Swan pit

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A Swan pit is a water-filled enclosure where swans were fattened and eventually killed for human consumption.[1]

The swan pit at the Great Hospital, Norwich


From the Medieval period swans were kept in ponds and were a source of income and made acceptable gifts.[2] Selected wild cygnets had their wings clipped and bills cut into a distinctive pattern bearing the owner's mark.

An example of a swan pit can be found within the grounds of the Great Hospital, Norwich. The Grade II listed[3] tidal pool was built in the 18th century and is fed with water from the adjacent River Wensum.


  1. ^ New York Times article Retrieved 16 November 2010
  2. ^ Phillips, E. A Short History of the Great Hospital. 1999. pp 35.36. Jarrolds
  3. ^ British listed buildings Retrieved 19 November 2010

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