Swafield & Bradfield

This parish contains the villages of Bradfield and Swafield, it is between North Walsham and Trunch and is situated just 3.5km from Mundesley, on the North Norfolk coast.  


The name 'Swafield' is thought to be derived from the Old English for 'open land characterized by swathes, ridges of grass or corn lying after harvest'.


The northeastern section of the parish was extensively field-walked in the last 1980s, and as a result a number of prehistoric implements have been recovered.  These include microliths, two Neolithic leaf arrowheads, a number of potboilers and a possible Neolithic chisel or axehead.


There is also evidence from the Bronze Age period, including an Early Bronze Age flint barbed and tanged arrowhead, a Bronze Age spear tip and a socketed axehead and harness fitting.  There has also been a small concentration of Middle Bronze Age settlement features excavated, where Bronze Age and Iron Age pottery sherds have been recovered.  An Iron Age Gallo-Belgic stater has also been recovered from an area to the north of the village of Swafield, as well as another coin and a bead from an area just to the south.


St Nicholas, Swafield 


Although Swafield is mentioned in the Domesday Book it is assigned only a small value, and it is not until the 13th or 14th centuries that the church of St. Nicholas is built.  However rebuilding of the nave and chancel in the 15th century attests to some wealth during this period.  

St Giles, Bradfield


Bradfield is not mentioned in the Domesday Book, however it gained a church by the 14th century, now dedicated to St. Giles.  It has a particularly large and fine chancel in the Decorated style, and from the top of the tower no less than twelve other churches can be seen on a clear day.  


Apart from these two churches there are very few buildings that can be confidently dated to the medieval period, however, there is a possible area of deserted settlement to the north of the village of Swafield along the Trunch Road.  Large numbers of medieval objects have been recovered here, including fragments of  medieval copper alloy dish or bucket.  In comparison with other periods, there are far more objects recovered from the medieval period than any other.  These include a large number of coins, as well as many examples of a medieval cross recovered during ploughing, as well as a fragment of a copper alloy bowl and a thimble.  A similar selection of objects has been recovered from the post medieval period, though these are largely limited to coins.


A small number of buildings built during the medieval period have also survived.  Of particular interest is Swafield Mill, a partially demolished water mill that stands in the nearby parish of North Walsham, and whose associated buildings survive in Swafield parish. 


Also of interest is Swafield Hall and Barn, a late 16th century building which was altered in the 17th and 19th centuries.  Other buildings or architectural interest listed by English Heritage include Swafield House and The Beeches.


From more recent history, the northern section of the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Railway also cuts through this parish.  It was constructed in the 19th and 20th centuries, though unfortunately the section that linked Swafield to North Walsham has now closed.  

From even more recent times, World War One has left us with two pillboxes dating between 1916 and 1918.  One is situated in Bradfield, at the junction to the south of the village and the other is just 40m to the north on the edge of the common.

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