Swavesey - Cambridgeshire, England
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
N 52° 18.095 W 000° 00.269
30U E 704235 N 5798808
The Swavesey village sign is located at the western end of Market Street across from the White Horse Inn.
Waymark Code: WMEQZT
Location: Eastern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 06/29/2012
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member Dragontree
Views: 3

The sign depicts a swan, a snail, what appears to be an eel or fish, an "x", a ship's wheel, and a shield with nine gold coins.

Prior to the Conquest the ‘principal’ or ‘main’ manor of Swavesey belonged to one Edetha/Eddeva or more commonly Edith the Fair the Consort/Queen of the Saxon king Edward the Confessor (d.1066). The ‘royal connection’ with Swavesey is represented by the “Royal SWAN, classical bird of Beauty (for Edith the Fair) standing aloft on the Swavesey village sign”; situated appropriately at the head of Market Street (The Story of SWAVESEY Village Sign). With the arrival of Norman conquerors, and presumably on the compilation of the Doomsday survey the ‘favoured’ manor of Swavesey was given, together with the church and other choice lands in East Anglia, to Count Alan de la Zouch, Earl of Brittany, William I (the Conqueror)’s son-in-law (F&U). Count Alan, not only held the ‘main’ manor, together with the church, a mill and a fishery on the River Ouse, but also land in Fen Drayton, Boxworth, Willingham and Longstanton and was perhaps the biggest lay landowner in the area. The de la Zouch family heraldic shield with nine gold coins is portrayed centrally on the Swavesey village sign."

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The snail on the sign appears to be a nod to the badge of the ancient Hoddendod Manor that was once located in Swavesey.

"In the Swavesey Chronicle: Abridged Extracts from the Cambridge Chronicle relating to the Village of Swavesey 1776-1899 p1 mention is made of the “Manors of Swavesey, and Hobbledods Bennets”. Interestingly the village sign includes the badge of the ancient Hoddendod Manor - the snail! Swavesey’s second Manor was situated to the south of Market Street. This strange old name is Anglian dialect for the Common or Garden Snail (The Story of the SWAVESEY Village Sign 1979) and the snail is depicted to the right of the sign."

-- Source

The ship's wheel may be a reference to the village serving as a port, apparently by as early as 1177.

Beneath the shield with nine gold coins is the village's motto: "Steadfast in Work & Play."

On the back of the sign is a painted white cloud on a light blue background. Inside the white cloud is the following text: "To commemorate Silver Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth II, 1952-1977.

A bronze plaque on the concrete base holding the pole on which the village sign is attached reads:

This Village Sign was Unveiled on
Sunday, 2nd. September, 1979, by
Mrs. Ethel Hepher,
A Founder Member
of the Swavesey Womens' Institute,
Former Chairman of the Parish Council,
County Councillor and Alderman.

Sign Date: 09/02/1979

Occasion Commemorated: Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee

Location: Western End of Market Street in Swavesey

Plaque: yes

Construction Material: Carved and Painted Wood

Web Address: [Web Link]

Artist: Not listed

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