King John's links to King's Lynn celebrated in weekend of activities
Although he was widely unpopular throughout his reign in England, John had support in King's Lynn and his links to the town and the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta will be celebrated with a host of medieval-themed activities next month.
During the Magna Carta 800 weekend of June 13/14, visitors to the town can take part in historical enactments, including a knights’ tournament and a proclamation by King John.
There will also be falconry displays, craft demonstrations, and fire breathing, with all activities free of charge.
Visitors can also enjoy free entry to Lynn Museum to learn more about Magna Carta and the king’s links to Lynn.
Lynn was one of the places to mint King John Pennies during his reign and, in recognition of this, people will be able to strike their own King John Penny at the museum.
The anniversary of Magna Carta and the king’s links to the town are also the subject of a exhibition at Lynn’s tourist information centre at the Custom House.
There will also be a display about the King John Cup, sword and charter, part of the town’s civic collections, in the council’s customer information centre in Chapel Street.
The king, who ruled from 1199-1216, also reputedly lost his treasure while trying to cross the Wash.
And, as part of the weekend, families can take part in a King John-themed treasure trail.
Magna Carta 800 has been organised by West Norfolk Council in partnership with Norfolk Museum Services, as part of the Stories of Lynn project.
Council cabinet member responsible for the project, Elizabeth Nockolds said: “As well as being great fun, events like this help to bring our fascinating history to life and help make it relevant and accessible for new audiences -this is exactly what we’re aiming to do with Stories of Lynn.”
Due to open next year, Stories of Lynn, which will be based in the town hall, will include enhanced exhibitions, a staffed resource area, and an information hub signposting visitors to other heritage attractions. The project received a grant of £1,850,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Oliver Bone, curator of Lynn Museum, said: “We are hoping that people will enjoy striking their own King John Penny. We don’t exactly know where in the town the mint would have been in King John’s reign, but it would not have been too far from here.”
Ruth Farnan, Stories of Lynn learning and engagement officer at Lynn Museum, said that, although it was called the King John Penny, the picture of the monarch on the face of the coin is actually that of King Henry II, his father, who reigned from 1154-1189.
The coin remained in use and unchanged throughout John’s brother, King Richard’s reign, 1189-1199, and then, throughout his son, Henry III’s reign, 1216-1272.
For more information about the event, visit www.west-norfolk.gov.uk/events
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