For almost six centuries it has served as an important milestone for Norfolk town, granting it privileges for a market and two annual fairs.

Now, Wymondham's rare and ancient charter has been fully restored and mounted and will be going on public display in the Abbey. 

The Wymondham Market Charter of 1440 has been described by experts as “one of the most significant documents in the long history of Wymondham”.

Eastern Daily Press: King Henry VIKing Henry VI (Image: BBC)

Eastern Daily Press: Wymondham Abbey's archivist John HerneWymondham Abbey's archivist John Herne (Image: Newsquest)

But while it has helped the town to thrive, the King who granted it was less fortunate.

It was awarded by Henry VI - son of Henry V - in 1440.

Fifteen years later, and following increasing tensions among powerful magnates, his reign descended into violence with the outbreak of the Wars of the Roses.

The civil war lasted - on and off - for more than 30 years - and led to the overthrow of Henry, who died a mysterious death in 1471.

Until recently Wymondham's charter was encased in an unsuitable wood and glass frame in the archive of the town's abbey. 

Now it has now been re-mounted in a modern archival manner by a conservation specialist at the Norfolk Record Office. 

The charter, written in Latin, bears the king's Great Seal, which shows him enthroned on the obverse side and in armour on horseback on the reverse side.  

Eastern Daily Press: The Wymondham Charter 1440The Wymondham Charter 1440 (Image: Newsquest)

Eastern Daily Press: The Wymondham Charter 1440 restoredThe Wymondham Charter 1440 restored (Image: Submitted)

The impressively written document is lavishly embellished and would have been witnessed by many of the highest-ranking lords at the king's court, including a baron who was a major landowner in Wymondham. 

The charter also granted the town’s inhabitants the right to hold a weekly market on Fridays, and two three-day fairs each year. 

While the Friday market continues to be held, the fairs are now a rare occurrence despite running for several centuries. 

Eastern Daily Press: Wymondham AbbeyWymondham Abbey (Image: William Gentry)

Eastern Daily Press: Norfolk's former county archivist John AlbanNorfolk's former county archivist John Alban (Image: Newsquest)

The charter has been restored and remounted at “a considerable cost” to Wymondham Town Council.    

On Sunday, April 23, a talk and presentation by Norfolk's former county archivist John Alban, with an introduction by Wymondham Abbey's archivist John Herne, takes place. 

Dr Alban’s talk will include his research into the charter, and his findings as to the probable sponsor who assisted the townsfolk in gaining the coveted charter. 

The free talk starts at 3pm at Wymondham Abbey in Church Street and donations will be collected in aid of the Abbey.