Record Details

NHER Number:3977
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of medieval monastic hospice, Swaffham


It is recorded that a monastic hospice was present in the parish of Swaffham after 1154, and dissolved in 1537. It was known to have been dependant on Sawtry Abbey, but no archaeological evidence for its location has been discovered. The possible site of Great Friar's Thorne is thought to have also been the site of a nonconformist chapel.

Images - none



Full description

Monastic Hospice, founded after 1154 and disolved 1537. Dependant on Sawtry Abbey.
Situated at either Great Friar's Thorne (farm - TF 788 102) or Little Friars Thorne (TF 797 097). Perhaps Great is more likely as it was previously simply 'Friers Thornes'. (S1), (S2).
Little Friars Thorns visited 22 August 1979 by E. Rose (NAU).
No trace of pre 18th century work although owner says brick barn on east has timber framing now sealed between inner and outer walls. However Bartholomew's Norfolk half-inch map of around 1930 indicates a church here which is not now evident and not on 6 inch map - it was put just east of farmyard. An old man told farmer he remembered open-air services on a church site here. If correct more probably a nonconformist chapel however.
E. Rose (NAU).

However the evidence given by Blomefield may suggest the site is really adjacent to St Guthlac's chapel (see 4145).
E. Rose (NLA), 4 December 1995.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (12th Century to 16th Century - 1154 AD? to 1537 AD)
  • HOSPITAL (12th Century to 16th Century - 1154 AD? to 1537 AD)
  • NONCONFORMIST CHAPEL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Swaffham.
<S1>Publication: Knowles, D. and Hadcock, R. N. 1971. Medieval Religious Houses of England and Wales. pp 334, 396.
<S2>Publication: Messent, C. J. W. 1934. The Monastic Remains of Norfolk and Suffolk. p 76.

Related records - none

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