1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Swaffham
SWAFFHAM, a market town in the south-western parliamentary division of Norfolk, England; 111 m. N.N.E. from London by the Great Eastern railway. Pop. of urban district (1901), 3371. The town lies high, in an open, healthy district. The church of St Peter and St Paul is Perpendicular, a handsome cruciform structure with central tower, and has a fine carved roof of wood. The town, which has a town-hall and assembly rooms, possesses iron foundries and a considerable agricultural trade, with cattle fairs. At Castle Acre, 4 m. N., are the picturesque ruins of a Cluniac priory, founded shortly after the Conquest by William de Warren. These comprise portions of the church, including the fine west front, arcaded, with three Norman doors and a Perpendicular window, with the chapter-house, cloisters and conventual buildings. The majority of the remains are Norman or Perpendicular. The castle of the same founder has left little but its foundations, but it was erected within the protection of a remarkable series of earthworks, which remain in good condition. These are apparently in part Roman, in part earlier. The site, on which Roman coins, pottery and other remains have been discovered, was on an ancient trackway running north and south. It may be noted that de Warren founded a similar castle and priory at Lewes in Sussex. The church of St James, Castle Acre, contains good Early English and Perpendicular work.