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vested in a Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses, but the Corporation has
fallen into decay. Prior to the year 1176, a Castle was built here by
William de Albini, the first Earl of Sussex, and of this fortress an



174 HISTORY OP EASTERN ENGLAND.

account is given in our historical narrative. The principal remains are
the shell of the keep, a square tower, with some doorways and windows of
Norman work.

HILLINGTON (ST. MAEY)

Is a parish in the Hundred of Freebridge Lynn, seven and a-half miles
north-east by east from the town of Lynn. The parish comprises
2529 acres, of which 1833 are arable, 537 pasture, and 126 woodland.
The lower grounds are watered by a stream which rises in the parish, and
the scenery is richly diversified. Hillington Hall, the seat of the Lord
of the Manor, is a stately mansion, beautifully situated in a richly -wooded
Park. It was originally erected in 1627, but it was much improved by
the late proprietor. Sir W. I. H. B. Folkes, Lord of the Manor, who
added a noble hall, staircase, and library. The structure, which presents
a handsome specimen of castellated architecture, is surrounded by
grounds tastefully laid out, and the rivulet which flows through the Park
was diverted into a serpentine course, forming a picturesque lake.

SANDEINGHAM

Is a parish comprising 1172 acres of land, seven and a-half miles north-
north-east of Lynn, and takes its name from its deep sandy soil, of
which more than 200 acres are on an extensive heath stretching hence to
Wolferton, where there is a station on the Lynn and Hunstanton Railway.
In 1862, H.E.H. the Prince of Wales purchased the Sandringham Estate
of the Hon. Charles Spencer Cooper for the sum of £220,000. Subse-
quently a splendid mansion was erected for the Prince, who occasionally
resides there in the shooting season. The mansion stands in a park of
300 acres, sheltered by extensive plantations. The celebrated " Norwch
Gates " stand at one of the entrances to the park.

The estate now consists of about 8000 acres, and includes the parishes
of Babingley, West Newton, and Wolferton, with part of Dersingham.
It is rich marsh land, where it joins the sea near Wolferton ; black sand
upon car stone towards the middle of the estate, and light loam upon
chalk, adapted for barley and oats, at the east end towards Anmer. A
considerable number of new model cottages have been built on the estate
for the laborers, and the population has increased in the villages around.

THE HUNDRED OP PREEBRIDGE MARSHLAND

Forms a level district of rich alluvial marshes and fens at the western end
of the county, and is fourteen miles in length from north to south,
twelve miles in breadth from east to west, comprising 54,500 aci^es quite
insulated, being bounded oji the north by the Wnsh, on the east hj the
Great Ouse river, on the west by the Eiver Nene, and on the south by



A DESCEIPTION OF NORFOLK. 175

Podike, which divides it from the fens of Clackclose. The soil consists
of alternate layers of moor and silt, with a subsoil of blue clay. The
Hundred comprises seventeen marshes, with a population of 14,421.

The parishes in this Hundred are St. Edmund (North Lynn), St. Peter
(West Lynn), Wiggenhall St. Germans, Wiggenhall St. Mary Magdalen,
Wiggenhall St. Mary the Virgin, and Wiggenhall St. Peter.

A DESCRIPTION OF LYNN REGIS.

Lynn, anciently Lynn Regis, is a seaport, borough, and market town
in the Western Division of Norfolk, situated on the east bank of the
great Ouse, at its confluence with the River Nar, which is here of con-
siderable breadth. The town is distant ninety-seven miles (north-by-east)
from London, and a few miles from the North Sea. It extends a mile
and a-half in length, and half-a-mile in breadth, and comprises some well-
built streets, ancient churches, and public buildings. It is intersected by
four rivulets called fleets, across which there are many bridges. Tho
Borough of Lynn is supposed to be of Anglo Saxon origin. Sir Henry
Spelman is of opinion that the name is Saxon, derived from the word
Lean, signifying a tenure in fee, or farm. It was anciently called Len
Ejoiscopi, or Bishop^s Lynn, from having been under the jurisdiction, both
temporal and spiritual, of the Bishops of Norwich, who had a palace
where Gaywood Hall now stands ; but this authority was surrendered to
Henry VIIL, and from that time the town assumed the name of Lynn
Regis, or King's Lynn.

