History of Swannington

Swannington is a small village situated about 9 miles north-west of Norwich, Norfolk.  Although not large in population, Swannington has been around for many years.

Swannington-village sign
The village sign

The name is a derivation of 'Sven's settlement' from the time when the area was inhabited by Vikings.

Our village sign was constructed to represent the most notable points about the area and so it has a Viking helmet at the very top.

Doomesday book image

Later, the village was mentioned by name in the Norman Domesday book of 1086. The village was in the hundred of Eynesford and consisted of 25 households, including 1 smallholder, 12 freemen and 7 free men.  The Tenant- in- Chief was Walter Giffard and there is reference to the moated Swannington Hall as well.

Swannington's main claim to fame is that it was the place where Robert Kett was finally apprehended after he had led the failed Peasants' Uprising in 1549.


Bridge across the Beck on Swiffers' Lane
The beginning of Swiffers Lane

There is some debate as to the exact whereabouts of his arrest but some think that it was in the area of Swiffers Lane, an old smugglers' route that runs through what is now called Upgate common.

St.Margaret's Church dates back to the end of the 12th Century.  The present church building is the result of various alterations and additions throughout the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. Nevertheless it is still a typical Norfolk Church.

St.Margaret's church image
St.Margaret's Church

The first recorded Rector of St.Margaret's Church was William de Whitwell who was rector for the parish of Swannington from 1260-1280.

In 1944 land was commandeered for the creation of RAF Swannington from which Mosquito aircraft flew in support of bombing raids over enemy territory.