The History Anorak

The History Anorak

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

More Swaffham

Swaffham Church
The parish church of St Peter and St Paul at Swaffham in Norfolk has some very fine architectural details. The church is directly linked to the tale of the Pedlar of Swaffham, who was reputed to have paid for a large proportion of it from his dream-found fortune. (See previous post)

There has been a church on the site since the 12th century, but as the pedlar tale tells, it was rebuilt in 1454. It is acknowledged as one of the finest medieval churches in Norfolk.

The church is built from Barnack stone, a type of limestone quarried near Stamford in Lincolnshire.

The hammer beam roof
The nationally recognised hammer beam roof is formed from lead-covered oak. The 192 angels on the ends of the hammer beams and sides of the king posts are carved in chestnut, a wood immune from the ravages of death watch beetle, possibly contributing to its wonderful survival.​

The exterior of the church features a magnificent stone frieze with roundels, some containing the crossed keys of St Peter and others with the crossed swords of St Paul.

The tower, with its ring of eight bells, has a very impressive fleche (arrow) spire. ​​​​


  1. Great and fascinating details indeed. Greetings!

  2. Look at that roof! Such an amazing feat of early engineering!


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