Place:King's Lynn, Norfolk, England

NameKing's Lynn
Alt namesKing's Lynnsource: WeRelate abbreviation
Kings-Lynnsource: Family History Library Catalog
Lynnsource: Times Atlas of World History (1993) p 349
Lynn-Regissource: Family History Library Catalog
TypeBorough (municipal)
Coordinates52.75°N 0.383°E
Located inNorfolk, England     (500 - )
See alsoKing's Lynn and West Norfolk District, Norfolk, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

King's Lynn, known until 1537 as Bishop's Lynn and colloquially as Lynn, is a port and market town in the borough of King's Lynn and West Norfolk in the county of Norfolk, England. It is located north of London, north-east of Peterborough, north-north-east of Cambridge and west of Norwich.[1]



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia


The etymology of King's Lynn is uncertain. The name Lynn may signify a body of water near the town – the Welsh word means a lake; but the name is plausibly of Anglo-Saxon origin, from lean meaning a tenure in fee or farm.[1] As the 1085 Domesday Book mentions saltings at Lena (Lynn), an area of partitioned pools may have existed there at the time. The presence of salt, which was relatively rare and expensive in the early medieval period, may have added to the interest of Herbert de Losinga and other prominent Normans in the modest parish.

The town was named Len (Bishop's Lynn) while under the temporal and spiritual jurisdiction of the Bishop of Norwich, but in the reign of Henry VIII it was surrendered to the crown and took the name Lenne or King's Lynn.[1] Domesday records it as Lun and Lenn, and ascribes it to the Bishop of Elmham and the Archbishop of Canterbury.[1]

The town is generally known locally as Lynn.

The city of Lynn, Massachusetts, north of Boston, was named in 1637 in honour of its first official minister of religion, Reverend Samuel Whiting (Senior), who arrived there from Lynn, Norfolk.

Middle Ages

Lynn originated on a constricted site south of where the River Great Ouse now discharges into the Wash. Development began in the early 10th century, but the place was not recorded until the early 11th century. Until the early 13th century, the Great Ouse emptied via the Wellstream at Wisbech. After its redirection, Lynn and its port gained significance and prosperity.

In 1101, Bishop Herbert de Losinga of Thetford began to build the first medieval town between the rivers Purfleet to the north and Mill Fleet to the south. He commissioned St Margaret's Church and authorised a market to be held on Saturday. Trade built up along the waterways that stretched inland; the town expanded between the two rivers.

Lynn's 12th-century Jewish community was exterminated in the widespread massacres of 1189.


During the 14th century, Lynn ranked as England's most important port. It was seen to be as vital to England in the Middle Ages as Liverpool was during the Industrial Revolution. Sea trade with Europe was dominated by the Hanseatic League of ports; the trade and the rise of England's western ports began only in the 17th century. The Trinity Guildhall was rebuilt in 1421 after a fire. Walls entered by the South Gate and East Gate were erected to protect the town. It retains two former Hanseatic League warehouses: Hanse House of 1475 and Marriott's Warehouse, in use between the 15th and 17th centuries. These are the only remaining buildings of the Hanseatic League in England.

In the first decade of the 16th century, Thoresby College was built in Lynn by Thomas Thoresby to house priests of the Guild of The Holy Trinity. It had been incorporated in 1453 under a petition of its alderman, chaplain, four brethren and four sisters, who were licensed to found a chantry of chaplains for the altar of Holy Trinity in Wisbech. Lands were granted in mortmain. Lynn acquired a mayor and corporation in 1524. In 1537 the king took over the town from the bishop. In the same century the town's two annual fairs were reduced to one. In 1534 a grammar school was founded; four years later Henry VIII closed the Benedictine priory and the three friaries.

A piped water supply was created in the 16th century, although many could not afford to connect to the elm pipes carrying water under the streets. Lynn suffered from outbreaks of plague, notably in 1516, 1587, 1597, 1636 and finally in 1665. Fire was another hazard – in 1572 thatched roofs were banned to reduce the risk. In the English Civil War, King's Lynn supported Parliament, but in August 1643 it was in Royalist hands. It changed sides again after Parliament sent an army and the town was besieged for three weeks. Valentine Walton brother-in-law of Oliver Cromwell was appointed governor.

A heart carved on the wall of the Tuesday Market Place marks the burning of an alleged witch, Margaret Read, in 1590. It is said that as she was burning her heart burst from her body and struck the wall.

In 1683, the architect Henry Bell, once the town's mayor, designed the Custom House. He also designed the Duke's Head Inn, North Runcton Church and Stanhoe Hall, having gained ideas while on travel in Europe as a young man.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the town's main export was grain. Lynn was no longer a major international port, but iron and timber were imported. King's Lynn suffered from the discovery of the Americas, which benefited ports on the west coast of England. It was also affected by the growth of London.

In the late 17th century, imports of wine from Spain, Portugal and France boomed, and there was still much coastal trade. It was cheaper to transport goods by water than by road at the time. Large amounts of coal arrived from the north-east of England.

The Fens began to be drained in the mid–17th century and the land turned to farming, allowing vast amounts of produce to be sent to London's growing market. Meanwhile, King's Lynn was still a major fishing port. Greenland Fishery House in Bridge Street was built in 1605. By the late 17th century shipbuilding and glass-making had also developed.

