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Should this design become town's first coat of arms?

PUBLISHED: 15:45 21 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:10 21 October 2019

Historian Rod Chapman, from North Elmham, has designed what he hopes could become Swaffham's official coat of arms. Picture: Archant

Historian Rod Chapman, from North Elmham, has designed what he hopes could become Swaffham's official coat of arms. Picture: Archant

Archant

A historian hopes Swaffham will adopt his design as its first official emblem.

Rod Chapman, from North Elmham, has designed a potential new coat of arms for Swaffham. Picture: ArchantRod Chapman, from North Elmham, has designed a potential new coat of arms for Swaffham. Picture: Archant

Rod Chapman has brought together fascinating facets of Swaffham's rich heritage to create an original coat of arms for the town.

The 75-year-old, who is a member of Norfolk Heraldry Society, drew upon extensive local knowledge to design a crest heralding a host of historical figures and events.

Currently, the town's most recognised symbol is the Pedlar of Swaffham who, according to a folktale, sought his fortune by following a dream which told him to journey from Swaffham to London Bridge.

The pedlar now adorns the town sign and can be found in several other locations, but Mr Chapman believes so much more about Swaffham warrants further acknowledgement.

The Pedlar of Swaffham is one of the town's most recognisable historical figures and adorns the town sign. Picture: Matthew UsherThe Pedlar of Swaffham is one of the town's most recognisable historical figures and adorns the town sign. Picture: Matthew Usher

"Some towns in Norfolk have proper heraldry, but many - Swaffham being one - do not," said Mr Chapman, who lives in North Elmham. "At the moment it widely uses the pedlar, but it doesn't have an official coat of arms.

"Swaffham has a lot of history people don't know about and I wanted to incorporate other famous people and symbols that make the town what it is."

Rod Chapman's design is influencd by various elements of Swaffham's history. Picture: ArchantRod Chapman's design is influencd by various elements of Swaffham's history. Picture: Archant

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Mr Chapman's creation includes the famous pedlar on and atop the shield, while the anchor is a nod to esteemed Admiral of the Fleet Sir Arthur Knyvet Wilson, who was born and died in Swaffham.

Swaffham is one of maany market towns which does not have an official coat of arms. Picture: Ian BurtSwaffham is one of maany market towns which does not have an official coat of arms. Picture: Ian Burt

The black chevron represents the pyramids of Egypt, adored by former Swaffham resident Howard Carter on his way to discovering Tutankhamun's tomb.

Finally, the three black lions stem from the Duchy of Swabia, the medieval German region from which Swaffham takes its name.

Dorothy Starling, from Swaffham, would like Rod Chapman's coat of arms design to include St Peter and St Paul Church. Picture: ArchantDorothy Starling, from Swaffham, would like Rod Chapman's coat of arms design to include St Peter and St Paul Church. Picture: Archant

Having been brought to life by Swaffham-based painter, Julia Willis, the design has been sent to Swaffham Town Council for initial consideration.

Across the town, people including 75-year-old Dorothy Starling have been torn over the emblem.

The Pedlar of Swaffham is a recognised symbol across Swaffham and adorns the town sign. Picture: ArchantThe Pedlar of Swaffham is a recognised symbol across Swaffham and adorns the town sign. Picture: Archant

"I like it but I think the pedlar should be removed from the shield," said Mrs Starling. "He looks brilliant on the top but maybe the shield could include something related to our wonderful church."

David Savage, from nearby Castle Acre, added: "It's striking and looks good in its simplicity, but the link to pyramids is a bit vague.

"The whole thing would need explaining, because the only thing that would stand out to people is the pedlar."

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