James Swait

Author: Christine Gambles
Date published: 21/05/2021
© Christine Gambles

James Swait


James was the son of Matthew and Sophia Swait(e) (nee Machin).

James’s mother:

Sophia Machin was baptised on the 25th March 1776 in Thatcham Berkshire the daughter of Bertram and Elizabeth Machin (nee Wright) who were married on the 3rd October 1762 at the parish church of St Mary Thatcham.

Sophia had an illegitimate son, John Simpson Machin born on the 20th March 1795 he was baptised on the 30th August in Thatcham, sadly he died in 1796, he was buried on the 1st October in Thatcham.

Sophia married Thomas Stroud on the 1st June 1798 at the parish church of St Mary Greenham Berkshire they had five daughters, Elizabeth, (no baptism found)  Sophia and Hannah, (both baptised 2nd May 1802), Harriet, (baptised 6th May 1804) and Anne, (baptised on the 24th February 1806 (all four were baptised at St Mary the Virgin Speen))

Thomas was a Butcher he had a shop in Speenhamland. He died aged 30 in 1806 and was buried on the 28th May at St Mary the Virgin Speen.  (Thomas made a will on the 13th May 1806 so presumably he knew he was dying)

On the 21st August 1809 Sophia married Matthew Swaite in Marylebone Westminster Middlesex. Matthew was also a Butcher he was apprenticed to Sophia’s 1st husband in 1803. He was also recorded as a witness on Thomas Stroud’s will.

Matthew and Sophia had three sons, Matthew, baptised 22nd July 1810, James, baptised 17th April 1812 and John, baptised 3rd July 1814 (all three boys were baptised at St Mary the Virgin Speen)

 Sophia died aged 45 in 1822 she was buried 10th March at St Mary the Virgin Speen Berkshire

James’s father:

Matthew Swait was baptised on the 28th September 1787 in Highclere Hampshire the son of James and Sarah Swait (nee Stowers) of Burghclere. His parents were married on the 11th March 1771 in Highclere.

Records also record Matthew as a Butcher in Speenhamland (probably took over Thomas Stroud’s business after his death)

Matthew died aged 36 in 1823 he was buried on the 27th June at St Mary the Virgin Speen Berkshire. He made a will on the 8th June 1823 (again presumably he knew he was dying) leaving two hundred pounds to be equally divided between his five step-daughters and the remainder of his real and personal estate to be divided between his three sons.



James married in 1843 (FMP have mistakenly recorded his surname as Strait)

Marriage details:

Place: St Mary the Virgin Speen Berkshire

Date: 9th May 1843

Groom: James Swait, full age, bachelor, occupation, Dealer, abode, Speen

Bride: Caroline Cook, full age, spinster, abode, Speen

Fathers: Thomas Cook occupation, Carpenter and Matthew Swait, occupation, Butcher


James and Caroline had five children but sadly only two survived to adulthood. William James was born in 1844 followed by Edmund John (aka Edwin John) in 1846. Caroline Louisa was born in 1847 she died in 1848, before her 1st birthday. Albert was born in 1849 he also died before his 1st birthday in 1850. Albana was born in 1850 she died later the same year she was laid to rest in the Newtown Road Cemetery on the 28th October.

James died aged 38 in 1851 he was laid to rest in the Newtown Road Cemetery on the 8th January.

It’s possible that Caroline had another son a couple of years after James died  as there is a birth registered for a Henry Swait in Newbury in 1853 MMN Cook and a death registered in Winchester for a Henry Swait aged 0 in 1854

Caroline never remarried she was recorded  as a Cattle Dealer’s Widow in 1851, a Seamstress in 1861, a Charwoman in 1871 and being kept by her son in 1881.

She was recorded living at 2 Eyles Buildings Newbury in 1851, Trafalgar Place Newbury in 1861 and 1871 and Waterloo Place in 1881. Her son Edwin John was recorded living with her in all census records. He was recorded as a Printer’s Apprentice in 1861, a Journeyman Printer in 1871   and a Printer in 1881 and 1891.

Caroline died aged 67 in 1881 she was laid to rest in the Newtown Road Cemetery on the 25th May.

James’s son William James was a Shoemaker in Bartholomew Street Newbury he married Sarah Ann Sheppard in 1868 and they had four children. William died on the 23rd October 1905 he was laid to rest in the Newtown Road Cemetery on the 27th October.

His son Edwin John married Caroline Edith Phillips in 1888. Edwin died on the 20th June 1892 he was laid to rest in the Newtown Road Cemetery on the 24th June

Sources:as above

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