Swaffham

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Coordinates: 52°39′10″N 0°41′03″E / 52.652893°N 0.684285°E / 52.652893; 0.684285

Swaffham is a market town and civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. The town is situated 20 km (12 mi) east of King's Lynn and 50 km (31 mi) west of Norwich.

The civil parish has an area of 29.57 km2 (11.42 sq mi) and in the 2001 census had a population of 6,935 in 3,130 households. For the purposes of local government, the parish falls within the district of Breckland.[1]

Contents

History

Its name came from Old English Swǣfa hām = "the homestead of the Swabians"; some of them presumably came with the Angles and Saxons. In the Domesday Book three lords were associated with Swaffham: Walter Giffard, with the largest manor; his tenant Hugh Bolebec, who held all of the Giffard land there; and Aubrey de Vere I, who held a smaller manor at Swaffham which the Domesday jurors said Aubrey had seized without the king's permission.[2] As the Bolebec estates passed into Vere hands through two marriages of Bolebec heiresses to Vere males in the late 12th and early 13th centuries, the two manors were combined and held by the Vere Earls of Oxford for several centuries.

A Benedictine priory for female religious was founded at Swaffham Bolebec between circa 1150 and 1163, probably by the Bolebecs.[3] About 8 km to the north of Swaffham can be found the ruins of the formerly important Castle Acre Priory and Castle Acre Castle.

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