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MARKET TOWNS OF NORFOLK (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

Swaffham in 1839

Swaffham is in the hundred of South Greenhoe, 93 miles from London. The parish has an area of 8,130 acres, with a population, in 1831, of 3,285, about one-fourth agricultural. The town is situated on an eminence, and consists of four principal streets. The houses are generally well built, and the town has a neat theatre, an assembly-room, and a house of correction.

The church, which is a large edifice in the form of a cross, consists of a nave with two aisles, a chancel, and two transept-chapels. It is the finest parish church in the neighbourhood. There is an embattled tower at the west end, with pinnacles at the corners, and a peal of eight bells ; there is also a porch on the south side ; the aisles are separated from the nave by fourteen arches, seven on each side, sustained by slender clustered pillars ; and above them are twenty-six or twenty-eight light and elegant windows, two over each arch. In these windows are some fragments of stained glass. The roof is of finely carved oak ; the church contains several monuments. There are several dissenting meeting-houses.

The market is held on Saturday, and there are three fairs in the year. A great deal of butter is sold. The quarter-sessions for the county are held here by adjournment at Midsummer, and races and coursing-meetings are held on an extensive heath of some thousand acres near the town. The living is a vicarage united with the rectory of Threxton, of the joint yearly value of £738, with a glebe-house.

There were, in 1833, one day-school, partly supported by endowment, with 15 boys ; seven other day-schools, with 215 children ; and two Sunday-schools, with 263 children.