King's Lynn

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JUNE 2014 - To start our journey we called in at Thetford where there is now a statue of Captain Mainwaring of "Dad’s Army" fame, and the Thetford Guild Hall which became Warmington-on-Sea Town Hall. Journeying on to King’s Lynn which is a 12c medieval port situated on the River Great Ouse. The Hanseatic merchants wanted a base with many warehouses some which still can be seen today.

Captain Vancouver was born in the Town in 1757 whose voyages took him to Canada where he founded the Town which bears his name. South Gate, (grade 1 listed), was constructed during the 14c rebuilt 1450. The front is merely a façade added 1520. The gate is actually made of bricks and mortar making it the oldest bricks and mortar building in the country.
Greyfriars Tower is as seen on the TV programme "Restoration" presented by Griff Rhys Jones. One of only three remaining Franciscan Towers in England. King Henry VIII allowed it to remain because it was a seamark for ships sailing into Kings Lynn. Work has been carried out to correct the lean and the gardens have been set out. King’s Lynn jailhouse adjoins the 15c Trinity Guildhall and now has tours showing what the prison was like.
The Library was funded by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie 1835-1919. Son of a handloom weaver, his family moved to the USA where they later opened the Carnegie steel works, the Carnegie Library and Carnegie Hall, New York. The reason for opening King’s Lynn Library was its proximity to Sandringham and Andrew hoped for a knighthood.
The Red Mount Chapel 1485, was a wayside chapel for pilgrims on their way to Walsingham. It is octagonal and on three floors. My husband’s mum and dad later lived at the Burkitt Alms Houses (1909), grade 2 listed, built in memory of William Burkitt who was a Maltster and Seed merchant, and Mayor of King’s Lynn on two occasions. 

Also on the list of things to do in Lynn. His mum often had people peering through the windows!
King’s Lynn Mart was granted a charter as a market in 1204, in the reign of King John. Henry VIII granted a charter for a Valentines Fair in 1537. During the latter half of the 19c it became a spectacular event where Fredrick Savage of King’s Lynn displayed his latest fairground rides to the Showmen. The mart is the first fair of the showmen’s year.
Dukes Head Hotel classical building overlooks the Tuesday Market Place. It was a 16c coaching inn. Opposite is the King’s Lynn Corn Exchange in the baroque style (1854).
The Custom House was designed by Henry Bell and built by Sir John Turner in 1685. Initially only the top and ground floors were used for trading by merchants, but they disliked being so far away from the Tuesday Market place, and in 1717 Customs took over the whole building.
St Margaret’s church (1101), was commissioned by the Bishop of Norwich Herbert de Losinga, and rebuilt in the 13c at the request of Bishop Grey. The tower was rebuilt in 1453 during the siege of Lynn .In the 15c a cannonball destroyed the main west window, and the ball now hangs in the doorway of Hampton Court. In 1741 the spires were damaged by a storm, and despite donations from George II and Walpole, couldn’t be restored to their former glory.
In 1985, the film "Revolution" directed by Hugh Hudson and starring Al Pacino was filmed largely in the Old Dock Area of King’s Lynn. Some houses had false fronts, and a stream was restored to its former glory. (Best wishes from Jackie Towler)


Hanseatic Warehouse

lynn4 Gaol house


South Gatehouse


Greyfriars Tower

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Page last updated : Tuesday, 23 June 2020