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Swannington lies ten miles north-east of Norwich.

Swannington Rectory

The rectory was built in 1635 from the proceeds of the sale of George Herbert's poems The Temple.

In his book The Lives of Donne, Wotton, Hooker, Herbert, and Sanderson Izaak Walton tells us that - while Herbert was on his deathbed  - Nicholas Ferrar (of Little Gidding) sent his friend Edmund Duncon to Bemerton in Wiltshire to enquire after the poet's condition.

During the meeting, Herbert passed to Duncon a copy of his collected poems - with the instructions that they should, in turn, be passed to Ferrar and that Ferrar should only publish them if he felt that they might 'turn to the advantage of any dejected soul'. Otherwise, he instructed Ferrar to burn them.

Fortunately Ferrar decided to publish them in and they appeared in 1633 to great popular acclaim. The revenue from the poems passed to Ferrar and Duncon - and then to Duncon when Ferrar died in 1637. Duncon, who was rector of Friern Barnet in Middlesex, was then able to move to Norfolk and construct a new rectory.

Standing next to St Margaret's Church - the rectory is now a grade II listed building. It was extended in 1841.

More photographs of Swannington




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