Nor is the name of Lynn the only proof of its antiquity, for the principal
lordship of the town confirms it, which was in the reign of Edward the
Confessor, in the See of Elmham or East Angles. What king gave it
to that See does not appear, but it is highly probable that Felix, the first
Bishop of East Anglia, was in possession of it and of Elmham about tho
year 630, and Bedwin was Bishop of Elmham in 673. From the time of
the Conquest, 1066, we can date with more certainty; the most ancient
account is from the record called Domesday Book, which was* begun in
1080, and finished in 1086, when this town with West, North, and South
Lynn were all included under the general name of Lenn, or Lun. King's
Lynn was a place of importance during the Anglo-Saxon period, as
appears from its enjoying the privilege of certain dues and customs, with
a tolbooth in the town, payable on the arrival of any goods or merchan-
di&e, by sea or land ; and before the Norman Conquest the Bishop was
then in full possession of a moiety, which the Conqueror on his depriva-
tion seized on, and gave it to his brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, in
Normandy, and on his rebellion against King William II., that King granted
it to William de Albini, his brother, as shown in Blomfield's History.



176 HISTORY OP EASTERN ENGLAND.

The Convent was subject to the Abbey founded by Ethelfreda, the
legitimate daughter of King Anna^ in the Isle of Ely. The Nunnery
having been destroyed by the Danes^, its Church was made parochial in
791, though the Convent was subsequently refounded as an Abbey, and
at the dissolution Roger J army, the last Abbott, had a pension allowed
him of £QQ 13s. 4d., so that its annual revenue must have been consider-
able. Bishop Herbert, in 1100, founded a Church and Priory, dedicated
to St. Mary Magdalene, St. Margaret, and other Saints, on the festival of
which Henry I. granted liberty to the Prior of Norwich to hold a Fair and
other privileges.

In 1204, during the contest between King John and the barons, Lynn
continued loyal to that despot, who seems to have had a great affection
for the town, and remained here for some time. On the petition of John
Grey, Bishop of Norwich, the King made the town a free borough. There
is a local tradition that he presented to the inhabitants a silver cup and
cover, which are still preserved by the Corporation, also his own sword,
to be carried before the Mayor on public occasions. But antiquaries
assign a later period to the cup, and as it has been repaired on four several
dates, as is recorded on the foot, who shall decide how much remains of
the original ? The sword, a long, straight-bladed weapon, has a Latin
inscription on one side of the hilt, stating that John took it from his side
and gave it to the town ; but the genuineness of this inscription is at least
doubtful. John was frequently here during the war, and from this place
he departed on his last fatal journey, just before the disaster which befel
him in crossing the Wash. Edward III. and several of his successors
visited the town. In the Parliamentary war of the seventeenth century,
the inhabitants embraced the royal cause, and the town was besieged by
the Puritan forces under the command of the Earl of Manchester, to whom
it surrendered after a vigorous resistance, as detailed in our historical
narrative in the proper place : reign of Charles I.

The town is situated on the east bank of the Great Ouse, which is here
of considerable breadth, and at a distance of ten miles from the sea. It
was in former times defended on the east side by a wall, in which were
nine bastions, and by a broad and deep fosse, over which were three
drawbridges, leading to the principal gates. The limits of the port
extend in a northerly direction from the promontory on which Hunstanton
lighthouse stands in a supposed right line north-north-west to fourteen
fathoms of water, and likewise from this line towards the east until it
falls into fourteen fathoms of water at a point northward from the eastern
end of the sand hills commonly called Burnham Meales, southerly to a
place in the channel of the harbour of Lynn called White Friar^s Fleet,
and to Gibbon^s Point, opposite thereto, thence down the river on the



