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.