Swift Action

Dinah BROOKS was born 1797 in Epworth, Lincolnshire and married a young man from that village in 1824. They brought seven children into the world. Their first daughter, also Dinah, married Thomas SWIFT, a Lancashire solicitor, in 1856. A month or two after their sixth child Eva Sampson Swift was born in 1870 Dinah’s mother died, miles away on the other side of the Pennines.

Dinah Sampson was buried in St Oswald’s, Filey. Her headstone is one of those moved to the shelter of the churchyard’s north wall. It is quite weathered but the transcription’s assertion that she was from Broughton in Lincolnshire can be discerned, just.H24_SAMPSONdinah_20170504_fst

Sacred to the memory of Dinah SAMPSON, late of Broughton, Lincolnshire, who departed this life April 25th 1870, aged 72 years.

Several records relating to the Lancashire Swifts place them in that county’s Broughton and I rather hoped that the monumental inscription was in error, thereby placing the elder Dinah with her grandchildren. But the Lincolnshire Broughton is very close to Epworth – so I am left wondering how much she saw of her Swift grandchildren.

One of these children, Ernest William, was coming up to his fourth birthday when his maternal grandmother died. When he was 23 years old he had an unpleasant experience.


The thoughtful Mrs. Swift referred to was Ernest’s stepmother, Emily Mary. Ernest took his time finding a wife. He was 37 years old when he made an honest woman of Frances Isabel DYKE. I wonder if he left a written account of his meeting with “the great man”.

A bite from a mad dog is nothing to what Ernest’s older brother John Oakden Swift had to endure. FamilySearch Tree shows him married to Ruth Cecilia. This was his second wife. His first, Mary Adelaide OLDROYD, died in August 1890 after just five years of marriage.

John had begun practicing as a solicitor in 1880 and his business in St Helens had flourished. After the early and unexpected death of Mary, he left the provinces for the nation’s capital. He married Ruth in London in 1897 but his practice there failed. In desperation perhaps, he made some unwise investments and traded unsuccessfully on the stock exchange. In 1901 he filed for bankruptcy showing liabilities of over £13,000. This is around £1.5 million in today’s money. I found death notices for John and Ruth. In 1909 John departed this life on 21 April and Ruth followed just 9 days later. Their deaths appear to have been less newsworthy than dog bites and bankruptcy.

The Mad Dogs of Idlib

RT reported this morning that filming of the long-forecast chemical attack has begun. We’ll know this is ‘fake news’ if it doesn’t appear on social media anytime soon. Sadly, rabid psychopaths in Washington, London and Paris are all too real.

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