"SWAINSTHORPE, 5½ miles S. by W. of Norwich, has in its parish 785 acres of fertile land, and had 293 inhabitants in 1841, including 93 persons in Henstead Union Workhouse, …Robt. Fellowes and R.K. Long, Esqrs., are owners of the soil, and lords of the two manors. The latter is also patron of the rectory, valued in the King's Book at £12. 13s. 4d., and in 1831 at £422, with that of Newton Flotman annexed to it, in the incumbency of the Rev. Hy. Long.The CHURCH (St. Peter,) is a small fabric, . . . Here was formerly another church, dedicated to St. Mary, but it was demolished at the Reformation, and its site is now occupied by a small round building. The tithes of Swainsthorpe have been commuted for £250 per annum. The poor have £2 a year, left by John Pye, in 1697. The cottagers have pasturage on a common of 16A., by paying 7s. a year each for repairing the fences." [William White History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk (1845) - Transcription copyright © Pat Newby]


Church Directories

  • In 1883 the parish was in the Deanery of Humbleyard, in the archdeaconry of Norfolk.
    It could have been in a different deanery or archdeaconry both before and after this date.
  • The parish church is dedicated to St Peter.
    There was formerly a church dedicated to St Mary.

Church History

Church of St Peter
Minister, services, description, history, pictures, etc.
Church of St Peter
Description and pictures.
Church of St Peter
Services, etc.

Church Records

These are included in Boyd's Marriage Index.
They are not included in Phillimore's Marriage Registers.
Ellwood, C.A.
Churchwardens' Accounts. Swainsthorpe.
Excerpts from Swainsthorpe Town Books (1783-1805, 1805-1831) and Overseers' Book (1831-1835).
[Photocopy in Norwich Local Studies Library, 1960s]

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Church Records


Civil Registration

For the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths between 1837 and 1930 (and for the censuses from 1851 to 1901), Swainsthorpe was in Henstead Registration District.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Civil Registration


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Swainsthorpe which are provided by:




Historical Geography

Swainsthorpe is in Humbleyard Hundred.

Parish outline and location.
See Parish Map for Humbleyard Hundred
Description of Humbleyard Hundred
1845: White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk

You can see the administrative areas in which Swainsthorpe has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TG220010 (Lat/Lon: 52.561117, 1.273296), Swainsthorpe which are provided by:


Poor Houses, Poor Law

After 1834 Swainsthorpe became part of the Henstead Union, and the workhouse was in this parish.

Henstead Union
Parishes in the union, their arrangements for the poor before 1834, etc.
Henstead Union and Workhouse
Description from White's Directory of Norfolk, 1845.
Henstead Union and Workhouse
Description and pictures.


These figures are from the population tables which were produced after the 10-yearly national censuses. The "Families" heading includes families and single occupiers.

Year   Inhabited
Families Population
1801 20 26 141
1811 22 22 149
1821 23 36 185
1831 23 40 180
1841 39 -- 293
1851 42 -- 349
Year   Inhabited
Families Population
1861 44 -- 338
1871 42 46 271
1881 38 42 291
1891 39 39 275
1901 38 40 274
1911 -- 42 284

There may be more people living in detached parts of the parish (if there were any) and, if so, the number may or may not be included in the figures above. It is quite difficult to be sure from the population tables.

1841 and 1851 Censuses
"The Return for Swainsthorpe Parish includes 93 persons in 1841, and 109 in 1851, in the Henstead and Humbleyard Union Workhouse."
1901 Census
"A considerable proportion of the population of Swainsthorpe Civil Parish was enumerated in the Henstead Union Workhouse."
1911 Census
Out of the population of 284, 106 were in the workhouse.