Area guide: Moving to the traditional market town of Swaffham

Swaffham will be the focus of a photography competition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the town

The Swaffham town sign which features John Chapman, the Pedlar of Swaffham - Credit: Matthew Usher

Swaffham is an historic market town in the Breckland area of Norfolk. 

Swaffham is easily accessed by car via the A47, which connects Great Yarmouth to King’s Lynn, and the A1065 and A143 from Thetford. 

In the 14th and 15th centuries, Swaffham was home to a flourishing sheep and wool trade.  

Its eye-catching Buttercross was built in 1783 and is topped by a statue of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, grain, crops and fertility.  

A number of other historic buildings surround the marketplace, including the Assembly Rooms, which was rebuilt in 1817.  

The church of St Peter and St Paul is built on the site of a much earlier 12th-century church, but dates back to the 15th century and has links with one of the town’s legends – the Pedlar of Swaffham. After receiving a message in a dream, a man called John Chapman is said to have found two pots of gold buried under a tree in his garden. Records show that a John Chapman did in fact exist in the 1400s, and was a churchwarden. It is believed that part of the church was built because of his generosity, and today he is depicted on the town sign. 

Swaffham Market Cross and Market Place.

The historic Buttercross - Credit: Archant Photographic 2011

Swaffham is home to a number of high street and independent businesses including Strattons, a boutique, family-owned hotel and restaurant.

On Fridays there is an indoor market in the Assembly Rooms, where you can find a number of vendors offering a selection of homemade cakes, jams and pickles, plus smaller finds like vintage jewellery and watches. 

Every Saturday there is also an outdoor market and auction with around 25 regular stalls, including fresh meat, fruit and vegetables, homeware, clothes, hardware, bric-a-brac and plants. 

On the first weekend of December, a special Christmas market also usually takes place. 

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There is a poultry auction every Saturday at the nearby Raceway, which is located on the outskirts of the town. It regularly attracts visitors from both the local area and from further afield. 

The town is served by a number of primary schools, including Heartwood CofE VC Primary and Nursery School and Swaffham CofE Primary Academy, both rated 'Good' by Ofsted.

The nearest high school is the Nicholas Hamond Academy, off Brandon Road.

The family of Egyptologist Howard Carter, who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, was from Swaffham and he is celebrated in the town’s museum. 

Other notable residents include boxing champ Jem Mace, Royal Navy Admiral of the Fleet Sir Kynet Wilson and W.E Johns, who wrote the ‘Biggles’ books. 

The TV series Kingdom was also partly filmed in the town and starred Stephen Fry.  

According to Rightmove, sold prices in Swaffham over the past year have been 6pc up on the previous year and 7pc up on the 2018 peak of £220,465. 

Most of the properties sold were detached, achieving an average price of £280,609, while semi-detached homes sold for an average of £192,400 and terraced sold for an average of £154,471. 

We asked branch manager of William H Brown in Swaffham, Tony Oulds, to share his top property picks from the local area:

Pretty brick and flint detached cottage in huge gardens for sale in Sporle near King's Lynn

Wolferton Cottages, in Sporle, is a well-presented three-bedroom semi-detached cottage, sitting in a plot of a quarter of an acre. Asking price: £325,000 - Credit: William H Brown

Pretty brick and flint cottage in huge gardens for sale off Tittleshall Road in Litcham, Norfolk

End Cottage off Tittleshall Road in Litcham is a three-bedroom end-terraced cottage with a self-contained one-bedroom annexe, set in lovely gardens - and with field views! Asking price: £375,000 - Credit: William H Brown

Detached brick bungalow with a shingled driveway for sale in Necton near Swaffham, Norfolk

46 Chantry Lane in Necton is a well-proportioned bungalow with four bedrooms, two reception rooms and a driveway. Offers in excess of £375,000 - Credit: William H Brown


...and then we asked Tony why he thinks Swaffham is such a great place to live!

Why do you think people are attracted to living in Swaffham? 
As a market town, we have some quaint and beautiful attractions in Swaffham, as well as easy access to the A47, which means you can get to most areas of Norfolk quickly. 

What is the atmosphere like? 
On market day on Saturday the town is absolutely thriving! Most other days there is just a pleasant yet slow pace in the town. 

Where are some of the most sought-after areas? 
The Campingland is always popular as it’s close to town. Swan’s Nest, the new development, is also very popular due to the quality of its homes and its location. 

Are there any areas of Swaffham which are up and coming? 
There is a new development on Norwich Road called Ceres Rise. It’s built by Barratt Homes, a five-star builder, and the homes are very popular and in a desirable location. 

Who is a typical Swaffham homebuyer? 
We have a real variety of buyers. The majority are families and retired couples often coming from out of the area. We do also have a selection of younger buyers, but these tend to be mainly on the newer developments. 

Tell me three things you love about Swaffham... 
Market day! On Saturday the town is bustling with lots of different stalls and a local auction. 

I also love the variety of local shops – including the butcher, baker and tea rooms – and the town’s historic architecture. 

The team at William H Brown's estate agency branch in Swaffham, Norfolk

The team at William H Brown's branch in Swaffham - Credit: William H Brown

William H Brown’s Swaffham branch, located at 31-33 Market Place, can help with sale and let valuations, mortgage services, insurance, conveyancing, EPCs and surveys. The branch’s service covers the town as well as the nearby villages of Necton, Sporle, Castle Acre, Narborough, Marham, Beachamwell, Gooderstone and Holme Hale. 

The team is led by Tony Oulds and supported by mortgage services manager Matthew Edwards, senior sales negotiator Joe Daisey, lettings negotiator Sophie Currington, trainee lettings negotiator Charley Burge and new homes manager Sally Green. 

This area guide is produced in partnership with William H Brown. 

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