Parish History-Penal Times

drawing by Fr EsserSince East Anglia was one of the regions of England which most readily accepted the new teachings of the reformers it is hardly surprising that the Old Faith apparently died out swiftly and completely in Swaffham at the time of the Reformation. After all Cambridge the main centre in England for the Reformers is only about 40 miles away. While it has been said that there was a house of Jesuit Priests in the town even during Penal times and until about 1795, it is more likely that they were Chaplains to one of the big houses in the neighbourhood.

In the town itself there is no sure evidence of a Catholic presence until the beginning of the 20th century.

But the Faith definitely did survive in two houses in the neighbourhood. The first was Bury’s Hall, now no longer standing; but for some time during the 17th and 18th centuries a Catholic Chaplain was maintained by the family there.