A fresh archaeological dig is set to delve deeper a Norfolk town's forgotten Civil War history.

Experts are launching a project to learn more about the role King's Lynn played in the conflict, with excavations in the town planned for this summer.

Parliamentarians laid siege to Lynn during the first year of the English Civil War in 1643.

After capturing the town, they surrounded it with sophisticated fortifications to prevent it from falling back into Royalist hands.

They saw the town become one of national importance and shaped its future history, if not the outcome of the conflict itself.

Eastern Daily Press: King's Lynn was a strategically-important stronghold during the Civil WarKing's Lynn was a strategically-important stronghold during the Civil War (Image: Ian Burt)

King's Lynn Under Siege (KLuS) has been researching the town's ancient defences since 2018.

Now the group, which starred in Channel 4's the Great British Dig in 2021, is set to return to a site in North Lynn where it hopes to uncover further traces of earthworks.

Archaeologists will be carrying out investigations between July 14 - 19.

Previous excavations at the site, off Edma Street, have uncovered traces of the timber framework used to support ramparts and a moat.

Eastern Daily Press: Work under way on the site in 2022Work under way on the site in 2022 (Image: King's Lynn Under Siege)

KLuS volunteer Peter Jackson, 70, a retired logistics manager from Lynn, said: "We ran some test boreholes last year and we've been able to identify the width of the old moat.

"We also found traces of old bricks. We know that in the 18th century, a lot of the clay from the walls was used for brick making and we're hoping to find the brick kiln."

Mr Jackson said the ponds which straddle nearby Loke Road were also part of the moat defending Lynn.

Anyone is welcome to join the dig in July.

Organisers recommend they should have two weeks' previous experience or have completed the basic excavation course run by SHARP - the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project.

Places costing £260 can be booked via the SHARP website.




Eastern Daily Press: The profile of the fortifications drawn by Charles Blackwood based on David Flintham’s analysis of Richard Clampe’s plan of the fortifications The profile of the fortifications drawn by Charles Blackwood based on David Flintham’s analysis of Richard Clampe’s plan of the fortifications (Image: Charles Blackwood, Fortress Study Group)

Lynn was seen as strategically-important by both sides after fighting broke out between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians in 1642. 

As well as a thriving port, it boasted a straight road to London.

Royalist Sir Hamon LeStrange, lord of the manor at nearby Hunstanton, declared the town for the King the following August.

But it was captured just three weeks later on September 16, after the Earl of Manchester and Oliver Cromwell laid siege with 18,000 troops - almost half its present-day population.

Parliamentarians surrounded their prize with walls and ramparts, defending it until they achieved victory over the Royalists in 1651. 

But research by KLuS, including digs around the town, has revealed evidence of fortifications including ramparts more than 11m wide and 5m high, along with moats and other defences.

Co-founded by Neil Faulkner and David Flintham, KLuS has challenged the traditional view that the siege of King’s Lynn was little more than a footnote to the history of the conflict.

Instead, the group says their work has demonstrated that the siege should be seen as a key point in the conflict.

They say Lynn's defences were more sophisticated than any other fortified town, showing the importance the Parliamentarians attached to it.

It was also one of the first significant victories for them as the tide began to turn their way.