Record Details

NHER Number:6853
Type of record:Building
Name:St Nicholas' Church, Swafield


The late medieval tower of St Nicholas is earlier than the nave which was rebuilt later in the 15th century. The roof line of a former lower nave suggests that there was a change of plan . Although some obvious restoration took place in 1861, the stunning 15th century nave roof remains, with arched braces running right up to the ridge across the 7m span without ties. The ridge is decorated with astounding traceried wheels with central faces standing proud of the roof. Also surviving are some of the medieval paintings on the dado, depicting eight saints, although they have been overpainted in the Victorian period. Inside there is also a crucifix which was found on Walcott beach in 1937, apparently washed out of a hiding place in the cliff (NHER 34649).


  • St Nicholas' Church, Swafield. Photograph from  © S. Knott


Grid Reference:TG 2862 3307
Map Sheet:TG23SE

Full description

Cross base from site NHER 6829 said by Ordnance Survey to be in gateway.
E. Rose (NAU).

Listed Grade II*.
E. Rose (NAU).

Drawings and photographs of cross base in file, show standard medieval base with stop angles. [1].
E. Rose (NLA), 17 January 1992.

The church contains a crucifix found on Walcott beach in 1937, apparently washed out of a hiding place in the cliff.
See NHER 34649.
Information from Norwich County Council.
E. Rose (NNLA), 2 September 1999.

Survey. October 2013
Later medival church of west tower, very wide aisleless nave, chancel and south porch. Tower may have been begun in the late 14th century to a more modest plan as the former nave roof line shows. If this church was built it was replaced with the wide nave with 6 identical large panel traceried windows. Impressive arch braced roof of 9 principal trusses. Along the ridge are the remains of the most unusual traceried wheels held on pendants away from the roof. Chancel with a 19th century arch braced roof and a re-positioned and restored esat window. For further details see (S1).
S. Heywood (HES). 13 December 2013

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval to 21st Century - 1066 AD to 2100 AD)
  • CROSS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG2833 W-AD.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 684.
---Leaflet: St Nicholas' Church, Swafield..
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Heywood, S. 2013. Conservation-based analysis of Church of St Nicholas Swafield.

Related records - none

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