King’s Lynn will be celebrating International Hanse Day on Saturday 19 May with a packed programme of events and activities to showcase the town’s sea-trading heritage.
There are 177 cities in 16 countries which make up the modern Hanse. Each year, all member cities are encouraged to celebrate their hanseatic heritage and their involvement in the modern Hanse network. King’s Lynn is the only English member of this modern Hanse League.
By the 13th century King’s Lynn was one of England’s foremost ports. The commercial opportunities and rewards offered by the town attracted merchants from the Baltic, Hamburg and Lubeck. Trading privileges with the Hanse were confirmed by 1310. Hanseatic ships travelled together in convoys across The Wash for safety, especially against pirates.
This year’s Hanse Day celebration centres around the invasion of the town by pirates. Pirates will be rampaging around King’s Lynn from 10.45am. They will be raiding the wine cellars of St George’s Guildhall, attacking the Custom House and breaking into a wealthy merchant’s house, taking hostages as they go.
Youngsters are invited to come along to be mini pirate detectives for the day. They will have the chance to catch the pirates and put them on trial at the town hall. The day starts with an opportunity for children to meet the pirates at True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum and enjoy pirates’ crafts and stories.
Anyone wishing to be a mini pirate detective, special constable, or a member of the jury at the court, should apply by contacting the Tourist Information Centre on 01553 763044. See Pirate Rampage to take place in town centre!
Other events to celebrate this special day, include an exhibition of Hanseatic documents from the Norfolk Record Office at the Custom House and a Hanse exhibition at St Nicholas Chapel, a concert at All Saints Church, guided walks of Hanseatic King’s Lynn and a fascinating talk at the Green Quay about the pirates who occupied the Wash at the time of the Hanseatic Sea Trade.
A pirates fun day for 7 – 13 year olds is taking place in the Vancouver Quarter. Also taking place on the evening of 19 May will be a special concert of massed male voice choirs at St Nicholas Chapel.
Borough Council Leader Cllr Nick Daubney, who is the English Commissioner for the League, said: “International Hanse Day provides us with the perfect opportunity to celebrate King’s Lynn’s rich history and Hanseatic heritage. The guided walks will show the best of the town’s medieval merchant houses and historic buildings, whilst the rampaging pirates will give families a great opportunity to find out why the Hanse League was so important.”
To find out more about International Hanse Day in King’s Lynn, visit the King’s Lynn Tourist Information Centre in the Custom House or call 01553 763044.
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