Weird Norfolk: When the Devil visited King’s Lynn

PUBLISHED: 16:43 28 July 2017

Devils Alley in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Devils Alley in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

The earliest depictions of the devil show him in various forms – with scaly skin, folded wings and with cloven hooves, often attributed to early illustrations of the Pagan God Pan, who would have been reviled by good Christians.

Norfolk used to boast the devil’s hoof print in King’s Lynn, said to be a remainder of his thwarted attempts to steal souls after arriving to the town by ship.

Legend has it that he was spotted by a priset who cornered him in what is now known as Devil’s Alley – banishing him back to the netherworld with prayers and Holy water, the infuriated devil stamped his foot in fury and with such force that it left an imprint and a reminder of the chaos he could wreak.

Devil’s Alley was once complete roofed like a tunnel and ran all the way to the quayside – it is said that rather than an imprint in the ground, the alley “showed at its darkest point a queer cobble in the pavement shaped like a gigantic human foot”.

While the alley remains, the footprint has long since disappeared, a victim of modern roadworks which have seen the cobbles resurfaced. But one mystery remains, in 1881, the alley was called Miller’s – not Devil’s – Alley. So has Lucifer made a relatively recent visit to King’s Lynn?

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