Rare open day for Lynn's historic chapel

Bells will be ringing, chiming and pealing for a special birthday event at the largest chapel in the country this weekend. St Nicholas Chapel in King's Lynn will be open for the public to view the intriguing treasures and monuments within the 15th century church - including a ledger stone believed to have inspired novelist Daniel Defoe.

Bells will be ringing, chiming and pealing for a special birthday event at the largest chapel in the country this weekend.

St Nicholas' Chapel in King's Lynn will be open for the public to view the intriguing treasures and monuments within the 15th-century building - including a ledger stone believed to have inspired novelist Daniel Defoe.

The event will provide a rare opportunity for people not just to see the historic items but also ask the knowledgeable Friends of St Nicholas about the church's history and links to the town's rich fishing and merchant past.

The bell ringing on Saturday, from 2pm to 4pm, will celebrate 40 years of The Churches Conservation Trust which maintains the chapel, as it is no longer used for worship.

Within the church is a memorial to Robinson Cruso, a common name in the area, and local legend told that Daniel Defoe knew of the name and used a different spelling for his famous castaway.

Sally Porter, who works for the trust, said: "There really is lots to see at St Nicholas; it is a majestic building with a huge east window and is a fantastic open space.

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"There is a collection of ledger stones, including one for Robinson Cruso, and some great medieval pews. St Nicholas also has a great maritime connection and there is a huge anchor in the church."

More than 70 churches across the country will take part in the bell ringing celebration, including churches in Bungay, Redgrave, Rickinghall and Covehithe.

The trust relies on support and donations to maintain the country's churches and is currently looking to install some new spotlights to showcase the angel sculptures above the nave and also carry out repairs to the church roof.

TV presenter Loyd Grossman, chairman of the trust, said: "The birthday bells appeal is a great way for local people to appreciate historic churches near to them and find out how these spaces can be enjoyed and used all year round.

"The appeal is just the start of our 40th year and I look forward to our celebrations across England to raise awareness of the importance of saving our historic churches."