A DESCRIPTION OF NORFOLK. 177

western side and round the coast of Marshland to a point called Sutton
Corner, The harbour is deep^ and sufficient to accommodate three
hundred vessels, but the entrance is somewhat dangerous, from the
frequent shifting of the channel and the numerous sand banks. The
anchorage is rendered difficult from the nature of the soil and the rapidity
of the tide, which rises to the height of twenty feet. A consideraljle
part of Old Lynn, including the Church at North Lynn, has been
cngulphed in the sea. After the sluices at Denver and Salters had been
constructed for the purpose of draining the Bedford Level, the navigation
of the River Ouse was much impeded and the harbour obstructed by the
accumulation of silt, to remedy which the Eau Brink Cut was commenced
in 1818 and completed in 1820, avoiding a bend in the river. Three
ietties, composed of timber, were constructed at stated distances with a
view to divert the stream to the eastern or harbour side. Near the north
end of this cut, a handsome wooden bridge was buih, over which a
new road leads into v Marshland ; and a bridge over the River None, and
an embankment at Cross Keys Wash was finished in 1831, affording a
direct road from Norfolk and Suff'olk through Lynn into Lincolnshire.
The Purfleet and Common Staithe Quays are the principal places for
landing merchandise. On the former, where all wines are landed, the
Custom-house and Exchange stands, occupying the site of the hall of the
ancient guild of the Holy Trinity. It is a handsome building of free-
stone, ornamented with two tiers of pilasters, the lower of the Doric and
the upper of the Ionic order, and surmounted by a small turret. In a
niche is a statue of the Merry Monarch Charles II. In the High Street
is the Excise Office, in which a collector, supervisor, and otlter officers
in are employed. The Guildhall is an ancient structure of stone and flint,
in the later style of English architecture, and here public meetings are
generally held.

The town owes its origin and importance to its river, and the people of
Lynn, by means of their inland navigation, formerly cai-ried on com-
mercial iutercourse with the interior of the country. As far back -us the
time of Edward the Confessor, the trade of Lynn appears to have been
considerable ; and at the beginning of the thirteenth centuiy the town
had risen to such a height of commercial importance that the revenue it
paid to the Crown is said to have been two-thirds of that arising from the
port of London. Then it must have been a very thriving place.

An old account of Lynn states that the inhabitants were formerly great
merchants : that, by means of several rivers which fell into the sea, they
supplied six counties entirely, and three other with most commodities, and
particularly with wine and coals, and that they dealt more in those goods
than the traders of any other town, except London, Bristol, and New-



178 HISTOKY OP EASTERN ENGLAND.

castle. How great has been the cliange since tlienj as now to these three
exceptions must be added Liverpool^ Hull, tSunderland^ and Ipswich, and
a score of other ports. A writer of the reign of Richard I. calls Lynn a
city of note for its trade and commerce. Benjamin Mackerell, who pub-
lished his elaborate but somewhat antiquariau History of Lynn in 1732,
says : '' Its situation affords great advantage to traffic and commerce,
having a commodious large harbour capable of containing 200 sail of ships,
and several navigable rivers falling into it out of various counties, by
which means divers capital cities and towns, Ely, Peterborough, Stamford,
Bedford, St. Ives, Huntingdon, Cambridge, St. Neots, Northampton,
Bury St. Edmund's, and Thetford, are served with all sorts of heavy
commodities."

King John first incorporated the town by a charter, and since his reign
no less than nineteen charters have been granted to Lynn, The charter
of the sixth King John granted a free borough to the burgesses to have
" soke, sac, toll, theme, infaug-theft, and outfang-theft," to be quit of
toll, lastage, passage, freeage, pointagc, stallage, and of lien and danegeld,
and not to be impleaded out of Lynn. In former times there were many
kinds of taxes on trade ; tolls on goods bought or sold, lastage, or dues
on goods bought or sold by the last ; passage dues for a way through a
town ; frccarjo dues for a passage by water ; stallage due for erecting
stalls ; tonnage dues for weighing wool ; poundage dues of one shilling in
the pound on all goods imported or exported ; livn, any charge by statute
or judgment ; danegeld, a tax of two shillings on every hide of land ; and
from these the burgesses of Lynn were exempted by various charters.
By the charter of Henry VIIL, the Mayor and burgesses were incorporated,
and made quit of all vexatious tolls, pointage, freeage, stallage, tollage,
and all other customs. Another charter of King Henry VIII. granted
two fairs or marts yearly, and two markets weekly.

The charter of King James granted to the Mayor and burgesses the
admiralty of the port and harbour of Lynn, and gave them various and
complete powers for the government of the town. The other charters
confirmed and enlarged these privileges. At various periods the inha-
bitants have obtained thirty local Acts, some of them relating to trade and
the improvement of the navigation, drainage, markets, &c. Eight of them
are Eau Brink Acts for improving the harbour and the drainage of the
fens. The carrying out of this drainage to a certain extent has increased
the production of the surrounding country, and at the same time augmented
the trade of the town.

