1,000 Years of History

This list of highlights from the past Millennium was compiled by Dr Paul Richards, former Borough Mayor, historian and author.


1000 to 1499


1086 – First mention of Lynn in Domesday Book.
1101 – St Margaret’s Church founded.
1204 – First Borough charter from King John.
1216 – King John “loses treasure in The Wash”.
1290s – River Ouse diverted from Wisbech to Lynn.
1349 – Black Death – at least 50 per cent of town population killed (or fled?).
1369 – Death of Nicholas of Lynn, both friar and sailor in the North Atlantic.
1421 – Trinity Guildhall built as a result of fire (Margery Kempe prayed for snow from St Margaret’s and town as a whole was saved!).
1429 – Rebuilding of St Nicholas’ Chapel completed (tower dates from 1220s).
1430 – St George’s Guildhall rebuilt.
1475 – German Hanseatic league secures a commercial HQ in Lynn (only one remaining in England today).
1485 – Red Mount Built.


1500 to 1799


1536-8 – Four Lynn friaries closed and pilgrimages “forbydden”.
1548 – Lynn’s religious guilds dissolved and Trinity Guildhall becomes Town Hall.
1561 – “Popish relics” destroyed in Lynn’s two market places.
1588 – Five Lynn ships joined Armada and all returned safely.
1607 – Storm and high tide flood Lynn.
1643 – Siege of Lynn – the town defended by Le Strange for King Charles I.
1666 – Great Plague.
1683/5 – Merchant Exchange built on the Purfleet by Bell for Sir John Turner. Custom House by 1718.
1702-42 – Sir Robert Walpole – England’s first Prime Minister – MP for Lynn and builds Houghton Hall.
1741 – September 8 at noon, great gale: St Margaret’s spire blown into nave and this part of church destroyed – tidal wave too.
1753-6 – Town’s Walks (part one) laid out.
1766-68 – Tower of All Saint’s Church collapses.
1782 – New Assembly Rooms built to the north of the Town Hall (cost £1,300).
1790 – George Vancouver commenced his great voyage to the Pacific and the north west coast of America (born in Lynn in 1757).
1798 – Horatio Nelson made a Freeman of Lynn.


1800 to 1859


1803-6 – London Road laid down.
1818-21 – Eau Brink Cut dug by army of navvies (Ouse now straight to South)
1813 – Methodists build new and impressive chapel in Tower Street.
1814 – On July 22, 2,000 townspeople sat down to a meal on the Tuesday Market Place to celebrate the downfall of Napolean.
1831-32 – King cholera strikes Lynn.
1835 – Lynn and West Norfolk Hospital opened.
1841 – Lynn Advertiser appears.
1846 – St John’s Church built (first new Anglican one since 1146) – cost £5000.
1850-2 – Estuary Cut dug by navvies to allow the Ouse a more direct route.
1852 – Board of Health (London) report on Lynn – shocking and disgusting!
1854 – Corn Exchange erected.
1856 – St James’ Workhouse constructed after dramatic collapse of the old one in 1854.


1860 to 1899

1861 – Royal family buy Sandringham House – rebuilt.
1869 – Alexandra Dock built and opened by Princess Alexandra (saved the port of Lynn).
1872 – West Norfolk Fertilisers (Muck Works) starts production at South Lynn.
1873 – Frederick Savage founds St Nicholas’ Ironworks off Loke Road.
1875 – Alfred Dodman erects his engineering works by the railway to the new dock.
1883 – Port of Lynn’s Bentinck Dock built.
1894 – Cooper’s founded – making steam diggers (munitions in Great War).
1898 – Lynn Conservancy Board established to oversee shipping into harbour.
1899 – Electricity arrives.


1900 to 1949


1904 – Lynn Museum opened in converted Baptist Chapel (with a spire!)
1905 – Vaughn Williams visits Lynn and picks up over 30 folk songs from the fishermen.
1910 – First moving picture shown in the town at Lynn Mart in February.
1914-18 – Town and Port of Lynn much affected by impact of Great War.
1928 – Majestic Cinema built.
1929 – Bagge family sell up Lynn properties and are the last of the Merchant Princes to leave the town.
1935 – Lynn, the borough, is enlarged to include Gaywood.
1939 – Big new Post Office erected on Baxters Plain.
1939-45 – Second World War – major impact on Lynn as all other towns (evacuees, mobile population, bombing etc)


1950 to 1999


1951 – First Lynn Festival – still going: 50th in year 2000!
1958 – Campbell’s Soups came to Lynn – harbinger of a second industrial revolution. Followed by several other big companies (Dow 1957).
1959 – South Lynn railway station closed.
1962 – Lynn signed overspill agreement with GLC.
1967 – Muck Works closed with loss of 600 jobs.
1974 – End of historic Lynn Town Council and the creation of West Norfolk District Council.
1981 – Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk receives Royal Charter.
1991 – True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum opened.
1991 – Electrification of railway line between Lynn and Cambridge.
1996 – Corn Exchange of 1854 converted to modern town theatre (£4.6m).
1999 – North Sea Haven – Millennium Project – starts: Regeneration of Lynn’s riverside.


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