Research sheds new light on medieval King’s Lynn

PUBLISHED: 16:02 12 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:28 12 April 2018

Research has shed new light on medieval King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Research has shed new light on medieval King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Research has shed new light on the history of medieval King’s Lynn.

Historic England says studies of the Common Staithe Quay car park, Chapel Street car park and the Southgates area have led to a new understanding of what these parts of the town were like, and how they were used.

The research, which has been carried out as part of Lynn’s Heritage Action Zone scheme, will help decide the kinds of new developments that are possible within Lynn’s historic centre.

It concludes that by the 16th Century, Common Staithe Quay car park was a public quay which led to an open space surrounded by warehouses. This layout remains recognisable today, and where the warehouses once stood, the Corn Exchange, a grand Georgian house and an island of Georgian and Victorian buildings which included a public swimming pool and a store for buoys.

It is believed that the area of Chapel Street car park was occupied from the late 13th century and by the 16th century it was densely developed with timber-framed, and possibly stone buildings.

The 580-year-old South Gate has, ever since it was built, been the main entrance to Lynn. But its surroundings have changed significantly. Gone is the river which flowed in front of it, the nearby shipyards and timberyards, and the inn from which stage coaches left for London.

Alistair Beales, West Norfolk council’s cabinet member for corporate projects and assets, said: “This first stage of work has given us a much greater understanding of our town. I am really looking forward to the next stage of this project which will look at the types of development that might be possible and feasible.”

John Neale, planning director for Historic England in the east of England said: “This work gives us vital information that will help us lay the foundations for what comes next for Lynn in development and regeneration.”

Talks in the findings are being held at Lynn Town Hall on Tuesday, May 22 (Common Staithe car park), Tuesday, June 5 (Chapel Street) and Tuesday, June 12 (Southgates Quay) Admission is free, e-mail to book.

Research can also be downloaded at

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