Thomas Swan was born in 1795 to Scottish parents living in Manchester.
He returned with his family to Edinburgh when he was six years old. Moving from the Church of Scotland, he was baptised by Christopher Anderson at Richmond Court in October 1817, and assigned to preach in Gilmerton.
Charlotte Chapel sent him to the Bristol Baptist Academy from 1821–24, to study for missionary service in India. He then studied at Edinburgh University in preparation for his role as Divinity Tutor at Serampore.
Supported by the Chapel, Swan served at Serampore for three years. When the Serampore mission separated from the Baptist Missionary Society, Swan alone disagreed with the action taken by William Carey and his colleagues, with whom he lodged vigorous protests.
He returned to Britain via the United States where his first-hand experience of slavery caused him to become a strong advocate for abolition.
In Britain, he became Pastor of the Baptist Church at Cannon Street, Birmingham, in 1829 ministering there until his death in 1857. His ministry was particularly fruitful, resulting in the baptism of 966 persons. He served as President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1839.
His portrait is included in the ‘The Anti-Slavery Society Convention, 1840’ by Benjamin Robert Haydon which hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, London.
Mrs. SWAN senior died Feb 13th 1841 Aged LXXXII.
Also Benjamin and James Lillie SWAN died March 4th and 6th 1838, aged 10 weeks.
Also Mary SWAN who died November 4th 1841 aged 9 weeks, children of the Reverend Thomas SWAN of this town.
Also Thomas SWAN who died suddenly at Glasgow March 9th 1857 aged 62 years for upwards of 28 years Pastor of the Baptist church meeting in Cannon Street Birmingham
'Be ye therefore ready also for the Son of Man cometh at an hour when ye think not'
Also Elizabeth wife of the above Thomas SWAN who died at Liverpool January 6th 1871 aged 73 years
'The memory of the just is blessed'.
In loving memory of Elizabeth, daughter of the Reverend Thomas SWAN wife of Furneaux JORDAN of Birmingham born September 1 1836 died July 20th 1912.