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New Pilgrimage Trail for King’s Lynn

Picture of Red Mount in the Walks

Published: Thursday, 1st September 2022

A new heritage trail, created by King’s Lynn Civic Society, focuses on the theme of pilgrimage to guide people around medieval Kings Lynn.

The trail takes in three fine medieval churches, the unique Red Mount Chapel, the Greyfriars Tower and other remnants and sites of monastic buildings, the Halls of Lynn’s many one-time guilds, as well as the Lynn Museum.

Cllr Richard Blunt, cabinet member for regeneration and development, said:

“King’s Lynn has a rich and varied history, and this trail will help people to explore that in a very hands-on way.

“It is also an opportunity to learn more about important events and developments in its history and I would recommend this trail to all!”

The trail has been created as part of King’s Lynn’s five-year Heritage Action Zone, run in partnership by the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk and Historic England. The Heritage Action Zone set out to discover more about the history of the town, which will help to inform its future development.

Tony Calladine, East of England Regional Director, Historic England, said:

“This new trail is a great way for people to discover the story of King’s Lynn by immersing themselves in its medieval past. I’m sure that local people will find out more about the places they see and visit every day and visitors will be enthralled by the characters of King’s Lynn’s vanished medieval world.”

The trail has been created by King’s Lynn Civic Society in the form of a colourful 40-page booklet available free from the Tourist Information Centre, True’s Yard and the Lynn Museum.

Chairman Alison Gifford said:

“This is our 2022 project for the town. As well as organising Heritage Open Day and other activities during the year, we aim to do something practical and have previously given the two benches on the Saturday Market Place and the bus station clock.

“All around us in King’s Lynn are traces of a former town, Bishop’s Lynn. The lives of our medieval forebears were lived within the cycle of the Church Calendar – fast and feast – and amid the daily presence of priests, monks, nuns, friars and pilgrims, together with their churches, chapels and friaries.

“To highlight this lost world, some members of the King’s Lynn Civic Society committee have designed a Pilgrimage Trail with five neglected steel plaques by artist Lyndall Phelps at its core.

“By following the trails of buildings and sites, you enter the world of Margery Kempe, the extraordinary pilgrim and visionary, the mystic anchorites of All Saints’ Church and hundreds of pilgrims on their way to Walsingham thronging the bustling streets of Bishop’s Lynn familiar from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

“The trail takes in three fine medieval churches, the unique Red Mount Chapel, the Greyfriars Tower and other remnants and sites of monastic buildings, the Halls of Lynn’s many one-time guilds, as well as the Lynn Museum and its fine collection of pilgrims’ badges. Society member Colin James took a whole set of new photographs for the trail.”

The trail is also on the Civic Society website in English and Portuguese.

Heritage Action Zones

From Weston-Super-Mare to Sunderland, 10 Historic England-funded Heritage Action Zones have been a powerful catalyst for regeneration.

Since 2016/17, Historic England has put £6 million into funding 10 Heritage Action Zone projects around the country, breathing new life into historic places that are rich in heritage but need a boost to make them more attractive to residents, businesses, visitors and investors.

This funding has acted as a powerful catalyst for regeneration in these areas, successfully leveraging a further £60 million in investment and has demonstrated that heritage can be a powerful force for levelling up.  

The 10 completed Heritage Action Zones are in:

  • Appleby
  • Coventry
  • Elsecar
  • Hull
  • King’s Lynn
  • Nottingham
  • Ramsgate
  • Sunderland
  • Sutton
  • Weston Super Mare

The first Heritage Action Zones, which complete this year, have given 10 places a new lease of life. Working with local councils and community partners has been crucial to their success.

Historic buildings that were deteriorating through decades of neglect have been restored and put back into use, providing employment and volunteering opportunities; conservation areas have been improved, kick-starting regeneration and renewal that has helped attract significant investment and meet local housing targets. These unsung places are now being recognised and celebrated for their unique character and heritage.

About Historic England

We are Historic England the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories these places tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.

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