area certainly since 1600. The deep mined Manvers Colliery opened in 1870 and Wath Main in 1875 heralding the era of the super pits.

Swinton was an important junction of the Dearne and Dove Canal with the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation, and boat building in the town started in 1770.

Railways first came with the North Midland line and the first station opened in 1840 across the road from the site of our present interchange.

Swinton was home to the glass industry from the 1850s until 1988 trading under a number of names.  The most regarded product being the 1 gallon bottles for Bell’s Whisky.

Swinton’s many other industries, both past and present, have included chemicals, mineral waters, plastic products, foodstuffs, vehicles and much more!

The Church

The Norman Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene was built in the second half of the 12th Century as a Chapel of Ease for the church at Wath upon Dearne. The Chapel may have been the work of the famous Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, who had lands and buildings in Swinton. Sadly, the Chapel was demolished in 1816.

The Parish Church of St. Margaret – for which our Conclave is named – was consecrated on June 15, 1817, the patron being the then Earl Fitzwilliam.

On March 24th, 1897, a catastrophic fire burnt down the original church, with only the tower surviving. The present larger church was built on to the old tower and was consecrated on October 28th, 1899.

The clock in the church tower was installed in 1937 to celebrate the Coronation of King George VI.

During construction work on Swinton Church Hall in 1913, a mass grave of human remains was uncovered, believed to be plague victims. The remains were re-interred in Swinton churchyard which, at 9 acres in size, is one of the largest open churchyards in the Country.

The church is dedicated to St. Margaret.  Margaret was born in Antioch, the daughter of a pagan priest. She converted to the Christian faith, became a devout Christian and took vows of chastity. The Governor of Antioch had Margaret arrested and she was thrown into a dungeon. According to legend, whilst she was in the dungeon, the devil came and tempted her in the form of a dragon, but as she made the sign of the cross the dragon at first fled then returned and swallowed her up but she was able to burst out. When Margaret was led out to be beheaded, she thanked God that the end of her travail had come, and prayed that in memory of her miraculous deliverance out of the womb of the dragon, women in labour who invoked her might find help through her sufferings.

The Feast Day of St. Margaret is July 20th.

St Margaret’s Conclave

The Consecration Meeting was held on Saturday 8 February 2003 under the watchful eyes of the then Grand Sovereign M. Ill. Kt. Cdr. Ronald Champion and guided by the then Intendant General of West Yorkshire, Rt. Ill Kt. John G Clifford KCC. There were 23 Founding Knights present, and a total of 112 in the Temple at Tapton Hall.  The Dedication was performed by The Divisional High Prelate, Ill. Kt. Rev. Canon H. Garside, who commented in his Oration that Queen Margaret of Scotland is also especially remembered for her service to the Christian Church, helping to witness to its Faith and Unity by her Zeal.

It is our pleasure and privilege to welcome all the Knights of West Yorkshire today.  We are always delighted to receive Visitors to the House of Pigs and look forward to the pleasure of your company on many future occasions.