Published on the website only, around the time of Newsletter 153 dated 2019 October

Where was the Swan Inn? An answer to the mystery

Letter to the editor

Hello. I’m responding to an article in your newsletter 113 (dated 2004), entitled “Where was the Swan Inn? (Still a mystery)”.

  Although I personally have no connection with Glastonbury, I’m researching the family history of one of my friends. He is descended from a family named Griffin, who were butchers in Glastonbury for a considerable period in the 19th century.

  I was trying to track down a William Griffin, married to Susan and the father of Henry William Griffin in the 1861 census, when I knew Henry William would have been about 6 or 7 years old. Henry William was one of my friend’s great-grandfathers. I found William, the butcher.

The 1861 census shows the Swan Inn immediately next door to the Crown. Click here for a larger view.

  You might be interested to see this page from the 1861 census that shows where he and his family are living. At this point in time, he’s not just a butcher but also a “Beerhouse Keeper” — and the name of his beerhouse is Swan Inn! It’s on the High Street, right next door to the Crown Inn.

  I hope that may help to settle the mystery.

  Of course, if you or any of your members can offer me any insight into the Griffin family in Glastonbury, I’d appreciate any comments you might have.

Howard Benbrook


[We emailed Howard to thank him for this response to our 2004 article, which of course had been reprinted here on the website, where he found it. He responded with some further background information.]

  It’s good to know I might have helped, Jim!

  Both my friend (his name is Ian) and I are members of a theatre group in Surrey. I’ve researched a significant amount of family history, both my own and others. After a hectic rehearsal one evening, we got to talking about genealogy and Ian suggested that the story in his family was that they were descended from Sarah Siddons, the famous actress.

  Fuelled by a glass of wine, I couldn’t resist the challenge and I’ve been sending Ian updates for several weeks. His maternal grandmother was Ada Griffin, born in Glastonbury and descended from a family of Griffins that seem to stretch back into the 18th century. Given their presence there, it was natural to search online for more information about Glastonbury, which is when I stumbled on the article.

  I’m still searching for a connection to Sarah Siddons, but if any of your members can help Ian with some tales about the Griffin family, I’m sure he’d be delighted to hear them!

[Howard can be emailed via Abbey Press (see below). We won’t publish his e-address here online for spammers to find!]

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