Lord William Bentinck, in 18o7, first originated a scheme for reclaim-
ing 150,000 acres of land from the Wash. A company was formed, and an
Act obtained in 1839, to carry out the project, but the company were



A DESCRIPTION OF NORFOLK. 179

unable to proceed on account of the want of funds. After some negocia-
tions, tlie Lynn merchants offered £60^000 to the Company, and they in
1849 obtained another Act, by which the proprietors of the Bedford
Level were forced to contribute towards a less extensive scheme, by which
it was proposed to enclose 32,000 acres of land, and make a deep straight
and safe channel to the sea, instead of the old shallow and circuitous
channel. By the new cut it was expected that vessels inward and outward
would save two hours every tide, and that the harbour would accommodate
1000 vessels. The number of vessels belonging to the port is about 122
of 15,308 tons, with 750 seamen. The number of vessels inwards are
about 150 foreig-n, and 2000 coasters yearly. The number entered
outwards is much less. The trade inwards is in coals, lime, wine, &c.
The wine trade is as ancient as the time of Henry III., and has
been 1000 tons yearly. The trade outwards is in corn and wool to
English ports, and manufactured goods to foreign ports. The Customs
Dues amount to from £50,000 to £60,000 yearly, according to the state of
trade, which has greatly declined of late years, owing to want of enter-
prise among the merchants, and the excessive port charges.

We shall now give some returns of the shipping business of the port,
which has been of late years confined chiefly to timber, corn, and coals.
These have formed the bulk of the imports and exports. The following
is an account of the exports of corn from Lynn for various periods : — The
average export for the three years ending in 1795 was 180,158 quarters ;
in the year 1801, the export was 195,000 quarters; in the year 1811, it
was 212,500 quarters; in 1817, it was 273,830 cjuarters; the average
export for three years preceding 1821 was 160,008 quarters ; since then
the exports have diminished.

The quantity of coal landed at this port in 1841 was 255,763 tons, and
the duties paid at the Custom-house amounted to £64,359 ; the number
of vessels that entered inwards, 301 from foreign parts ; aggregate
tonnage, 29,441 ; and of coasting vessels, 2229, of 208,137 tons aggregate
burden; and the number that cleared outwards was 1159, of the aggre-
gate burden of 68,920 tons.

The Bill repealing the Navigation Laws came into operation on January
1st, 1850, and the repeal appears to have had but little cS'ect on the trade
of the port. The decrease may be easily accounted for without any
reference to legislative measures. Within our memory, several thousand
quarters of barley were yearly exported from Lynn to Scotland. Indeed,
it was no unusual thing to see eight or ten Lynn vessels discharging their
cargoes at Leith near Edinburgh, and also at Grangenworth at one time,
besides a number of smaller craft that passed through the Forth and
Clyde Canal to unload their cargoes at Port Dundee. Now a solitary



180 HISTORY OF EASTEEN ENGLAND.

sloop or schooner may be seen loading at Lynn for Scotland^ as if in
mockeiy of former trade.

The population of Lynn is about 20,000, nearly all engaged in trade,
chiefly i-etail trade. There are many shipowners, merchants, and traders,
in the town, and the transactions in timber, coal, corn, cattle, and pro-
visions are of considerable amount. There are several large maltsters and
brewers in the town, also wine and spirit merchants. Lynn markets are
held on Tuesday and Saturday, fairs on St. Valentine's-day for a fortnight,
a cheese and horse fair on October, 17th, and cattle fairs on the second
Monday in November, at which fairs much business is done. There is a
Tuesday market-house, a Saturday market-house with a market-place, a
cattle market, and a fish market.

The Tuesday market is principally for corn, and was formerly held in a
spacious paved area of about three acres, surrounded by some well-built
houses. It contains a handsome but dilapidated Market Cross of freestone,
erected in 1710. The lower part of the building is surrounded by a peri-
style of sixteen Ionic columns, above which is a walk defended by iron
palisades, and in the centre is an octagonal room, m the exterior aisles of
which are carved figures facing the cardinal points, the whole being sur-
rounded by a cupola. A new market-place and a market-house were
finished a few years since. The latter is a fine building, with a range of
six Doric columns, the upper part containing spacious rooms. There has
always been a considerable corn business carried on at Lynn, it being the
market town for a great part of West Norfolk and the Fen district. From
160,000 to 170,000 quarters of corn are sold yearly in the market. The
Tuesday cattle market has been increasing of late years, and 7000 sheep,
600 beasts, and 1200 pigs, have been ofiered for sale in one day. The
increase is attributed to the reduction of the tolls on sheep, being now
only one-half of the former amount. At the great sheep and cattle fair
here, 15,000 sheep, 2000 beasts, besides pigs, have been offered for sale
in one day.

