FROM SWAN INN and CROMWELL's HQ
#LowestoftDaysOfChristmas 10th day.. FROM SWAN INN and CROMWELL's HQ to well loved shops in many guises. Nos. 41-42 High Street, as seen today, are replacement buildings for "The Swan" inn, which once occupied the site and served as one of Lowestoft's premier hostelries during the 16th and 17th centuries. It was where Oliver Cromwell stayed overnight on 14 March 1643/44, when he came to Lowestoft (from Cambridge) with a force of cavalry, having heard tell of a shipment of arms either entering or leaving the town (it has never been established which). He arrested a number of Royalist sympathisers, both local and from out of town - including the Vicar, James Rous - and returned to Cambridge with them. They spent a period of house-arrest there, before being released.
In December 1584, George Phifeld (merchant) conveyed the premises to John Archer of London (fishmonger) - the latter having been identified as the largest exporter, at the time, of red herrings from Great Yarmouth. Part of the deal was for Phifeld to supply Archer with twenty lasts of high-quality "reds" (200,000 fish) - the nature of cure and packaging being itemised in the manorial record of exchange. The Archer family remained as tenants until the 1630s, when the messuage changed hands.
In 1720, it was listed as being in the occupancy of John Hayward (mariner-merchant), who had died in June 1719 - an example, perhaps, of the manorial records not having kept pace with the realities of life (or death). He was responsible for endowing a bread charity in the town for the relief of local poor people.
What is now known as Mariner's Score (the footway linking the High Street with Whapload Road) was once called Swan Score, after the inn itself. CREDIT:David Butcher
TM5593NW HIGH STREET 914-1/8/24 (East side) 03/10/77 Nos.41 AND 42
Pair of houses and shops, now 2 shops and 4 flats. Late C14, re-built C17, re-built again mid C19, altered C20. Brick. Asbestos slate and natural slate roofs. Double-pile plan. 3 storeys in 4 window bays. 2 late C20 ground-floor shop fronts. 4 top-hung late C20 casements to each of upper 2 floors, those to No.41 with rendered skewback arches. gabled roof with internal gable-end stacks. The rear pile is similar. Two 2-storey cross wings receded east from the rear: C20 details. INTERIOR. C20 details throughout except for the late C14 cellar under No.41. Limewashed brick. 2 compartments separated by a wide double-chamfered 4-centred brick arch. The south compartment has a flight of brick steps leading to the street, now blocked. The east and west walls are punctuated by 4-centred chamfered brick arches leading to small recessed chambers with barrel vaults. Each recess arch has an engaged circular respond with polygonal capitals. A forest of C20 brick piers supports the roof, from which the vault has been removed. The north compartment has a quadripartite brick vault with hollow-chamfered ribs on corbels. There are no wall niches or responds. In the north-east corner rises a brick winder staircase with moulded circular newel bricks. It is blocked at ceiling level. CREDIT: Historic England