My paternal grandmother, Ada Duffield, was descended from Jasper James Duffield and Anne Hall who were married in St Peter and St Paul Church Swaffham on 18 April 1780. Anne had been born in Swaffham in January 1755. She was the daughter of Thomas Hall and Mary Durrant, who had been married in Swaffham ini 1753. She was the eldest of their ten children.
Anne and Jasper, it seems, had only three children, and spent their lives in Swaffham. Jasper lived until he was 72 and was buried in Swaffham on 29 December 1832, their three children were Thomas, Marianne and Jasper. The eldest, Thomas, is my 3x Great Grandfather. He became a farmer in nearby Heacham.
So for the moment, Swaffham is the earliest known location of my Duffield ancestors. Most head stones, however, date from the 19th century. I wanted to see the church in which Anne and Jasper were married and their children baptised.
It was worth the visit. The current church building dates from 1454-65 when it replaced a previous church that had collapsed. It is built in Barnack stone, brick and flint. The first rector was appointed in the reign of Henry II, (between1133-89).
The loveliest element is the timber ceiling with its 88 Angels carved in chestnut wood - which is resistant to borers. When a restoration was carried out in 1888 a number of lead shot pellets were found embedded in the Angels. One explanation is that Cromwell's men were responsible. The other is that they were used to dislodge nesting birds. As Cromwell's grandmother is buried at the church, the bird theory perhaps has greater credence.
The woodwork throughout the church is lovely
from these women with rosaries on the end of the choir stalls, to details on the pulpit.
We reached our holiday cottage in Grimston late in the afternoon and had a pleasant time catching up and unpacking. The cottage is cosy, well appointed and comfortable - a great base for relaxing and exploring. It has good wifi but poor phone reception -so communication this week is best by email.
Information about St Peter and St Paul Swaffam comes from the booklet Swaffham Parish Church, Dereham, 01362 693240.