In the early 18th century, Daniel Defoe called the town "beautiful, well built and well situated". Shipbuilding thrived, as did associated trades such as sail-making and rope-making. Glass-making prospered; brewing was another important industry. The Norwich company of comedians had been visiting since the 1750s, in 1766 a permanent theatre was created. A new playhouse was built in 1805. The first bank in King's Lynn opened in 1784.

A fearsome example of penal brutality occurred on 28 September 1708, when a seven-year-old boy, Michael Hammond, and his 11-year-old sister Ann were convicted of stealing a loaf of bread and sentenced to hanging. Their public executions took place near the South Gates. The Member of Parliament at the time was Sir Robert Walpole, generally regarded as the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

The town's decline by the late 17th century was reversed by the arrival of the railways in 1847, mainly by the Great Eastern Railway, later the London and North Eastern Railway, running to Hunstanton, Dereham and Cambridge. The town was also served by the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway (M&GN), with offices at Austin Street and a station at South Lynn (now dismantled), which was also its operational control centre. It relocated to Melton Constable. The M&GN lines across Norfolk closed to passengers in February 1959.

The town's amenities continued to improve in the 20th century. A museum opened in 1904 and a public library in 1905. The first cinema, the Majestic, officially opened on 23 May 1928. (The year is marked in a stained-glass window on the front of the building.) The town council began a programme of regeneration in the 1930s.

During the First World War, King's Lynn was one of the UK's first towns to suffer aerial bombing, on the night of 19 January 1915 by a naval Zeppelin, L4 (LZ 27), commanded by Captain Lieutenant Magnus von Platen-Hallermund. Eleven bombs were dropped, both incendiary and high explosive, doing much damage, killing two people in Bentinck Street and injuring several more. When the Second World War began in 1939, it was assumed that King's Lynn would be safe from bombing and many evacuees were sent from London, but the town suffered several raids.

In 1962, King's Lynn was classed as an overflow town for London. The population grew and estates were built at Woottons and Gaywood. The town centre was redeveloped in the 1960s and many earlier buildings knocked down. Lynnsport, a sports centre, opened in 1982. The corn exchange became a theatre in 1996.

The local breweries had closed by the 1950s, but new industries included food canning in the 1930s and soup-making in the 1950s. In the 1960s, the council sought to encourage development by adding an industrial estate at Hardwick. The new trades arriving included light engineering, clothing and chemicals. Fishing remained important.

Recent changes

Since 2004, work has been under way to regenerate the town under a multi-million-pound scheme. The 1960s Vancouver Shopping Centre (now the Vancouver Quarter) was refurbished in 2005 under the scheme, but was expected to last only 25 years, according to the construction firm, even with a planned extension. An award-winning £6 million multi-storey car park was built.

To the south of the town, residential housing appeared on a large area of brownfield land. Plans for another housing estate alongside the River Nar were opposed locally and halted by the economic situation. There is also a business park, parkland, a school, shops and a new relief road in a £300 million-plus scheme.

In 2006, King's Lynn became the United Kingdom's first member of The Hanse (Die Hanse), a network of towns across Europe that belonged historically to the Hanseatic League. The league was an influential medieval trading association of merchant towns around the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, which contributed to Lynn's development.

The Borough Council commissioned and accepted a 2008 report by DTZ that dubbed King's Lynn's workforce as "low-value" with a "low skills base" and the town as having a "poor lifestyle offer". The quality of services and amenities was "unattractive to higher-value inward investors and professional employees with higher disposable incomes". Average earnings were well below regional and national levels, and many jobs in tourism, leisure and hotels were subject to seasonal fluctuations and likewise poorly paid. Education and workforce skills were described as below the national average. The borough ranked 150th out of 354 for social deprivation.

In 2009, a proposal was made for the Campbell's Meadow factory site to be redeveloped as a employment and business park. In June 2011 Tesco gained a permit for a superstore. On 8 June 2010, it unveiled regeneration plans that would cost £32 million and were billed to bring 900 new jobs. Tesco pledged £4 million of improvements in other areas of the town. While it planned to spend £1.6 million widening Hardwick Road, the Sainsburys bid was preferred by the Council as offering the town more benefits.[2]

Sainsbury's £40 million plans for a superstore opposite Tesco on the Pinguin Foods site yielded an estimated 300 jobs. This was the key to securing the future of Pinguin Foods in King's Lynn. Pinguin Foods released of its site to accommodate the proposed store. Mortson Assets' and Sainsbury's plan included a link road between Scania Way and Queen Elizabeth Way to improve access and allow the industrial estate to attract new employers, while Sainsbury's maintains its store in the town centre. It has pledged £1.75 million for highways improvements and a further £7 million to invest in the Pinguin Foods factory.[2]

At 8 am on 15 January 2012, the landmark Campbell's Tower was demolished – competition winner Sarah Griffiths pulled the switch. Her father, Mick Locke, had died in 1995 aged 52 after being scalded by steam at the factory. It was Campbell's first UK factory when it opened in the 1950s. At its peak in the early 1990s it employed over 700.

A fire station was opened by HM The Queen in February 2015.

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