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Swarkestone (St. James)

SWARKESTONE (St. James), a parish, in the union of Shardlow, hundred of Repton and Gresley, S. division of the county of Derby, 5 miles (S. by E.) from Derby; containing 321 inhabitants. It was distinguished during the civil war by the efforts of Colonel Hastings, in 1643, to secure the passage of the Trent for the royalists; for which purpose he threw up some works at Swarkestone bridge, and placed a garrison in the house of Sir John Harpur here, which he fortified; but Sir John Gell, marching hither with Sir George Gresley's troops, after an obstinate defence, succeeded in driving the garrison from their post, and obtained the pass of the river for the parliamentarians. In 1745, some of the troops belonging to the Pretender's army came as far as the foot of Swarkestone bridge, but they returned to the army at Derby, not daring to cross the bridge. The parish comprises about 850 acres, the soil of which is a gravelly loam. The village is pleasantly situated on the river; the bridge is 1304 yards in length, comprising additional arches beyond the span of the stream, to secure a passage over the low grounds, which are usually flooded in winter. The Trent and Mersey canal is here joined by the Derby canal. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £5; net income, £182; patron, Sir John Harpur Crewe, Bart. The tithes have been commuted for land, and there is a rectoryhouse. The church is a small Norman edifice, consisting of a nave, chancel, and pinnacled tower; the body was rebuilt in 1828-9: here are monuments to the Rolleston and Harpur families.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.