By their twofold presence the churches of Swaffham Prior have always attracted visitors, many of them wanting simply to admire the phenomenon, others wanting to know "why?". Until now guides to the parish church of St Mary have been very brief and St Cyriac's has only recently been given fuller treatment by Roy Tricker of The Churches Conservation Trust. I have attempted to fill out the story of St Mary's and have combined my findings with Mr Tricker's on St Cyriac's, borrowing extensively from his work and bringing information about both churches within the covers of one booklet.
I must emphasise that, being no historian, my information has been gleaned from other people's work and, particularly in the uncharted early years, is sometimes conjecture. Often we simply do not know what happened. But it seems certain that this is a very ancient holy place where at least one church existed a thousand years ago.
I am particularly grateful to Roy Tricker for reading the text not once but twice and for his sound and generous advice. I should also like to thank Francis Riggs for his help with the background to Anglo-Saxon Swaffham Prior and for finding some fascinating illustrations. Copies of the Allix family portraits appear by courtesy of Mr Michael Marshall and of James Gillham who photographed them.