During the 15th Century a pedlar named as John Chapman had a dream that showed if he stood on London Bridge he would hear of good news. John travelled to London and spend 3 days on the bridge. He re-told the dream to a shop keeper, but omitted that he lived in Swaffham. The shop keep laughed but said he had a dream of a pedlar digging under a tree and finding treasure but he was to wise to (persue) ‘silly dreams’. John went home and found great wealth after digging under the tree, which he used to help rebuild the church.
I have found a slightly different version of events, which claim the tale to be partly legend and fact. John did go to London, but it is suggested he was here to seek his fortune. He was going to throw himself off Tower Bridge but he was told about buried treasure in a distance village and he recognized it as his own back garden. He did find the treasure and did fund the church, north side. The towns sign depicts John and his wife. I am sure you will find other versions of this legend.
John Botewright was the rector from 1435 to 1474. All of the work done on the church was recorded in the Swaffham Black Book. The book entries show that the North Aisle rebuilding was paid for by John Chapman. Two pew in the choir have carving, one of a woman looking over the door of a shop and the other, of a pedlar and his dog.
Folklore suggest that a ghostly woman has been seen, walking up and down the graves in the churchyard, maybe looking for a specific headstone? St Peter and St Paul, Swaffham for more information, click here
During July, 2007 at the Market Cross Public House, a member of staff saw a cat, running across the bar area. the barmaid took the ghostly cat as a living cat, she never realised it was a ghost, until she talked about the cat to others. a man with some beer is also seen by the fireplace.
A transparent grey figure has been seen in the back gardens of a cottage near Northwell Poll. Footsteps are heard in a field near Wood Farm, it is suggested from the sound of footsteps it would be someone walking on marshy land.
A footpath leading to Castle acre, called Captains Close, has a ghostly monk apparition.
The George Hotel is probably the best known ghostly place of Swaffham. The hotel was a 16th century coaching Inn, situated on the crossroads. A green lady has been seen and felt on numerous occasions. she taps people on their shoulders or backs, she sometimes is seen holding a pan and a quick shadow can be seen, usually from the corner of the eye. For landlords of The George Hotel and other history, click here.
Swaffham is situated in West Norfolk and date back to the Bronze and Iron ages. By the 14th and 15th centuries Swaffham had a flourishing sheep and wool industry. The saturday market dates back to medieval period. In the town centre is the Butter Cross (Market Cross) built-in 1783, by George Walpole, 3rd Earl of Orford. It has eight stone columns, while supporting a dome, surmounted by the Roman goddess, Ceres,Roman goddess of the harvest.
Twenty-four homes were lost to a fire on 19th November 1775. The museum was built on the site of the great fire.