Swaffham War Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Market Place, Lynn Street, Swaffham, Norfolk


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Statutory Address:
Market Place, Lynn Street, Swaffham, Norfolk

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Breckland (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


A First World War memorial, erected 1920, with later additions.

Reasons for Designation

Swaffham War Memorial is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Historic interest:

* as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this local community, and the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the C20.

Architectural interest:

* as an elegant and well-executed commemorative structure.

Group value:

* it groups well with a large number of Grade-II listed buildings in Market Place and Lynn Street.


The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across England. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead: therefore the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.

One such memorial was raised at Swaffham as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the 90 local men who lost their lives during the First World War. A war memorial committee was appointed to raise funds for an outdoor memorial in Swaffham together with a plaque and memorial window for the parish church. The war memorial was erected in Market Place and unveiled on Sunday 15 February 1920 by the Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Arthur K Wilson, VC.

The names of the fallen from the Second World War were subsequently added to the memorial. An further name was added to the First World War casualty list in 2002 and the memorial subsequently rededicated. Two plaques in memory of Far Eastern prisoners of war and all East Anglians who have lost their lives since 1945 were added to the memorial in July 2011 when a dedication service also took place.

The railings were repaired after being damaged by a vehicle in 1953.


A First World War memorial, erected 1920, with later additions.

MATERIALS Carved from Portland stone with plaques of polished granite.

DESCRIPTION Swaffham War Memorial is prominently located in the Market Place, close to the former Corn Hall (Grade II). It consists of a small decoratively-carved cross surmounted on a tapering, square column with moulded cap and base, set upon a tall pedestal and a square base. A plaque on the north-east face of the pedestal carries the main dedicatory inscription in black painted lettering which reads:


The names of the fallen are inscribed on plaques to the other three faces. The front of the column is inscribed: 1939-1945. Below this is a plaque bearing the names of the fallen. Two early-C21 plaques at the base of the memorial carry the inscriptions: IN MEMORY OF/ THE SWAFFHAM/ AND DISTRICT/ FAR EAST PRISONERS OF WAR/ 1941 – 1945/ WE SHALL REMEMBER THEM/ 2011 and IN MEMORY OF/ THE FALLEN OF/ EAST ANGLIA/ 1945 – TO PRESENT DAY/ LEST WE FORGET respectively.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES The memorial is surrounded by four, painted stone posts with chain-link fencing, set within a larger, mid-C20 enclosure bounded by metal railings.


Far East prisoners of war remembered in Swaffham service, 3 July 2011, Eastern Daily Press , accessed 5 September 2019 from http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/far-east-prisoners-of-war-remembered-in-swaffham-service-1-951544
Imperial War Museum War Memorials Register Swaffham WW1 and WW2, accessed 5 September 2019 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/53383
War Memorials Online, Swaffham WW1 AND WW2, accessed 5 September 2019 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/72132/


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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