Swaffham  Norfolk


In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Swaffham like this:

SWAFFHAM, a town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district, in Norfolk. The town stands on a rising-ground, adjacent to the East Anglian railway, 14½ miles SE by E of Lynn; is a seat of quarter sessions, a polling place, and a place of election; consists of wide and well built streets, diverging from a spacious market place; carries on iron-founding and coach-making; and has a head post-office,‡ a r. ...

station with telegraph, two banking offices, two chief inns, a shire-hall, a house of correction, a police station, a corn-hall of 1858, a market-cross of 1783, an assembly-room of 1817, a cruciform church of 1474, three dissenting chapels, an endowed grammar-school with £24 a year, a national school, alms houses, a workhouse, charities £36, a weekly market on Saturday, and fairs on the second Wednesday of May, the third Wednesday of July, and the first Wednesday of Nov. Pop. in 1861, 2,974. Houses, 675.—The parish comprises 7,550 acres. Real property, £17,344; of which £250 are in gasworks. Pop. in 1851, 3,858; in 1861, 3,559. Houses, 786. The manor belongs to A. Hamond, Esq. A common of 2,370 acres is on the NW side of the town. The living is a vicarage, united with Threxton, in the diocese of Norwich. Value, £738.* Patron, the Bishop of N.-The Sub-district excludes a small part of the parish, but includes 14 other parishes. Pop., 6,516. Houses, 1,378. -The district contains also Saham-Toney sub-district, and comprises 81,200 acres. Poor rates in 1863, £8,332. Pop. in 1851, 14,320; in 1861, 13,747. Houses, 2,941. Marriages in 1863, 80; births, 424,-of which 59 were illegitimate; deaths, 274,-of which 97 were at ages under 5 years, and 16 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 963; births, 4,466; deaths, 2,646. The places of worship, in 1851, were 32 of the Church of England, with 5,439 sittings; 1 of Independents, with 20 attendants; 4 of Baptists, with 580 sittings; 7 of Wesleyans, with 953 s.; 8 of Primitive Methodists, with 667 s.; 1 of Bible Christians, with 132 s.; 1 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 80 s.; 1 undefined, with 17 attendants; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 115 at. The schools were 21 public day-schools, with 1,497 scholars; 18 private day-schools, with 523 s.; 24 Sunday schools, with 1,711 s.; and 5 evening schools for adults, with 106 s.

Swaffham through time

Swaffham is now part of Breckland district. Click here for graphs and data of how Breckland has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Swaffham itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Swaffham, in Breckland and Norfolk | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 21st January 2022

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