King's Lynn comprises the parishes of All Saints and 8t. Margaret, in
the Diocese of Norwich. The living of All Saints is a vicarage in the
patronage of the Bishop of Ely. The Church is an ancient cruciform struc-
ture. The tower, which fell down in 1 763, and demoHshed part of the body
of the Church, has not been re-built. The Hving of St. Edmund's, North
End, is a sinecure rectory. The Church is supposed to have been swept
away by the river. The living of St. Margaret's is a perpetual curacy, with
the curacy of St. Nicholas annexed, and in the patronage of the Dean
and Chapter of Norwich. The Church is a spacious structure, combining
the early, the decorated, and the later styles of English architecture, with
two western towers, and an east front of singularly-beautiful design, with



A DESCRIPTION OF NORFOLK. 181

two octagonal turrets rising from the flanking buttresses. The chancel is
in the early English style, with a fine circular east window. The south
porch is highly ornamented with canopied niches and shields, and the roof
finely groined. The Chapel of St. Nicholas is a large structure, con-
bining the decorated with the later style of English architecture. The
original roof of beautifully-carved oak is carefully preserved. The Free
Grammar School was founded in the reign of Henry VII., by Thomas
Thoresby, who endowed it.

The town consists of three principal streets nearly parallel, from which
several smaller streets diverge, and is well paved, lighted with gas at
night, and amply supplied with water. The houses are in general old
and irregularly built, though interspersed with several respectable man-
sions. In the more modern parts of the town, there are several ranges of
handsome buildings. The Theatre, a neat structure, was erected by a
company in 1814, and is open yearly for about six weeks, commencing at
the great mart in February. Assemblies are held in a suite of commodious
rooms in the Town Hall. The Subscription Library was estabhshed in
1797, and is supported by 200 members. There is also a public
Reading-Room and News-Room in the Market Place. The Athengeum is
a new building, containing a library, and rooms for lectures, concerts, &c.

The town, though apparently dull in some parts, contains much to
interest a visitor, there being a few foreign-looking features ; here and
there a high peaked roof ; a Town Hall curiously chequered in front with
flint and stone ; a Custom House that might have been imported bodily
from Flanders; besides relics of old religious houses, of domestic
architecture, and stubborn ramparts which embody much of local history,
back even to the days of tradition. The south gate at the end of London
Road, a solid brick structure of the fifteenth century, marks the extent
of ground enclosed by the town walls. It forms a spacious arch flanked
by turrets, but is not the original gate built in the days of King John.
From this we may walk to the Grey Friars' Tower, which on a near view
appears to be also a gateway, for all that remains is an isolated mass of
brick and stone pierced by a tall pointed arch, strongly buttressed and
gabled, from which rises the lofty lantern with graceful effect. Passing
on, we may enter the Mall, and be made aware by agreeable experience that
Lynn possesses a public ground which, for tasteful laying out, for smooth
green lawns, charming avenues of noble trees, may compare with the
beautiful precincts of Cambridge. And here is a further attraction — the
Chapel of Our Lady in the Mount, a small octagonal building of brick
and stone, with buttresses at the angles. The interior comprises two
stories, the lower being a crypt, the upper a Chapel less than twenty feet
in length, but which, with its slender columns, groins, fair tracery, niches.



182 HISTORY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

and quartre-foil windows, was manifestly a labonr of love to the architect
of the fifteenth century.

Below the town is the Long Straight Cut, through which the River
Ouse, burdened with the waters of seven counties, flows in a direct
channel to the sea. Seen in the distance, its further end appears lost in a
great waste of mud, uninviting in prospect, hut attractive to engineers.
No wonder that the county historian describes Lynn as " on a great level,
and flat, filthy, rich soil,^' when from all the fen country the mud finds its
way hither, and makes the shallow Wash still shallower. On that waste
of mud, great works are in progress which may some day, not far distant,
accomplish the ambitious scheme of reclaiming a new county from the sea.

By the cutting of that straight channel the outfall of the Ouse has been
lowered twelve feet, whereby some hundreds of thousands of acres in the
fen country are better drained than ever before; and districts which could
be relieved only by machinery now discharge their superabundant water
by a natural outflow, and far back as the borders of Northamptonshire,
back to Wisbeach and Ely, the pastures and fields are benefited by divert-
ing the Eiver Ouse from its old circuitous channel below Lynn.

HUNDREDS AND PARISHES IN EAST NORFOLK.



Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 21 of 70)