Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Page last updated at 16:34 GMT, Thursday, 5 November 2009
Ten Town Tour: Swaffham

Swaffham town sign
Swaffham has been a centre for showbiz in the heart of Norfolk

Swaffham, with its population of around 7,000, is thought to have existed as early as the Bronze and Iron ages.

However, it was not known as Swaffham until the Saxon era, shortly after the Romans left to defend Rome against barbarian attacks.

In Medieval times, farm animals were auctioned off at the Saturday market (located at the centre of the town) and there is still a Saturday market to this day, where you can purchase clothes, gadgets and machinery.

Market Cross (or Butter Cross), built in 1783, is a centrepiece of the town centre with its eight stone columns that support a dome, which is surmounted by the figure of Ceres, the Roman goddess.

As legend tells it, a Swaffham pedlar - John Chapman - once dug up two pots of gold from under his garden tree, which funded the building of the north side of Swaffham St Peter and St Paul. The town's sign contains an image of him and church bench carvings supposedly depict John and his wife.

Today Swaffham is well known for the presence of two large Enercon E-66 wind turbines and the associated Ecotech Centre, located on its outskirts. The turbines create enough energy to power the local area and beyond.

Keeping its eye on showbiz, between 2006 and 2008 the television series Kingdom, featuring Stephen Fry, was filmed in Swaffham - which was cast as Market Shipborough.

On the edge of the town, many a rambler enjoys trekking the Peddars Way - an ancient track starting in Suffolk and running through the heart of Norfolk to Holme-next-the-Sea on the north Norfolk coast.

Famous Swaffham residents include Howard Carter, who was responsible for the unearthing of the tomb of the boy king Tutankhamun in Egypt.

BBC Norfolk drives into Swaffham Assembly Rooms (Market Place) on Tuesday, 17 November, 2009.


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific